6 Tips for Inner Peace

The source of most mental tension is the ego – that part of our psyche which constructs the image of ourselves we like to present to the world – our idea of who we should be and who we would like others to think we are.

 1. Give up the need to be right

Giving up the need to be right has nothing to do with whether you actually are right or not (which is often a moot point), but avoiding putting others down by making them wrong.

Let everyone have their say and keep your counsel. Unless you absolutely must (e.g. in a difficult negotiation situation), avoid arguments and disagreements and practise not responding to provocation.

In the greater scheme of things, you and your adversary are one, so look for ways you can both be right. That’s win-win.

2. Stop judging

A judgement is ‘a view or declaration of what is good, right or fair.’ Some judgements are necessary because they help us to make sound decisions. Take driving for instance: judging speed, distance and direction are essential for our safety.

But there are other kinds of judgements: judging what is good or bad, better, worse, right, wrong, moral, immoral and so on. These are judgements of the ego.

Stop judging other people. Who are you to judge them? How can you condemn the path they have chosen? What right have you to make statements about what they are doing and where they need to be?

 3. Get away from ‘what’s in it for me’

‘What’s in it for me’ is the mantra of the ego. Its first instinct is ignore the bigger picture and protect and take care of itself. The Higher Self has different priorities, such as ‘What’s most likely to benefit us all?’ and ‘How can I help?’

 4. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Ego-dominated people feed off others’ approval. They are preoccupied with their reputation and easily take offence. They are easy targets for jokers and pranksters since they are easily upset and become aggressive when they feel under attack.

Learn not to take offence at what others say or do. Remember, when someone disagrees with you or criticises you, they’re judging only your outward appearance, not the real you. Step back – there’s always a funny side!

5. Put a stop to jealousy

Jealousy is born of fear. The ego is dominated by fear. It begrudges others their talents and achievements, not recognising that one person’s success can benefit all.

In order to feel jealous, you must compare yourself unfavourably with others and wish you had what they have. Let go of the need to judge yourself against others. Take pleasure in their blessings and good fortune. Wish them happiness. What matters is not what others have or do or how you compare with them, but how far you have progressed along your path.

 6. Constantly remind yourself who you are

Constantly remind yourself who you are. You are Infinite Intelligence in human form. Stop looking outside yourself and instead look within to where lasting peace and joy may be found.

Before long, you won’t need to remind yourself any more – you’ll just know it.

The difference it makes

When you discover the truth about yourself, that you are a spiritual being, your self-image is no longer based on your physical features. Your deepest values are non-physical – happiness, peace, love, truth and so on. You transcend your previous limitations.

You are equally aware of others as spiritual beings on their own journey. You see them in terms of their virtues, values and talents. Love is your predominant feeling towards others.

You are caring, empathic and considerate. You are guided by your intuition, taking responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions because you know they are the seeds of your future harvest. You approach problems differently, knowing that if you want change you must focus on causes because it is absurd to expect effects to deal with themselves. You are self-reliant yet connected, at ease with yourself and warm and respectful towards others.

Isn’t this what you want?

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 7.11.2016

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The First Gospel

‘Mark’ was the first of the four official gospels to be written, around 70 CE. Only the seven authentic letters of Paul and the anonymous letter to the Hebrews were written before this, which means ninety percent plus of the New Testament was written after.

Nobody knows who wrote it, but it is clear the author was no eyewitness and makes no such claims. Some have suggested that it was written by a young associate of the disciple Cephas; if this were true, he would be author closest to Yeshua, but it’s unlikely. Others think it could have been written by a young one-time companion of Paul, John-Mark, but this is unlikely too.

Some think it was written in Syria, others in Rome. There are no indications that the author was familiar with the geography of Palestine. It seems to have been written for gentile Christians, since the author, probably Jewish, felt the need to explain Jewish law and customs.

There is no birth story in the First Gospel – it begins with Yeshua’s visit to John the Baptist and ends with a group of women discovering the empty tomb. There is no divine conception, no birth story, no shepherds, wise men or flight into Egypt. These stories were invented later.

