As I enjoy a peaceful morning baking bagels, soft music playing in the background along with the whir of my washing machine, I am aware of all that is going on in the world outside me.
There’s a twinge of guilt for enjoying my peace when I know that a lovely woman is grieving the death of her sweet man or a member of my family is struggling in her marriage. There are wars and injustices happening at this very moment, but I’ve learned that it helps no one if I decide I can’t be happy anyway.
I’ve learned that it makes no sense to let myself get caught up in other people’s stories. I can’t help you by suffering with you, as my ego mind would have me do. All that does is add to the energy of suffering on our planet. I certainly don’t want to dishonour your suffering with platitudes about being positive! But I can empathize when you’re going through a dark place without joining you there.
Contrary to what our ego tells us, it’s not selfish or cold to stay in a place of peace when others are facing challenges. Life will bring each of us challenges and blessings at different times, and from the perspective of our spiritual growth, they are one and the same. We need to experience challenges or we would never grow. It’s important to respect that the person you care about needs to go through their dark night of the soul, just as you have and likely will again. And it’s okay to be happy while they do.
Each person is here to walk their own unique path. Too often we get distracted by the paths of others. We don’t feel like we can feel joy when others are in despair. But there will always be someone struggling, so if you wait for that to stop before you can be happy, you may never be.
How do you want to feel today? Don’t let the news decide for you, nor the weather or the plight of someone you love. It’s possible and more helpful to rise above all of this and be the holder of the Light instead.
Take a moment now and notice your breath, perhaps close your eyes. Notice all the thoughts that are wanting your attention and just let them be there. Keep your attention on your breath. As you breathe in, say in your mind, “I breathe in peace.” As you breathe out, say, “I offer peace to you.” If there’s someone you’re worried about or upset with, see them in your mind’s eye as you say this, or you can direct it to the whole world.
Do this until you notice yourself feeling calmer, less agitated. Perhaps five minutes are all you can manage today — perhaps even just one. You’d be surprised how one minute of focus on peace can shift your entire day.
I managed to let go of that twinge of guilt and the bagels were delicious!