Peace is an inside job

Peace is an inside job.

We can be in a beautiful peaceful setting and still not be at peace. It is always a thought that upsets us. We can choose how to react to our thoughts and even how to respond to an experience.

Here's a true life example: While on a one-year sabbatical in Naples, Fla., I was introduced to another neighbor who lived in the same complex.

The new acquaintance, Fred, shook my hand and then said something to the effect "You remind me of some one else who I don't like." I was taken aback and to be honest it ruined my day. A few days later walking to the pool, I had to pass by Fred who was working on his car. I said hello and waved but he responded with a grunt.

I decided not to let Fred decide what kind of day I would have. We all want to be accepted and liked but I knew Fred was projecting his dislike for someone else onto me.

We all meet people who for some reason we dislike immediately. We are not sure why or don't take the time to figure it out but it is always projection. We project something onto them from our past experiences or unresolved issues. But I knew that in this case my happiness was up to me, and it did not depend on whether Fred liked me or not. Everyday, on my way to the pool, I passed Fred.

I decided to ignore his past comment and say hello and waved. He had always growled or grunted back. I wanted peace and refused to be affected by Fred's rejecting behavior. This went on for quite some time — weeks as I recall.

Then one day as I was walking by in a hurry to get somewhere, Fred waved, smiled and said hello. I was in such a hurry I had forgotten to say hello first. "Oh Hi, Fred" I said and went on my way.

Fred had finally changed his mind about me. He was the first to say hello and be pleasant.

It was a real lesson in how defenselessness can work. If we can remain defenseless and pleasant no matter how badly someone is treating us, our lives can be peaceful.

If I had attacked Fred in some way, he would have been even more unpleasant. It is always unpleasant when there is someone you want to avoid or cross the street in order not to encounter them. It is our thoughts that make us happy or sad no matter what is happening in the outside world.

All we need do is watch the thoughts and refuse to believe them. Our perceptions are our own misperceptions and we can change our minds.

How do you feel? Be aware of what you thinking that is most likely making you upset. Thoughts are your own personal judgments, based on the past and are condemnations of yourself or someone else. Judgments always separate us from someone else and from our true peaceful higher self.

Don't believe everything you hear or think and you will be happier, have more inner peace and so will the world. In the end it is not how someone treats us but it is up us to choose peace and see either love or a call for love.

Carl McKirgan lives in Ashland

The Ashland Daily Tidings invites residents of the Rogue Valley to submit articles on inner peace, where do we find it. All aspects of inner peace are welcome such as intuition; guidance; courage; fearlessness; forgiveness; giving and receiving; joy; tolerance; acts of kindness; gratitude; life's challenges of grief, pain, addictions and more. When we share our stories, lives are touched in ways seen and unseen, thus our community spirit, energy and growth is enhanced when we dialog on living and practicing inner peace. Send your article from 600 to 700 words to Sally McKirgan To see past inner peace column articles: search on inner peace.

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