Peacefulness Now by Jack Altman

Peacefulness Now

Is there peacefulness now?  Is there attention (choiceless, effortless, aimless, unfocused, not knowing, not judging, suffering-addressing, grateful, surrendered attention) – to what is, which includes mental and or physical discomfort?

I do not know.  “Not knowing” allows peacefulness in this moment.  The following words point to Mystery beyond words.

Observing breathing is always available. What else is observed (seen, heard, felt)? What is Mystery revealing?

There is only now.  It can be so simple.  My only choice: pay attention to inattention now – or not.  Awareness of inattention is attention.

Much of the time there is inattention (thinking or dreaming).  Seeing thinking or dreaming momentarily ends thinking or dreaming and allows return to breathing awareness.  The now feels peaceful.  Thinking or dreaming is seen again.  This cycle repeats, and repeats, and repeats.

Sitting quietly allows attention to Mystery without being involved in activity.  It is more difficult to pay attention when involved in activity.   Paying attention while engaged in activity is an ongoing challenge – the never-absent opportunity of loving (enabling) what is.  When this challenge is met, there is peacefulness.

I have more faith in responding from this peaceful space than responding from thinking, analytical, logical mind. Seeing what is, by opening, surrendering to Mystery, which can be done by returning to breathing awareness.

 Jack Altman lives in Ashland


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Learning from Extremes

Learning from Extremes: Pride and Humility 

by  Ed Hirsch

We might dismiss extremes as having nothing to do with us, but they present life lessons from which we can benefit without having to act them out. After all, they are simply acting out what is potential within all of us. They illuminate what we ourselves act out in less obvious ways.

 Let’s consider the extreme of the person who wants to end their life. Imagine that they feel they have dishonored this gift of life in a major, unforgivable way. They might compare themselves to a simple flower, which seems such a natural and beautiful expression of life. In contrast, they see what a mess they have made of this life, including the people they have hurt so deeply.

 First, let us acknowledge the good intention they have. They want to cancel this great error of their lives, in honor of the greater life purpose they have dishonored. Honoring this good intention, we can affirm that this negation of their life is a shadow of a higher order, which is to surrender themselves completely to what is called Higher Power. If they can do this, or if they are fortunate enough to have support to help them do this, then the one who seemed the lowest rises through virtue of humility.

 Now let’s consider the opposite extreme of the person whose life seems to be exemplary. Through discipline and wisdom, they have followed the right path, have kept their life in balance, and serve the greater good. But let’s suppose, as an extreme example, that this person has fallen to the lure of pride. They have built a great self-image around being exemplary, worthy, superior, and they have come to serve that idol of their own making.

 Now in whatever way such a person acts this out, perhaps in ways that are well concealed, they know in their own heart that they are betraying the virtues that had inspired their life and from all appearances seem to be the most balanced, falls through pride.

 Perhaps you can see echoes of one or even both of these extremes in your own life. While this all might seem to be a sermon that could be preached from any pulpit, I want to give it a twist. And that is to live your life beyond self-images altogether, by living from the Heart of Life.

 Ed Hirsch, facilitates a weekly Presence group in Ashland and teaches a courses on Presence at OLLI adult Ed school  Contact him at

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Only Now Exists

The now moment is the only time that exists.

by John Smallman

I found the above very interesting.  John Smallman is a non-dual spiritual teacher.

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That Elusive Peace and Joy

The Elusiveness of Peace and Joy!

Do you want peace and joy?  Of course you do.  As least you think you do until you have a judgment or an upset that you won’t let go of.   You are sure something was done to you and you are certain you are right and the offending party should go “jump off a cliff” or something like that!   OK – maybe you are right but do you want peace and joy?  You can’t have it if you want someone to jump off a cliff.  You are holding onto the upset and so you are the one that now suffers.

I know someone who is holding onto a grievance.  He was actually attacked, pushed up against a fence and would have been hit if someone had not interfered.  Why did the perpetrator assault him?  He had responded to being insulted with  with his own insult and that angered the attacker who became violent.  Who started it?  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is how we now find the peace that eluded us the first moment we reacted.

Now there is conflict how can we find our way back to peace we want.  We can’t find peace by remembering and replaying the event because we are stuck in the story.  We are sure we are in the right.  But are you happy being in the right?  Would you rather be right or happy?  Now when we see or think of the conflict we are unhappy.  Ask yourself: Do I want peace and joy?

If the answer is YES for peace and joy then decide to STOP (just for a moment – and take a breath) and choose another way to look at this.  Say:  “OK – I’ll look at this another way for the sake of my own peace.”

