When you look at today’s world with its pollution, poverty, starvation, vanishing glaciers, clear-cut forests and bleaching coral reefs, how do you feel? How do you feel about the idea of finding inner peace when all this is happening? Go deep. Be honest.
Spearheading MAPS, I have heard many times people express feelings such as “How can I find peace amidst our world’s chaos, when the previous generation (or big business, or political leaders, et cetera) are responsible for our problems?” Feeling hopeless, powerless and blaming others and external circumstances for our situation does not make us bad people. It is just a human tendency. But if we wish to cultivate inner peace and support peace in the world, we need to face uncomfortable feelings so that we may ultimately choose to serve the greater good.
There are two sides to every story, as well as that which is really going on. Pointing fingers makes us feel temporarily powerful, as though we are on the “right” side of the fence. But we could become so busy wanting to be right that we forget we all have the same potential for ignorance and greed that block inner and outer peace.
As sentient beings who experience life through our senses, we tend to get stuck at times in resentment. It is a way of re-sensing, that is, to repeatedly feel that a person, place or even life itself is happening “to” us. Resentment exists in a blame paradigm. It is one way that our divisive ego-mind keeps us focused on problems, rather than on solutions. When we think blame-based thoughts, we suffer. In so doing, we lose our authentic voice and connection with our true power, which is found in presence. Remembering our interconnection is what frees us from the tyranny of our ego’s need to create separateness.
We all err in some way. We all need to make amends with ourselves, with our families and our neighbours. We all can learn to love better, in each moment, of every day, until we have realized that our true nature is neither right nor wrong – only love.
Life is not happening “to” us. We have free will. Because we are essential parts of a vast whole, what we each think, feel and do is continually reflected back to us. What exists today on our planet is a reflection of who we are as a species at this time. There is no one to blame. There is only the choice of what we do with this moment. Are we going to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?
We are all equally responsible to switch on and serve. Whether or not someone else chooses that does not change our own responsibility to do so. Inner peace never depends on the actions of others, but on our own self. It is we who must make the choice to live in harmony with our most natural, soul-directed voice.
Between now and next month, ask yourself these questions with as much presence and compassion as you can. Take the time to consider them deeply. The intention is to understand your tendencies more intimately and recognize them when they arise, rather than judge yourself. Then write your answers out by hand to help you process and integrate what you discover.
Do I have a tendency to blame, resent or judge myself or others for the state of the world? If yes, in which way? (Describe a situation. Then consider how you can see it differently and choose positive action.)
Do I have a tendency to feel like a victim? How do I lose my power and connection to my authentic voice when I do?
Am I willing to let go of finger-pointing and take responsibility for my inner peace? What would my life look like if I did?
What simple, self-compassionate action can I do today that would help my life feel more fulfilled?
What simple, compassionate action can I do today to ease suffering in another’s life?
This Inner Peace column brings you highlights from Parvati’s free online workshop called “Finding Your Inner Peace Sanctuary.” For more frequent insights, guided practices and journaling prompts to support your inner peace, follow every Sunday at Parvati.tv. Stay tuned for her upcoming books as part of GEM: Global Education for MAPS.
Parvati is an award-winning singer, composer, producer, yogini, author, and Founder and CEO of the international charity Parvati Foundation. Her work is dedicated to protecting all life on Earth by establishing the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary (MAPS).