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Finding Peace

Finding Peace

By Peter Shepherd

Be the Change

Current events have demonstrated a tremendous desire on the behalf of perhaps the majority of people in the world for peace in their lives. They are no longer satisfied with the mentality of political conflict, which endangers economic progress and human rights and freedoms. But most importantly, I feel that many people are now aware that if we want peace in the world, first we need to make peace with our own lives. It’s human nature that needs to change, and we are capable of making such a transformation.

Our experience in the world reflects our inner state - yes, this is a kind of magic, but that is the reality, the world is miraculous. I have seen so much evidence of this when I - or a student or client - have made a genuine shift in our belief system that resolves an inner conflict, then very soon our real-world circumstances change accordingly. We mirror our internal state - our resistance/fear and acceptance/love - in our personal life experience. As a group we mirror our consciousness in world events. It is our personal responsibility to become aware of our contribution to the group consciousness, to help create a world with more opportunities for ourselves and our loved ones - which ultimately means for everyone.

So what wars do we wage inside? The purposes and goals that we hold dearly - some we may have brought into this life or felt most strongly as a child or young person - are often compromised in the face of problems that we discover in trying to achieve them, and we may forget about them (actually suppress them) and opt for safer solutions. Playing the safe game is a sad conflict with the game we really (still) want to play. We have become someone else, a substitute for our true self. Reinforcing this position are the attachments we have come to cling on to, the fears we may have of losing control of our safe space, the resistance we feel against elements of change, and the judgments we make that prevent acceptance of what is.

Our true nature

To better our position, to be able to open up our space and express our true desires, we first need to come to terms with our situation. Our true nature is an expression of love and that is the quality that we need first to rediscover in our consciousness.

There’s no beauty that you could perceive or create if it weren’t already within you.

Before we can contribute through our consciousness toward peace in the world, we need to make peace with ourselves. Before we can love others unconditionally, we need to be able to genuinely love ourselves. Before we can forgive and cease making judgments of others, we need to learn how to forgive ourselves and warmly accept ourselves just as we are. So let’s look at how to do that...

We all do things we aren’t proud of, we wouldn’t be human if we didn’t. Something that affects others in a way that we wouldn’t be willing to experience ourselves. Sometimes we chose to act in a way that we know at the time isn’t being true to ourselves, but it seems like a solution to our situation. Or maybe we are tempted to put our own interests first. Other times we may be carried away by emotions of anger or jealousy and do something out of spite we may later regret.

Or we don’t do something, like helping a friend in need, that we know we really wanted to. Alternatively, we may have the best of intentions, but things don’t go as predicted, we make a mistake or realize something we have done was harmful, even though we didn’t mean it to be.

These sorts of actions can leave us feeling ashamed and depressed, and we can end up carrying our guilt for years, but if we want to live happy lives, we need to take responsibility for the consequences of our behavior and move on.

Feeling guilty shouldn’t be confused with taking responsibility for our past. Responsibility means that we make a concerted effort to change the behavior pattern that resulted in the mistaken choice, and the beliefs and feelings that empowered it. We need to move on by making peace with the past.

The natural tendency when we do something without integrity is to try to justify our actions, to make ourselves right. Or we may say the action was deserved, making the other person wrong. Both of these are avoiding the reality, by denying our own sense of truth and our own responsibility for our actions. We avoid our feelings of guilt by pretending it wasn’t a mistake or misconceived choice that we acted on, indeed it was “right.” We avoid our feelings of shame (feeling bad about how others perceive us) by pretending that it is the other who should be ashamed.

The problem isn’t the harmful action or making a mistake - that’s happened and can’t be undone. The problem is what we tell ourselves afterward. Whether we are honest or if we lie to ourselves. It is that lie which causes all the damage to our own integrity and to further relationships with the other we have wronged. We need to drop our defenses, drop the lies we may have told ourselves to hide the truth, face up to the reality of our actions and their consequences - and forgive ourselves.

Learning from experience

There is a big bonus to being realistic and truthful - we can learn the valuable lesson that the experience offers us. Indeed, it’s only when we have learned that lesson that we can let go of the past error and live our life as truly ourselves in the present. To forgive ourselves we need to learn the lesson.

