We choose which we will bring to this world — problems or peace. Which one will we bring with us wherever we go today?
Finding problems is the easiest thing in the world. There is no shortage of them. It can always appear as if something has gone wrong, we made a mistake, something is happening that shouldn’t be happening, someone has wronged or offended us, something is annoying us, we can’t be happy until something else happens, etc. Living in a world of labeling, comparing and judging all things mixed all the while with the struggle to survive without awakened presence makes it feel impossible to see anything but problems…they just roll in…one problem after another. There is another way to live. We don’t have to see things as problems, we can turn toward peace instead. We decide.
As we come to realize that we want more peace in our lives, we have to find ways to practice peace that work for us in our current life situation. Observing how we see things and how we allow them to come through us is a great practice. As Life gives us things to work with, big and small, we can choose how we will let them come through us. Will we find a problem and stay stuck in our head as we resist it, find faults with it, label it, judge it and spend out time trying to convince others to see it as a problem as well? Or, will we put some space around it and let it be what it is (Life) without the label, content in not knowing whether it is good or bad while trusting that all thing are happening as they are meant to? It is as simple as that — each little thing…label, think, cause suffering about it or let it be and live in peace.
I have the good fortune of practicing with children. They are at the beginning stages of labeling all things. In many ways they must learn countless labels as they grow, figure things out and strive for a great education. Still, we make an effort in our house to understand the difference and dance between the labels that help us learn and the ones that aren’t necessary. It is an intense practice with them, because they are so open with their labels and judgements, they don’t hide them secretly in their head and fester, they just blurt them out or have a melt-down and present their problems. We always have a lot to talk about and practice with. It is my practice and it works for me…most of the time. Of course, I don’t have it mastered. I start the days saying things like, “okay, let’s not look for problems, let’s find peace”… I always tell them that problem-finding is just too easy, we could find a bunch at any time…but what we really want is peace…let’s find that. Then it takes helping them do that while keeping my peace in tact…a delicate balance. By the end of the day, it gets a little harder for me to stay with the peace. The more tired I am, the easier it is to judge things as problems. It becomes harder to put space around my reactions and choose peace. This week I began adding some quiet time with a clear-minded meditation for me in the afternoons to gather my energy and keep with my peace in an effort to start fresh even late in the day. Always something to work on.
Life isn’t trying to annoy us, it’s trying to wake us up. We choose again and again whether we will create problems or peace. We create with Everything. We can feel apart of everything and flow with it or get stuck slugging it out with the smaller stuff and trying to bend things our way. We can thrive in the ride of not knowing and truly living or we can think we know best and struggle through it all. We never really know when things are good or bad. We have all lived through thinking things were one way and finding out we labeled it wrong. Real Life is lived in the not knowing.
Just this morning after writing the above, I stumbled into this lovely poem that works so well here. I want to share it with you.
Repeatedly We Are Asked
to embody or consume;
to be in kinship with everything larger
or to order and manage everything smaller.
We are asked, every day, to align or separate;
to coordinate our will with everything living
or to impose our will on everything we meet.
And not choosing is a choice. Acquiescence
is different from patience or surrender.
All this leaves us needing to know:
whether to better the song through practice
or to better ourselves through singing.
I want to better the song. Today I pray to answer well when asked again and again if I want problems or peace. I also pray for those that aren’t yet aware that they too want more peace. I pray that they may be blessed with a little bit of peace today so that they may learn to search for it and practice it. I add my gratitude for the practice to the song. Life is a great practice. It really is. Peace and blessing are all around and I am so grateful!
Sending you joy, love and peace today and always.