How to be at peace

How do you go about being a peacemaker? It begins with courage.

on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 12:00 AM

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How to be at peace

How do you go about being a peacemaker? It begins with the courage to recognize and face a problem.

So you want to be a peacemaker. How do you go about it? What does peacemaking look like in practice, and how is it best pursued?

First of all, making peace doesn’t mean avoiding conflict. A conflict avoided is often a conflict postponed and therefore a conflict that ultimately becomes worse. Peacemaking begins with the honesty and courage to recognize a problem and face it. Without these steps no further progress can be made.

Here are five tactics you can deploy to pursue peace.

1. Deal with conflict early.

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out (Proverbs 17:14).

Growing up, I remember building a dam in a stream that was flowing down a hillside. The idea was simple: if we blocked the stream, we could create a pool of water deep enough for a swim. It took some time to gather the stones and put them in place, but eventually the dam was built. The pool was formed, and the level of the water began to rise. Time to get ready for a swim! But there was a problem. A small trickle of water had found its way through the rocks. Before long the trickle had moved a few small stones, releasing more water, which then had the force to remove some larger stones. What began as a trickle ended in a flood. Our dam was swept away, the pool emptied, and all our work was lost.

That’s the picture God gives us in Proverbs. The beginning of strife is like the first trickle of water. It may not have seemed like much at the time, but in that trickle lay the potential for a torrent. You’ve probably been in that situation, and you know if you could go back and do it all over again, the outcome could be different. But you can’t go back, so deal with conflict early. Don’t let small resentments take root because if you do, they’ll grow. The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

2. Practice restraint, especially with your tongue.

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19).

Self-expression is one of the leading idols in our culture, certainly fueled by social media. Peacemakers, however, practice restraint. When a relationship is under strain, you may be tempted to unload, but if you’re a peacemaker, you’ll hold back. Recognizing a problem and having the courage to face it don’t give you permission to explode with your accumulated frustrations, disappointments, and complaints.

Practice restraint, especially in relation to your tongue. Even in honest confrontation you don’t need to unload everything, and if you’re a peacemaker, you won’t.

3. Prepare for a long journey.

Seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:11).

If you’re serious about peacemaking, you may need to prepare for a long journey. If the problem is recognized early, peace may be restored quickly. But if you’re called to be a peacemaker in a relationship in which wounds are deep, you should be prepared for the long haul. When Peter used the word seek, he was saying sometimes peace won’t be easy to find. When he calls us to pursue it, he reminds us that peace may sometimes be far in the distance and that to find it, you’ll need to stay on the journey. Peacemaking is a process, not an event.

As you think about the long journey of peacemaking, remember God’s journey toward peace with you. The process of God’s making peace with you goes back to the beginning of time. It took all the promises of the Old Testament, all the work of redeeming Israel, and all the ministry of sending the prophets. It took the coming of Christ into the world, His perfect fulfillment of God’s law, His atoning death as the sacrifice for your sins, His rising from the dead, and His ascending into heaven. It took the sending of the Holy Spirit, who awakened you to your need for Christ, caused you to be born again, applied the full effect of the cleansing blood of Jesus to your life, and adopted you into the family of God. That was a long journey of redemption. God has been relentless in pursuing peace with us. Peacemakers reflect His persistence.

4. Take a step towards peace.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. (Romans 12:20).

Even your enemy has needs, and Paul described a situation in which your enemy needs food. He or she is hungry, that gives you the opportunity to show an act of kindness. The principle here is a very simple one: when peace seems a long way off, ask God to show you one small step you can take in the right direction.

5. Trust to God the injustice you’ve suffered.

This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly (1 Peter 2:19).

Sometime in your life you’ll experience the sorrow that comes from being slighted, treated unfairly, passed over, or taken for granted. It’s painful to have evil returned for good or to give of yourself and receive wounds in return. When you suffer unjustly, you need to know that Jesus has suffered unjustly also. No one has ever been wronged and had their rights ignored or flouted more than your Savior. Nevertheless, Christ was the great peacemaker.

Peter tells us in the way Jesus endured the evils and injustices committed against Him, He left an example for us so that we could follow in His steps. Jesus embodies the way God wants peacemakers to act when we’re wronged, provoked, or wounded.