Forgiveness has nothing to do with feeling sorry or apologizing, neither of which actually changes anything. From a higher perspective there is no right or wrong. There are choices and experiences. There is cause and effect. And neither can forgiveness be given by another; it has to be granted by ourselves. Unless we can truly forgive ourselves, we can never really move on and be free of the past.

What gets in the way of this forgiveness is judgment that I am a bad person. I need to separate my inherent worth from my actions. I am basically a loving being, I know that. We all are. Actually I am not even my thoughts and feelings. I create these and sometimes through ignorance or misguidedly I create them inappropriately, and my consequent actions can result in hurt for others. Then the best I can do is to learn from that so in the future I can create more truly to my nature.

I need to realize that my choice was a result of my ignorance - I didn’t know what I can now see to be the lesson from the experience. I just wanted to get to my destination quickly. I didn’t think about the possible outcomes that could result from driving irresponsibly, I thought it was OK to cross a red light. So my basic motive wasn’t bad, but I was operating on false information, I was misguided.

We can’t move on if we regret the past, nor if we have contempt for ourselves. To feel like this implies that we view our past as meaningless and of no value, and ourselves as no longer to be trusted. On the contrary, forgiving ourselves requires finding value in our experiences and in ourselves. Instead of just writing off an experience as a painful episode and trying to forget it, we should try to learn whatever we can from it.

Life is a journey of learning and the most worthwhile learning is derived from our personal experiences. When things go as we want, because we have good information and appropriate beliefs, then our learning is reinforced by this positive feedback. When things go astray, because we have faulty information and inappropriate beliefs, then we and those at the effect of our actions suffer. But here we have a chance to learn something new. Much of our new learning and personal growth does therefore come about as a result of painful experiences; provided we are willing and open to learn those lessons.

If we wish to grow and to use our experiences beneficially, it is vital that we focus on what we can learn rather than resisting the reality of what occurred.

Find something you did (or failed to do) that you still feel bad about, that you regret, or that makes you feel ashamed. Now begin to take meaning and value out of this experience. Ask yourself: “What has this taught me about myself, about others, and about my life?” Based on this lesson, work out what beliefs you need to change, what fixed ideas you can let go of, what assumptions you made that are no longer helpful.

Self-forgiveness recaptures the energy that you were giving away in guilt and resistance against the past. It frees you to be yourself again - a new, happier and wiser you.

If we can forgive ourselves, then we can more easily forgive others. If we don’t feel able to forgive others, then we clearly haven’t learned to love ourselves. And the irony is, when we do truly love ourselves, we and others will not even need any forgiveness because we are able to accept the past, present, and future as it is, without judgment. Our creation. Discrimination - of good/bad, right/wrong, ugly/beautiful - is not part of the vocabulary of love.

A beautiful approach...

I feel a positive approach is the way to go. An approach to life empowered by the love that is the nature of our being, and is effective in creating peace and happiness. The alternative - applying resistance, judgment, antagonism and hatred - is to be ruled by fear, which is to deny one’s essence, and has the effect of empowering that which one opposes.

Behind the apparent reality of war and violence, the higher reality is love and peace. The energy of love comes from all our hearts, but is misdirected if we have attention on our fears, which occurs if we resist the reality of what appears to us and our own part in creating that reality. For we do indeed create our life experience. That is a high-level spiritual viewpoint, the viewpoint of God, but if we accept that we are individual lamps of God-light, to manifest God in our lives we need to recognize our causation and incorporate that knowledge into our world view and understanding of events.

We all face the issue of how best to go about integrating a spiritual viewpoint into our daily lives. The everyday game of life appears very different from the view of the angels. Many things happen that we do not consciously initiate. We have friends and enemies, loves and hates. Some are on our side, others against us. The spiritual, bird’s-eye view however - the conscious view - is that this game of our lives is something we continuously create in order to teach ourselves experiential lessons. We reflect our state of being in our surroundings so they act as a mirror. This is God experiencing creation to the full. We are also engaged in raising the vibration of Earth energies towards a higher dimension, closer to our source, the creative power behind all. We aren’t just individual islands, our purpose really extends to a universal scale.

So we need to live our human lives; but instead of making the world increasingly solid (and our fears and resistances increasingly strong), we need to step back and remember that each one of us is actually creating the reality we experience through the power of our higher selves, at one with God. Then step back in and encompass all with our presence. Reality is lighter than we may think, and we can change our life experience by adjusting our viewpoints and beliefs to become closer to our true nature - which is in every case loving and non-judgmental.

