Peace is the absence of violence. When peace is within you, its presence signifies that all levels of your mind are in sync with each other; that your focus is in the moment, on one thought - one essential, unifying thought that does not disturb any part of your being - your body or your mind. You feel connected to the presence of Life itself. You may call that "Presence" God, or Jesus or Allah or any other name. I just call it Spirit.
Non-violence is the highest virtue. It is founded on the truth that all living beings are an expression of the same Life or Self, as it is referred to in Yogic philosophy.
In the ancient text, Raja Yoga Sutras, Pantanjali, writes that non-violence is practiced in three ways:
Physically - by doing no harm to another person's body
Vocally - by doing no harm through sharp words
Mentally - by directing no ill will towards others
Patanjali goes on to tell us that an aspirant must abstain from all these forms of violence according to his capacity. A person must cease all forms of violence in order to achieve peace.
A person who is peaceful, speaks the truth and uses diplomacy to resolve issues. A person who is peaceful lives life with gratitude and considers the needs of others. Content with what he/she possesses, a peaceful person cares about others and shares what they possess as a way to provide others with the opportunity to experience peace - freedom from want.
The greatest barrier to peace is rooted in Egoism: the ignorant belief that one
person should have power and control over others; one person should be the master over the many. Throughout the history of mankind, we find that leaders who embrace egoism, disrupt peaceful civilizations through their actions, words and selfish drive to make one group superior to all others. They promote selfishness and cruelty: they are aggressive - they lie, kill/assassinate dissenters and promote war. Greed underlies their thoughts and actions. Among the masses, egoistic people support these aggressive leaders and focus on what is lacking in their lives and they blame others for this lack. Egoistic people ignore harmony with Mother Earth; they see her as something to be used to empower the few and enslave the many.
Harvard professor of Psychology, Steven Pinker, shares his research and ideas about violence in his book, " The Better Angels of Our Nature". In his discussion as to the logic of violence, he quotes Thomas Hobbes (1651):
"So that in the nature of man, we find three principal causes of quarrel.
First, competition; secondly, diffidence; thirdly, glory. The first maketh man invade for gain; the second, for safety; and the third for reputation
Competition, we understand. Diffidence is defined as "lack of trust and self-confidence; and glory, well that is self-evident in leaders - past and present.
So, if violence is never the path to peace, then it is important to increase the virtue of non-violence in your life. We can conclude that it is important to be non-competitive with yourself and others (turn it off when you can). Also, surround yourself with people who earn your trust - who have your back. You can also work on building self-confidence by applying yourself to every task at hand and then giving yourself a pat on the back upon completion....be nice and supportive of yourself! And recognize that glory is over-rated...slow, but sure success wins the race.
Once you stop quarreling with yourself and others, you can start looking for peace in your life. Don't bother looking to the world outside as a place to start your search. Start on the inside of you.
Take time during your busy day to close your eyes and just watch your breath - observe just being alive.
Slow down your breath to slow down your heart ... let your body rest.
Slow down your mind - Single-focus your awareness on one thought.
Focus on the feeling of calmness and let all other feelings dissolve.
Stay "present" with yourself" by loving yourself just as you are - in this moment, in this day, and be profoundly grateful for the people who love and care about you - who share your hopes and support your dreams.....give yourself the gift of Peace!
Hari OM Tat Sat,
Non-violence Towards Yourself