Reflection: Peace (Part II)
By Jane Lee Wolfe
Let’s assume we are interested enough in peace to take on a little discipline that encourages us to be peaceful. Discipline is not a bad word, it’s a good word. No one is standing over us with a stick and a scary face ready to beat us up at the first little chance.Discipline is about trying something we want to do and taking the time to do it. It’s about getting better at it as we go along; getting easy with it. The point of discipline is not “what we got wrong;” the point of discipline is the joy we get in doing what we want to do. We will get things wrong, by the way, no matter how good we get.
On to peace plus discipline. The first thing we have to do is take a chance: take a chance that peace exists and can become an integral part of our lives. We don’t have to believe it right away, and we certainly don’t have to be good at it right away. We just work the hypothesis: Peace exists.
Next, we have to access this peace intentionally a couple of times a day. That’s a good start. It’s like taking a big intentional breath of air a couple of times a day. Doing so requires us to stop, breathe, and slow down, if only for a little while. Consider this: that air and peace are delivered exactly the same way – through the breath, through the air around us. When we breathe in and out, we breathe peace in and out. Simple as that.
This is one of the reasons meditation is so effective. We slow down, stop actually. We breathe, we are still. We enter peace and peace enters you. Meditation is a peace discipline. We are the better for practicing it, more peace-filled. More peace-full in the world. In meditation it is easy to know that humanity is one. We all can breathe in and out, no matter what we believe or say, no matter whom we are or what condition we are in. We are all able to access peace and have peace access us.
What difference will it make in us? Somehow, in peace/with peace, we are more conscious of ourselves. We are more “real” in a way we are not real when we are rushing around getting things done, catching up with this or that. We don’t have to give up rushing around, but we start to find it is worthwhile to be with that part of ourselves and life that we do not access when we are rushing around. We expand our daily understanding of who we are; we are capable of being peaceful, of being peace.
Being an “instrument of peace” in the world is a gift God has given us from birth. It is both glorious and humbling to exercise it. When we know that we are capable of being instruments of peace and that it is not that difficult to become so, we come closer to knowing ourselves as the persons we are meant to be. We are not only first class rushing-arounders, we are bodies and brains filled with peace, living in an atmosphere of peace even if bombs are going off all over the place.
Discipline. We breathe peace daily, two or three breaths, two or three times a day, all alone. This is wonderful. When we are part of a weekly or monthly meditation group, we experience communal peace. This is not necessary however. When we are breathing our own peace in and out, we easily fit into any community, peaceful or not. People are attracted to peace even if they are unaware of the attraction. People are attracted to the largest reality they belong to: Peace on earth.
Jane Lee Wolfe is a parishioner of St. James-Woodstock, Vt. and Director of Bog Chapel, Inc., an educational not-for-profit organization that focuses on the spiritual health and spiritual fitness of human beings, from youth through old age.