How does one embark on a journey
to find his or her
The Spiral Flower © 2001, 2002, 2004 by Paul Lloyd Warner
These are important questions and highly relevant to our own
time. If we, as members of the Human Race, who are working to discover the root causes of violence in the human condition, both individually and collectively, cannot find
peace within ourselves, how can we help bring peace to our communities and to the world? To put this simply, Peace is the opposite to violence, and hence war. Or we may say that
Peace is the antithesis of violence.
To completely eradicate violence from the human condition is
virtually impossible. As long as there exists people in various stages of personal development, there will always be some impulse to violence. Violence cannot be avoided in cases
where someone else's life is threatened. What is incumbent on each individual is to search themselves for any tendencies toward violence and learn to channel those impulses into
positive actions. Very difficult to do. Fortunately there are technique in many of the world's cultures to help people along.
How do we each find peace within ourselves? An inner peace?
Ah, these are age-old questions. Whatever the case, it involves the individual to work upon themselves to achieve the long sought after goal to free themselves of the very
conditions which prevent one from finding and accepting an inner peace.
The answer will fall into two categories. One of a spiritual
nature, and the other of a mental or intellectual nature. Both involve the so-called "heart" and a depth of feeling. Both will be interwoven into the response offered here.
First the spiritual. Please do not confuse this with "religious"
which refers to a specific religion. Spiritual in this case, means one's soul, one's inner life, that inner conscience. A place within the mind where one's spirit dwells while we are
alive in the world and going about our business every day. We all must find a way to cultivate our spiritual nature, our inmost being, that place of refuge where our soul resides.
First we have to admit that it exists. That we possess an inner
self, an inner life. If the person reading this does not accept the existence of the soul, that is fine, please to the Second category. To continue on, we must pose the question to
ourselves: Are we alone? Are we entirely alone, perhaps in the existential sense of the term? Or are we connected to a whole? In the spiritual sense, we may say that since our
existence is a proven fact, than our existence exists within the Whole, the universe, and all there is.
The fundamental question is then, can we find a relationship
between our self and the cosmos? Since the Sun was created from the cosmic cloud, and the Earth was created from the Sun, and all life evolved on Earth as a result of the Earth's
environment, we can conclude that we are evolved from the Earth which was created by the forces of the Universe. Thus we are part and parcel of the Universal stuff which created us
. What is the universal stuff? The answer is all creation, everything which exists, not only in the stars, but in all dimensions, conceived of, or unconceived.
Just to know, for absolute surety, that we are made of cosmic
stuff is potent medicine for personal contemplation. Some people will name this God and give God a human form and tendency, and others will not name it, but will accept that
there is a universal substance which pervades all things. Again, we must not confuse "religion" with spirituality. To some the two go together, and to others, they are apart. One
does not have to follow a particular religion to be spiritual. On the other hand, others believe in a specific religion and discover their concept of God within it, and become spiritually aware.
So, this essay is not about God. It is about spirituality, and
our inner life. To put this another way, one can say that it takes only a few square inches in the cerebral cortex to think and ponder about these great questions? And yet within
these few square inches within the brain, we are capable of conceiving the Universe on the vastest scales, beyond imagination. Yet there exists a connection between this tiny
part of our brain and the great whole which is the universe in all its manifestations and dimensions. In this relationship between the self and the universal whole, one can find the
beginnings of inner peace.
Inner peace, then, is of a spiritual nature, or of a mental and
feeling nature, or both, or all, or some, according to the individual contemplating and experiencing it. Inner peace may be found in the fact that as part of the Universe, we, as
individuals, are bound by its laws, the physical laws of the Cosmos. The laws of light, for example, physics, mathematics, science are all laws of a universal nature. Our
spectrometers are capable of isolating the same atoms billions of light-years away from us as found on Earth. Mathematics is a universal language.
Universal laws also affect the inner life of humankind. For
example there is the universal law of Love. How is love construed to be a universal law? By the fact that almost all creatures experience it in one way or another. Certainly the
human species. Love has a universal power that pervades our being, touches us, ignites our feelings, whether toward passion, or toward a depth of feeling that is indescribable.
