Searching for Inner Peace
Last night we had a very wonderful meeting in our house with about 15 guests on the topic of Inner Peace. Debby and I have never hosted a meeting on this topic so it was quite exciting for us to explore this new domain especially with a multi-cultural and multi-religious group.
We started with reading a few quotes and then sharing about them.
1. The first quote was from the Family Virtues Guide, p. 205 on Peacefulness. Part of it reads, “Peacefulness is giving up the love of power for the power of love.” As part of the sharing we had a former Israeli Air Force pilot in the group. He talked about the fact that all during his childhood he was just obsessed with flying in that it was his real passion so when he had the opportunity to join the air force and fly jets he jumped at the opportunity. He turned out to be an excellent fighter pilot, but along the way he had to do what air force fighter pilots do, he had to kill others. This became a thing that after awhile he could no longer endure so he gave up his career in the thing he loved the most flying, and set out on something else. It was very moving for us all.
2. I charge you all that each one of you concentrate all the thoughts of your heart on love and unity. When a thought of war comes, oppose it by a stronger thought of peace. A thought of hatred must be destroyed by a more powerful thought of love. Thoughts of war bring destruction to all harmony, well-being, restfulness and content.
Thoughts of love are constructive of brotherhood, peace, friendship, and happiness. Abdu’l Baha Paris Talks.
3. When speed become hurry, that is a poison. The day you stop rushing is when you arrrive.
Anthony de Mello.
After discussion we closed our eyes and did breathing for one minute like these students are doing. . Then we talked about how just the simple exercise of breathing for one minute caused us to be more peaceful inside. It was interesting. The difficult part with finding peace when you begin to breathe is that the mind still has a way of chattering, but the breathing itself begins to calm everything inside.
Inner Conflict Exercise.
Each person was given paper and pen and then asked the following questions.
1. Describe an inner conflict/war that you have had in the past that you no longer have.
2. How were you able to get to a state of inner peace with the conflict? What did you do to resolve the conflict? How long did it take? What advantage do you have now that you didn’t have before?
In answer to these questions there were two major things that happened as a result of dealing with the inner conflict. First is that instead of living a life that was primarily driven by pleasing someone else so that they could get their own needs met, peace came when their lives were driven by forces internally that were pleasing to the true self.
The second thing, which is related to the first is that their lives were much less selfish and much more giving when the motives were not so selfish. There were a few stories where the shift was from working all the time to paying more attention to the family and relationships.
The other learning that came out of the discussions was the importance of being in a state of gratitude for what has happened in the past even when it was difficult.