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Four Steps Towards Peace
by Jill Lowy
Step One: Do Random Acts Of Kindess
The first step towards peace in your life is to practice random acts of kindness. Believe it or not, by helping others, this will help you to achieve peace in your own life. What are "random acts of kindness?" It is any act of help or kindness for somebody else without any thought of something in return. These acts can be as little as a smile to someone, helping others in distress, being there for a friend, shoveling the walk for an elderly neighbor, etc.
By helping others to feel good, you will be helping yourself to feel good and to be more at peace. The world needs more peace. We need more peace! And I do not mean just the kind of peace that is free from conflict, because this leads to boredom. I mean the kind of peace that fills one with joy and makes us appreciate everyone and everything around us.
Step Two: Find Your Center Of Stillness
It has been said, "Round and round the chaos goes, and in the center, peacefulness knows." Actually, I made this up. It is a take off on the old saying, "Round and round the secret goes and in the center, the secret knows." But it illustrates my point. Have you ever been on a merry-go-round? I think most people have. I used to love them as a child. Anyway, all merry-go-rounds revolve around a fixed point. Without that fixed point in the center, it would not work. It is very interesting. The center is at rest, while the circumference constantly changes. Our perceptions or rather our experiences are like the merry-go-round. They are constantly changing. But at the center of it all, lies peace. When we are feeling agitated or disturbed, we are at the circumference of our merry-go-round. The trick is to learn to change our perception to the center. One way to do this is to visualize yourself at the center of the merry-go-round. Watch your emotions as they whirl around you. Then begin to feel your inner self move to the center of peace and stillness. We all have this inner stillness. We could not exist without it. There could be no experiences of any kind without a center of stillness. So find a way to contact your inner center of stillness. "Be still and know God" the Bible says. Many people find that center through meditation, faith, nature, etc. But find your own path that leads to peace and stillness at the center of your being.
Step Three: Forgiveness
This can be a toughie. Many of us carry around hurt and pain from previous relationships and even previous lifetimes. It can be very difficult to find peace in your life when you carry a lot of unresolved hurt, pain and anger. And it can affect everything that you do and everyone that you meet. You must find a way to let go of all your pain and frustration, or any resentment that you may carry. Why are you still holding on to it? What good is it doing for you? Sometimes it takes time to heal. But there is a very fast way to let go of all hurt and pain. Jesus said it best "forgive them for they know not what they do". Forgiveness is the cure to unresolved pain and hurt. Even if you are the cause of it all! Learn to forgive others and yourself. Once you learn to forgive, then you can learn to let go. Once you can let go, then you can find peace. It is very easy to say, but very difficult to do. Some of us have suffered tremendous pain and abuse in our lives. But the road to peace lies in forgiveness.
Step Four: Love Others As Well As Yourself
Step Three and Step Four are actually interconnected. If you truly love others, then you will forgive them. It doesn't mean you may approve of their actions, but you will forgive them their transgressions. A Mother loves her children even when they are naughty and tries to guide them in right action. The Divine loves all creation. It shines like the sun to everyone and in everyone. We can open our hearts to it or close them as we choose. Peace comes to those who open their hearts to love. It is the strongest force in the Universe. The Jewish greatest commandment is to love God with all your heart and soul. Jesus added the second commandment to "love thy neighbor". And it is definitely the harder of the two commandments. I think it is easier to open your heart to God, but to your neighbor? That is a different story. We tend to fight with each other like crazy on this planet. And over the dumbest things! "Hey, asshole the light turned green, get moving!"; "I was here first! Get behind me or I will kick your butt!"; "Don't let your dog piss on my yard!" Everyday we assault and are assaulted by each other. "Loving your neighbor" does not seem to be a prevalent theme here on planet Earth. But it is the path towards peace. If you can practice "loving your neighbor" then you will begin to experience peace in your own life. Learn to love those who hate you. Why? Because it is a more powerful force that brings peace. Is it easy to do? No way! I think it is one of the most difficult things to do. But leaders like Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi were able practice it in their daily lives. We can do it, too! Start in small ways. Give peace to others by your smile and your friendship. Pray for those who may hurt you. Wish others well in their endeavors. Be happy for other people's happiness. Try to be a good neighbor and open your heart to other people. You will be amazed at the peace that will come into your life!
Jill Lowy is the author of: To Jill With Love, Memoirs of a Modern Day Mystic and you can visit her website: www.TheAstralYoga.com.