Entrusting yourself to God (1 Peter 2:23) means looking to Him to deal with the injustice rather than trying to vindicate yourself. When Christ bore our sins, He absorbed the pain of what we did to Him without passing it on. This is what peacemakers do. The only way to break escalating cycles of retaliation is for someone to absorb the pain rather than pass it on. Someone has to say, “It stops here.” That’s what Christ, the great peace-keeper, has done for us. Knowing His vindication was with God and trusting Him for the outcome, Jesus broke the otherwise endless cycle of violence and vengeance by bearing our sins and absorbing the pain.

Knowing your need, you become “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) and are thrown back in fresh dependence on the Lord. You begin to recognize and mourn the compromises of your past life and to submit yourself with meekness to the will of God, even when these steps are difficult and costly.

From this God will bring the good fruit of a tender heart filled with compassion, mercy, and forgiveness; a pure heart that wills one thing and pursues holiness; and a peaceable heart that will make it possible for you to be a peacemaker in a divided and troubled world. The first ring is within your reach. Grasp it firmly and swing!

Excerpted from Momentum Bible Study by Colin S. Smith. © 2016 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.

How to be at peace

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Have you ever caught yourself hurrying when you don’t even know where you’re going? Do you ever find yourself stressed out when there’s no reason to be?

We live in a hectic society. Our minds have been conditioned to be stressed all the time. We are told to relax, but there’s a problem: We don’t know how. You probably don’t have time to learn yoga or meditation. You probably don’t even have time to take a few weeks off, and if you do, all you can do is think about work. It’s a vicious cycle that never seems to end. Even though I’ve never worked a real job in my life, I’ve found myself stressed and burned out several times.

There’s a simple, universal secret to being at peace and eliminating stress, fear, and anxiety. It’s so simple that you’ve probably heard about it thousands of times, but dismissed it.

You Are Naturally at Peace

There’s nothing you have to do to be at peace. At our core we are joyful. Look at children. When they are born, they’re happy, but once they start learning how we “should” behave, they pick up habits and become increasingly unhappy.

There’s nothing you have to strive for. When you peel away the layers you’ve accumulated through the years, you’ll notice yourself smiling more and enjoying the little things. Sure, your ego will object and say, “Hey, there are lots of things I have to strive for. I need this, that and the other thing.” But when you really look at it, you see that happiness and peace is not external, it’s internal.

Marketers and advertisers know how to push your buttons. They constantly have you feeling like you haven’t got enough, that you aren’t enough. It’s a science, and they’ve figured it out. Realize that you do not have to listen to everything your mind says. You are not your thoughts. You are the observer.

Getting Caught in the Drama

Imagine waking up with a smile on your face and not a worry in the world. Sure, you may have things you have to do, but you no longer obsessively think about them. If you make what I am about to tell you a habit, this is not only possible, but probable. You have to be consistent, because if you are, you will see results, just like I have.

What I’m talking about is gratitude. Being grateful for what you have not only melts away fear, it also alters the way your brain functions. It’s easy to get caught up in the daily drama of life, but when you think about it, you have a lot to be grateful for.

I know you may have your problems. We all do. It doesn’t matter how successful you are, you will always have problems in your life, so why not be happy right now?

How to Be at Peace

We’re used to focusing on the negative, and that has to end if you want to be at peace. I’m not telling you to ignore your problems. I’m saying that dwelling on them gets you nowhere. So how exactly can you be at peace in less than five minutes?

Focus on What You’re Grateful For

Contrary to what you may believe, you can be grateful for pretty much anything. You can even be grateful for the negative things in your life, because the mere act of saying thank you will fill your heart with positivity.

Sit down in a quiet place, close your eyes, and take 10 slow, deep breaths. Feel yourself becoming increasingly relaxed and begin thinking about what brings you joy. It may be your health, your family, your friends, or just thinking about the fact that you have a roof over your head and food on your table. We take the simplest things for granted. This is an exercise where you remind yourself that things aren’t as bad as they seem.

Consistency is Key

In order to stay consistent with this, you will have to establish some kind of routine. You could keep a special gratitude journal by your bed. Begin by writing down one thing you’re grateful for tonight. Tomorrow you can write down two things, and keep going.

In the beginning, this may be hard, but if you keep doing it, you will be overwhelmed by the amount of things you can be grateful for. Now it’s up to you to take the ball and run with it. This really works. It has been scientifically proven. You have the control to be happier.

It may not be easy in the beginning, but look at your options. Do you really want to be stressed out for the rest of your life, or do you want to be at peace?

