Attaining peace within can be as simple as making a conscious choice right in the moment of not taking the path of anger. I was aware for a long time of the miracles that resulted from practicing forgiveness and love before I tested this practice in my daily life.
It was easier to talk about the philosophy of changing my perception than to actually live it, especially when living it meant interrupting myself in the middle of emotional turmoil. I was able to forgive the people in my Personal Inventory, but choosing peace while filled with anger was a more difficult task.
Patience and An Open Mind
With patience and an open mind, I listened to joyful, serene people who were previously angry and chaotic share their miracles, so I knew that it was also possible for me.
Each knot in my stomach that accompanied the anger and guilt in which I still indulged reminded me that the discomfort was my choice. As my pain increased, my awareness increased, and I slowly became ready to surrender my self-righteous resistance.
Putting New Beliefs Into Action
During a long-distance telephone conversation, my teenage daughter came bursting into the house and demanded my immediate attention. I whispered to her that I was on the phone (in case she hadn't noticed) and asked her to please be patient. Totally ignoring my plea she continued to enthusiastically describe the events of her day.
I tried to concentrate on my telephone friend, in spite of the distraction of my daughter's chatter, to no avail.
Suddenly, my temples began to pound, and I could feel a rage seething deep within me. I thought:
How dare she be so inconsiderate and so rude. She cares only about herself and her immediate gratification. I've told her a million times that when people are on the telephone she should give them common courtesy and not interrupt them. When is she going to learn?
I was so filled with anger that for a moment I wanted to strangle her.
At that instant, it occurred to me that I had another choice -- if I didn't want to be in such pain. So for the first time while I was in the middle of a rage, I asked the spirit of love within me for a change of perception.
My daughter continued her monologue and my telephone friend continued talking while I closed my eyes and acknowledged that I was uncomfortable (to say the least). Then I thought:
Help me! I don't have to feel these feelings. That willful child part of me tells me to get angry, but I want to believe that I can be peaceful. Show me how! I open my mind so your loving voice can help me to see this situation peacefully.
Choosing Peace Brings Miracles
After about one minute, a miracle happened. I opened my eyes and saw my grown child as a little girl crying for love. My anger dissipated as I motioned for her to place her head on my lap and I lovingly stroked her hair, which was unusual behavior for me.
My telephone friend continued chatting, with an occasional acknowledgment from me, while I enjoyed a magic moment of closeness and peace with my precious child.
I was amazed! It was so simple! No lectures or judgments were necessary. There was only peace because I was willing to see things differently.
After about three minutes, my daughter quietly went upstairs to watch TV, her face beaming. I completed my conversation and danced up the steps to ask her, "Now what did you want to tell me?" She replied, with a big smile and a hug, "Never mind, Mom, it's not important." We both felt wonderful.
The miracle was that I was at peace. I was free. I didn't have to teach her a lesson. She had taught me to choose love. It works, if you work it.
About the Author
Ellie Janow is a mother, a certified eating disorders counselor, and a licensed speech/language pathologist, specializing in communication skills.