Sitting in God's hand!
The most peaceful moment of my life that I remember was an experience I had with a counselor one day. Without warning, I imagined I was a little toddler lying curled up in the enormous hand of God!
I have never felt such safety, peace and... it's hard to put into words! I felt as if I could go to sleep and feel totally safe, protected, cared for and loved.
I have tried to reproduce that feeling a gazilllion times since!
Have you ever had a similar experience? Or anything that made you feel totally at peace and safe?
I believe that what I experienced was a moment of grace. I also believe that people are allowed to have their own spiritual beliefs, so although I use the words God's grace, please feel free to substitute your equivalent!
A wonderful friend of mine in Vermont told me this story as I was writing about the secret of equanimity in my book; two of her nephews had a terrible crash into each other on their snowmobiles. As they were looking on and waiting for the paramedics to intervene, she consoled the hysterical sisters of these two boys.
One had been very seriously injured and the other one looked very bad. Everyone was distraught. In the midst of this tragedy, a tremendous sense if peace "descended" on her, is how she described it. She too thought this was God's grace.
As this peace embraced her, she said she "knew" the boys would both be okay. Sure enough, several months later, despite all predictions that the recovery would be extremely difficult and fraught with danger, none of these predictions happened.
Both boys had a miraculous recovery in an extraordinarily short space of time. There was no physical reason for this, but Brenda's sense of peace about it was justified -- despite how it looked from our normal perceptions and eyes.
Can you think of a time when you have just "known" something? There may not be any rational reason for knowing -- you just knew it was true. Can you recall the feeling you had with it? I bet it was peace!
Tap into that knowing. Follow its direction. Life goes more smoothly and peacefully!
The Peace Based on Knowing
When we make the right decision we feel peace -- and our stomach doesn't churn! A churning stomach after you have made a decision is probably a sign that all is not well! Perhaps you need more information before you go ahead, or to think it through a bit more.
I remember walking down the aisle of the church in my first marriage knowing I was doing the wrong thing! I knew it beforehand -- but I didn't listen to my inner guidance. By the time I was halfway down the aisle, I didn't have the courage to stop!
I tried to ignore that knowing, but it didn't take long for the external manifestation to appear! A year later we separated. Many people have told me since then that they have had similar experiences.
Learn to listen to, and trust your "knowings!" They give you a sense of equanimity or peace, and you can live your life more gently and be guided by wisdom far greater than yours -- but still accessible to you at any time!
1. Hanging on Too Tightly to What You Want.
When we close our hearts and minds to possibilities and we cling tightly onto what WE think we desire, want or will be good for us, we use the wrong measuring sticks!
There is a story commonly told of monkeys in a forest in South America, I believe, who are caught by putting nuts into glass bottles. The monkeys reach into the glass bottle and grab the nuts only to find their little paws are now too big to come out of the bottle. They will be caught rather than let go of the nut!
LET GO of stuff that you are too attached to -- the only thing that really matters is connecting to your higher self and serving others. The rest is detail!
Letting go too much is a sign of not taking responsibility for yourself or engaging in your life. Your life is YOURS! No one else can take responsibility for it or change it, really. Frustratingly, it's all up to you! Scary but true and much as I have tried to blame my husband and others and my circumstances for my misery at times, it has never worked or brought me peace.
When I step up, open my mind and take the walls away from my heart, have the courage to accept that MY issues are more about ME than anyone else, things change. Quickly!
It took me forever (it seems!) to realize that rushing and the sense of anxiety that comes from it, always disturbed my heart rhythms and sense of peace.
Being organized allowed me to proceed smoothly and peacefully through busy days. And even if I wasn't organized, I learned to recognize when I was rushing and stopped myself -- and asked myself, "What will feeling rushed do for my situation right now?" If I was driving the car the answer usually was cause an accident or raise my blood pressure -- the answer was rarely positive! If I was racing to leave the house, invariably I would forget something or be rude to someone!
Of course, as soon as I stop rushing and feeling tense, I achieve more and time slows down -- or it seems to. That's the paradox -- feeling peaceful seems to allow me to achieve more than when I am rushing!
Stress and rushing go hand in hand but stress from anything else is a real peace destroyer!
