In Steps Toward Inner Peace Peace Pilgrim says that being at peace requires "a different way of living." She quotes Henry David Thoreau who said, "When a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps he hears a different drummer." To follow daily the path of peace it is necessary to listen for a different drummer - different from the one most of the world appears to be hearing.
She says that the first step in listening to a different drummer is to develop a right attitude toward life. "This means -stop being an escapist! Stop being a surface-liver who stays right in the froth of the surface. There are millions of these people, and they never really find anything really worthwhile. Be willing to face life squarely and get down below the surface of life where the verities and realities are to be found."
Living life on the surface is a place where one hears the drummer of conflict, instability and discord, the drummer of want and of never having enough, the drummer of taking and not giving, the drummer that is the human ego.
How may we daily seek the drummer of stability, harmony and balance? How may we find the drummer of caring and giving, the drummer of letting go of the ego need to have, to always acquire more and to always be right? In the spiritual approach to life, one finds ideas the world of the surface calls counter-intuitive (although, it is our intuition that actually informs our spiritual life). A very wise person once said to me the following powerful truth about the surface world of the ego and our inner knowing from Spirit: The ego says, "When things work out for me, then I will be at peace." Spirit says, "Be at peace, and things will work out for you."
We can seek the drummer that is the vibration of our inner knowing by living in ways the surface of things definitely calls counter-intuitive. We can let go of all of the crazy things going on in the world. That is stop thinking about them; focus only on the positive. Begin to see all the good that exists now. We can be at peace no matter what is happening in the world by turning everything over to the Divine Presence within. Letting go and allowing one's self to simply be in God's perfect peace is enormously powerful. It is powerful in individual lives and in the world. First be at peace and things will work out both in individual lives and in the world.
The spiritual writer Emmet Fox put this very clearly, "You must stop thinking about the trouble, whatever it is. The rule is to think about God. If you are thinking about the difficulty, you are not thinking about God. To be continually glancing over your shoulder in order to see how matters are progressing is fatal, because it is thinking of the trouble, and you must think of God and and nothing else. Your objective is to drive the thought of the difficulty out of your consciousness, for at least a few moments, substituting for it the thought of God. This is the crux of the whole thing. If you can become so absorbed in this consideration of the spiritual world that you forget for a while about the difficulty, you may find that you are out of the difficulty." I feel sure that Emmet Fox was only referring the individual inner life; however, this is also true for troubles in the world at large, because outer peace begins with individual inner peace. In fact it is the only way to peace in the world.
Another "counter-intuitive" way to live a life of peace comes from a booklet by Rabbi Joseph Gelberman and Dr. Dorothy Kobak, Spiritual Truths:
Forgive By Giving Love
"We can only know fullness of love when we recognize that our brother's errors are also our own. If we give anger in response to his error, that error goes unredeemed in both of us.
the world needs us to redeem error. If we condemn the person with the deed, we have alienated ourselves from our roles as co-creators with God of a peaceful world.
If we accept ourselves and grow from our errors, we release our brother from our judgment in his errors. We both understand forgiveness. We learn to give love for anger."
From Francois de la Rochefoucauld: One pardons in the degree that one loves.
In this way by daily offering pardon to all and love to all, we may each find peace and a daily fresh start. Turn the world of the surface upside down and hear a new drummer in the new year.
Gene Ford Runnels