6 Tips for Inner Peace

Inner peace if destroyed by mental tension. 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.  Your ego is your idea of who you should be and who you would like others to think you are.

How do we put the ego in its rightful place and create inner peace for ourselves? Here’s six thoughts:

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 making others 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 refuse to respond to provocation.

In the greater scheme of things, you and your adversary are at 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 to protect and take care of itself.

The deeper, Inner Self has different priorities. It sees the bigger picture. It is concerned with what’s most likely to benefit all and how you can 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 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 lighter 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. Let go of the need to compare yourself with others. Take pleasure in their good fortune. Wish them happiness. What matters is not what others have or do, but how far you have progressed along your path.

6. Constantly remind yourself who you are

Constantly remind yourself 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 in essence 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 them.

You take responsibility for your thoughts, words and actions because you know they are the seeds of your future harvest. You approach problems differently. You know 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, at ease with yourself and warm and respectful towards others.

Isn’t this what you want?

©David Lawrence Preston, 23.6.2017

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Love your enemies

A great teacher taught that we should love our enemies and bless those who persecute us. What did he mean by this?

Problems with others usually occur because our own thinking is in error. With no enmity in our thinking, we have no enemies! That’s why Abraham Lincoln observed, ‘Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them?’

An adversarial state of consciousness is disempowering. It’s also detrimental to our health.

Go within and seek the peaceful side of your nature. If others don’t respond, send them a silent blessing and let it go. Their anger and aggression is their problem.

Be grateful to those who test you

Our so-called enemies are our finest teachers. Aim to make peace with them. Don’t even consider whether they deserve it – that’s just a judgement.

Eric Butterworth tells of a distinguished writer who visited a Quaker friend. Each evening, they walked to the street corner to buy an evening newspaper. The friend would be cheerful and pleasant, but the news vendor would always respond with a grunt. The writer commented on this one night. ‘Why are you so nice to him?’ he asked his friend.

The Quaker replied, ‘Why should I let him determine how I am going to behave?’

Be grateful to those who make life difficult, and don’t let them rule your behaviour. They are your greatest teachers.

 

©David Lawrence Preston 7.12.2016

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Deep down we are all beings of peace

We live in a society where looking after number one is not only fashionable but encouraged. We forget that we are all here to grow as individuals and support each other. Looking after ourselves with no consideration for others makes no sense. Since everything we do returns to us like a boomerang, selfishness actually harms the person we are most trying to help – ourselves.

Deep down, at our spiritual core, we all want to be at peace. Even those whom you dislike and who have hurt, bad-mouthed and cheated on you are in essence beings of peace.

‘What about murderers, rapists, drug dealers and child abusers?’ you may ask. How can this be true of them? Simple: their spiritual essence is obscured by their ego and its insecurities. Like everyone, they do what they know according to their learning and experiences, and like everyone, when they know better, they change.

Let your peace show. Keep your thoughts centred on kindness and peace.

Look for the goodness in everyone

There is goodness in the heart of everyone. Literally billions of acts of kindness and self-sacrifice take place in the world every day, far outnumbering the unkind, selfish actions that usually grab the headlines.

When you look for the best in others, you find it. Look beyond appearances and seek it. Look carefully: it may be buried beneath an unattractive exterior, harsh words and destructive behaviours.

When you change your view of others, you change, and your experience of them changes too.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 4.12.2016

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The busy mind is like a muddy pond

Bmth pond

Deep inside us, at our very core, is a place of absolute peace and stillness where we become aware of the loving Presence at the centre of our being. But first we have to clear away the foolish thoughts and emotional fog which obscure it. Thinking too much is like over-eating – it brings a kind of mental indigestion which creates needless anxiety and stress.

The busy mind may be compared to a muddy pond. When agitated, mud rises from the bottom, the water becomes cloudy and light barely penetrates beneath the surface. When the pond is still, the mud settles, the sun shines through and the pond becomes visible right to the bottom.

Similarly, when the mind is still, thoughts settle down and Higher Consciousness lights up every nook and cranny. Then we are receptive to an inflow of spiritual energy which uplifts and inspires.

©David Lawrence Preston, 25.6.2016

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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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Manifesto for a Better World

I recently came across a manifesto I wrote when I stood for Parliament in 1983. At that time Britain was suffering the Thatcher era and enjoying a brief period of jingoism after victory in the South Atlantic war. Reading it through it struck me how little the world has progressed in the past thirty years, and just how little I would change if I had to write it again. The issues are as live today as they were then.

‘All over Europe, the international Green Movement is making a major impact and demonstrating the increasing need and support for a new approach to politics.

Britain’s Green Party, is fielding about 100 candidates in this election. We differ from the other parties in that we recognise the wastefulness and destructiveness of our present way of life, and seek to create a sustainable society in which stress, competition and materialism are replaced by a natural enjoyment of life for all.

The purpose of our economic policy is to provide an adequate, sustainable standard of living for all, ending indiscriminate economic growth and discouraging the squandering of irreplaceable resources: we would introduce a resource tax.

We believe in low-growth jobs and would encourage labour-intensive industries. More incentives would be given to re-use, repair and recycling – less to raw material- and fuel-hungry manufacturing processes. We urge massive expansion of home agriculture and investment in energy conservation.

Work should be fulfilling to the individual and beneficial to the community. People have a need for and a right to work, but in present circumstances the stigma should be taken out of unemployment; a basic and secure income needs to be provided for all by the community.

We would phase out nuclear power as quickly as possible. Instead, investment in energy conservation and research into renewable energy sources will balance our energy requirements and provide tens of thousands of new jobs.

Massive energy savings could be made by investing in more fuel-efficient modes of transport and planning facilities nearer to where people live, to reduce dependence on transport.

We would withdraw from the EEC, since membership is incompatible with a sustainable, self-sufficient economy. We would reduce our dependence on trade and the activities of multinationals would be checked.

The way to harmony lies through a more just sharing of the world’s resources. If we appear to threaten no-one, we are more likely to be left in peace. We support a professional defence force, strongly armed with conventional weapons and backed by comprehensive civil defence measures at home. Nuclear weapons are no defence and only make confrontation more likely. All foreign military bases here would be closed.

Our attitude to the environment is uncompromising. Strict controls governing land, air and marine pollution would be enforced. The spread of concrete would be halted. Our investment in agriculture would promote organic, natural methods of crop raising, and the inhumane treatment of animals would be outlawed.

Our educational policy stresses comprehensive, co-educational schools controlled directly by the communities they serve and available to all. The curriculum needs to be broadened and to emphasise the fulfilment of each child’s potential in a non-competitive, non-exam-orientated way.

We support proportional representation; we would introduce a Bill of Rights and a Freedom of Information Act.

Finally, the most serious threat to world stability is our reliance on the resources of other countries. The conditions under which most of the world’s population live represent a scandal.  We would meet our obligations to the developing world fully, by means of more financial and appropriate technological aid, and more equitable trading arrangements.

It is important that everybody who supports our objectives stands up to be counted by voting Green on June 9th. This is the only genuine alternative to the destructive policies of all the other parties.’

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Well, since 1983 the world has changed, the Soviet Union is no more, China is a force to be reckoned with and some of the developing countries are shaping up to be major economic powers. But one day, if we carry on as we are, Mother Earth will rid itself of the destructive beings that threaten its survival – us – and return to its natural state of balance and harmony.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 10.3.2016

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