Finding Inner Peace

ross bishopFinding inner peace can be difficult. We meditate, do yoga, read books, go to workshops, learn mantras, hang affirmations on our refrigerators and yet we remain troubled. What are we missing? Is it just that we are not sufficiently spiritual? Are we not doing it right? That is how it feels much of the time.

Years ago I learned about spirituality through Zen meditation. I sat morning and evening, religiously (if you will pardon the pun), seven days a week, at least twice a day. I got calm, my breathing deepened and the world slowed down as I began to focus on what was really important in life. My friends noticed the changes occurring in me. I went deep. I touched a place of inner peace and calm I had no idea even existed.

Bliss? Hardly. It scared the heck out of me! I had to quit for a while. I had never known that level of openness and feeling that vulnerable shook me to my core. It would be some time before I had the courage to go that deeply or feel that vulnerable again. Fortunately, the experience planted something so deep and powerful in me that I could not ignore. I had to pursue it. So here I am, 30 years later, eternally grateful for an experience that literally scared the daylights out of me. But the fear I experienced then is the same fear that keeps most people from finding inner peace today…¬†continue article

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Belief

by Ross Bishop

Setting aside Universal Truth such as “All people are created equal,” what is it that you believe – good or bad? About minorities? Maybe Muslims? The girl at work you don’t get along with? Your neighbors? Dogs? Your partner? Your kids?

When you go to the dark place inside, what beliefs reside there? In other words, how do you see yourself? As long as you believe you are unworthy, not lovable or not good enough, you will live in the realm of fear. Someone can always expose you as inadequate. So, you’ll need your ego to protect yourself.

Remember there are two states of being in the Universe – either you live in the God Space, a realm where there are no beliefs, just truth; or the realm of ego, fear, insecurity and belief. The latter are all part of a protective system designed to get you through life when you are unable to hold the truth.

God doesn’t see you as you probably see yourself. He looks at you and he sees a beautiful, special being. One who has some things to learn to be sure, but a being capable of remarkable compassion, nonetheless.

When you look in the mirror you probably don’t see the same thing. In addition to your wrinkles, you’ll see the pain, the failures, the places you don’t measure up – what is lacking. God sees those same failures, those battle scars, but He knows something you may not – that you will someday learn from them. He sees the potential, even if you don’t.

You need to understand that God does not judge. If he did, none of us would be here! God knows that humans learn through trial end error – through trying and failing. He knows that you will repeatedly fail. He expects that! He knows the process because He created it!

Now He also hopes that you will learn something from your experiences. He knows that you will run into quicksand. What He hopes is that you will learn to avoid it so that you won’t run into it a fourth or fifth time. He wants you to learn from your encounters, stop being afraid of life and in the process learn to love yourself.

The Creator knows that most of the time you are so wrapped up in the hurt and pain that that’s about all you can take in from your experiences, so He provides you with many other opportunities to learn from. If you don’t get it here, He gives you an opportunity over there. Opportunity after opportunity. You call it life. He calls it the way home.

You focus on the content – on the hurt feelings, the failures, the broken hearts, the disappointments. His focus is on the process. What did you learn when you stubbed your toe? Did you start to walk differently? What did you learn from your failed relationship? Did you learn to love yourself more and chose a different kind partner? Or, are you still making the same, fear based judgements?

Some people don’t believe we’re changing or that things are getting better. I disagree. Although we certainly have a ways to go, I see change all around me. It took 650,000 casualties in The Civil War to decide the issue of slavery. We’ll never do that again.

As intractable as issues like women’s rights, gay rights and Black people’s place in society seem, I can remember the Civil Rights Movement and Selma, The Anti Viet Nam war protests and Kent State. We’ve come a long way in the years since then.

God does not ask for perfection. He knows how difficult that is for us. He does ask for growth.

copyright©Blue Lotus Press 2015

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