Finding Peace through Compassion
Today is Remembrance Day. A day to remember those who sacrificed so we can live in the amazing country of Canada, free from war. In essence, they helped us to live in Peace. So on Nov 11, I like to think of Peace not War. But just because we live in a country that is peaceful, does that mean each one of us is at peace? Perhaps not. We struggle with our body, our mind & emotions.
So how do we find peace in the midst of difficulty? We cultivate it by being present to the difficult feelings & instead of succumbing to them, we can choose to find the peace that exists in the midst of them. One way we can do this is by focusing on our breath. A simple breath practice that can teach us to look for the peace, is to find the pause between the breaths. When we exhale, just at the end if it, there is a slight pause, right before the inhale happens. This is called a Stillpoint, or in this case, a moment of peace. This pause also happens at the top of the inhale, right before the exhale happens. When we focus on the pauses instead of the “doing” part of the breath, these pauses grow & we can learn from them how to just be, instead of to do. It is in this moment of just being, that peace is found.
Another way to cultivate peace in our practice, is through meditation. We learn to still the busyness of the mind & allow the sapce to grow in the thoughts, which can give us a feeling of peacefulness. A Buddhist mediation, called Metta came to mind, as metta means loving kindness. If we all came from a place of loving kindness, then war would not happen. There are many different versions of Metta, but here is one that is simple & suits the intention of remembrance.
May I be happy, May I be healthy, May I be safe, May I be free.
Repeat these words to send loving kindness to yourself. Then, think of a loved one & send metta to them.
May you be happy, May you be healthy, May you be safe, May you be free.
Then think of someone that you encountered in your day, but don’t really know & send metta to them. Now, this one is more difficult, to someone you have difficulty with (this if for both their & your benefit). Then out to the world, to those that are suffering. These are intentions of loving kindness we a putting out into the world. I like to finish metta, by taking the May & turning it into I am, as a statement of fact.
I am happy, I am healthy, I am safe, I am free.
As this is already our True Nature.
These are just a few ideas, to allow Peace to be in our lives & to help it grow. See the article below, for 5 more practices you can do to cultivate peace.
I found a couple of writings, that spoke to me. I was thinking not only of remembrance day, but also of the US Election. I don’t want to get political, but, no matter what your beliefs, taking what is said below, will help us to find peace with the outcome & to take the high road as a way to make the world a better place for all.
“An old Cherokee Indian was telling her granddaughter about a fight that was going on inside herself. She said it was between two wolves. ‘One is evil,’ she recounted: ‘Anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other is good: Joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.’ The granddaughter thought about this for a minute, then asked her grandmother, ‘Which wolfwins?’ The old Cherokee simply replied, ‘The one I feed.’” – Traditional American Indian Folk Tale
There Will Be Peace
There will be peace: when attitudes change; when self-interest is seen as part of common interest; when old wrongs, old scores, old mistakes are deleted from the account; when the aim becomes co-operation and mutual benefit rather than revenge or seizing maximum personal or group gain; when justice and equality before the law become the basis of government; when basic freedoms exist; when leaders - political, religious, educational - and the police and media wholeheartedly embrace the concepts of justice, equality, freedom, tolerance, and reconciliation as a basis for renewal; when parents teach their children new ways to think about people. There will be peace: when enemies become fellow human beings. David Roberts 1999.
Anne Cox E-RYT 500