The Price of Peace

The Price of Peace – by Sally McKirgan

There is a price to pay for inner peace.  Can you put a nickel in the gum ball machine and LOVE whatever color of gum comes out?  Do you really want a red or blue gumball?  How upset will you be if you don’t get what you want?  Do you enjoy that upset?

This is a silly example of giving up having our way or controlling what is going on around us.  At some point we need to surrender.  There are some things we just can’t control.  Control really boils down to fear and worrying about the future.  What if (blank) happens? That is a fearful thought and worrying is not peaceful?  Our survival does depend on a certain amount of thinking ahead.  For instance: “If I don’t step on the brakes I’ll hit that truck.”  But worrying about visiting a relative or having an operation always defeats peace.  Giving up is the price of peace.  Letting whatever happens, happen means we are letting go.  It will happen anyway. And when it happens accept it.  It was meant to be –  it just is.  Grievances or unforgiveness is hanging on to what could, should or might have been. It is not peaceful. 

Why do we hang on?  We need to see and understand that we have a split mind.  It is split between the ego and the higher Self.  Part of us, the ego, likes to suffer.  It must or otherwise we would not do it. By taking control of the mind we observe the ego and now there is a choice.  We can choose it or to listen to the higher Self.  That is paying the price for peace. 

Give up the ego and choose to love whatever color comes out of the gum ball machine.  That is paying the price for peace and not a big one either.  Just listen to love.   

Inner Peace blog -  www.innerpeaceforyou.me

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Peace and Love

PEACE AND LOVE by Ed Hirsch

Do you have a love of Peace so strong that it is a direct relationship? It is so direct that nothing gets in the way. This means that you have an unconditional love of Peace, an unconditional relationship to Peace, by which I mean Essential Peace. Recognize that this is a facet of your own True Nature and is not something you have to acquire or earn. This is the Peace of Being, of your own Being. It is prior to any condition, circumstance, relationship. It is intrinsic. You have an unconditional Love for yourself, for your own Being. It is not dependent on whether your parents loved you, or whether your partner or friend happens to love you right now. It does not even depend on whether your mind looks kindly on you right now or not. This is much more intimate a matter than any opinion about you, for this is about you yourself.

Suppose you are not at peace. Somehow you got distracted from the Peace of your own Being.  Simply know that you can directly return. Return through your body, return through your breath, return by redirecting your attention to that Peace of your own Being in your heart. Love and Peace are primary values and needs, and like the need for oxygen, they are provided. Breathe them all together. What economy. :-)

So you can direct yourself to a Peace that is prior to circumstances, prior even to the mind. Now recognize Peace in the very circumstance itself. Recognize that the circumstance is held in Peace, that you and your current thoughts, feelings, and sensations are all held in Peace, the Peace of Love. You don’t have to react to any of it, or defend yourself, or run away, or do anything. Recognizing that it is all held in this way allows you to show up and be present. You can inquire into it, you can really meet it, feel into it with compassionate awareness. If you are not at peace, what is going on? How is the circumstance set up for you as a soul lesson in Peace and Love? Embrace that.

All of this might take some time, or it might happen as a direct encounter, intuition, insight. Then you might take a third step, which is to take action that would promote Peace and Love.

Ed Hirsch resides in Ashland – contact him at: presenceofone@yahoo.com

 

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Structural Tension

Structural Tension by Will Wilkinson

In my last post for this series I mentioned the term “structural tension,” presented by author Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance. Fritz was a real pioneer in the field of human potential and here’s what he says about success: “There are two basic structural patterns people have: advancing and oscillating. Advancing is a structure in which the success you have achieved becomes the platform for future success. You can build momentum over time, and the sum total of your life experiences leads you forward. In an oscillating structure the success you have created is neutralized. Each step forward is followed by a step backward. Within this structure, success cannot succeed long term.”

            “One step forward and one step back” could be the mantra for humanity’s efforts to achieve peace on earth. On the one hand we could say that people have never been more aware of the need to have compassion for each other, regardless of race, color, or creed. On the other, statistics tell us this is the most violent period of human history. Perhaps the answer to this riddle is found in what Fritz wrote.

