GREAT MORNING BELOVED!!
And peace be with you. Let’s light the Advent candles – for Hope and for Peace.
We are into week #2 of Advent which is focused on Peace. As we explore the second agreement, Don’t Take Anything Personally, we discover that that is an important key to living in peace. If this message is for us, how might it impact our lives in this season of Advent and beyond?
Think about that for a minute…
WOW! If we could just keep in mind that everything isn’t always about us. Our egos would like to think that that was so, but come on, do we REALLY think we are the center of the universe and everything revolves around us???
Well, I personally know a few folks who actually DID think that everything revolved around them. But they are no longer a part of my world. And I wish them peace.
The Hebrew word for peace: shalom, occurs over 250 times in the Hebrew Bible and over the centuries religious scholars have spilled plenty of ink reflecting on its complex meaning.
In English, the word peace tends to mean something like “the lack of war or conflict.” And while the biblical concept of shalom encompasses this sort of peace, it is only a part of what God promised.
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27). This calls us to work along with Spirit to restore God’s peace here on Earth (Matthew 5:9).
Shalom also means “wholeness, and well-being.” It is the ideal—for our individual lives and for that of God’s creation at large; the world of all the living. It’s a return to God’s original creation before we missed the mark.
It is what was meant to be: a slice of heaven.
We can’t have that if we are taking things personally.
Nehru tells us: “Peace is not a relationship of nations; it is a condition of the mind brought about by serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”
WE can be those people!
When we allow peace as our natural state, we bless every person, every relationship, every interaction, no matter how small or fleeting, with our peaceful presence.
And we cannot be in that peaceful presence if we are taking something personally.
That takes you out of your natural state.
When we discussed “Don’t take anything personally” last month, we mentioned that we could not be in a state of PRESENCE if we were taking something personally.
And if that were the case, then Peace would not be there, it could not be attainable.
So, we must focus on peace. We must clear our mind of cluttered thoughts and replace them with images of tranquility. Maybe we use visualization and see a quiet lake, the stars on a clear night sky, or our family snuggled into restful sleep. It is there where we let go of outer concerns and trust Spirit.
If we can remember that no one is against us and everything and everyone is for us, how could we NOT be at peace?
Peace is a state of mind where we know we are one with Spirit.
Commit to be peaceful in our thoughts, words, and actions.
Rev. Melody Martin, gives us a three-step process of releasing in order to get to those moments of knowing:
One step requires releasing others’ perceptions of you. You do not have to take on others’ perceptions as they do not belong to you. That is all about the other. Your perception of self is the only one that ultimately matters! You are the one who has to live with yourself.
Another imperative form of releasing is forgiveness. Forgiveness means releasing others from what you have perceived they have done or failed to do. It is your perception. You have the power to release or not. To suffer or not.
It is also imperative to forgive yourself, to release your own perceptions of what you have done or not done. Let go of the past. You can choose to take the wisdom you have gained from the past and release the rest, it no longer serves you.
The last form of releasing is releasing the future. Peace comes in the moment. The Now is all we have. When we have experienced peace, it has always been in the Now moment.
If we are in the NOW, we have no basis to take anything personally.
Peace is embedded within us…how do we cultivate, nurture, and activate the peace we already have within? Make a commitment to peace—find a way to remain calm
Tell yourself that you prefer peace to whatever is happening. And keep saying that until you find peace within and all around.
Create a place for your heart to take the lead over your head, closer to peace. Our hearts are way smarter than our brains!
Even in the midst of a room full of laughing and talking people, we can find the quiet by just loving and blessing the people, not taking anything personally.
How to stay in perfect peace: release the temptation to review troubles and anxieties; practice gratitude to focus on what we do have instead of what we don’t, give thanks to God for what we have. Always be in gratitude.
In this way, we prepare the way for receiving even greater good; fill our mind with positive, powerful thoughts of good that attract love, joy and beauty
This way, there is no way taking something personally has a place to take hold.
Say, “I see peace instead of this,” when something tries to challenge your peaceful place.
Regardless of what is happening, “be still and know that I am God” Psalm 46:10