Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Becoming accustomed to the presence of peace

On Monday I was having a tough day. I couldn't put my finger on what the trouble was. I was talking with a friend when we hit on the fact that I had not prayed or meditated in three days.

It's always bugged me when I've heard people say that they skipped a day's prayer or meditation and had a bad day. It smacks of magic to me: that a prayer to the "cosmic concierge" affords me a good day, and if I don't pray, I am punished with a bad day.

But I think I'm beginning to understand it: when I pray and meditate on a regular basis, I accustom myself to the presence of peace.

This is important: people are not always right or easy to deal with. Sometimes people will come with aggression where none is necessary. Sometimes they will act out of despair. If I am not accustomed to the presence of peace, I have nowhere to go in that situation but towards more aggression. But if I let myself experience peace on a regular basis, I can meet aggression with peace. Aggression plus aggression escalates. Aggression met with peace: that's something we can work with.

One of my set prayers is the Prayer of St. Francis. It gives a formula for what is basically unfamiliar to me by nature: peace in my daily relations. The prayer asks that when there is hatred I may bring love, that where there is wrong I may bring the spirit of forgiveness. As a male, I have been taught that my basic tools in most cases are aggression and comic deflection. Learning something new here for me is essential. If someone near me makes an obvious error, becoming aggressive to that person hurts everyone. Forgiveness of an error is a path towards peace.

It seems easier to think about this in terms of people I already love: my wife, my coworkers. But it gets tougher with people I have not learned to love yet-- for example, when President Bush makes what I believe to be an error, if I aggressively condemn him, I actually cause less peace in the world. If I can somehow find the spirit of forgiveness for one of his errors, I channel more peace.

This is a difficult concept for me. Neither do I think I am supposed to blindly follow my president down a hate-based path of aggression towards all. I think I'll have to think about this aspect of my spirituality some more.

No comments:

Post a Comment

I moderate comments blog posts over 14 days old. This keeps a lot of spam away. I generally am all right about moderating. Thanks for understanding.