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How to be at peace

This is a guest post by Henri Junttila. Read more by Henri at his blog, The Wake Up Cloud:

How do you go about being a peacemaker? It begins with courage.

on Thursday, September 14, 2017 at 12:00 AM

Share:

How to be at peace

How do you go about being a peacemaker? It begins with the courage to recognize and face a problem.

So you want to be a peacemaker. How do you go about it? What does peacemaking look like in practice, and how is it best pursued?

First of all, making peace doesn’t mean avoiding conflict. A conflict avoided is often a conflict postponed and therefore a conflict that ultimately becomes worse. Peacemaking begins with the honesty and courage to recognize a problem and face it. Without these steps no further progress can be made.

Here are five tactics you can deploy to pursue peace.

1. Deal with conflict early.

The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out (Proverbs 17:14).

Growing up, I remember building a dam in a stream that was flowing down a hillside. The idea was simple: if we blocked the stream, we could create a pool of water deep enough for a swim. It took some time to gather the stones and put them in place, but eventually the dam was built. The pool was formed, and the level of the water began to rise. Time to get ready for a swim! But there was a problem. A small trickle of water had found its way through the rocks. Before long the trickle had moved a few small stones, releasing more water, which then had the force to remove some larger stones. What began as a trickle ended in a flood. Our dam was swept away, the pool emptied, and all our work was lost.

That’s the picture God gives us in Proverbs. The beginning of strife is like the first trickle of water. It may not have seemed like much at the time, but in that trickle lay the potential for a torrent. You’ve probably been in that situation, and you know if you could go back and do it all over again, the outcome could be different. But you can’t go back, so deal with conflict early. Don’t let small resentments take root because if you do, they’ll grow. The beginning of strife is like letting out water, so quit before the quarrel breaks out.

2. Practice restraint, especially with your tongue.

Let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger (James 1:19).

Self-expression is one of the leading idols in our culture, certainly fueled by social media. Peacemakers, however, practice restraint. When a relationship is under strain, you may be tempted to unload, but if you’re a peacemaker, you’ll hold back. Recognizing a problem and having the courage to face it don’t give you permission to explode with your accumulated frustrations, disappointments, and complaints.

Practice restraint, especially in relation to your tongue. Even in honest confrontation you don’t need to unload everything, and if you’re a peacemaker, you won’t.

3. Prepare for a long journey.

Seek peace and pursue it. (1 Peter 3:11).

If you’re serious about peacemaking, you may need to prepare for a long journey. If the problem is recognized early, peace may be restored quickly. But if you’re called to be a peacemaker in a relationship in which wounds are deep, you should be prepared for the long haul. When Peter used the word seek, he was saying sometimes peace won’t be easy to find. When he calls us to pursue it, he reminds us that peace may sometimes be far in the distance and that to find it, you’ll need to stay on the journey. Peacemaking is a process, not an event.

As you think about the long journey of peacemaking, remember God’s journey toward peace with you. The process of God’s making peace with you goes back to the beginning of time. It took all the promises of the Old Testament, all the work of redeeming Israel, and all the ministry of sending the prophets. It took the coming of Christ into the world, His perfect fulfillment of God’s law, His atoning death as the sacrifice for your sins, His rising from the dead, and His ascending into heaven. It took the sending of the Holy Spirit, who awakened you to your need for Christ, caused you to be born again, applied the full effect of the cleansing blood of Jesus to your life, and adopted you into the family of God. That was a long journey of redemption. God has been relentless in pursuing peace with us. Peacemakers reflect His persistence.

4. Take a step towards peace.

If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. (Romans 12:20).

Even your enemy has needs, and Paul described a situation in which your enemy needs food. He or she is hungry, that gives you the opportunity to show an act of kindness. The principle here is a very simple one: when peace seems a long way off, ask God to show you one small step you can take in the right direction.

5. Trust to God the injustice you’ve suffered.

This is a gracious thing, when, mindful of God, one endures sorrows while suffering unjustly (1 Peter 2:19).

Sometime in your life you’ll experience the sorrow that comes from being slighted, treated unfairly, passed over, or taken for granted. It’s painful to have evil returned for good or to give of yourself and receive wounds in return. When you suffer unjustly, you need to know that Jesus has suffered unjustly also. No one has ever been wronged and had their rights ignored or flouted more than your Savior. Nevertheless, Christ was the great peacemaker.