The personal insights that I have discovered bear out the truth of this spiritual viewpoint, that we do indeed create our lives and situation based on our beliefs. Often it is particularly the subconscious and suppressed beliefs that determine our internal conflicts and fears, and cause us to lose sight of our essential being.

There are ways and means of uncovering this stuff and of realizing our essence - that is there all along - so we can knowingly create our reality in accordance with our loving nature.

Time for change

Human beings in the last 2000 years have progressed little (in terms of human nature), but times are changing. Personal growth tools help us to learn faster and more effectively from our experience and so enhance the quality of the further experiences we will create. We also aspire to discover our spiritual nature and again, we haven’t made a lot of progress unaided (and religion hasn’t been a great help). But that is the past and now is a new time, the right time to take advantage of the opportunities we have for positive change. Opportunities that lie in our own hands.

We all have a belief system full of ideas imprinted by our culture and upbringing, and as the effect of earlier traumatic experiences, and even influences we are born with. They are here with us all the time in the present and effect our view of things and our interpretation of events, so that we are not really free to be ourselves, and to know our true selves, our true goals, and purposes in life.

As we peel off these beliefs, we find at the bottom some beautiful truths, simple as truths always are, about our basic loving nature. That is also the nature of each of us, our spirituality. Love expressed as creative will. That love becomes distorted by our mental structures and conflicts into the range of painful emotions and self-defeating behavior that most people either experience frequently or cover up, and live within ‘safe’ boundaries so they aren’t triggered. But really we create that experience and it mirrors what’s going on inside of us. On the scale of group consciousness, this extends to world events.

With learning, obtained from consciously experiencing and being open to guidance from Spirit, one becomes more enlightened - then indeed magic can happen. With clarity, life becomes much more simple and open to your creative influence.

Find our own truth

The “human identity” experience that we are all so familiar with is in fact a veil, a projection, not a truth in any way. It is a habit that we acquire early in childhood. Certainly, one can maximize the veil and have a “good life” experience. And certainly, one can decide that the veil represents a truth and deal with the resulting limitations. However, the truth is that there is no separation and you do have conscious access to how you are creating your reality in every moment. That is the whole, the “human identity” is a subset. One is only locked into that viewpoint if one chooses to be.

At the same time, I also feel that we are here to experience life at the physical level and to understand ourselves from that viewpoint too. The human experience is not something to reject or lessen, it’s a great privilege. We are “the man in the heavens,” there is no “up there” and “down here” - metaphysics and physics are one - we simply are all of it.

Spirit-mind-emotions-body-the world: this is a circle, a wholeness. We are all connected. Because spirit is of the nature of information, not within the boundaries of space and time, the beliefs of a few conscious beings influence the group consciousness of Mankind - or perhaps I should say group unconsciousness, since relatively little conscious will is expressed here, but the unconscious still responds. I feel the recent war has been a wake-up call on this planet and things are changing; there could be an exponential increase in the expression of our true nature, of love, in our world. It is up to each of us to play our part.

Actually, the process is simply stated: we need to look afresh, in the present moment, and clear away our false assumptions and fixed ideas by shining a light of objectivity and honesty. Our guidance in this process is love. We can all do this and the time is right.

“When we love, we are the universe and the universe lives in us.” --O. Pirmez

Podcast: Finding Peace
There’s no beauty that you could perceive or create if it weren’t already within you. Therefore to find peace you need to find yourself...
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Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd
Peter Shepherd is the founder and producer of this website. A transformational psychologist by background, he is author of ‘Transforming the Mind.’ Learn more about Peter's life experience and his views on many subjects at his Biography Page. Read More Articles by Peter Shepherd.
Raise Your Vibration
This is something Peter put together that is close to his heart. It's a free daily meditation program to help you make the state of unconditional love an integrated part of your life, which is key to lasting joy and fulfillment.
Plus check out Your Inner Truth, a phenomenal range of journaling tools to help you find the truth of your situation. You may feel stressed, or confused, there may be a lot going on and choices to make that seem a bit overwhelming. Or you may simply need time with yourself, to decide what is it you really want... and just who are you, really?