Introduction to the section 'Becoming an Agent of Peace'
We usually speak of World Peace as a magnanimous ideal placed out there in the etheric dimension. As human beings, it is natural that we feel the need to contribute to the end of war at all levels and to live in harmony with all other beings, but somehow it feels something far distant from our present reality. We blame those human beings who chose physical violence as a means to protest or defend their point of view; we condemn terrorism and atomic bombs (which are undoubtedly extreme expressions of violence). However, a bomb is not the only way to create disharmony and to propagate hatred and fear.
In our daily lives, I observe that we rarely sit down to contemplate what are our personal ways of raging war in our own minds, in our families, in our nations and the larger world we live in. More rare than that is the day in which we creatively think of ways in which we could personally foster harmony and peace.
This is a section of the blog designed to inspire you to bring the mind within and take your part of the responsibility for bringing about that World Peace you also dream of. This is a page designed to empower you to become An Agent of Harmony and Peace in the world.
1- Give an unconditional smile.
This advice doesn’t mean we should walk around with a fake smile, pretending to be the friend of the world and secretly feeling repugnance for others. It means to learn how to separate the person from their actions. The other person (whomever it is that you interact with, from the receptionist at your work place and the garbage collector to your spouse and parents) is just another human being like you and me with the same wish to be happy and to avoid suffering. Their actions are a compounded phenomena that came into being due to the force of many causes and conditions. Think of how most of those causes and conditions (usually all of them) are unknown to us. When a person behaves unkindly towards us, we can reflect about how he might have had a hard day, she may have recently lost a loved one or may be facing stressful family situation or financial challenges.
Giving an unconditional smile means: be kind to everyone, no matter what.
We will never be able to control the behavior of others, but there is something we can always take control of, and that is the reaction we chose to undertake in front of that behavior. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has a renown quote that says: “Be kind whenever it is possible. It is always possible”.
2- Overcome the need to fight back when someone says something offensive.
This attitude is not a suppression of anger. It is an understanding of how an angry-driven reaction is only going to be detrimental to our desire of peace and happiness, how it is going to cause turbulence in our mind, increase the disharmony in our relationship with that other person (whose mind will also be agitated) and the whole environment around us as well. Reacting with antipathy will only strengthen neuronal connections in our brain that perpetuate the habit of rejecting everything in the world that doesn’t please us or is not in accordance with our expectations (and as we know by our life experience, we are going to keep experiencing this quite often!)
3- Give up engaging in conversations where your friends, family or coworkers are criticizing someone else.
We all want to be loved and accepted by who we are. No one of us likes to be criticized for our flaws, our personality traits or our bad moods. We all seek the same: to feel appreciated, understood and connected. We can recall those times when we found out others criticized us at our backs and remember how bitter that felt. We should recollect that disappointment and the fear that arouse in our mind due to feeling rejected by others. Would we like to be the condition for another person to feel that way?
Also, we can reflect on how indulging in gossip and divisive speech is as well an absolutely antagonistic attitude to that harmony, peace and joy we want to experience as human beings.
When we find ourselves in such a situation when others are criticizing someone, we can chose to remain silent, leave the space and go somewhere else or shift the course of the conversation by changing topic or saying instead something positive about that person that is being picked apart.
4- Give up the playing the national sport: the need to complain about everything that displeases you.
Starting from the classic weather, the government, our 7 am talkative neighbor and the delayed bus-, following to our spouse not being perfect (an outcoming the self-cherishing mind thinks that totally deserves) and the world not being a pleasurable grove for us to happily dance around in like Heidi.
We can make of every condition in our Path an opportunity to grow in acceptance, tolerance and patience.
Let’s empower ourselves!
Looking at a situation form a more even perspective, without the need to react emotionally to everything that happens in the world, can give us much more freedom and space in our mind to actually take skillful and beneficial actions to change an inconvenient or harmful situation whenever that is something possible. If it is not possible to change something, isn’t complaining a waste of our energy and an attitude that fosters negativity in your environment?
5- Give up the need for always having to be right. Let the other person win.
It seems to be and old-fashioned habit of our ego to always have to prove himself right, more intelligent, more intuitive, brighter… in all ways, better than all others! It is a good practice to avoid unnecessary confrontations, to let the other person express her ideas freely and find her own truths. Unless it is a very important matter to discuss, daily arguments such as who left the lights on when we left home, what is the best soccer team of the country, the best spiritual discipline, the most beneficial political party (of course, we will always have valid arguments to prove it is ours), if the soup tastes actually better with or without spices, it is a good practice to just let the other person be right.
In contrast to what is thought in our society -that this kind of attitude is a reflection of a person not being able to stand for herself, being passive and having repressed anger-, it can be a sign of a far-developed forbearance and maturity in which the person is skillful enough to discern what is relevant to spend her energies in from what is not. That could be a person that choses calmness and inner joy from the agitation that a compulsive need to discuss and prove herself right nurtures. That person could be us from today.