Last week, the United Nations Peace Bell was rung at the UN Headquarters in New York City for International Day of Peace, celebrated around the world by many nations, political groups, military groups and peoples. This was the first year since 1982 that the day was officially dedicated to Peace Education by the Secretary General of the United Nations.
“Peace education is the process of acquiring the values, the knowledge and developing the attitudes, skills, and behaviors to live in harmony with oneself, with others, and with the natural environment.” (Source:Wiki)
Today, I’d like to focus on the ‘harmony with oneself’ aspect of this important day, which is the most significant way we can contribute to greater peace in our communities, whether in our homes, workplaces, or this big beautiful world.
(I’m going to keep these as un-cliched as I can and do my best to not sound like a wannabe guru here, ok?) 🙂
Peace + Hotness’s Five Tips for Peace
5. One of Don Miguel Ruiz’s ‘Four Agreements‘ is don’t take anything personally. Our interactions with family members, co-workers, and even coffee shop comrades can simultaneously be a source of inspiration and a major leakage of our peace. After a run-in or confrontation with any of the above, we often stew, chew and fester over what was said, what we could have said, and how we’re going to change the way we interact with people as a result of being ‘wronged’. Don’t bother. To say ‘it’s their problem’, however, can often be a bitchy deflection, not a more enlightened stance. The fiery combination of ‘their stuff’ and ‘your stuff’ clashed in the moment and created some heat. No biggie. When it comes time to discuss the issue – if need be – you’ll likely be opened up to a different perspective you didn’t even consider, thus rendering all your festering a waste of energy. Thus, don’t take it personally.
4. Have integrity. You don’t have to adhere to any particular religion or system to hold yourself to a value system and be internally aligned. Whether a construct of your own ideals, intelligence and experience, or an existing belief system such as the Noble Eightfold Path, acting in line with values such as honesty, harmlessness and noble speech can provide self respect, peace, and solidity in shaky situations.
3. Check in with yourself. I joke with my meditation friends that I’ve become very good at talking to myself. ‘Jen, why is this person irritating you right now? Jen, what do you need right now? Jen, what do you really want from this situation?’. Ya, it’s kinda weird, but the result is more connection with the present moment, and more connection with myself. If your pal wants to do something and you get a little blurp in your belly or chest, check in. What’s up? There’s a whole world of wisdom and intelligence available to you when you learn how to check in.
2. Observe reality. Truth. Actual experience, as it is; not as you would like it to be and not as you wish it weren’t. I know this sounds kind of new-agey and self-helpey, but it’s ancient and proven. We paint pictures and scuff up reality all the time with the projections from our mind, which are a function of our past experience. The more you observe yourself and your thoughts, the more you’ll pick up on this. When you catch a ‘monkey mind’ incident of your thoughts jumping in different directions, bring your awareness back to your breath, and to the possibility that the reality of the situation may very well be not what you think it is. Anapana theory can help to explain this more fully. Don’t feel like you’re not correct, or clear-seeing, or anything like that. It’s just that we often perceive things to be waaaay different than they actually are. We all do it.
1. Observe the law of impermanence. In Pali, it’s called Anicca – the law of change. By accepting at a deep level the very nature of the mind and the body is to constantly change, we can experience more peace moment to moment, day to day. You wake up sick, or feeling low in energy…it will pass. Broke it off with your bf? Fighting with your bff? It’s gonna change. The pain will pass. Conversely, you just got paid and are feeling high. That will pass too. The whole idea is to not attach yourself to any feelings or emotions. Not to say you don’t experience or enjoy them, but you just keep in mind that this too shall pass, and keep on your merry little way.
Happy International Peace Day everybody.