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“When we are firmly established in non-violence, all beings around us cease to feel hostility.” ~Patanjali
A few years ago a friend of mine was walking down a street in a big city he was visiting, and on impulse he went into a fancy bakery, enticed by their extravagant window display. As soon as he stepped in the door he saw trouble. The bakery manager was yelling at the girl working the counter. She was in tears, and both were so engrossed that they didn’t notice that a customer had entered the shop. My friend told me that he had a sudden intuition. I can bring harmony here.
He turned his back on the argument, which settled down once his presence was noticed. In itself, that is unremarkable. But my friend kept lingering, and as he did so, he centered himself in his own peace – he has been an experienced meditator for many years. He could feel the atmosphere in the bakery soften, and although few would believe what happened next, the manager and the girl at the counter exchanged smiles. By the time my friend left, he saw them embracing and mutually expressing how sorry they were.
Can your mere presence bring harmony to a situation in the same way? The first step is to believe that it is possible; the second is the willingness not to take sides but to act solely as a peaceful influence, silently if you can but speaking up in a conscious way if that becomes necessary. At bottom, conflicts aren’t about right and wrong. They are about incoherence, the chaotic emotions and thoughts that result from chaotic energy and fragmented awareness. Right and wrong come into the picture as reflections of turmoil; by screaming that you are right, you don’t have to admit that you are hurt, confused, and torn apart yourself. Instead of adding to the turmoil, you can bring in peace, not just because it sounds moral and good to do that, but because without an influence of peace, no productive change can occur.
While we are complex beings with conflicting emotions and motives vying within us, there is a deeper, unifying self at our core. When we meditate, we consciously align our mind to that inner reality that transcends conflicts and dilemmas. In the restful awareness of meditation, we go beyond the ego mind’s fears and unrest and get in touch with our soul. Thoughts of separation drop away and we enter a state of unity consciousness. This experience of oneness and inner quiet is extremely refreshing for the mind, allowing it to gently unravel old conditioned thought patterns and judgments, freeing us to be more of who we really are – and allowing us to see others as they really are. This clear seeing at the soul level is the basis of peace. It dissolves the barriers of “us” and “them” and allows us to experience our common humanity and spirit.
Meditation: Being for Peace
Today I invite you to take five minutes to establish yourself in peace. Sit quietly with your eyes closed and take a few long, deep breaths. Now put your attention on your heart and silently repeat these four words: Peace, Harmony, Laughter, Love. Allow these words to radiate from your heart’s stillness out into your body. Complete the meditation session by sitting quietly for a few moments, appreciating the simplicity of quiet awareness.
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