Be Love to Others
We are born for love. Not just to be in love and to be loved, but to BE love. You see, love isn’t just something you do. It is a constant state of BEING. It is a place of abiding from within the deepest part of ourselves.
As human beings, our highest calling is to be in alignment with all that love is… to be profoundly tender, to be deeply affectionate; to be more understanding. When we offer compassion, empathy, and kindness, as a natural outflow of who we are, we open the doors to fostering friendships, promoting peace and reconciling relationships.
Remember also that we are born for connection. As the late John O’Donohue said in Eternal Echoes, “it is the nature of your soul to belong.” The greatest happiness comes from remembering this ancient truth: that we come from Love and that we are, in fact, love.
Create Quality Memories Now
In the busyness of life, we tend to not pay attention to what really matters. The thrust of our energy is spent on achieving, of earning rewards, on getting ahead. But, the question is… what investments are we making in our own future happiness?
Every day, we are given 86,400 seconds. With each, we are trading our lives for something… but for what? Is the trade worth it? How much of our time is invested in creating quality memories right now that we will enjoy looking back on for the rest of our lives?
Consider that happiness is an ocean floor. It is that settled peace found deep within you. Nothing beyond that depth perturbs you as it is too far removed from the circumstances and external events at the surface. Think of this depth within you as the place where you store all your happiest memories, your finest moments.
Elevate Your Thoughts
Imagine an elevator inside your brain. It goes up, down, and sideways. Your subconscious is the operator, but you can consciously override it. Your thoughts enter the elevator and instruct the operator where to go. The mood of the occupants regulates the motor. Extremes in temperature, such as being hot under the collar or giving someone the cold shoulder, cause the motor to malfunction. The elevator comes to a screeching halt!
How does the elevator go sideways? When you allow other people to push your buttons, to make decisions for you, or when you’ve lost sight of which way is up or down. It also goes sideways by adopting a holistic approach, where both hemispheres of the brain work in harmony to bring you inner peace.
If the words are debasing, mean-spirited, or negative… the elevator leads down. If our thoughts are inspiring, motivating, or encouraging… the elevator goes up.
Forget Kissing the Frog: Be the Frog!
Remember the Brothers Grimm fairy tale of the reluctant princess who kissed the ugly frog? The frog then transformed into a handsome prince. In popular culture, this story is often referenced to remind people, “You’ll have to kiss a lot of ugly frogs before finding your handsome prince.” In other words, you’ll make many mistakes before making the right choice.
What about the “ugly frog,” however? Do you ever feel you are neither the lovely princess nor the handsome prince? More like the unacceptable frog instead?
Most people have a hard time accepting themselves. They are quick to regard others as a prince or princess but quicker still at disregarding themselves. Inner peace and success requires that we respect others and revere ourselves as well. Jesus put it like this: “Love your neighbor as you love yourself.” When you have done the latter, the former will take care of itself.
Keep a Healthy Perspective
Do you tend to look at things only as black and white? Do you choose to see the world through rose colored glasses? Did you know that the way you see life determines your health?
Thanks to the many years of pioneering work by Dr. Bruce H. Lipton, we now have scientific proof that our perceptions and beliefs control our biology, and our overall health. For example, he cites that 95% of cancers in our body are a direct result of our thinking. Does this surprise you? It may, but it shouldn’t.
Here’s why: Thoughts based in love lead to co-creation, procreation, and recreation. They support creativity, growth, and flourishing. Thoughts based in fear find us reacting to life rather than responding it. They cause adopt protective behavior, and release toxins into the bloodstream. The healthiest perspective we can adopt is to operate from our highest self; that is Love.
Know Your Why!
Thoreau once said, “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” What was he getting at? His point is that we have so much more potential within us than we ever realize. If we live out our days without a sense of purpose, without being intentional as to its direction, without ever considering our place in the grand scheme of things, we are merely existing; not truly living.
That’s no way to BE, and it certainly is no way to be happy either. If we get bogged down in the hustle and bustle of the workaday world, we lose sight of our own inner beauty. Tapping into our potential and the unique gifts God has given us, we discover our WHY, our reason for being, our main purpose for being here. When you know your why, you know your way!
Nurture a Sense of Humor
“Laughter,” said the late Grady Nutt, “is the hand of God on the shoulder of a troubled world.” If this is true, make it your practice to be one of God’s gloves. In other words, let humor and laughter fill your life. Few things will release stress faster than a good laugh.
To bring more laughter into your life, try surrounding yourself with people whose outlook and attitudes are positive. Negative people will drag you down. Optimistic people, on the other hand, generate an energy that positively impacts the atmosphere around them. By spending more time with people like this, you discover their spirit reproduces itself in you.
Second, balance your information intake. In other words, in our world where the news everywhere is almost always negative, make certain you balance this digestion of information with reading that enriches and uplifts you. Otherwise, instead of inner peace you’ll have indigestion.
Rid Yourself of Toxic Thoughts, Chemicals, and Habits
Speaking of the mind, there is another step necessary for you to take in order to move closer to a life of inner peace. Rid yourself of all toxicity, whether toxic thoughts, chemicals, habits, and foods.
Toxic thoughts are angers, resentments, and even regrets. Let go of thoughts drenched in hostility or inner peace will be more elusive than a butterfly. Holding a grudge or nurturing a resentment, observed Nelson Mandela, “is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”
Certainly, there are habits that hinder our experience of inner peace. Drinking too much alcohol, failing to balance work and play, activity and non-activity, and relying too heavily on medications instead of the body’s nature capacity to heal.
Even the foods we eat, or fail to eat, contribute to one’s inner state of peace. Practice listening to your inner voice; it will tell you what is toxic.
Stay Connected to Your Power Source!
Since the advent of computers, laptops, and cell phones, etc., power strips have become a household necessity. Power strips provide multiple places to plug-in to a power source and recharge your devices.
Similarly, everyone needs to be connected to a spiritual power source. Some people call the source of this spiritual power “God.” What is more important than the title, however, is whether you actually get in touch with this Divine source.
Prayer and meditation are two viable methods of connecting to the spiritual power source. While most westerners are familiar with prayer, meditation may not be as familiar. What is meditation? It is the practice of progressively slowing the mind and bringing of one’s inner world into a state of peace and solitude. To tame the mind, however, takes practice.
If you master the mind and slow down its almost incessant activity, your daily reward will be inner peace.
When You Have a Choice, Always Choose Kind
The first of these ten steps to inner peace was “Be Love to Others.” This last step takes that first step one step further.
Start each new day with the resolve to do one thing for someone else they would not likely do for themselves. It could be as simple as a smile and a hello to the clerk while standing at the counter of your favorite coffee café. Has it ever occurred to you how infrequently people smile either at themselves or to each other during the course of a day. Your pleasant smile and warm hello are gifts they might otherwise seldom receive.
If you find yourself in a disagreement with someone, resolve to always be kind. “Never repay evil for evil,” counseled Saint Paul, the spiritual teacher credited for much of the New Testament. Instead, “be kind in any and all circumstances.” Inner peace is your reward.
Dr. Steve McSwain is an author, speaker, counsel to non-profits, faith-based organizations and congregations, and a spiritual teacher. His books and blogs inspire spiritual seekers all over the world. He is a devoted follower of Christ but an interfaith activist as well. He is frequently heard to say, in the words of Mother Teresa, “I love all religions; but I’m in love with my own.” Read more from Dr. McSwain on his blog Your Best Life Now.