Peter tells us in the way Jesus endured the evils and injustices committed against Him, He left an example for us so that we could follow in His steps. Jesus embodies the way God wants peacemakers to act when we’re wronged, provoked, or wounded.

Entrusting yourself to God (1 Peter 2:23) means looking to Him to deal with the injustice rather than trying to vindicate yourself. When Christ bore our sins, He absorbed the pain of what we did to Him without passing it on. This is what peacemakers do. The only way to break escalating cycles of retaliation is for someone to absorb the pain rather than pass it on. Someone has to say, “It stops here.” That’s what Christ, the great peace-keeper, has done for us. Knowing His vindication was with God and trusting Him for the outcome, Jesus broke the otherwise endless cycle of violence and vengeance by bearing our sins and absorbing the pain.

Knowing your need, you become “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) and are thrown back in fresh dependence on the Lord. You begin to recognize and mourn the compromises of your past life and to submit yourself with meekness to the will of God, even when these steps are difficult and costly.

From this God will bring the good fruit of a tender heart filled with compassion, mercy, and forgiveness; a pure heart that wills one thing and pursues holiness; and a peaceable heart that will make it possible for you to be a peacemaker in a divided and troubled world. The first ring is within your reach. Grasp it firmly and swing!

Excerpted from Momentum Bible Study by Colin S. Smith. © 2016 Lifeway Press. Used by permission.

We can have a lot of things in life, but if we don’t have peace, we’re never going to truly enjoy our lives the way God intended.

How to be at peace(Courtesy of Joyce Meyer Ministries)

First Peter 3:11 (AMP) is one of my favorite scriptures. It says, “Let him search for peace…and seek it eagerly. [Do not merely desire peaceful relations with God, with your fellowmen, and with yourself, but pursue, go after them!]”

“Pursue” is a strong word. It requires action and doing whatever it takes to maintain peace in our lives. It means not always getting “our way” or having the last word in an argument. It requires us to trust God even more with the people in our lives. But it’s all worth it.

Are you ready to enjoy new levels of peace? If so, here are some ways you can cultivate peace with God, yourself and others…

1. Receive God’s forgiveness. Peace with God is the foundation for peace in every other area of our lives. Jesus is the “Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6) and it’s only through a relationship with Him that we will ever experience true contentment.

When we sin, the greatest thing we can do is repent, ask God to forgive us, and then make a decision to not live in guilt. Guilt is useless. Constantly feeling guilty actually weakens us and causes us to fall into more sin.

I encourage you to read and meditate on 1 John 1:9 (AMP): “If we [freely] admit that we have sinned and confess our sins, He is faithful and just…and will forgive our sins [dismiss our lawlessness] and [continuously] cleanse us from all unrighteousness….”

2. Make a decision to like yourself. This may sound funny to ask, but what kind of relationship do you have with yourself? The truth is you can’t get along with anyone else until you get along with you.

For years, I dealt with self-hatred because of the sexual abuse I endured growing up. Because I didn’t like myself, it was almost impossible for me to enjoy peace with my husband or other people. However, as I spent time in God’s Word and asked Him to change me, I eventually began to see myself the way He sees me; I began to like myself!

I encourage you to find out what God says about you in His Word. Ask Him to help you change your self-image. Because enjoying life and enjoying other people all begins with knowing who God says you are and truly liking yourself.

3. Don’t compare yourself to others. Comparing and competing with other people is one of the fastest ways to lose your peace and joy. There is such freedom in learning to be happy with who you are without being jealous of someone else’s skills or achievements.

For example, I have a friend who likes to memorize parts of the Bible. There was a day when I would have been threatened by that, feeling like I should do the same thing. I know a lot of Scripture, and I have even memorized several verses, but memorization has never been my strength…and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean I am less spiritual or somehow not as good as my friend. It just means I am being myself!

4. Accept other people just the way they are. I almost wore myself out trying to change people until I realized they’re not all supposed to be like me. We are all born with different God-given personalities and were never meant to be the same.

For example, my husband Dave is easy-going and has the ability to enjoy just about anything he does. I’ll never forget our grocery trips as a young married couple. I had my list and was serious about accomplishing our mission. Dave, on the other hand, was pushing the kids around in the cart, laughing and having a great time. It made me so mad!

