5-23-21- Finding Peace

Finding Peace

“Peace comes from within.  Do not seek it without.” — Buddha

In my addiction, I had no discipline in regard to my spiritual, physical or emotional well-being, nor that of others. However, I had an amazing focus in pursuing my destructive pastimes. In my addiction, I had little choice; I was overcome with confusion and fear.

Today, I learn and grow by maintaining a watchful and caring eye on my thoughts and behaviors. When I come from aggression, judgment, fear, or avoidance, I may feel a small victory in getting what I want by denying someone else their worth and dignity, or avoiding a situation. In this way I am promoting negativity and self-isolation.

 Alternately, when I come from Peace, I do not react, but consider and act wisely from my heart. Feelings and thoughts are transitory, impermanent. Peace is calm, gentle, always available, and strong. When I center myself first in peace, my actions may not lead to the immediate gratification I might like, but I will feel a sense of rightness; a sense of dignity and worthiness. The more I do it, the more I feel a connection with my own peace and with others, and find I do not wish to hurt them or bring them suffering, any more than I wish to hurt myself. 

Recovery means ‘to restore, to regain.’ It’s doesn’t mean finding anything new or different. I have never lost my spiritual self; I am only sometimes in a place where I am unable to see or feel it. It is still there! And I can touch into it if I am willing to be with Peace, instead of in my habitual graspings and fears. That Peace is always with me.

Sometimes I feel very spiritually connected. I can be considerate and patient, I feel a definite connection to others, and a desire to engage in the world. Sometimes I feel agitated and resentful because things are NOT going the way I want them to. Other times I just sort of mindlessly float through life. And that is OK. I keep working on the more peaceful, accepting me that is there.

“The nearer one comes to calm mind, the closer one is to strength.”-Marcus Aurelius

When we have the courage to not act impulsively, we may find we miss the intensity of an old harmful behavior we once enjoyed rolling around in. Both fear and aggression can have a real substance or presence we identify with, which make us feel all juiced up. We may miss that intensity, or miss the need to hide, and that is a good thing. We will feel a withdrawal from our harmful behaviors. We are training our minds to touch into our sense of peace, instead of our small protective re-actions that only promote confusion and disconnect.

We will have times of pain, anger, sadness, joy, confusion, sloth or depression. We are human and that is a part of our experience. We have the awareness to know what is going on. We can ask ourselves, “What am I feeling?” We can accept when we are having a difficult time without fighting it and touch into our sense of acceptance and peace the best we can. We don’t revel and embody our difficulties; rather,we begin being courageous enough to work with them, relax the best we can within the experience, know it is temporary, and grow.

“Inner peace begins the moment you choose not to allow another person or event to control your emotions.”-Pema Chodron

When we come from peace and kindness, we will hurt when it hurts, and laugh when it is joyful, and find a very full life with everything that happens.

We will also find the strength to speak up, kindly, when we need to, instead of fearing a negative reaction from someone. Peace can’t be felt when we are being cowards by not speaking up. Likewise, if we forcefully and selfishly speak up to get what WE want, there is no peace available, only harm.

WE determine who we are and what our worth is—not anyone else. When we feel tension, we take a breath and calm ourselves. We can take 3 breaths, touch into our kindness, and let peace guide us.

Meditation is where we train to use the breath to calm and open our minds and hearts. We find that our awareness of being uptight or fearful becomes a message that tells us we can CHOOSE to breathe, relax and give the situation some space. To not react with old behaviors. It takes practice to remember to take a breath and center ourselves. We must work on it many times every day.

We can use the essence of a contemplation in short form to remind us to be in peace. We can take a breath and say, “I am a good person, I am a kind person, I am a strong person.” Even that momentary stepping out of SELF can be enough to make a big difference. We can memorize it and use it. We’ll begin to feel the amazing sense of contentment, clarity and connection that is possible when we deny our fears the power to dictate who we are.

We absolutely have the capacity to rise above the fray that entangles. We need only to recognize our capacity for peace and recall it often so that peace, not rolling around in the muck, is our choice. We are only about 2 degrees off of our innate, always available, peaceful mindset; a small, consistent effort is all that’s really required to engage it. We’ll soon realize we don’t believe we deserve a more peaceful life, it is simply who we are.

 “You are your best teacher. Pay attention.“-Pema Chodron

Ask yourself: Can you have the discipline to practice a spiritual life and to bring peace, the best you can, every day? Can you be gentle and strong enough to not hold grudges? To look for what is good, not wrong? If you are not promoting peace, why not? Today, you have a choice.

Through a gentle but firm diligence comes the joy of life.

How do you fill your bucket? One drop at a time
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The great arises out of small things that are honored and cared for
May you be well. May you be happy. May you find peace.

Heart Of Recovery web site  — fcheartofrecovery.com