Wondering What to Do After the Election? Start Here: Inaugurate Peace
Even those who avoid getting too involved in politics have not escaped the pervasive tensions in the U.S. To say it is a time of change and uncertainty is putting it mildly. Many have moved from the numbness of shock to the motivation of mobilization. Let’s do something. But what? What can we do to be part of the healing solution we all need? Start here: inaugurate peace.
The Greatest Resource We Have
How do we deal with the daily stress of the news? What can help us stay balanced and resilient in turbulent times? You have what you need. We all do. It’s a matter of knowing how to access our inner resources. Ela Gandhi, the granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, talked with me about her work for peace and nonviolence in Apartheid South Africa. When I asked her how she coped through years of violence and injustice, she told me, “We were not discouraged because we had spiritual resources.” Those are our greatest resources. Now, more than ever, it is time to access them.
Three Steps to Access Your Spiritual Resources
As a longtime meditator, I know that a sure way to connect with my inner resources is to access peace within. That requires quieting my mind. Once my thoughts settle, I can “gather” the peace of my soul, the well-spring of my spiritual resources. To gather peace, I simply become aware of it and invite the experience of it to expand. Then, I inwardly commit to sharing that peace, to bringing it forth in my words and actions.
First: Get Quiet
Decide to meditate. The easiest way to meditate is to sit intentionally, quietly, and become aware of your breathing. Close your eyes and notice the feeling of your inhalation and exhalation. Let your breath become even and slow as you observe the cool air entering your nostrils and the warmer air moving out again. Post your inner gaze at the third eye center, that point between your eyebrows. You can add the word “peace” as your mantra. With inhalation, mentally say “peace.” With exhalation, repeat “peace.”
After sitting for a time focusing on your breathing and letting the word peace float in your mind, you’ll find that your restless thoughts have begun to settle. You’ll feel more relaxed physically and clear mentally. From there, simply let your awareness expand.
Sit. Be quiet. Be aware.
Next: Gather Peace
Meditation can be like climbing a mountain. First, there is the step by step effort of consciously watching the breath. Then after reaching the summit of peace and clarity, just sitting and enjoying the view. Before we depart from that inner summit, we take time to gather up peace. We invite the soul’s peace to pervade our body, mind, emotions, and every situation in our life. We become fully aware of inner peace. We identify it. We notice what it feels like in our body, how it affects us mentally and emotionally. It’s like taking in the entire vista view—mindfully cultivating the felt sense of being there. When we are ready to conclude our meditation, we decide to take the peace with us that we have gathered up. It is a spiritual resource. We now consciously carry with us an antidote for stress. And, we have enough to share.
Last: Share Peace
A powerful question for our times can be found in the Tao Te Ching:
Do you have the patience to wait
Till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving
Till the right action arises by itself?
With regular meditation and cultivation of inner peace, we can gather up peace within, and we can also share it. This happens in many ways. Our thoughts and speech become more conscious. We can share by remaining aware of the unconditional peace within us and silently offering to others. Or, we can speak. Just as we allowed our thoughts to settle in meditation, we let ourselves become inwardly quiet before we speak. We intend to speak words that bring forth peace. We choose actions that contribute to peace. We have the patience to wait for the right words, and the right actions, to come. We commit ourselves to it. We stand on it. We share it.
I’ve been getting quiet and gathering my spiritual resources of inner peace. It has come forth as a poem, an affirmative prayer. I send it forth to you with peace—an inauguration, a beginning.
I inaugurate peace
I call upon peace—
rise from my soul
gather it up
store it up
stand upon it
send it forth
called upon peace
gathered it up
stored it up
stood for it
sent it forth
let the winds of ignorance,
greed, and hatred howl
we call upon peace to rise
brought forth light
from their bones
radiance of marrow
what is most alive
will always rise
we inaugurate peace