Instrument of Peace

I’ve been thinking a lot about the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi. It begins with Lord make me an instrument of your peace.

Last night I was not an instrument of peace. I allowed someone to elicit from me a less than harmonious response. I want to be the kind of person that doesn’t allow others, or circumstances, to disturb my peace. I want my outer body to be an impenetrable armor to my spirit–for my spirit is where my peace resides.

I’m reflecting now on what it was that caused me to lose my peace as the person who I allowed to steal my peace is someone I love very much and I’m intent to learn from the experience so that in the future I respond differently.

When I try to get to the bottom of the problem it seems that it was all a misunderstanding. There were, in fact, a series of misunderstandings:

  1. original desires
  2. division of labors
  3. financial interests

I’m realizing right now that when you boil down any altercation what remains is simply a misunderstanding. Communication is so crucial. And if, after your altercation, you don’t identify the misunderstanding, you will have “missed” understanding each other, and you will have missed the opportunity to lay a foundation of correct “understanding.” Interesting how similar the meanings of “foundation” and “understanding.” Solid foundations allow us to build sturdy buildings. Correct understandings help us build solid relationships. Both supply something solid to build or stand upon.

What I learned from last night:

  1. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our desires moving forward.
  2. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our division of labors.
  3. My antagonist and I need to come to an understanding about our financial interests.

Something I learned about myself last night is that while I am getting better at communicating my feelings (I have a tendency to keep what I’m feeling inside for I hate conflict and confrontation), I still need to work on communicating what I’m feeling dispassionately. Essentially, when I’m feeling frustrated and upset, I would like to convey those feelings in a neutral manner. I do believe it is possible to communicate my frustration without becoming frustrated. Last night, however, was not one of those moments. So I will do better next time because I want to be an instrument of peace. I cannot allow others to disrupt my peace. I could have listend to the other person’s concerns without judging their concerns as complaints and personal attacks. I could have realized that what that person was saying revealed more about them than it did about me. I could have chosen not to take it personally. Had I had the insight I now possess, I could have looked for the underlying misunderstanding(s) so we could correct our foundation and build something solid to stand upon. I would not have “missed’ understanding each other.

I’m also reminding myself to look within for I’m finding it easy to identify all the things “wrong” with the other person, but remembering that others are our greatest teachers, and applying the principle of the light of vexation, I’m humbled by the remaining self work I have to do.

Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace.

Worry is a Waste

Worry is a waste! Seriously, any time we worry we waste our precious present thinking about things that may never happen. I was reading today some suggestions from Dr. Dyer about how you can eliminate worry from your life. Here are a few strategies I want to teach my children and be sure to remember:

  • View your present moments as time to live rather than time to obsess about the future. When you catch yourself worrying ask, “What am I avoiding now by using up this moment with worry?” Then begin to attack whatever it is you are avoiding. The best antidote to worry is action.
  • Recognize the futility of worry. Ask yourself, “Is there anything that will ever change as a result of my worrying about it?”
  • Give yourself shorter and shorter amounts of “worry time” each day. Designate 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon. Use these periods to fret about every potential disaster you can get into the time slot. Then, using your ability to control your thoughts, postpone any worry thoughts till your next designated “worry session.” You’ll quickly discover the folly of using any time in this wasteful fashion, and will eventually eliminate your worry zone completely.
  • Make a worry list of everything you worried about yesterday, last week, and even last year. See if any of your worry did anything productive for you. Assess also, how many of the things you worried about materialized. You’ll see that worry is a doubly wasteful indulgence. It does nothing to alter the future. And the projected catastrophe turns out to be minor, or even a blessing when it arrives.
  • Just Worry! See if worry is something you can demonstrate the next time you are tempted to worry. Seriously, turn to someone else and say, “Watch me, I’m about to worry about X.” They’ll be confounded since you probably won’t even know how to demonstrate the thing you do so well.
  • Ask yourself this worry eradicating question, “What’s the worst thing that could happen to me? or them? And what’s the likelihood that it will happen? You’ll quickly discover the absurdity of worry.

I learned many years ago that worry is a waste. I never was able to effectively change an outcome by worrying about it. I learned that everything has a way of working out and the best thing I can do to affect outcomes is to keep working. This is saying–in other words–what Wayne was saying, “the best antidote to worry is action.”

These days I’m much too busy to worry. I’m also too action-oriented. This doesn’t mean worrisome thoughts never arise. They do, and I simply choose to let them glide on by. I don’t attach to them, and I remain detached from outcomes. I realize that everything is always as it should be and that the Universe will provide and God will supply.  It has always been so and I have no reason to worry it will ever not be so. I’m committed to live in–and enjoy–the precious present by not worrying about the past or the future. I hope to model this pertinent life skill to others too.

