With so much happening this time of year, it is important—no, make that necessary—to make peace in your life. Taking time to create a quiet and peaceful place inside is the perfect antidote to the hustle, bustle and frantic energy that surrounds us.
Whether it’s the holiday preparations, money worries or other stresses our nervous systems are maxed out. We need to hit the “pause button” to replenish the resources of our bodies, our minds and our spirits.
Stress takes a terrible toll on the physical and emotional body. Giving yourself even a fifteen-minute “peace break” helps to reset the nervous system. During the reset, the body produces chemicals, which bathe all of your tissues. It relaxes the body and produces an inner environment that supports clarity and healing. This healing is not only physical, but emotional and spiritual, as well.
To do this meditation, it is first important to have a few memories of gratefulness at the ready. I’ve written about gratitude in this column before. It is a feeling that supports well-being and creates an atmosphere that is conducive to inner peace.
Remember times in your life that had you feeling grateful or appreciative. Mine include the day I met my partner, cuddling with the cat on a snowy morning, holding my infant godson, the first time I hear the peepers in Springtime, enjoying a long hot shower after a sweaty day, the aroma balsam fir, my first taste of wild blueberries, a sunny afternoon during peak autumn color, and my favorite one—having a polar bear stand on its hind legs just under my tundra buggy window!
Your list can include a range from the simple to the monumental. The important thing is that the memory elicits the feelings of gratitude. I have a list at hand just in case one doesn’t trigger the feelings. I work with the memories until I feel grateful. (Some of the memories are so powerful that at their remembrance, I find myself so full that my eyes begin to spill over. In my process, I know when my eyes fill that I’ve hit the right button. Those are the best moments!)
Whatever is on your particular list, choose one and let yourself fill up with the memory. Remember the sight, sounds, and smells of the experience. Bring it back as richly as you can and let yourself remember the feelings you had in your heart. Remember how delicious it is to feel grateful! For me it’s like in the moment, the world around me gets fuzzy and warm.
Give yourself the luxury of feeling these feelings for at least ten minutes. Don’t look at your watch. Find some other way to keep time. You could set a kitchen timer or, as I do, listen to a favorite piece of music that lasts ten or so minutes!
Having music available that nurtures feelings of gratitude is a bonus. Music—especially pieces without words—is wonderful for heightening and enhancing our feeling states. Do a little experimentation and find music that supports you to attain and sustain the grateful state of being. I have several instrumental selections from the classical repertoire and some "new age" music depending on my mood. Some of my favorite gratitude soundtracks include, Dreamstreams by Dean Evanson, Baroque Music for Trumpet with Wynton Marsalis, Mozarts' Eine Kleine Nachtmusik, Galaxies by Kevin Braheny, Trois Gymnopédies by Erik Satie, Enya's The Celts, Aaron Copland's Appalachian Spring, and J.S. Bach's complete Goldberg Variations played by Glenn Gould.
Once you are in a delightful state of gratitude, practice a prayer for world peace. When I speak about prayer, I’m not talking about words that are memorized from a prayer book or lines of scripture. Rather, I am suggesting that you begin imagining a world that is peaceful! Actually feeling what it is that you desire supports bringing it into manifestation. (Using this “technique,” a recent global peace prayer experiment actually lowered violence in the designated region!)
Imagine a world in which all children wake up in a quiet, peaceful place. Imagine them smiling and jumping out of bed, eager to play! Imagine children of all nationalities and colors playing together and laughing. What would that feel like? How would it feel if a national holiday was being called to celebrate the outbreak of peace? Imagine the feelings that you’d have if you woke up tomorrow and read the headline "PEACE BREAKS OUT ACROSS GLOBE!" in the morning paper?
Let your imagination take you deeply into that vision and let yourself fill with the feelings. Imagine first relief, then joy and finally exultation! Imagine calling all your family and friends to celebrate. Imagine embracing your own children knowing that they and children everywhere are free to grow up healthy—without the terror of war. Imagine that this peace touches every heart and every soul so deeply that no one ever wants to break the spell.
As you are reading this, you might be hearing the voice of doubt rise up in your mind. "Ah, it’s just a dream." it says. How could peace happen like that? it asks. The mind is often a naysayer in the process of growth and change. If it interferes, just go back to the feelings of gratitude. In that emotional atmosphere, the mind will settle down and cooperate with creating a new paradigm for you and the world. Yes, I said "a new paradigm."
This kind of practice is part and parcel of creating the New Earth. It is also part of the work of the spiritual warrior. We are the dreamers who dare to believe that the world can be more magnificent, beautiful and peaceful. We who can collectively dream it into being will with our imaginations and the awesome power of our feeling energies.
Albert Einstein said, "Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions." In Medicine for the Earthwork, we find that the power of imagination helps to create the possibility in which intentionally polluted beakers of water are “healed” in a matter of moments. It certainly makes logical sense. After all, how can we begin to create something new if we can’t first dream it?
So this season, make a pact with yourself to join the band of fellow dreamers who are helping create a peaceful world. Start with your daily gratitude practice and add the feelings of peace. Use your glorious imagination to dream immense possibilities for joy and tranquility into being for all of the Earth’s inhabitants.
You are a co-creator. When you step up and start utilizing your magnificent abilities, you join with the many others that are dreaming the new world into being along with you. You are shoulder to shoulder with the energy bodies of your compatriots. Together, we are making possible what has never been before.
Our times are special. More people are “aware and awake” than ever before. More people understand the power that is as inherent part of our splendid humanness. Even with all our frailties, we have the opportunity to make a huge difference—simply by becoming impeccable about our emotions. Using them for positive purpose and in so doing making the world a better place.
When I was young, a young prophet once wrote:
"You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one."
If we give it a chance, there is a chance for peace. Let’s gather that reality into our hearts and make it happen. Join me in feeling a peaceful world.
© 2008 Evelyn C. Rysdyk
Evelyn C. Rysdyk, author of the book, Modern Shamanic Living, is a nationally recognized teacher of shamanism, healer & artist in joint practice with C. Allie Knowlton, LCSW, DCSW as Spirit Passages. Featured in the book, Traveling Between the Worlds, interviews with 24 of the world’s most influential writers and teachers of shamanism they are also Executive Editors of the e-magazine for ecospirituality, Spirit Living (www.spiritliving.org)
Since 1991, they have offered workshops across the USA and Canada. In addition, they have worked with hundreds of people in their private shamanic healing practice at True North in Falmouth, ME where they collaborate with physicians, nurses, a psychiatrist and other integrative health care practitioners.
Evelyn and her partner may be contacted though their web site: www.spiritpassges.com.