7 Essential Habits for Peace
by: Deepak Chopra, M.D.
Embrace Compassion and Leave Conflict Behind
“It’s only when you make the process your goal that the big dream can follow.” – Oprah
We all want to contribute to global peace, but it can feel disheartening when we see discord in the news, in politics, and even in our own relationships. But you can take a different perspective by setting the more accessible goal of creating peace within yourself – which then expands like a ripple to your relationships, your community, and ultimately the world. Wisdom traditions teach that the source of violence, war, discontent, rebellion, and unrest lies inside each of us. When you become a unit of peace consciousness, you have added in a unique way to bringing the world to a state of peace.
Develop your peace consciousness with these seven essential habits for peace.
Habit #1—Being Calm and Centered
Peace is the natural state of the mind at its deepest level. Non-peace begins in small ways, when you are worried, restless, distracted, uneasy, or dissatisfied. Begin being mindful of those signals from your inner world. When you feel them, take a moment to return to your calm space. Either meditating or simply sitting in a quiet space with your eyes closed and taking easy, deep breaths, works very well. This is about learning how to act upon early signals that peace isn’t there inside.
To be a unit of peace consciousness, don’t participate in the opposite attitude, which magnifies the reasons to be unpeaceful. Do your best to avoid conversations that include gossip, blame, backbiting, and discussions of how terrible the world is. You don’t have to be a Pollyanna, acting as if everything is already perfect. Simply focus on not participating when you can feel that a situation is turning toward anger, resentment, envy, and hostility in any form.
Habit #3—Taking No Side
Peace consciousness wants peace to be equally shared by everyone. This isn’t possible if you take sides, judge against others, or indulge in us-versus-them thinking. Be aware of everyone’s right to have peace. When you find yourself reacting with a knee-jerk response against a certain person, group, faith, ethnicity, or belief system, remind yourself that you can hold a different viewpoint while still wishing peace for all concerned.
Habit #4—The Intention of Peace
Peace consciousness becomes more powerful as it deepens. One way to deepen your awareness is to put an intention out to the universe, which really means connecting with your higher self. Any time you witness or confront a situation that needs a peaceful resolution, ask inside that the way to peace be opened for everyone. Sit quietly with this intention for a few moments, letting your heart go out to those not at peace.
Habit #5—Commune in Peace
When people of peace get together, they magnify their consciousness. Start finding ways to commune with others who wants peace. This can be through sitting with a child and absorbing his or her innocence, or discussing the topic of peace with a sympathetic person. You might consider joining a group that is working at any level of peace, such as preventing violence or helping troubled teens. Feel the warmth of sharing your peace with others.
Habit #6—Selfless Service
Peace consciousness wants to be of service. It does little good to be at peace passively in isolation. Allow someone else to feel the peace you have found by being of service. Let yourself experience the kindness, good will, and compassion you can bring to a troubled situation. Your service can be as modest as visiting the elderly or as active as joining a community outreach project. Your aim is to give and receive at the level of peace that benefits both people at the same time.
Habit #7—The Soul’s Peace
At the deepest level, there is infinite peace, undisturbed by the play of opposites and the clash of darkness versus light. From the soul’s perspective, there is only pure Being. Each day, take time to meditate on your true nature as unbounded love, compassion, reverence for life, and unity with the divine presence. See the light expanding from your heart in all directions. Let simply being here be enough.
Realize deeply that you are an indispensable part of the journey to enlightenment that lies ahead for everyone who steps on to the path.