            All of us know the feeling of what he describes as “oscillating,” whether it’s something as obvious as failing to sustain a New Year’s resolution for more than a few months, or living for decades with a “bad” habit we are unable to change. In other cases, we find change comes easily. What makes the difference?

            Fritz’s “structural tension” model instructs us to learn how to hold positive and negative at the same time. We embrace our current reality, warts and all. And, we develop a positive vision of what we want. In terms of peacemaking, we would get crystal clear about how peace would look, personally and globally. How would it feel? How might I word my optimism?

            I’ve developed a simple formula based on this principle and it includes crafting an actual personal declaration. I use this for anything I want to create and each declaration always starts with these words: “I choose to create…”

            “I choose to create peace on earth by living with peace in my own heart and relating to every other person and every situation with a peaceful attitude.” The words are not enough. That’s the language of the left brain. The right brain thinks in pictures so I also create a snapshot or a video of what the result of my vision will look like. And, I’m always in the picture. Then I ask, “What will this feel like?” and I drop into the feeling. Suddenly, I’ve time travelled. I’m in the future, visualizing the result, I’m feeling it, I’m experiencing it as a reality and my brain doesn’t know the difference!

            Finally, I call on the power of nature by conjuring up a symbol. Symbols are the language of the subconscious. I may think of a great waterfall, a massive tree, a condor in flight… whatever first comes to mind.

            I work the structural tension every day and witness the reality I want replacing the reality I have. There’s not denial involved; quite to contrary, I’m ruthless in my assessment of the way things are. But I am also completely confident in knowing they cannot stay that way. My life is like a bar of soap in the shower. When I squeeze it, the soap will go up or down!

            Life on earth right now is a high-pressure situation. All of us are feeling it. Will we go up or down? Learning about, practicing, and mastering structural tension can give us a big advantage.

Referenced from http://www.robertfritz.com/index.php?content=principles

Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

www.imagifi.com

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Adventures In Consciousness

                                     ADVENTURE IN CONSCIOUSNESS by Jim Hawes

 

            “Oh, no, not another psychobabble,” is how a fellow hiker describes my metaphysical meandering.

            We all have heard people with good intentions warn us that we should avoid talking about sex, politics, and religion or spirituality. I think it is important to make a needed distinction. First, we must be totally honest with ourselves. We need to ask ourselves are we subtlety projecting or telling these other people what to believe on sex, politics or religion or is this truly a motiveless heartfelt sharing?

            Defining consciousness or being totally present here and now is nearly beyond words, but the best I can do is that 98 % of our thinking is preoccupied with the past or the future and has to do with doing or having more things in this three dimensional world. Consciousness or presence has to do with ‘beingness’. We all have these brief moments of no or little thinking. For example, I stood under a huge maple tree yesterday and was fascinated with the beautiful golden yellow leaves plummeting, spiraling, gliding, twisting, and soaring to the ground. There was no thinking; just a stillness, silence, peacefulness. Another example, is experiences at the coast. Watching and listening to the ocean’s thundering roar and the pebbles or small rocks chattering as the returning waves pull them back to the ocean. Then, just before the next wave pounds the shore; there is a very brief pause or what Joel Goldsmith calls ‘the thunder of the silence.’ Again, this is no thinking; just beingness or presence.

            One of Jesus’ statements clarifies this consciousness or presence. He said that the meek shall inherit the earth. He was saying that the egoless or people that have let go of thinking about the past or the future will be in this present or now consciousness. Even the infamous Greek philosopher Socrates said that he only knew one thing for sure and that is that he knew nothing.

            Also, all kinds of spiritual teachers including my beloved wife recommend that if you want more of this consciousness; then watch your breathing several times each day. It only has been recently that I have practice this simple pointer to help me with hiking aches and pains, digestive problems, as well as, not getting a good night’s sleep. Amazingly, as I began to really observe my inhalation and exhalation on my five to nine mile weekly hike; I was doing a lot less thinking and saw an incredible amount of beauty at each step. Another benefit of observing my breathing for a few minutes just before I fall asleep has given me a much better night’s sleep.

            Another advice that my wife and I have followed for the last year is to include this watchfulness of our breathing as we do our daily meditation. For sure, we still have the ego, the mind chatter, but much less and more and more of these precious moments of stillness or silence.