Nor did the original text claim that a resurrection had taken place. The final twelve verses about sightings of the ‘risen’ Master, his instruction to the disciples to ‘go to every part of the world and proclaim the gospel’ and a warning that those who do not believe will be ‘condemned’ – were written by a different author and added years later, probably to bring ‘Mark’ into line with the Second and Third Gospels, ‘Matthew’ and ‘Luke’.

In the First Gospel, Yeshua is primarily a great humanitarian.  He performs miracles not as ‘signs’ that he is divinely ordained (that came later, in the Fourth Gospel) but to help people. It’s light on dialogue and heavy on miracles. He drives out a lot of demons. ‘Mark’s’ Yeshua was the secret Messiah until his final week. The disciples are constantly urged not to tell anyone who he is or what he has done.

Everything that appears in ‘Mark’ also appears ‘Matthew’, ‘Luke’ or both, but there is hardly any consensus with the Fourth Gospel, ‘John’.

Being the first to be written, it is tempting to think of ‘Mark’ as closer to the facts than the other gospels. This may be true, but the author was no neutral historian. Like the others, he was a creative writer applying his own spin to the stories he had heard to convince his readers of his point of view.

Any good journalist will tell you, never let the facts get in the way of a good story! The author of ‘Mark’ did this instinctively!

©David Lawrence Preston, 30.8.2016

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Peace of Mind

Peace of mind often seems elusive in this busy world. Nearly everyone agrees it’s an important ‘state of being’. How can we experience it? Is there a formula that could enable us to have it now and for ever more?

Some think there is. Many Buddhists, for instance, associate it with a state of total desirelessness. But for the vast majority there is no simple formula, although there are powerful guidelines:

Acceptance and non-judgement

Some would argue peace of mind can be attained by being happy, healthy and prosperous; feeling good about yourself and fully in control of your life. Certainly all this is important – but it’s not the whole story. The additional key to peace of mind is summed up in the words, acceptance or, to put it another way, non-judgement.

Acceptance doesn’t necessarily mean ‘approving’ but it does mean seeing the world as it is, not filtered through a set of beliefs about how you think it should be; allowing others to be as they are, doing what they do according to their preoccupations and desires. You may not like their behaviour, but if you are constantly wishing they and the world were different, real peace of mind will always elude you.

A calm mind

Peace comes with calmness. A calm mind comes with a relaxed body. It is also closely associated with forgiveness – although the less you judge, the more accepting you become and the less you have to forgive.

The secret of acceptance, and therefore peace of mind, is to adopt the empowering belief:

Everything is exactly as it‘s meant to be, and always works out for the best. Say it out loud, at least ten times, three times a day. After a month reflect on the difference it has made.

This is not meant to be a recipe for inertia. If you notice something that can be improved or needs changing and are determined to do something about it, this too is exactly as it should be.

Naturally, the word ‘everything’ includes ‘everybody’ too. Adopt an attitude of non-judgement, then discord, anxiety and animosity immediately evaporate.

Time for yourself

Take some time for yourself every day, to relax, meditate or even just do nothing. The world demands so much of our time that we have less and less for those delightful moments of being alone to think our thoughts, dream our dreams and let wisdom germinate and take root in our minds.

The here and now

Keep bringing your thoughts back to the here and now. Now is the only moment over which you have any control. Let go of yesterday’s regrets of tomorrow’s worries. Each days has troubles enough of its own.

Avoid vows

Don’t make statements or pledges you can’t justify or have no intention of honouring.

Don’t generalise

Avoid thoughts and phrases that begin with, ‘I’ll never…..’ or ‘I’ll always…..’

How do you know? How can you make statements about the future right now? You don’t know how circumstances may change.

And finally…

Be mindful and diligent, stay focussed on the positive, and keep a clear conscience. Everything will work out for the best – and you will experience a wonderful feeling of peace.

©David Lawrence Preston, 14.6.2016

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