Dave has always been a very wise and responsible man, but I wanted him to be “serious” like me. When I finally stopped trying to change him, it brought tremendous peace. Now, I truly enjoy and value Dave’s personality. In fact, over the years the Lord has helped me to enjoy my life and be even more like him!

Sure, we all have areas where we truly need to change, but only God can change us. The best thing we can do for others is to pray for them…and accept them right where they are.

5. Let God have control of your life. Proverbs 16:9 (AMP) says, “A man’s mind plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps and makes them sure.” I used to have a plan for everything – including my husband, my kids and my ministry – and would sometimes get frustrated if things didn’t go accordingly. In other words, I wanted the Lord to do things my way! However, God is smarter than we are, and He wants us to place our trust in His great plan for our lives.

I often say that trust requires unanswered questions. In the moment, we may not always understand “why,” but like the psalmist David we can say, “My times are in Your hands” (Psalm 31:15). Later on, we’ll look back and discover the Lord had our best in mind all along.

I encourage you to continue trusting God even when things don’t make sense. It’s one sure way to enjoy your life…and experience more peace than ever before.

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“Peace” can sound sentimental or clichéd but it’s what most of us long for.

Posted Nov 09, 2016

How to be at peace

What’s your sense of peace?

The Practice:
Enjoy four kinds of peace.

“Peace” can sound merely sentimental or clichéd (“visualize whirled peas”). But deep down, it’s what most of us long for. Consider the proverb: The highest happiness is peace.

Not a peace inside that ignores pain in oneself or others, or is acquired by shutting down. This is a durable peace, a peace you can come home to even if it’s been covered over by fear, frustration, or heartache.

When you’re at peace – when you are engaged with life while also feeling relatively relaxed, calm, and safe – you are protected from stress, your immune system grows stronger, and you become more resilient. Your outlook brightens and you see more opportunities. In relationships, feeling at peace prevents overreactions, increases the odds of being treated well by others, and supports you in being clear and direct when you need to be.

I think there are four kinds of peace, and I’ll point out where each might be found. The first two kinds are pretty straightforward, while the third and fourth take a person into the deep end of the pool. It’s helped me to notice, appreciate, and (hopefully) practice each of these. It’s OK to focus on just one for a while; any peace is better than none!

In particular, enjoy your peacefulness, wherever you find it. In our culture of pressure, invasive demands for attention, and jostling busyness, inner peace must be protected. When you experience it, enjoy it, which will help it sink into you, weaving its way into your brain so it increasingly becomes the habit of your mind.

The Peace of Ease
This is the peace of relaxation and relief, and it comes in many forms. You look out a window and feel calmer, talk through a problem with a friend, or finally make it to the bathroom. You exhale slowly, activating the soothing parasympathetic wing of your nervous system. You finish a batch of emails or dishes. You were worried about something but finally get good news.

Whew. At rest. It’s easy to underestimate this sort of peace but it really counts. Take it in when you feel it.

The Peace of Tranquility
This is deep quiet in mind and body. Perhaps you’ve felt this on first waking, before the mind kicks into gear. Or while sitting next to a mountain pond, something of its stillness seeps into your heart. At the end of a workout, meditation, or yoga, you might have felt serene.

When mind and body are this settled, there is no sense of deficit or disturbance, and no struggling with anything, or grasping after it, or clinging to others. There’s an inner freedom, a non-reactivity, that is wonderful.

The Peace of Awareness
This is a subtler kind of peace. Perhaps you’ve had the experience of being upset and your mind is racing . . . and at the same time there is a place inside that is simply witnessing, untroubled by what it sees. Or you may have the sense of awareness as an open space in which sights and sounds, thoughts and feelings, arise and disappear; the space itself is never ruffled or harmed by what passes through it.

I’m not speaking of anything mystical here, only what you can see directly in your own mind. As either a bare witness or the space through which the stream of consciousness flows, awareness itself is always at peace.

The Peace of What’s Unchanging
First, while most things continually change, some don’t; for example, the fact that things change doesn’t itself change. Two plus two will always equal four. The good thing you did this morning or last year will always have happened. Things that don’t change are reliable, which feels peaceful.

Second, while individual waves come and go, the ocean is always ocean. While the contents of the universe are changing, the universe as universe is not. You can get an intuition of this by recognizing that you are a local wave in a vast sea of human culture, nature, and the physical universe; yes, you are changing, but within an unchanging allness. The sense of this, even if fleeting, can really put you at peace.

