Nurturing Peace

This morning I found this quote in my Facebook newsfeed, “Peace, it does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” I don’t know the true source of this quote, though one site erroneously gives credit to Lady Gaga. It is evidently a more ancient wisdom that has been reworded many times over. I have been meditating about this topic of inner peace a lot lately. It is a wonderfully simple thought, but not as straightforward in its execution.

So I’ve been collecting wise quotations and trying to develop a list of specifics that could be helpful to me, and I hope to others, in connecting to this inner calm. There is certainly a lot more wisdom in the writings of saints, mystics of many cultures, and yes, even ordinary people, but I really gravitated toward these in particular. I have listed the sources in italics. In some cases, the source of the quote is known only to the Eternal. In either case, here are ten simple suggestions, and three super quotes for each, to set us on the road to becoming a more peace-filled people (even in the midst of life’s storms).

1.   START WITH YOU

  • Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without. Gautama Buddha
  • For peace of mind, we need to resign as general manager of the universe.  Larry Eisenberg
  • Let him that would move the world first move himself.  Socrates

2.   SEEK REAL PEACE

  • Real peace is not in power, money, or weapons, but in deep inner peace. Thich Nhat Han
  • Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances. Mahatma Gandhi
  • Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.  John F. Kennedy 

3.   IT REALLY IS THE LITTLE THINGS THAT MATTER

  • Peace begins with a smile. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta
  • Talk about your blessings more than you talk about your burdens. Tim Tebow
  • Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace. Gautama Buddha

4.   SLOW DOWN

  • Never be in a hurry. Do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. St. Francis deSales
  • Just slow down. Slow down your speech. Slow down your breathing. Slow down your eating. And let this slower, steadier pace perfume your mind. Doko
  • Slow down and enjoy life. It’s not only the scenery you miss by going too fast – you also miss the sense of where you are going and why. Eddie Cantor

5.   DEFUSE THE DRAMA

  • Don’t let people pull you into their storm. Pull them into your peace.  Unknown
  • Let no man pull you so low as to hate him.  Martin Luther King Jr.,
  • The less you respond to rude, critical, argumentative people the more peaceful your life will become.  Unknown

6.   BECOME COMFORTABLE WITH SILENCE

  • You must daily practice the habit of putting your mind at rest, “going into the silence,” as it is commonly called. This is a method of replacing a troubled thought with one of peace, a thought of weakness with one of strength. James Allen
  • When the restless activity of your mind slows down, when your thoughts stop rushing like waves on a windy day, then you will start getting glimpses of the sweet taste of inner peace. Remez Sasson
  • Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. Then there came a voice to him that said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah? 1 Kings 19:11-13

7.   SEEK AND ACCEPT FORGIVENESS

  • Inner peace can be reached only when we practice forgiveness. Forgiveness is letting go of the past, and is therefore the means for correcting our misperceptions. Gerald G. Jampolsky
  • Forgiveness is the ultimate spiritual practice. St. John Paul II
  • We are all on a life long journey and the core of its meaning, the terrible demand of its centrality is forgiving and being forgiven. Martha Kilpatrick

8.   NURTURE BODY AND MIND

  • Don’t eat junk foods and don’t think junk thoughts. Peace Pilgrim
  • Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit? 1 Corinthians 6:19
  • Good for the body is the work of the body, good for the soul the work of the soul, and good for either the work of the other.  Henry David Thoreau

9.   CULTIVATE PATIENCE

  • Inner peace is impossible without patience. Wisdom requires patience. Spiritual growth implies the mastery of patience. Patience allows the unfolding of destiny to proceed at its own unhurried pace.  Brian Weiss
  • The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.  Erich Fromm
  • The key to everything is patience. You get the chicken by hatching the egg, not by smashing it.  Arnold H. Glasow

10.  ALWAYS CHOOSE KINDNESS

  • We must sometimes bear with little defects in others, as we have, against our will, to bear with natural defects in ourselves. If we wish to keep peace with our neighbor, we should never remind anyone of his natural defects. Saint Philip Neri 
  • Never respond to an angry person with a fiery comeback, even if he deserves it…Don’t allow his anger to become your anger. Bohdi Sanders
  • Miss no single opportunity of making some small sacrifice, here by a smiling look, there by a kindly word; always doing the smallest right and doing it all for love.  St.Thérèse de Lisieux

So there it is in a nutshell, my collection of the components necessary to bring serenity into one’s life and the many gems of wisdom from the folks who have made this connection better than I. May your heart forever be a place of calm in the midst of life’s tempests.

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