            Consciousness or presence is actually always with us here and now. It is where we came from and where we go when we go to our return movement (death). No book, spiritual teacher, retreat, you tube video can bring one to this presence. It is entirely up to each person to decide to become very attentive to nature, one’s breathing, and every experience. It is always a choice between preoccupied with doing or ‘beingness’.

 

 Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published Ageless Child, Balboa Press. Amazon.com or Barnes and Nobles and is working on his second book, Consciously Growing Older.

 Above article was printed in the Ashland Daily Tidings Inner Peace Column on Saturday January 10, 2014

 

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Structural Tension

For November 22, 2014  -  ( post Dec. 29)

Structural Tension by Will Wilkinson

In my last post for this series I mentioned the term “structural tension,” presented by author Robert Fritz in his book, The Path of Least Resistance. Fritz was a real pioneer in the field of human potential and here’s what he says about success: “There are two basic structural patterns people have: advancing and oscillating. Advancing is a structure in which the success you have achieved becomes the platform for future success. You can build momentum over time, and the sum total of your life experiences leads you forward. In an oscillating structure the success you have created is neutralized. Each step forward is followed by a step backward. Within this structure, success cannot succeed long term.”

            “One step forward and one step back” could be the mantra for humanity’s efforts to achieve peace on earth. On the one hand we could say that people have never been more aware of the need to have compassion for each other, regardless of race, color, or creed. On the other, statistics tell us this is the most violent period of human history. Perhaps the answer to this riddle is found in what Fritz wrote.

            All of us know the feeling of what he describes as “oscillating,” whether it’s something as obvious as failing to sustain a New Year’s resolution for more than a few months, or living for decades with a “bad” habit we are unable to change. In other cases, we find change comes easily. What makes the difference?

            Fritz’s “structural tension” model instructs us to learn how to hold positive and negative at the same time. We embrace our current reality, warts and all. And, we develop a positive vision of what we want. In terms of peacemaking, we would get crystal clear about how peace would look, personally and globally. How would it feel? How might I word my optimism?

            I’ve developed a simple formula based on this principle and it includes crafting an actual personal declaration. I use this for anything I want to create and each declaration always starts with these words: “I choose to create…”

            “I choose to create peace on earth by living with peace in my own heart and relating to every other person and every situation with a peaceful attitude.” The words are not enough. That’s the language of the left brain. The right brain thinks in pictures so I also create a snapshot or a video of what the result of my vision will look like. And, I’m always in the picture. Then I ask, “What will this feel like?” and I drop into the feeling. Suddenly, I’ve time travelled. I’m in the future, visualizing the result, I’m feeling it, I’m experiencing it as a reality and my brain doesn’t know the difference!

            Finally, I call on the power of nature by conjuring up a symbol. Symbols are the language of the subconscious. I may think of a great waterfall, a massive tree, a condor in flight… whatever first comes to mind.

            I work the structural tension every day and witness the reality I want replacing the reality I have. There’s not denial involved; quite to contrary, I’m ruthless in my assessment of the way things are. But I am also completely confident in knowing they cannot stay that way. My life is like a bar of soap in the shower. When I squeeze it, the soap will go up or down!

            Life on earth right now is a high-pressure situation. All of us are feeling it. Will we go up or down? Learning about, practicing, and mastering structural tension can give us a big advantage.

Referenced from http://www.robertfritz.com/index.php?content=principles

Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

www.imagifi.com

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There Is Only One Religion

THERE IS ONLY ONE RELIGION  by Ed Hirsch    (post this on Dec. 22)  

There is only one religion.

It goes by many names.

It is unspeakable by the mouth,

Unknowable by the mind,

So I call it

The Great Mystery.

Everyone is an adherent,

Though they might not know it.

In truth, they are it.

 

The agnostic, whatever he professes to believe,

Is really a lover of the Great Mystery,

Honoring the Path of Not-Knowing.

The theist simply likes to call this “God,”

That which inspires Awe in the Infinite.

I have no problem with that.

Does it really matter what names and forms

He attributes to this “God”?

Those are only adornments on the Face

Of the Great Mystery,

That which cannot be adorned.

The atheist, whatever he professes to believe,

Is really pointing beyond all forms,

Which is the Great Mystery.

The polytheist knows that no one name or form

Can exhaust the Inexhaustible,

The Great Mystery.

