Most of us want world peace. What is less clear is what we must create within ourselves first. We can’t create “out there” what we don’t experience within. That’s not to say we don’t have moments of peace. What’s needed is to expand those moments until peace is our main expression, along with love and joy – all the qualities we’re told aren’t possible in today’s world, or at least very difficult to achieve.
It is possible to cultivate and express these qualities in ourselves. And it does require commitment plus investment of time and energy. First, we need to realize that what we see “out there” is reflecting back to us our inner reality in terms of unfinished business, unresolved issues and the ways in which we don’t love ourselves. Unfortunately, we usually aren’t grateful for these reflections –mostly unaware of them as such – and blame the person who triggered an emotional reaction in us. According to Marianne Williamson: “Others are only mirrors of you. You cannot love or hate something about another person unless it reflects something you love or hate about yourself.” Panache Desai, an author and spiritual teacher, says it another way. “You’re only ever experiencing yourself.” Try it on. When you have a strong emotional reaction to someone, take a moment to look inside yourself (with complete honesty) and see if you don’t also have the quality you dislike in that person. It may not be to the same degree, but 99% of the time it’s there.
The obstacle that most people meet when faced with the situation mentioned above is to avoid self-reflection out of fear of what we’ll find. Why? Because the majority of us are prone to judge ourselves harshly when we see something we don’t like and/or that doesn’t “fit” our self-image. Here’s something to ponder: mostly our self-image is based on lies – whether ones we’ve created ourselves or that we’ve received externally in the form of conditioning from parents, church, school, peers, etc.
What I’ve said before – and will continue to say – is that all that “unfinished business” is running our lives. All the emotions we couldn’t handle as a child that we’ve stuffed deep into our unconscious; the hurts we haven’t forgiven; the qualities we can’t accept in ourselves and try to hide – on and on it goes. Dr. Carl Jung, known for his work in this area of the unconscious, very wisely said: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” I’ve experienced this to be true in my own life.
It’s not as hard as we’re afraid it is. The amount of inner freedom and spaciousness – the wholeness in your innermost being – is worth every effort to attain it.