One of the greatest opportunities we have in our lifetimes is the opportunity to transform into peaceful, compassionate, and joyful beings. Oftentimes it is the journey of a lifetime. Yet it’s never too late to become that which you want to see more of in your life and in the world.
For many of us, we go about our lives feeling peaceful some of the time, compassionate some of the time, and joyful some of the time. How can we make it more of the time, even most of the time?
Dr. Martin Luther King spoke about an obnoxious peace, a kind of peace that comes at a great cost. He said that peace is not merely the absence of forces like war, confusion, and tension. He said, “Peace is the presence of positive good.”
History – The Teacher
In 1956, a judge in Alabama decided that the University of Alabama could not deny admission to anyone on account of race. When the first African American student attended, she was met with students calling out threats, throwing eggs at her, and burning crosses. She was finally asked to leave, under the guise of concern for her safety. She left and things went back to ‘normal.’
“If peace means being complacently adjusted to a deadening status quo, I don’t want peace,” declared Dr. King. The kind of peace the University of Alabama chose was obnoxious. It came at the expense of the greater good, our greater good.
There was so much good that could have come to the students learning within a diverse student body. There was so much good that could have come to the city, home to a major university that stood for equality and peace rather than inequality and division. And so much good that would have come to the country as the news of the day mirrored a nation that stood for freedom at home and abroad.
The presence of positive good was missing when the university made its decision.
So often, we find that is true in our own lives. Life becomes a bit obnoxious as it becomes more about paying the bills, going on vacation once or twice a year, or getting the next big client or promotion, rather than about the positive good, living a happy, joyful, and peaceful life. Then we find the years have passed, we’ve paid the bills, and won the clients, but peace and joy have eluded us.
So, what if you led your life from peace? What if you led from compassion and joy? In other words, peace, joy, and compassion were the filter through which you made your choices, responded to life’s events, the family, and your co-workers, and to the circumstances of your neighbors and nearby communities.
Focusing on external circumstances and rewards, we find time slips away, we become anxious, overwhelmed, or frustrated, perhaps depressed. It is depressing to live for the bills, or the vacation once a year, or the next deal.
E + R = O
Let the equation E + R = O (Event plus Response equals Outcome) guide you, support you, and ground you. When the outcomes you take a stand for are peace, joy, and compassion, your responses to the events in your life will shift accordingly and, voila!
Your outcomes become filled with peace, compassion, and joy. You see your life unfolding in alignment with your core values, the things you hold most dear in life, and that will inherently bring more peace, joy, and compassion into your life.
It’s simple really, living from peace, joy, and compassion, yet it is not always easy. The more we live from and choose peace, joy, and compassion, however, the more easily they come to us. The body craves what you give it. Might as well give it what you want more of.
Peace Becomes Us
Peace becomes us. We look and feel better when things are peaceful. We excel when there is peace in our hearts and within our families. As a nation, we thrive in times of peace, as we compassionately and caringly create solutions together that end injustices and increase opportunities for the good of all.
I oftentimes find myself coming back to Rumi. He wrote hundreds of years ago,
The heart knows the way. Run in that direction.
It was true then and is still true today.
So why not lead from the heart? Lead from that which you want, to ensure that is what you get. Lead from peace and you will have peace. Lead from joy and you will have more joy. Lead with compassion, and you will find more joy and peace in your life.
And we will all benefit. For peace becomes us as peace becomes you.
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