Zen Child

I’m a proud mama today of my Zen Child. Luke had a classmate ask him for one of his breath mints in class today. He shared. She asked for another one and he obliged again. When she petitioned the 3rd time he told her he would prefer not to give any more away. She then threw a fit and yelled out in the middle of class, “Luke give me back my mints!”

The math teacher immediately commanded Luke to give the girl her mints. Luke replied, “They aren’t hers, they are mine.” The girl protested and the teacher told Luke she didn’t appreciate him behaving in this manner and commanded him once again to give her back her mints. Luke decided to practice “non-resistance” and said, “okay” as he handed the girl his mints. The teacher began writing up a citation for Luke when all of the sudden she stopped and said, “Wait, Luke, you have never misbehaved. Why would you start now?” Luke explained the situation and the teacher was ashamed for her behavior.

She made the girl return the mints and issued her a citation. Luke was so proud of himself for being Zen. He said, “I simply repeated to myself everything is as it should be. I am equally proud of my Zen Child. I wish I had learned these skills earlier. Namaste!

Seriously Spiritual

I really liked something Deepak Chopra said yesterday in my audiobook. He was talking about spirituality and said that many people confuse spirituality with being serious. He said truly spiritual people aren’t serious, that’s an ego thing, seriously spiritual people are responsible but don’t take themselves very seriously at all.

He had been talking previously about the four heart chakras that include Peace, Harmony, Laughter, and Love. Truly spiritual people focus on these four pillars till their very being radiates peace, harmony, laughter, and love. A spiritual person is one whose presence can still an argument or light up a room with peace, happiness, and joy.

I thought of the stories I had heard about Joseph Smith, Martin Luther King and other spiritual giants. Many of their close associates talked about their jovial natures. Indeed, spirituality is about loving others, appreciating God’s creations, living in peace and harmony, and not taking life, or yourself, too seriously.

I’m going to add meditating upon the four heart chakras to my daily routine so I can become seriously spiritual 😉

Divergent

We watched Divergent Saturday night and I loved it! I loved the social commentary each character supplied. First, there was Triss who was born into the Abnegation faction. She never felt like she belonged there and rather longed to join the Dauntless faction. Triss’s aptitude test revealed that she didn’t belong to just one faction for she possessed Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite capabilities. The fact that she was different than the others made her dangerous as she couldn’t easily be categorized and controlled by the cookie cutter factions. Triss was advised to never divulge her divergent ways and instead choose a faction wherein to fit and thrive. Triss followed her heart, left her native faction and joined Dauntless. Triss’s decision to leave her native faction demonstrated courage, but another faction cannot be a divergent’s final destination, for like Four, divergents see the beauty in all factions and rather than join them, they rise above them and try to bring all the divisions together in one. Their goal is unity not division.

Perhaps this is why I loved the movie so much. I see myself as divergent. I find it impossible to thrive in one faction. Leaving one’s family or faction behind requires undaunted courage for true divergents become factionless as they cannot choose sides when they see the beauty in all beings, beliefs, and ways of life. We divergents want to unite not categorize. Peace, love and harmony are our battle cry.

I love that the author of Divergent chose the word faction. It reminds me of fraction. Factions cause division. Divergents refuse to divide and classify. Although factionless, they are the only ones who are not fractioned and therefore the only ones truly whole. Who better to bring everyone together than those who diverge from the fractured, factioned paths?

I am diverging for divergent am I.

Demons and the Sea

Here’s a fun thought I learned from Adyashanti. He seems to have gotten his timeline out of sorts, but perhaps he was pulling from the Gospel of Thomas–which I’m so looking forward to reading.

Adyashanti seems to think Jesus calmed the tempestuous sea after he cast out Legion’s demons.  If you remember from the biblical account, Jesus cast out several devils from this wild, afflicted man and they begged to be allowed to enter the herd of swine. Jesus permitted them and the swine then ran headlong off a cliff into the sea. Later, when Jesus and his disciples were crossing back over the Sea of Galilee, a great tempest arose.

Jesus was sleeping in the hull of the ship and the disciples awoke him for they feared for their lives, “Master, carest thou not that we perish, how canst thou lie asleep.” Jesus stood up and commanded the sea, “Peace be still!” The storm abated and there was a great calm. Jesus then rebuked his disciples for lacking faith.

Ayashanti makes the point that no wonder the sea became boisterous–it had 2,000 drowned demons in it!

In the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark and Luke, the storytellers have the calming of the sea occur before Jesus cast the many devils out of Legion so not sure if Adyashanti’s theory holds water, but even if it is out of order, I do love the idea that the reason the sea had become boisterous was because it had just had 2,000 evil spirits plunged headlong into it. I mean if they were causing so much affliction in Legion, would they not equally afflict the sea?

Whether Adyashanti’s timeline is correct or not, the most important point still stands. . . Jesus can calm anything–troubled hearts and tempestuous seas. We can confidently cast our cares upon him for He truly is the Prince of Peace.