Getting to Peace or Leaving Behind Conflict?

I’m in the middle of another of those powerful, life-orienting realizations which seem to be occurring more and more these days.

This one is so simple and yet so powerful that it’s blowing me over. I’m realizing why there isn’t peace in my life. The reason is because I’m not leaving behind conflict.

Oh my gosh, I hear someone say. Are you just getting that now? (Yes, I am.)

There are some things in life that are digital. You’re either there or not, being it or not, doing it or not, having it or not. And peace is one of those things.

Either I have peace in my life, am peaceful, and create peace – or I do not. There’s no sense me lying about it to myself. The facts won’t change to suit my filter.

Peace is who I am. It isn’t a place I get to. I don’t get there by travelling to a place called “peace.”  I am there naturally providing that I leave behind conflict. If I’m not at peace, it’s almost a certainty that I haven’t left behind conflict. It’s one of those no-nonsense, in-your-face kind of things.

How often in the past have I found myself thinking about peace, planning to get away and find peace, planning to take some time for myself, relax, on and on and on. And yet never have I allowed myself to actually choose and be in peace right now.   I’d congratulate myself on getting up to thinking about it. Or I could see it happening some time in the future. But always in the present, there was some reason why not to have peace right here and right now.

I’d chose one more act of drama, one more scene of animosity, one more checkmate Dallas moment. But tonight I saw that I radically, immediately and uncompromisingly wanted peace – right here, right now. I couldn’t stand having conflict in my life a minute longer.  It was like I was a man on fire.

And not only wanted conflict to leave, permanently,  but did not want to leave the space of peace ever again. I would accept no further excuses from myself.

And what I discovered was that, without that burning desire and uncompromising choice of peace right now, I would forever stand outside of peace, choosing conflict once again in the moment.

And, no, it cannot depend on what’s happening outside of me. That’s an important piece of this puzzle. As long as I wait for the right conditions, I postpone being in peace myself.

Without that refusal to wait a minute longer, I might never claim the space of peace as my own. I may have gone on sowing seeds of conflict forever, so distractable am I. And if I don’t choose peace, and you don’t choose peace, and if I don’t enter the space of peace and refuse to leave it, and you the same, how on Earth would we expect the world to be at peace?

I got it down to my bones. I want peace and I want it now – and forever. This area within one foot of myself on every side is strictly a peace zone. No conflict allowed in this space. Not now. Not ever.

No, I’m not a stable and reliable peace dweller. I’ve just reached dry land this moment and am gasping, “OK, I made it. I’m here on the dry land of peace. And my lungs seem to be working.” The newest arrival, still wet behind the ears.

If I want peace, I have to choose peace. I have to be peace. I have to reject conflict and remain in peace, now and now and now.

If I want to stay in peace, I need to never stray into conflict again. That’s a huge challenge and I’d only do it if and when I had absolutely had my fill of conflict.

I assume it’s the same way with many other qualities. I have to create and claim that space for myself as well, here and now, or I will never have it. As my wife says, you got what you voted for. If I voted for peace, I’d have that; if I voted for conflict, I’d have that.

It’s so simple and yet so difficult to remain with, moment by moment. But that’s what I have to do. Choose peace again and again and reject conflict again and again. And again and again and again. I’m a scrapaholic. And I have to go stone-cold sober.

Is there anyone else for whom this is happening? Or am I alone in this?


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