Now, I hope you can see that Inner Peace is always within grasp. And for each of us, maintaining it is our individual responsibility.
So, the obvious questions, is How? The answer is that there are as many paths as there are people.
Many, Many Paths to Peace
I was brainwashed, oops, I mean raised, Catholic. I liked a lot of the teachings, but I grew up worrying that our neighbor and my best friend was going to burn in hell because she was the only non-Catholic friend I had. No, silly, I was reassured. She’ll probably just be in purgatory for awhile.
And all the people from other countries and other religions, will they be there too? I never saw anything in the bible that supported this kind of thinking. Jesus was not a card-carrying anything. He preached Love and Forgiveness, but never Membership.
There is no name brand on love.
When we do make some spiritual progress, it’s our nature to go a bit hog-nutty about it. We think everyone around us should do it too, and that our way is the best, or maybe only way. Thus, the ideologue is born.
But, there is no one way to peace. There are many, many ways. For me, when someone starts trying to sell me a ticket to the “My Way or the Highway” approach to spirituality, my Inner Peace starts rattling and clanking, and urges me to speed off the other way.
Stopping to Pray
When I went home after being in Saudi Arabia for two months, the thing I missed most was the sound of Prayer Calls. Five times a day, Muslims bow down and pray. The air is filled with the sound, as different mosques start the calls at slightly different times, making a familiar but unique symphony every day, five times a day.
I think this is a funny commentary on just how short our attention span really is! We humans start the day with the best intentions, but within a couple hours get completely distracted. Thus, the need for the call to stop what you are doing and pray.
I’m not much of an organized-religion-kinda gal, and I may not call it praying, but, I do pause often to notice I’m alive!
What is a Practice?
Whether you operate within an organized religion or without one, you’ll want to develop your own Practice. This is a set of guidelines, rituals and community you put in place to support you.
When I first started a weight loss program, I did some informal research. In talking with my slender, fit friends, I found out that they each had a system. “I don’t eat after 8 pm.” “I always eat fruit before going to a party.” “I weigh myself every Saturday to make sure I haven’t overeaten that week.”
What? And all this time, I thought they ate crap all day and were just lucky! That may have been the case when they were 14, but 50-year olds don’t continue that trend and stay fit and slim.
In that same way, you can manage your Inner Peace easily, by developing a set of rules to live by.
This is your Spiritual Practice. You can tailor design your peace management system to fit you, and adjust it over time. It’s likely to encompass some or all of these characteristics:
- morning ritual
- evening ritual
- quiet time
- strong sense of self
- belief in higher power
- support from a mentor / teacher
- creative expression
Designing Your Practice
Having someone prescribe exactly what you must do to achieve Inner Peace is like asking someone to order for you at a restaurant. It’s better for you to decide. Do you like it mild or spicy? Vegan or BBQ? A little hungry or ravenous? Kid’s meal, salad bar or the special of the day?
So, in designing your own practice, be creative. Choose what suits you. Learn from others. Ask those that you admire about theirs.
A daily practice allows you to enjoy your life and become that powerful presence you were meant to be.
- Review the list above. Note which of these you are already doing. How do they help you maintain serenity?
- Which of these are missing in your life? What would you like to add?
- In the next week, come up with a plan for your own practice.
- Consider your Practice to be more important than your To Do list. Check your progress at the end of the day. How are you feeling?
- Check it monthly. Challenge yourself to continuously make it better.
A daily practice is a system for managing your Inner Peace, and making all of life a joy!