Third, you could have a sense of something transcendental, something eternal, call it God, Spirit, the Unconditioned, or by no name at all. Beyond words, this offers “the peace that passeth understanding,” and I include it here because it is meaningful to many people (including myself).

How to be at peace

Peace is one of the most important human experiences. If you don’t have peace, then you’re not able to appreciate whatever else you do have. In fact, you may not even be able to recognize the good in your life because you have not recognized the good in yourself—yet. Here are a few things that may be getting your way:

1. You Mistake Peace for Unconsciousness

Sometimes people feel peaceful when they become very tired. Others think that peace is what you feel after having a few drinks or taking drugs. (People use these substances, because they long for inner stillness and quiet.) Being half asleep or desensitized by drugs or a few glasses of wine can keep you from feeling your anxiety, fear, anger, resentment or worry. But this relief only lasts a short time. That turmoil is still there—because peace is not unconsciousness. Peace is not being asleep or being numb. It’s the opposite. It’s a state of heightened aliveness, when we become more conscious rather than less, and this requires an awareness of the kinds of thoughts that habitually go through your mind.

2. You Mistake Peace for Happiness

Many people think of happiness as a goal, something you’re working toward that will eventually make you feel good or at peace with your life. To me, however, happiness is usually associated with a high that occurs when something nice happens. You feel happy when you get the job or find a $100 bill on the street. You feel happy leaving for vacation. But very often the vacation doesn’t turn out the way it’s supposed to, or it comes to an end, or while on that vacation you only think about the problems you’re going to find when you come back home. In all of these cases, the happiness is temporary. After a while it subsides, and then, quite often, you’ll even feel suddenly low. Because happiness isn’t peace.

Happiness is actually quite superficial, whereas peace is deeper. Peace is immune to the polarities of life: the highs and lows, the hots and colds, the so-called goods and so-called bads. This is why peace is so crucial. Nobody goes through life without encountering all these experiences, inspiring or upsetting. When someone close to you dies or you have a health problem or you lose our possessions, you probably can’t feel happy. Nobody could. But do you need to feel in absolute despair? Do you need to feel devastated? If you are at peace and connected with that deeper level in you, those kind of emotional extremes don’t occur. You’ll have a calm that is not affected by whatever happens in the world, because you have an acceptance and understanding of whatever happens in the world.

3. You Keep Looking Ahead (or Looking Back)

All too often there is something that hasn’t happened yet (or something that has happened already), which seems to prevent you from inner peace. There’s the job you haven’t gotten or the job you lost. There’s the child you haven’t had or the child that you used to be. But ultimately these are misperceptions; ultimately it’s your mind keeping you from peace, especially the thoughts that you have over and over.

This voice in your head takes you away completely from what is happening now. You’re out in some future moment where things might go wrong or you are trapped in the past where you are continuously replaying an old movie in your mind about the time you failed a school examination or someone said something unkind. You’re stuck, but you can’t see it. The movie feels like an absolute reality, and it keeps you from truly acknowledging or appreciating life as it is now. But it’s not reality. You can’t see the present. You’re too busy with where you want to be next (or where you were), which causes continual stress. The only solution is awareness, awareness that the voice in your head is really just repeating thoughts—no more, no less.

4. You Strain Away from the Present Moment

Not only does our mind strain away from the calm of the present moment, it also judges and interprets such a moment—usually negatively. For example, let’s pretend a co-worker just received a promotion. The voice in your head says that you should have gotten the promotion or that your boss just prefers that co-worker, even though you’re the stronger candidate.

In this case—and most cases—it’s not the external circumstance (not getting job) that’s making you unhappy but what you’re telling yourself about those circumstances (“It’s not fair!”). In other words, your thoughts are making you unhappy. When you change this habit, you will stop resisting what is happening in your life. You can become friendly with the present moment and find an opening into the spiritual dimension. This is one of the most important spiritual practices in the search for peace. Old irritations—like being trapped in a traffic jam—are no longer upsetting or anxiety provoking. You become internally aligned with the reality of what is happening: You are in a car, you aren’t moving. that is all. You don’t have a problem, not right this second. You might even notice a mother singing to a child in a neighboring car or the vibrant blue of the sky. You have become friendly with life itself, and with the experiences offered you everywhere.

5. You Don’t Fully Trust. Yet

There is an intelligence in the movement of life, which goes far beyond the limited intelligence of your thinking mind. This is the spirit. When you begin to trust in your spirit and life itself, you begin to feel a peace. You are no longer separate from that greater intelligence from which life unfolds, you are no longer to trying to get somewhere else or find something missing.

