Peace By Piece
Life is a journey, a process that unfolds one moment at a time. One of the greatest challenges that we as twenty-first-century human beings face is living in this world of doing and striving, while at the same time honoring the here and now, the moment that we’re living in at present. We all have sky-high dreams and ambition to reach the top of the mountain, but so often we forget that it is the quality of every step we take along the way that will determine not only if and how quickly we reach our destination, but also what our experience of the path that takes us there will be like. As has been said many times before, it is not the goal itself we are really after, but how we will FEEL when we get there. It is not the soulmate that we really want, but the experience of love, connection, and intimacy that we will be able to share with them. It is not the job itself that we are after, but the sense of accomplishment and security that will come with it. It is not the shiny award that we really desire, but the feeling of being enough and the validation of our ability that it represents. And the great mystery of life and the spiritual path is that all of those feelings are available to us RIGHT NOW, not out there but deep within us.
And so it is with PEACE.
How often do we project our ability to feel a deep sense of inner peace on some future event or unfolding?
We fool ourselves into thinking that when we achieve enough, when we change enough, when others stop doing what they’re doing, when the traffic subsides, when the rest of the world finally gets it right, when this, that, or the other happens, only then will we finally have peace. Worse still, we buy into the promise of someday and the illusion of one-in-a-million success stories, and we lose our patience and with it—our peace. Among all the states of being that we wish to experience, peace is the most crucial, and yet the most elusive of all.
Peace is ours to create for ourselves. Peace is a choice that we make from moment to moment. To be at peace is to be able to accept life just as it is right now. To be at peace is to be one with the presence of the Divine within us just as we are in this moment. This applies even when the circumstances of life are most challenging and even when we are acutely aware of our distance from our most cherished objectives. Put most simply: being at peace means being in a state of COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE of all that is, right here, right now. That includes how we look, how we feel, how much money we have, our level of ability in any given area of our lives, and the state of our relationships, our career, and our spirituality. This is no easy task, but it is one of the greatest lessons that we have been born into this world to learn, and it is one that we must practice consistently and constantly.
Now I’m not suggesting that we stop striving for improvement, growth, accomplishment, success, and achievement. What I AM saying is that to sacrifice our sense of peace in the slightest in order to “get there” is to live toward some illusory end destination and to miss the point of life. The great irony of it all is that when we act from a place of unrest, when we are not in acceptance of ourselves and our circumstances, when we are disconnected from the Divine flow of life, any action that we take will be in vain.
When we live as though our peace exists out there or in some future moment, we are not able to be fully present with the step we are currently taking, and, as such, the quality of what we do also suffers.
What I’m also saying is that the road toward mastery and greatness requires patience. Remember that most great achievements come as a result of several consistent, focused, and purposeful actions taken one after the other. A masterpiece is the culmination of a thousand brushstrokes. A brilliant piece of music is composed note by note. A perfectly fitting garment is sewn one thread at a time. A world-class golfer masters his craft and refines his stroke one swing at a time. A timeless tragedy is written one verse at a time.
And so it will be with you. Seek peace first and then act from there. Be at one with the present moment and enjoy the journey. Take your time and take each step fully, with presence and with purpose. Honor the gift of life as it unfolds one piece at a time and know that the greatest achievement of all will be to maintain a deep sense of peace all along the way.
Written for Positively Positive (June 20th, 2012)