What causes stress? Unless you are in some extreme temperature circumstance or truly dangerous situation, the vast majority of our stress comes from our perception, our self-talk -- the story we tell ourselves!
Most events are neutral -- they are just events. The meaning we attach to those events is what creates the physiological reactions in our bodies. If someone pulls an "angry" face at you how do you react?
The truth could be that the person just had a nasty sudden pain that made their face look "angry" to you -- but in reality, it was their pain that had nothing to do with you! Yet how is your state once you have attached anger to that look -- and assume the anger at YOU no doubt!
If we could just see the truth of what we are doing, it would often be a source of great laughter!
Be careful -- very careful -- of the meaning you assign to things you "see" -- we never see reality or the totality of all factors in a situation -- we perceive and judge. Start telling yourself different stories -- ones that bring peace and at least give you time to confirm your perception -- or not!
5. Extreme Emotions
There is a big difference between emotions and feelings! Feeling -- true feeling is that sense of knowing-ness your heart gives you. Emotions are the things that are like wild horses rampaging through your precious, peaceful inner garden!
They thunder in before you even know they are on their way and carry you away with them! You become "swept up" in the noise, panic and breathlessness and become completely unconscious of how you are reacting!
Beware extreme emotions -- things are never as they seem to be! Try to get to the feeling behind that emotion. Hint: It's usually a fear that came from your toddler thinking!
6. Reacting vs. Feeling and Responding
We react when we come from emotions. We respond when we come from feeling.
It's a bit like playing tennis. If one person tries to hit the ball over the net to keep the game going (responding), and the other one slams every ball back into the net (reacting) there is never any play, interaction or connection!
When we react, we have said or done something before the heart has had time to engage -- the brain has volleyed a powerful shot! It didn't stay in the game or win the point but it was powerful! Sadly the power usually causes harm and rarely has a positive outcome. Our words have hurt someone and the situation or our behaviors now require an apology. Although the volley may have given you short term "satisfaction," it didn't give you peace.
Responding requires listening, interpreting, feeling and addressing the feeling you sense in the other person! It's not an easy or simple task, but it's very rewarding and makes for great peace and success in life!
7. Doubt and Fear
If you have been reading this blog series you will have read a lot about my thoughts on fear and how to eradicate them. I will focus more on doubt here.
Use doubt as a sign to explore further, or as an indication to gather more information. Too many people mistake doubt for discernment. Misused doubt can close you down to possibilities. Discernment allows for questioning and uses the extra information wisely while staying open to new options or thinking or ideas.
Being permanently cynical or skeptical is not the sign of a master thinker! It's a sign of someone too afraid to explore the unknown or learn more.
Doubt often plagues someone when they have not really tuned into their hearts knowing, and are doing something that ultimately will not work in their best interests! If you have made a decision and are full of doubt, not peace, STOP! Listen to your inner guide. Find out what you TRULY FEEL about this decision or situation. Then make your decision based on what your inspiration tells you. I bet the doubt goes away.
8. Loops of Thinking
Have you ever heard a song and that song then plagues you for the next few hours? You only heard one snippet and yet it goes round and round in your head! Sorry to do this to you but think Disney's "It's a Small World After All!"
Our own stories can be like that as well. We just keep repeating loops of phrases. "It's so unfair," "I deserve better," "I am unworthy," "I am scared," "I am stressed," "I am not safe," and so on.
Find the phrases that have become stuck in your brain that are negative or untrue and replace them with more positive and truthful statements. Watch your peace change dramatically!
Why be negative with yourself -- there are plenty of others outside you willing to do that! Do not let them take away your peace -- don't start looping on the nasty song they want to put in your heart!!
The last of the peace busters is selfishness. Selfishness is a state where we are disconnected from our inner God, our spiritual nature, our divinity.
When we are truly connected to our higher selves we realize there is no separation, and how we treat others is how we treat ourselves!
Wanting only what you think you want for yourself; more of the pie; what someone else has; not forgiving or being generous with others in spirit as well as in other ways; not caring about how you impact on others feelings are just some of the ways we become selfish.
And all it brings is heartache, separation and the opposite of peace -- more fear.
Remember you are connected to everything and everyone -- you feel peace. Our journey on earth is usually about remembering and reconnecting to that oneness.
Then you will find that peace I found lying in Gods hand!