The old religious word for this kind of trust is “faith.” Some Christians would say they have faith in God, some would say they have faith in a higher power, but whatever name people chose, they are talking about that which underlies all life. Peace comes from this trust. Peace comes from being aligned with the present moment. Wherever you are, you feel that you are home—because you are home.

My daily mantra: ALS will kill me. But it won’t break me.

I was diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) in late 2019. It took doctors a while to figure out why, at age 59, I was falling as often as a 2-year-old.

I call ALS the politest of all diseases. That’s because the degenerative disease tells you what’s coming. It affects everyone differently, but for me, it whispered in my ear: “I’m going to take away your ability to walk. Better get used to the idea.”

I got used to the idea.

I went from hobbling around with the help of a walker to, this year, zooming around on a power wheelchair.

Now it whispers: “I’m going to take away your capacity to cut your food and to plug in your iPhone charger.”

I’m struggling to wrap my mind around losing upper body strength and fine motor skills. But I’ll get there.

It’s been a dramatic change. I had focused in my 50s on getting healthy. I lost 50 pounds through Weight Watchers and exercise. I rediscovered the joys of bicycling, riding a daily 8-mile loop with hills before work, and then cycling 25 miles through Mennonite country on weekends. With our two daughters, I climbed half of the 46 tallest mountains in New York state’s Adirondack Park.

How to be at peace

I envisioned being that old guy who teaches little ones how to ride a bike and to read a map for a hike in the woods.

Now my body has been hijacked by a disease that will be the death of me. Because, despite many promising advances, there still is no cure.

Yes, life changed dramatically. But not all in bad ways.

My wife, who stopped working just before I started having symptoms, dropped all her retirement plans. She lovingly stepped forward to become the world’s leading expert on ALS, the complex medical system and accessible renovations and vehicles. My one sadness: My heart breaks when I think about all that she has given up.

I am blessed with an amazing group of family and friends. They pitched in to renovate our house, with the help of a plumber and electrician. They converted our living room into a wheelchair-friendly downstairs bathroom and bedroom. They rebuilt and raised our deck and installed big back doors so I can wheel outside and watch the birds and dogs.

One friend took charge as volunteer project manager. Two other dear friends walked our high-energy dog every day. Family members packed us up and drove us to our summer cabin.

The folks at the ALS Association and the ALS Clinic at Hershey amaze me. They generously give advice, support and equipment, and even set me up with a clinical trial.

A surprising side effect of ALS? A sense of peace.

Oct 28, 2016

There are many ways to be a change maker and a peace builder. Here are some opportunities to learn more and engage in building a peaceful and just world, each and every day:

1. Learn about the future of peace building

We know peace works. In fact, we have nearly 100 years of experience to show that peace is more effective than violence. Learn from AFSC’s history in this brand-new, free online video course created in partnership with the United States Institute of Peace.

2. Share better stories and promote nonviolence, inclusion, and peace

Find some by following our “Media Uncovered” blog, which reframes press coverage of key peace and justice issues. Then, share your thoughts and our tips with your groups in person or on social media.

3. Get inspired by young change makers

Learn about the impact of conflict and discrimination on young people around the world, and about the ways in which young people are addressing conflict to inspire change. And please, share these stories with others on Facebook, Twitter, email, community meetings, or other ways you use. Then, in the discussion that can follow, explore how you can be a change maker, too, in your community.

4. Join AFSC in endorsing the Vision for Black Lives

Follow their ample resource suggestions and steps to take action on many interrelated issues. We also encourage you to share the vision with your faith and community groups and urge them to endorse the vision and work with us and thousands of others who are trying to foster justice.

5. Learn lessons on using grassroots resistance to oppose militarism

Social change is a lifelong process – you can’t retire from your community. Read seven ideas from those who are building peace in their communities – and beyond.

6. Engage some of the best reading on key justice and peace issues each week

Follow AFSC’s curated best of journalism feature, What We’re Reading, where we select the best on a trending topic each week. These stories can help give you the insights to win over your friends, colleagues, and family members. You can find our recommendations by following us on Facebook or Twitter.

7. Join AFSC’s action alerts

You can find our current action alerts on the Get Involved page, and you can get timely reminders by subscribing to our email activism list.