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Not the World's Peace

In John 14:27, Jesus says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you.” I find myself wondering what kind of peace Jesus had that he wanted to leave with his friends. What did it look like? From the scriptures, Jesus is portrayed as one who is centered and calm and didn’t get sucked into anyone else’s drama. He didn’t looking for validation from the outside world. He didn’t judge others, or try to control others. He trusted God’s presence in the midst of his life. He acted in alignment with the pure, unbounded love of God. If this is the peace he was leaving, I want some of that!

It seems to me that the only way he could leave it to us is if it were a part of us in the first place. It is a peace the world doesn’t give, because it dwells within us! A little earlier in John chapter 14 Jesus lets the disciples know that soon they will understand that there is no separation between them, and him, and God. He says, “I am in God, and you are in me, and I am in you.” Which, by simple logic, means that we are in God as well. The peace that was in Jesus that he tapped into every day of his ministry is ALSO IN US. It is there ready for the taking.

We pray over and over again for peace in our world – for the end to the violence, greed, pain, suffering, hatred and oppression. But until people find peace consistently within themselves, they will not be able to manifest it outside of themselves. As Madisyn Taylor wrote,

“If we don't like ourselves, for example, we probably won't like those around us. If we are in a constant state of inner conflict, then we will probably manifest conflict in the world. If we have fighting within our families, there can be no peace in the world. We must shine the light of inquiry on our internal struggles, because this is the only place we can really create change."

I know we’d like to put the burden of proof on everyone else (“It’s their fault we/I am not at peace”), but Taylor is right, the only place we really have control over creating change is within ourselves.

This is hard to believe isn’t it, because often we feel like our peace is stolen from us by various forces in the world. Think about it… what are the top three things that take away your peace? Personally unmet expectations, conflict with others, and worry top my list. But then there is also illness, grieving, the state of the world, our jobs, our finances, our children. Oh, and if it’s not one thing, it’s your mother.

So, consider this. We all know that life is like a roller coaster, right? But what do you need to do to ride the roller coaster? You need to buy a ticket. Once you’ve bought the ticket, you’re in for the ride.

When it comes to the stressors or drama in our lives, we have the CHOICE as to whether we’re going to buy a ticket to something that will take away our peace, or not. For example, soul-sucking-Sarah exhausts you and drains the happy right out of you every time you talk to her. When she calls you on the phone you have a choice to buy the ticket, to answer the phone call, or not! Maybe this is your mother and you have to talk to her. But then you can choose when. Are you in a place inside where you can maintain your inner peace no matter what she says, or do you need to call her later?

What or who is worth the price of your peace?

Sure, some things we perhaps don’t have a choice about – tragedy, cancer, illness, the stock market crashing – but even then we have a choice as to how we will respond. Ideally we would be able to go through even the tough things without buying a ticket. But it takes intention and practice.

The practice of Reiki is about healing touch and channeling the energy of the universe, chi, love, to help align a person’s energy and help them to be renewed and aid the healing process. As a reiki practitioner we’re encouraged to practice Reiki principles:

  • Just for today I will give thanks for my many blessings
  • Just for today I will not worry.
  • Just for today I will not be angry.
  • Just for today I will do my work honestly.
  • Just for today I will be kind to my neighbor and every living thing.

Maybe there are others we could add as needed…

  • Just for today I will not talk to Soul-sucking-Sarah
  • Just for today I will not worry about _____
  • Just for today I will have a positive attitude
  • Just for today I will not be critical
  • Just for today I will not overdrink, overeat, overthink, overwork, over-shop…
  • Just for today…

This week I received the newsletter from the Center for Action and Contemplation and there was a story in there about Shelley Chapin Drake, a dear friend of the center, who had recently passed away after living with cancer for many decades. Shelley’s husband, Kirk, shared something Shelley wrote a few weeks before she died:

“Kirk and I decided, early on, that what we long to surrender to is not an ideal or a safety net, but Wonder itself…

[We] have held on to the concept of Wonder as a guiding concept… a way to focus our attention in these days when life is so uncertain. We have absolutely no idea what the author of Love is asking of us… except we are fairly certain the Beloved One is not asking us to lay claim to any certainties at all. We are fairly sure that the Beloved is simply holing us tight... holding us close… holding us in Pure Love, in the palm of Love’s hand… and for what else could we possibly ask?

The more we live in the Wonder and welcome our placement in this very heart of Love, the easier it is to trust… to “release our fears”… to live without proclaiming certainties… to settle into this very core we can only call Love.”

This is choosing a completely different ticket. The ticket to Wonder, Love, trust and peace, even in the midst of pain, fear, illness and loss, is possible.  They aren’t denying the reality of any of those things, but they are choosing how to respond to them. They illustrate completely that we have a choice.

The kind of life that Shelley and Kirk modeled, I want that for all of us.  Jesus reminds us that the peace they felt is already within us, we just have to remember, choose to turn toward it, and trust it.

I leave you today with the serenity prayer:

God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Love & Light!