Every day is an opportunity to allow the mind to wander into a beautiful garden, filled with rolling hills, springtime flowers, cool breezes, birds singing and blue skies filled with sunshine. But how often do we create a war zone in our minds, full of muddy manholes, fear and dread, the sound of loud weapons firing followed by bigger weapons firing even more loudly and dull, gray skies. Which world would you rather create? Where would you rather live?
It is possible to live and love in a world filled with war, but it is ego-driven and filled with fear. Who is going to attack me? How can I protect myself? Can I trust Life? This is not a world that is easily embraced but one that requires defenses in place in order to survive. It may seem surprising that many people choose to live in this space as their reality and they do manage to thrive here.
However, living and loving in a world filled with peace and harmony requires effort to see past the war zones within yourself and within those around you and to refrain from engaging in them. This is a world that demands a conscious effort on your part. It is about choices. I choose to see beauty. I choose to hear music. I choose to smell the aroma the Earth offers to me. Every breath becomes a moment of choice.
“Peace doesn't require two people; it requires only one. It has to be you. [It] begins and ends there.” ~Byron Katie
When I first decided I wanted to try this consciously creating stuff, I found it to be harder than it looks. Okay, you just think happy thoughts and everything gets better, right? Well, sort of. I believe the experience of moving toward more conscious thinking and living is unique to each person. We are so conditioned to focus on what our ego calls reality that it takes effort to re-train the mind. I would call this training Mental Boot Camp. But once you choose to consciously create peace, you will find great rewards in the effort. And you are not alone. You will discover that the world willingly offers to help you…when you are ready to receive it.
For me, the effort felt more like all-out-war to end the war within myself, which is proof that God (the Universe, Gaia, Spirit) has a sense of humor. But I had to break old habits that had been with me for as long as I can remember. For months, I spent time every day going back and forth between thoughts that were fear- and anger-driven and thoughts that were more loving and peaceful. I can’t say this ever fully goes away, but this transition becomes less of a battle and more of a conversation. Some days, it became so exhausting to consciously choose, it was just easier just to turn off my thoughts. I did not have happier thoughts to focus on in that moment, but I did not like the story my mind was telling, so I chose to stop listening. In these instances, my mind began to take time to shift gears. I would experience moments of silence before my mind moved on to something else. But when my thoughts became active again, they were always focused on something more pleasant, which was a nice change of pace. <Breathe>
During this time of training, I began to reach equilibrium. My thoughts seemed to be more balanced between the worlds of war and peace. And I became more consciously aware of which world my thoughts were leaning toward so I could choose a more loving thought pattern on which to focus. It also became easier to switch off my warring thoughts. And the Universe seemed to cheer me on it this respect. The beauty of the sun peeking out from behind pink clouds could completely pull me out of my war zone and into the present moment. All thoughts would leave me as I chose to drink in the beauty before my eyes. What a gift! And I was so grateful in that moment.
“…all the things that truly matter – beauty, love, creativity, joy, inner peace – arise from beyond the mind.” ~ Eckhart Tolle
Not only was I learning how to refocus my attention, but I began to realize how silly my thoughts were. What I was thinking about – the thoughts that had me so spun up and ready to yell at someone – did not matter. They didn’t even matter. When my mind would start to go down a path of doom, I would stop to examine these thoughts and then laugh when I realized that what I was thinking about wasn’t even important to me. One day, a golden Buddha – placed on a highway wall! – pulled me out of my battle-filled thoughts and immediately into laughter. Who leaves a golden Buddha on the side of the road? And, how did they know I needed to see him that day?! Thank You, Kind Soul!
I began to see the miracles that surround me every day. The more I focused my attention on these miracles and the more I appreciated them, the more they appeared. I believe beauty and joy and miracles have always surrounded me, but I was so busy creating a reactive world filled with my own fears, I could not see them. I could not hear them. I could not feel them. When I started to see, hear and feel the miracles that God was sharing with me every day, my need to control everything about my life and my environment began to relax. My fear and all my defenses I had put into place to protect myself from all that I feared gave way to Trust. I found I could Trust. God. Life. Myself.
Where to go from here…do I feel at peace ALL the time? Well, no…Until there is a glorious day of Enlightenment, peace requires practice. But, now it is a conversation that I have had so often, it happens more quickly and with greater ease. What about World Peace? Isn’t there still a lot of war going on out there? What about abuse and poverty? Aren’t there still atrocities? Yes, and we all feel the effects of these every day. We feel the pain in the world. We also feel the Love that is in the world. Where do you focus your attention? The peace you seek out in the world begins with your choices. Do you choose to create peace or war in your mind? Do you choose to create peace or war with those around you? Only you can make these choices. When you choose peace, you offer an example to others and you encourage them to also choose peace, widening the channels for this loving energy to flow more freely within each of us. I wish you more and more peace every day as you learn to train your mind to create a World filled with Love and Life.
“Love life and life will love you back.” ~ Arthur Rubinstein
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