Realize that it is YOU who are denying this offender peace and joy that is his right under the equal laws of God.  AND, in so doing you have denied them to yourself.  But if you offer peace and joy to the offender then you can claim them as your own.  For example, think of this person a little while and tell him in your mind:

My brother peace and joy I offer you,

That I may have God’s peace and joy as mine.”

We don’t think that just because we have denied peace and joy to someone else that in so doing we are in effect really denying them to our self.  When you hold hate or a grudge in your mind, you are the one HOLDING the hate and the grudge in yourself.  You are the sufferer.  Do you think your brother is suffering?  We don’t know but we do know you are.  You have the power to be in misery or in peace.  What are you holding in your mind and thoughts?  You can save yourself – do it!

Sally McKirgan, facilitates the Ashland Daily Tidings Inner Peace Column and a study group for A Course In Miracles in Ashland.   e-mail:

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I wanted to share this link because Professor George Lakoff explains
why we disagree and how we can learn to find common ground to
become more agreeable!
It is 27 minutes  interview with Tavis Smiley of PBS
 Professor of Cognitive Science, George Lakoff, UC Berkeley:

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A Healthy Dose of Laughter

I wanted to share this because don’t we need to LAUGH at everything?!
TODAY: A Healthy Dose of Laughter
         I read that a child laughs 400 times a day on the average,
while an adult laughs only 15 times each day. Which is puzzling since
laughter feels so good and is so good for us!
You may know the benefits of laughter on the mind and spirit,
but are you aware of how much a good laugh can help you physically?
Norman Cousins used to say that laughter is so beneficial physically
that it is like “inner jogging.”
Mayo Clinic (Mayo Clinic Health Letter, March 1993) reports
that laughter aids breathing by disrupting your normal respiration
pattern and increasing your breathing rate. It can even help clear
mucus from your lungs.
Laughter is good for your heart. It increases circulation and
improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients to tissues throughout
your body.
A good laugh helps your immune system fight off colds, flu and
sinus problems by increasing the concentration of immunoglobulin A in
your saliva. And it may help control pain by raising the levels of
certain brain chemicals (endorphins).
It is also a natural stress reliever. Have you ever laughed so
hard that you doubled over, fell off your chair, spit out your food or
wet your pants? You cannot maintain muscle tension when you are
The good news is that you are allowed more than 15 laughs a
day! Go ahead and double the dose and make it 30 times today. (You may
begin to notice your relationships improving!) Then double it again!
You are bound to feel better, you will cope with problems more
effectively and people will enjoy being around you.
Laughter: it’s good medicine, it’s completely organic, it can
be shared, it is recyclable and absolutely free!
Steve Goodier, publisher of Your Life Support System
To be ADDED to Your Life Support System (it’s Free!), send a BLANK
e-mail to

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What Do You Believe by Jim Hatton

What Do You Believe”

        By Jim Hatton

There are many authors-teachers who have recently gained popularity in the western culture.  People like Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Eckhart Tolle, and even Joel Osteen, are professing a non-traditional line of thinking. New Thought, New Thought-Ancient Wisdom, Creative Thought, New Age, all these names and others are labels for varied but similar names for this new line of thinking and philosophy.  I am often asked what I believe.  Having been raised and formally trained in a New Thought tradition, I am often asked” “What is New Thought.”  

The question behind the question is “How is New Thought different from (Modern) Christianity? I use Modern Christianity to differentiate “Original” Christianity as many who are in the New Thought movement believe their thinking is closer than some Christianity as it is practiced today. However, the Judeo/Christian matrix is a prevalent line of belief here in the west and is a dominant fabric in the ideas of western ideas and society. So hence the question is really how does the New Thought line of thinking compare to the western beliefs of Christianity?  

Almost all traditions today have an underlying tenant of either: 

