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Going back to the beginning of 'Inner Peace'

The article below was published as a Guest Commentary in the Tidings on Christmas Eve, Dec. 24, 2008. It was the beginning idea that became the Inner Peace column that in January celebrate its sixth year. My appreciation goes to the Ashland Daily Tidings and to all who have shared and continue to share inner peace wisdom through the column.  

In this Season of Love give yourself the gift of inner peace. 

Having inner peace is as simple as changing your mind. Is there someone who causes you discomfort? Sometimes the thought or memory of this person turns your stomach in knots. That is good! This means you are ready to look at it and change your mind. Here’s something that may help. 

Can you say with complete certainty that you know everything there is to know about this person? Do you know every detail of their lives, their fears, hurts or challenges? You don’t. No one does. The driver who cut you off in traffic, the slow clerk at the store, the guy asking for money or the annoying relative? We don’t know what their life is like or lessons they are learning. When we drop our judgments of others we are choosing peace, right on the spot. To have real peace, exclude noone from the compassion and kindness of your heart. 

However, sometimes there are people who continue to be annoying. For example, I hate to admit that the 43rd President of the United States has been one of those annoyances for me. I realized however, that disliking him did not make me feel peaceful. Whenever I saw his face on TV, the newspaper, or mentioned on a talk show, my internal barometer would begin to rise. I could feel the turmoil and judgments running rampant through my mind like scurrying rats at the county dump.

I knew I had to look within to get to the bottom of it. Freud called projection that which we see in someone else while never acknowledging it also resides within. We project it out because it is too ugly to own. What was it I disliked so intently? We figure it out by separating the form of the problem from the content in order to discover the projection. The form in this case is war, but what is the content of war? The need to control, dominate or manipulate events to get what we want for ourselves or others.

Have I ever gone to war, invaded another country killing thousands, displacing millions, wreaking havoc on people I don’t know? No. But have I ever manipulated situations to have my way or tried to control events? This is where honesty comes in. Sure. But I don’t like to admit it.

That is why it is called projection: not wanting to recognize the basic elements that cause war are also within me. “To thine own self be true,” to quote the Bard! It is not pretty, but next time someone annoys you, look carefully at what is contained in the annoyance. When you see what it is you are projecting, and own it, you free yourself from the wheel of judgment. You let it go. 

I used to condemn myself for my ego’s faulty thinking, but now I realize the ego is not who I am nor is it who you are. We are more than ego’s or bodies, we are eternal loving spirit having a human experience. I forgive myself and 43rd as well because we are both misguided. In withdrawing my condemnation I am free. Forgiveness offers everything I want because only forgiveness offers inner peace. When I condemn and blame I am miserable. When I forgive I’m happy. This Holiday Season give yourself the gift of inner peace and then extend it for the new year and your life.

Like the Beatles song said “All You Need is Love, da dahhh da da dah! All you need is Love; Love….Love is all you need!”

Sally McKirgan facilitates the Inner Peace column. Rogue Valley residents are invited to submit 600 to 700 word articles on all aspects of inner peace to her at innerpeaceforyou@live.com