“There is no ‘way to peace.’ There is only peace itself.” Gandhi
“You find peace not by rearranging the circumstances of your life, but by realizing who you are at the deepest level.” - Eckhart Tolle
“If you cannot find peace within yourself, you will never find it anywhere else.” - Marvin Gaye
Agitators agitate. Sometimes it is because they stand to profit from the chaos that conflict creates. Sometimes it is because they stand to profit in the aftermath of the conflict. And in every case they are cowards – unwilling or unable to find peace within themselves. One of the easiest ways to avoid facing and resolving internal conflict is to get engaged in some external chaos – after all, if others are doing the same thing then “we are not so bad.” And if no conflict is handy, it is easy enough to find and exaggerate differences between others. After all, the coward’s greatest fear – far beyond the fear of death – is that they will have to face themselves, and in the process will find that they are “inadequate” as human beings. This plays itself out at all levels of human society – from the family unit to international relations.
On the individual level, to the exact degree we have unresolved fears within us are we vulnerable to the manipulations of the agitator. Thus, if we are tired of being manipulated, the solution lies not in changing them but rather in changing ourselves. If we have faced and grown beyond the deep underlying fear that we might be inadequate, we have made great gains toward being impervious to manipulation. If we have done the work to face our fears we realize that our true self is not other’s opinion of us or what collections of objects, accolades, achievement or information we have accumulated. If we have done the work of self-examination we realize we are not even the body we occupy or the thoughts, opinions and emotions we generate. And if we have honestly done the work to connect with that spiritual essence that is woven throughout all, we realize that if we stay connected we will be ok no matter what. How is another to manipulate us when realize that we will be ok no matter what – when we no longer fear loss of material things, we know we are perfectly adequate and even death itself no longer intimidates us?
From this point of understanding, we see others as we see ourselves – a whole and complete being who struggles with the insecurities of the human condition. And from this position of understanding we cannot help but show empathy and love because we can then see clearly the deep fears that plague the one who would agitate. Does this mean that we can “change” them? Of course not; their path is theirs to follow. They have to exhaust every attempt to avoid facing themselves before they will know enough pain to become teachable anyway. But we can avoid buying into the drama – we can stick to the high road and avoid the sewers of self-centeredness. We can avoid being drawn into the drama and still be understanding. We can serve as an example of peace, and we can walk away from things when we realize that they are not what we first thought. But in reality it is rare that we have to walk away from anything - ignorance cannot stand in the presence of enlightenment; it create or find some other negativity to prop itself up to avoid caving in upon itself.
Today, may I know freedom.
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