  1. The Deity is separate from life forms and the physical universe, which is duality or
  2. The Deity is not separate from life forms and the physical universe. This is the idea of Oneness.This may seem like a small difference at first but it has huge implications:In New Thought, the Deity, God, is pure Consciousness and the Life Force of all things and creatures instead of an anthropomorphic figure. In the ancient Indian Sutras an example of this is “I am the liquidity in water”  (where I is God)
  • In New Thought, all Life is an “Emanation” of the Divine and therefore not separate from it. In western thought Life, all creation is made by God but is something different, less than and separate from God.
  • In New Thought praying is changing one’s own consciousness and evoking the Divine Power within to achieve a desired result, rather than begging and beseeching of a Deity to be worshiped.
  • The attributes of the Divine are the same attributes naturally and inherently found in Man/Woman.  Since we are created or emanated from the Creative Principle, we too have the same creative principle within us.  Our creative power is used either consciously or unconsciously and is  powerful to the degree that we are aware of it.
  • Because of the idea of Oneness, the relationship with God is a relation to the Divine within oneself. The path to God is not through an intermediary but the greater and greater realization of the Divine Self within. We express God to the extent we are aware of God in and as us.
  • In new thought Life is eternal.  This is because since the essence of what/who we are, is consciousness, therefore, consciousness cannot be destroyed and is eternal, the same as the Divine.  Other traditions have numerous ideas on life and death, and the after-life/after-lives.In New thought, the Creative Power within us is referred to as the Law of Cause and Effect or more recently The Law of Attraction.  Instead of asking-praying to a deity/deities to give us something, the Law of Attraction states that what we think, believe, or embody, will be created in our lives.The Law of Attraction provides for self-responsibility. In other words, we create everything in our lives either consciously or un-consciously (by default). This is in contrast that everything is created by God and only if we “pray right” accept Jesus as the intermediary by which to contact God, and act according to a particular interpretation of scripture, will our prayers be answered. To many self-determination via the Law of Attraction is a very exciting proposition but sometimes an individual may be over whelmed by all that is created in one’s life. Taking responsibility for everything in our lives is a large step to mastering the Law of Attraction.

    Certainly this is only a brief comparison and is not intended to a complete or exhaustive assessment.  I trust that it will help make clear what some of differences are in the two beliefs.

    Jim Hatton is author (under the name James Apollonius Alan) of “A Spiritual Master’s Guide to Life” available on  

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Quotes on which to Reflect

Quotes to Reflect on During this time of Lent
Can you Imagine the Deep Peace that comes
from letting go of judgments?
A Course In Miracles
Life is too important to be taken seriously.
- Oscar Wilde
Seriousness is a sickness; your sense of humor
makes you more human, more humble.
The sense of humor – according to me -
is one of the most essential parts of religiousness.
- Osho
Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world.
Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak.
Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor,
and your picture begins to lighten up.
- Allen Klein
Today would be a wonderful day
not to take life so seriously.
Today may end up the way you prefer -
and it may not.
Happiness is not about being a winner -
it’s about being gentle with life -
being gentle with yourself.
Let life be a dance,
and choose the kind of
dance you want for today -
perhaps a gentle loving dance.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
Inner Peace Community Blog –

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The Law of the Garbage Truck

The Law of the Garbage Truck

One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport.
We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car
jumped out of a parking space right in front of us.

My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed
the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped
his head around and started yelling at us.
My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy.
And I mean, he was really friendly.

So I asked, “Why did you just do that?
That guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!”

This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call,
“The Law of the Garbage Truck.”
He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. T
hey run around full of garbage — frustration, anger, disappointment.
As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and
sometimes they’ll dump it on you.

Don’t take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well,
and move on.
Don’t take their garbage and spread it to other people 
at work, at home, or on the streets.
The bottom line is that successful people do not let 
garbage trucks take over their day.
Love the people who treat you right.
Pray for the ones who don’t.”   
*author unknown
Sally McKirgan –

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Reminders to choose Peace!

As you go through the days ahead, no matter how you judge them to be,
remember peace is a choice.  It is a BIG choice, something you choose every minute.
Whatever is before you, you have a beautiful mind that can either believe it
accept it – reject it – hate it or fight it.
Whatever IT is you are perceiving, you can say
“I could see peace instead of this.”
From A Course In Miracles Lesson #34.
Below are some beautiful reminders of just that!
Choose Inner Peace.
Nothing is worth losing your inner peace.
Take action as circumstances require,
but never surrender your inner peace.
Stop. Breathe deeply.
Close your eyes and breathe deeply again.
Then, and only then, take action -
from a peaceful heart.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie
We can never obtain peace in the outer world
until we make peace with ourselves.
- Dalai Lama
Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit.
Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever,
even if your whole world seems upset.
- Saint Francis de Sales
The world has always been in an uproar, and it always will be.
Choose Peace. Choose to live with Peace.
Choose to interact peacefully with everyone -
especially those whose instinct is not to be peaceful.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

You may not seem able to change some outer circumstances
but you can start by changing your inner experience of life and yourself.
- Joy Page


You have a beautiful decision making mind!  Peace is a choice!

Sally McKirgan –

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    The Inner Peace blog is a place to share wisdom about peace practices and inspire, learn and explore all aspects of inner peace. A team of writers will discuss varied qualities –€” intuition, courage, fearlessness, friendship, forgiveness, gentleness, giving and receiving, tolerance, faithfulness and kindness –€” that help us all through the tough times, the challenges, the joys and the sorrows with inner peace as the ever-shining goal. Whether 2 or 92, your inner peace is up to you.
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