Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Becoming Peace

Being a peaceful person is not something that all of us are born with, yet it's something that many of us crave.

Living peacefully is not passive, indifferent or weak. According to Buddhist philosopher Thich Nhat Hanh, it involves inner strength and massive amounts of practice. So how so you practice peace in a chaotic world?

1. Mindful Living. Mindfulness is simply paying attention to what you are doing in the present moment, focusing on nothing else. This practice may seem like common sense, but how many times when you are commuting to and from work are you actually enjoying the drive? Do you focus on the journey, or think about what you are doing to have for dinner? By staying in the present moment and not letting our thoughts or feelings dominate our lives, we can begin to experience true peace.

2. Meet violence with compassion. If someone says words to hurt us, we may be inclined to lash out. But all this does is perpetuate the unrest. When someone is verbally abusive, stop before you react. Take a deep breath, calmly ask the person what you can do to help alleviate their suffering, and listen. If they (or you) are too angry, let them know you will talk to them later when you are both calm. The important thing in a situation like this is not to lose your cool, and realize that the other person is in pain and may not realize how much their words are hurting you. Chaos and drama are not worth the emotional and spiritual damage.

3. Close the window on violence. While we cannot completely eliminate all violence from our everyday lives, we can eliminate a number of negative outside influences, such as violence on TV, in books, and in music. While we may not notice the direct impact these things have on our behavior or spiritual condition, there is some truth to the old adage "You are what you eat." How can one live a peaceful life if he fills it with things of violence?

No comments: