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Unleash the Peace Within You



During this week of Advent Season, the theme is Peace, and we contemplate ways to share our most profound gift of Peace. The call for goodwill tends to rise and fall based on what's happening in the world and our lives.


As we look around our world, plenty of evidence confirms that we do not live in harmony. Ironically, many conflicts between nations, peoples, and cultures throughout history originate in religion and religious differences. Most religious movements are life-affirming and spiritually guided and start well. But a collective ego takes over for some reason, and historically things go haywire.


His Holiness, the Dalai Lama, once noted that for Peace in the world to happen, there must be Peace among religions. Without Peace, civilization as we know it will perish or, at the very least, stagnate.


As we think about how to bring about Peace in our lives, our communities, and our world, I recall a question posed by one of my spiritual teachers:


"If Jesus was seated at a table with a Buddhist, a Hindu, a Muslim, a Zoroastrian, and a Shintoist, do you think he would turn to them and say ‘You must all forsake your beliefs and accept Christianity?’”

I'm confident that Jesus would not take such a position since he taught spiritual principles that anyone, regardless of their chosen path or if they have no spiritual path at all, can apply in their life.


There are many paths to understanding this presence many of us call God. One of the most significant values that I have gotten from traveling to other countries —particularly Ghana and Nigeria— has been the opportunity to understand how others have used their traditions to deepen their understanding of the nature of God, our nature as spiritual beings, and the role that knowledge plays to help us bring about a peaceful world.


Most people seek to understand their purpose in life, how to make a positive difference in their communities, and how to be a more loving presence in our world. Indeed, regardless of background, culture, or religion, we are more alike than different. When it comes to manifesting Peace in our lives and our world, regardless of circumstances, we must be willing to bring the energy of Peace.


A king once offered a prize to the artist who would paint the best picture of Peace. Many artists tried. The king looked at all the paintings. But he liked only two, and he had to choose between them. One picture was of a calm lake. The lake was a perfect mirror for peaceful towering mountains all around it. Overhead was a blue sky with fluffy white clouds. All who saw this picture thought that it was a perfect picture of Peace.


The other picture had mountains, too. But these were rugged and bare. Above was an angry sky, from which rain fell, and lightning filled the heavens. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a foaming waterfall. This portrait did not look peaceful at all. But when the king looked closely, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest. There, amid the rush of angry water, sat the mother bird on her nest—in perfect Peace.


The king chose the second picture for the prize. And the people wondered why. As the king explained, "Peace does not mean being in a place without noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means that you will still be calm in your heart during all those things. That is the real meaning of Peace."

As we continue through Advent, let us continuously remind ourselves to bring Peace regardless of what is happening around us. Understanding that we constantly meet what we bring repeatedly, we must carry it everywhere we go if we want Peace.


Peace and Blessings,

James


PS: One of the roles that Spiritual Life Center plays to help bring about a peaceful world is working with and affirming the many paths to God. To acknowledge this work and help celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Spiritual Life Center, Dr. Metwalli Amer, Director of SALAM Islamic Center in Sacramento, California, sent us a video message. You can view the video here:



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