So why not give it expression

With so many colorful characters?

The philosopher refers to it as

Being, Essence, or Emptiness.

These are all pointers for the mind

Beyond the mind.

So long as they are not just ideas in the mind,

I have no problem with that.

 

The Great Mystery is beyond all forms

And in all forms.

That is why I call it the Great Mystery.

It is not a name but only a pointer

To what cannot be pointed at.

When the hearts of all people

Can drop beyond the mind,

And into the Great Heart,

Into the Great Mystery,

Then there will be peace in the heart,

And peace on earth. 

OM. Amen. I AM.

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The Stockdale Paradox

The Stockdale Paradox by Will Wilkinson

I first learned about The Stockdale Paradox from Jim Collins book, Good to Great. Here’s the short formula: You must retain faith that you will prevail in the end, regardless of the difficulties. AND at the same time… You must confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.

The Stockdale Paradox is explained this way on a post from author Niall Doherty: “The Stockdale Paradox is named after admiral Jim Stockdale, who was a United States military officer held captive for eight years during the Vietnam War. Stockdale was tortured more than twenty times by his captors, and never had much reason to believe he would survive the prison camp and someday get to see his wife again. And yet, as Stockdale told Collins, he never lost faith during his ordeal: ‘I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.’

“Then comes the paradox: While Stockdale had remarkable faith in the unknowable, he noted that it was always the most optimistic of his prisonmates who failed to make it out of there alive. ‘They were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.’

“What the optimists failed to do was confront the reality of their situation. They preferred the ostrich approach, sticking their heads in the sand and hoping for the difficulties to go away. That self-delusion might have made it easier on them in the short-term, but when they were eventually forced to face reality, it had become too much and they couldn’t handle it.”

We can certainly apply The Stockdale Paradox to challenges in our lives and also to our global predicament. How do we really feel about them? Do we actually have faith in how things will turn out, a faith that will be powerful and steady enough to sustain us through who knows what kinds of troubled waters? And, simultaneously, are we willing and able to confront the brutal facts of these situations, to really face facts, no matter how disturbing they may be?

Many people are giving up and some of them have been optimists for decades. But now the negative evidence has mounted to such an extent that it seems, to them at least, foolhardy to keep on hoping. The Stockdale Paradox is about more than hope. It’s a formula for success. It is not denial and it is not cynicism. It is a balance between what we want and what we have.

Robert Fritz called this “structural tension” in his landmark book, The Path of Least Resistance. He wrote that we need to learn how to hold both poles, the positive and the negative, BUT that our orientation must be in the positive. That way, we literally “pull” our current reality towards our vision.

There’s a fresh new formula for peace! Vision peace, build faith in the outcome, refusing to believe we won’t prevail AND acknowledge fully the many challenges that face us. Here’s something we can practice many times every day to build our peacemaker muscles!

Referenced from http://www.ndoherty.com/stockdale-paradox/

Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

www.imagifi.com

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Positively Peaceful

Positively Peaceful by Will Wilkinson

Peace is often thought of in global terms. That’s a concept, an admirable one, but it’s not an experience. Peace, the experience, is personal and close in. It’s something we feel, or don’t feel, and we know the difference. Sometimes, not nearly often enough, we do enjoy an experience of peace in groups. All of us have had that experience, whether it was in a rally or vigil of some kind, a moment of silence shared at some sort of celebration, etc.

I’m increasingly fascinated by the connection between positive emotional states and improvements in the quality of our lives, day to day. I found this fascinating article on-line, detailing the mounting evidence, enough to give me, and perhaps you, pause. Here’s a snippet from the research:

“How do people’s fleeting and subtle pleasant states pave the way to their later success, health, and longevity? Fredrickson’s (1998) broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions outlines a possible path: Because positive emotions arise in response to diffuse opportunities, rather than narrowly-focused threats, positive emotions momentarily broaden people’s attention and thinking, enabling them to draw on higher-level connections and a wider-than-usual range of percepts or ideas. In turn, these broadened outlooks often help people to discover and build consequential personal resources.”

This is remarkable and gives us clues how we can leverage positive experiences for long-term gain. Particularly, many of us are called to become active peacemakers, in our relationships and careers. How powerful, to discover that feeling good is more than feeling good, that it can be the precursor to developing skills that enable us, not only to improve our own state but help others as well.

