Peace matters. This affirmation and ethic holds deep meaning for me. It pulls me toward my life’s work, my life’s joy and my life’s commitment (purpose). One might even say it is my destiny. The simplicity and clarity of this affirmation and ethic is deeply woven in my heart’s consciousness, serving as a guiding force for me.
When I liken this affirmation to the flow of water, I can easily distinguish when I am aligned and in the flow of my true nature – or when I am stuck in the mud or an overgrown algae swamp, as reflected in the mental struggling and uninspired thinking circling in my mind.
Over the years, I have contemplated the word peace and what value and meaning it has for me. It certainly has evolved, more from an experiential understanding than in any conceptual framework. Through my Reiki meditation and inner path of self-knowing (we call this okuden in Reiki), through my professional study and training, through my life experiences of successes and heartbreaks, and through my grassroots involvement in the All Nations Grand River Water Walk over the past two years (and more to come), my understanding of peace matters has become as valuable to me as breathing.
Now, when I use the word peace, I can embrace an inner stillness, a serenity of heart-mind (kokoro as it is known in Reiki meditation), and a joy of contentment in the persistent meaning of my life. My understanding of peace embraces a sense of confidence in the prosperity of Spirit’s abundance and how it flows in and out of my life, connecting a golden thread to the larger wholeness in the Universe. I can even embrace a deeper patience (this has been a big learning!) in the gentle confluences of many flows that take time to appear for a real movement of change to take effect. And I understand the health of deep relaxation and the relaxation that restores health – which is why peace, deep inner relaxation of body, mind and spirit, is the ultimate healer (also a Reiki teaching).
Perhaps the greatest understanding I have become enlightened to is that peace requires my inner work. The Fourth Precept is Reiki calls us daily to work diligently, to work on ourselves, to do what is ours to do. Not ‘try’ to do. But ‘do’ what is ours to do. Not other’s inner business. Our inner business.
For me, there are three core disciplines to experiencing this inner peace, and necessary for living peace matters (other disciplines exist, but these have arisen as core for me). These tasks have a simplicity to them, yet it has taken me decades to understand them, to embrace them and to begin to live them.
- Open to love—let love in. Let love flow (like water). This openness to love is the big ‘YES’ to life, to Source itself and all the Infinite Goodness that flows. The easiest path to open to love is the practice of genuine gratitude for me, a gratitude felt and experienced in the heart. Not just something I think about. The latter is a concept. The former is an embodiment of a vibration and feeling that changes emotional states and perspectives of reality.
- Release my emotional attachments to what steals my inner peace (really, my health and inner contentment/happiness). A major task here is the work of forgiving, of releasing emotional attachments to the resentments that keep me out of love and trapped in the darkness of the past. Releasing purifies our body, mind and spirit. Releasing emotional attachments creates boundaries around us/our energetic essence and what is healthy and imbued with radiance and vitality.
- Be kind. Have compassion. This practice of kindness requires great moral courage and inner empowerment. Choosing to respond in kindness when someone is behaving rudely, or in a passive-aggressive manner, or even with a racist insult, requires deep inner presence, moral fortitude, creativity and compassion. Having compassion keeps our feet on the ground and our hearts seeing the equality in another, even when the other’s wounds, hurts and anger, expressed violently and with hatred, are the cause of significant pain and injustice.
Kindness is more expedient to the path of inner peace than is the rumination of anger and fear. So is opening to love and releasing emotional attachments to what no longer serves or is functional. Kindness serves as a graceful existence. Peace matters is a path, a way of being that “I don’t want to take because the work to experience it requires ‘giving up too much’,” says the ego.
And as the last living Nuremburg prosecutor of WWII, Benjamin Ferencz, who witnessed and prosecuted the atrocities of Nazi genocide, says: “Well, if it’s naive to want peace instead of war, let ’em make sure they say I’m naive. Because I want peace instead of war. If they tell me they want war instead of peace, I don’t say they’re naive, I say they’re stupid. Stupid to an incredible degree to send young people out to kill other young people they don’t even know, who never did anybody any harm, never harmed them. That is the current system. I am naive? That’s insane.”
When I keep peace matters in front of me, and I practice these three disciplines, I experience the peace the spiritual masters speak of, although sometimes only briefly. It’s an evolution toward maturity and one, I suspect, which will take me the rest of my life to master any of these disciplines to their potential. Peace matters is NOT a passive way of being. It requires the active engagement of heart and mindfulness to what really matters in the present moment. It is a higher order of human interacting and living in harmony and respect with all our relations. ALL OUR RELATIONS. Peace matters is deeply transformative. And it becomes the healing and joyful work of a lifetime.
I hope you notice that my workshops, trainings and individual sessions all arise and come home to peace matters and the disciplines that support us to live peace, within and with others.
This fall, I will be offering The Art and Practice of Forgiving – Discover the Freedom to Live, Reiki Ryoho Levels One and Two, Compassion and the Art of Self Forgiveness and other Reiki Ryoho courses. I invite you to join me in fleshing out and learning the simple truths and practices of restoring the inner serenity and calm you seek.
Let this summer be a balm for your soul and let your soul awaken to peace matters.