The love for a mother toward her child. Here is primary love. What is deeper? The love for one human toward another.
Real love, not just sexual love, but that love which springs from the heart, from the inner feelings, that place where love blossoms in a friendship, in a profound love, in a love for
beauty, for nature, for the sunset, for a beautiful mountain, in a gorgeous flower, in a love for humankind, for the indomitable human spirit and its creative potential to bring
into existence a Michaelangelo, or a Beethoven, or a Rembrandt.
And in a universal sense, a love for the stars, for the galaxies,
for space, for the beautiful planets imagined to exist, for life elsewhere, for the fact that we know we are an emerging species in the Universe, stuck in our territorial battles,
individually and collectively. We are a race of Human Beings who are just beginning to form a global consciousness and realize we are linked together just by our existence here on
Earth. With the advent of telecommunications, satellites, computers and the Internet, we have quickly become aware that we all reside on Planet Earth together, with many of us
trying to solve the world's myriad problems, the issue of war, of geopolitical disputes, of nationhood, of pollution, of human rights, of economic power, of justice, etc. etc.
Inner peace, may then be found in our own relationship to
the Universe, to the World, to our Friends, Families, and ultimately to our own living, breathing selves.
We may find inner peace in knowing that we are also universal
in nature. We may find it in nature, in art, in beauty, literature, music, in our own spiritual awakening. We can meditate, close our eyes, and quiet the mind and heart. Or
we can meditate by contemplating the stars and all there is. If we believe in God as a concept that humans can approach, then we can meditate into a supreme essence. If we do not
accept God, then we can still meditate into the Whole Reality which is universal consciousness. That is plenty big enough. It doesn't matter if we believe in God or not. What does
matter is that we accept the fact we are gifted with Life at this moment. That we have the power to think as we choose. We have the right to change our thinking if we do not like the
results of our thinking. We have the right to exchange negative thinking patterns into positive ones either through our own inner will, or through training in any number of disciplines.
This is the Key. To exchange any negative thinking pattern
with a positive one. Very easy to say, and much harder to do. How is this done? By first identifying the negative thinking pattern, and then not admitting it into our consciousness
once it returns. Just like learning how to dance, in the beginning it is awkward. When the negative thought returns, we simply say to ourselves something like "OUT - Go Away, I
do not admit you into my consciousness." Eventually it will go away if we take care to work on it.
If we have multiple areas of negative thinking, then write
them down and work on each one individually. Really difficult modes of thought like jealousy, eating disorders, low self esteem, take a great deal of work. Often it is helpful to
go into a group setting and discuss these issues. Sometimes it requires professional care. However, we have the power within our own minds to work out our problems if we wish to,
and choose to do so.
Inner peace comes when we have resolved our inner conflicts
and have exchanged them for an inner dialogue with the self. When we have accepted ourselves in all the magnificence we are. There is a light within the mind, and it IS magnificent,
regardless of the nay-sayers. There is, without a doubt, a conscience, an inner knowingness, a place where self resides within this life of ours. Inner peace is that well within our
inmost mind. Where the heart is at peace, knowing we have the power to think constructively, creatively, and positively. All we have is our minds and we can train our minds to think
to its highest levels.
Finally, it must be remembered that we are always human and
subject to the unexpected. Things happen, We get flat tires, our engines blow up. All we need remember is that there is a place where we can live from, a place where we are at peace
with ourselves, knowing we have the infinite power of the universe at our disposal. All we need to do is learn how to use this infinite power, this creative principle - and it goes to
work for us in every way. Sometimes life takes us down from this place and we must deal with the "real stuff". When we have dealt with it, then we must remember that there is a
universal consciousness which is always there, call it universal love, call it whatever you wish, there is a power of love that is always there to remember and claim as our own. Once we
remember that it is there, we can always return to it.
Inner peace resides within us at all times. It has been said the
only thing that prevents the human mind from finding peace - IS THE HUMAN MIND ITSELF.