The article continues: “These resources can be cognitive, like the ability to mindfully attend to the present moment; psychological, like the ability to maintain a sense of mastery over environmental challenges; social, like the ability to give and receive emotional support; or physical, like the ability to ward off the common cold. People with these resources are more likely to effectively meet life’s challenges and take advantage of its opportunities, becoming successful, healthy, and happy in the months and years to come. Thus, the personal resources accrued, often unintentionally, through frequent experiences of positive emotions are posited to be keys to later increases in well-being. Put simply, the broaden-and-build theory states that positive emotions widen people’s outlooks in ways that, little by little, reshape who they are.

I especially note this comment: “People with these resources are more likely to effectively meet life’s challenges.” Who wouldn’t want some of that? Life’s challenges come in all sizes but it does seem that there is evidence that being positive is an effective starting point for dealing with all of them.

Referenced from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3156028/

Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

www.imagifi.com

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A Thankful Thought

Have you ever stopped to notice what you are thinking about;

What types of thoughts; gratitude; resentments?  Do you ruminate about the past? Are you consumed by something?  Is it something wonderful, disturbing or upsetting? Thoughts are distractions.  They are designed to keep us from peace and contentment.

If you are upset about something ask yourself:

Do I REALLY want to be upset about this?

Do I like being upset about this?

Am I enjoying the upset feelings?

Be honest! Sometimes we really enjoy the upset feelings?

It’s OK to admit it.  In fact it is healthy.

Why do we like being upset?  It makes us “feel” something.

What is it? big, strong?  little, victimized?

Look honestly and see if the pain is worth it.

Say to yourself:

I WANT to feel peaceful.  I don’t like feeling this __________!

I CAN let this upset go.  I  let it go now.

You are the only one who can do it.  No one can do it for you.

This is a powerful decision.  You are the decision maker.

Practice being thankful – Choose a thankful thought each morning.

Go to bed with a thankful thought on your mind.

Carry thankfulness in your Heart for the Holiday’s.

www.innerpeaceforyou.me

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Peace Here Now

PEACE HERE NOW by Ed Hirsch

 Peace is beyond the senses, but sensory experiences can serve to open you to that Presence, as they are always in the present moment and direct. Recognize that in your waking life, body sensations, breathing, hearing, and seeing are always happening. These are all readily available, and when you bring your awareness to them, it can open to the feel of the natural, effortless, and flowing.

 1. Recognize that you are sensing in your body, and simply enter into that consciously, with relaxed attention. Sense deeply in your arms and legs (and through that the whole body). Let this open you to a sense of relaxed embodiment. Going even deeper, open into the Peace of all-pervading Stillness, in which all movement happens. 

 2. Recognize that you are breathing, and simply enter into that consciously. Let this open you into a sense of the peaceful flow of life, moment to moment. Going even deeper, especially at the end of the inhales and exhales, open into the Peace of the timeless Now, in which all change happens. 

 3. Recognize that you are hearing. Be at peace with what you are hearing, just as it is. Going deeper, let go of identifying what it is you are hearing, and enter into the awareness of hearing itself. Recognize that the auditory field is permeated by Spacious Awareness. Enter into the Silence and Serenity of that Awareness in which all sounds arise.

 4. Begin with eyes closed, and recognize a field of inner seeing that extends in all directions. Recognize that it is filled with an all-pervading Spacious Awareness. Enter into the Serenity of this Awareness in which all sights arise. Now gently open your eyes and recognize that this field, and its Serenity, are still present. Enter into That in which all sights arise. 

 Now go into the heart. Recognize the felt sense of your experience, whatever that might be. Be at peace with it, just as it is. Enter into this Peace of all-pervading Love, in which all feelings arise and are unconditionally held.   

 Who is it who senses, breathes, hears, sees, feels? Recognize that who you are is simple, effortless Presence, abiding in its own Peace, as You. When you recognize yourself and others as this simple Presence, the heart connects in Peace and Love.

 You are that Stillness, Nowness, Silence, Awareness, and Love, as You.

Ed Hirsch resides in Ashland – contact him at: presenceofone@yahoo.com

 

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