I don’t have a lot of public speaking experience, but I have had the pleasure of giving a handful of talks over the years. One of my earliest was on “choosing peace,” a concept that continues to come up for me from time to time, and always resonates. What I am remembering this week is that peace is the bottom, underlying truth of just about everything. When we desire something, often what we are truly desiring is to have more peace in our experience. When I desire a greater experience of prosperity in my life, is it really just that I desire more money? That desire might be specific — say, to be debt-free — but what does having more money ultimately give me? A sense of peace surrounding my finances: no need to worry, the knowledge that I can cope with whatever comes my way, the freedom to make choices from a place of trust instead of that place of “have to.” When I desire more time, am I really looking for more hours in the day? I’m looking to feel productive, to not be rushed, to know that it is all getting done with plenty of time to spare — I’m looking to feel at peace.
I think most of us are comfortable with the idea that the manifestation of our desires brings peace, but I think the truth is that being at peace is what brings about the manifestation of our desires. Peace is a choice that can be made regardless of the circumstances. Once you accept what is, accept whatever is up for you in this moment for exactly what it is, without judgment, and especially without condemnation, you can find peace with it. You don’t have to be debt-free to feel at peace with your finances. You don’t have to have plenty of time to complete your project in order to feel at peace with whatever the outcome is. You choose the peace first, which lays the foundation for your desires to be made manifest.
This week, this concept is cropping up everywhere. Most prominently, it is playing out at my office. There is a lot of change taking place, some ostensibly for the better, some ostensibly for the worse. Some of my co-workers have chosen to focus on the negative, and it is making them miserable. While I can see their perspective, I also know that I have been down that path before — I know where it leads, and I know that I don’t want to go there. Instead, I am choosing peace — choosing to find the good where I can, and where that method hasn’t been working for me, to find peace with what is. The difference in our experience of what is happening is striking — I am getting my work done, enjoying my work relationships, spending the bulk of my day smiling and laughing, and able to support others who are in need.
Thich Nhat Hanh says at the beginning of Being Peace, “If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace.” This the choice that I am making this week — choosing peace, enabling myself and those around me to experience that peace regardless of apparent circumstances. What choices are you making today? How can you make a different choice to create a different outcome in your life? Give it a whirl, see what happens. I can almost guarantee you’ll be happy you did. Namaste.