Peace of Mind ...
"Nothing can bring you peace but yourself..."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
My husband and I were packing things in my Mother In Law's apartment, on April of 2003, when I found a book I never heard of before - "Peace of Mind" by Joshua Loth Liebman. Mom had to be moved then to an Assisted Living place - she is now 84 years old and has Alzheimer's Disease (and lives in a good Nursing Home). We were then in the process of packing all of her belongings (it was a very trying experience for all of us; it is very hard to see a person go from being very independent, self-sufficient and smart to becoming so dependent on others for her care).
This book was originally published in 1946 and became very popular; when Mom bought it - it was the 15th printing and the book cost her $2.50 (she was 27 years old then). The lessons are beautiful!
Joshua Loth Liebman (1907 - 1948) was a rabbi in Boston - with the largest reform Jewish congregation in New England. He was always ahead of his time; he entered college at age 13, and graduated from the University of Cincinnati at 19. He was so well known and liked that he became a radio personality working in all the major networks; but sadly he died at the very young age of 41 years old.
I like to learn lessons from different people, different religions, different cultures - everyone has something to teach us. I was raised Catholic and married a great Jewish guy. We are both very open-minded and get along great (we work hard at it). We are not what people consider "very religious", but we are willing to learn as we go and are trying to do our best in raising our daughters and instilling some good moral values. Our goal is to teach them to become loving individuals and to respect themselves and others; also to have an open mind. I like to read a lot and I am hoping that in learning and improving myself, I can always be a good example for them.
"Peace of Mind" he said, "can be won by knowledge, discipline and character."
He mentions in his book that when he was a young man, he made a list of things he would like to have. The list was long and included such things as health, love, talent, power, wealth, and fame.
He showed the list around, asking others for their opinion. A wise, old friend of the young man's family looked the list over and said, "Joshua this is an excellent list. It is set down in a reasonable order. But it appears, my young man, that you have omitted the most important element of all. You have forgotten one ingredient, lacking which, each possession becomes a hideous torment, and your list as a whole an intolerable burden."
"And what is that missing ingredient?" Joshua asked.
The wise, old friend replied by taking a pencil and crossed out Joshua's entire list.
Then he wrote down three words: "Peace of Mind."
So, how do we attain peace of mind or inner peace?
I believe in what Dr. Liebman wrote in his book: "One of the greatest discoveries of modern psychology is that our attitudes toward ourselves are even more complicated than our attitudes toward others. The great commandment of religion, 'Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself,' might now be better interpreted to mean, 'Thou shalt love thyself properly, and then thou wilt love thy neighbor'."
He also wrote: "We often treat ourselves more rigidly, more vengefully, than we do others. Suicide and more subtle forms of self-degradation such as alcoholism, drug addiction and promiscuity are extreme proofs of this. But all the streets of the world are teeming with everyday men and women who mutilate themselves spiritually by self-criticism; who go through life committing partial suicide - destroying their own talents, energies, creative qualities."
"Another road to proper self-regard is the acceptance of ourselves for what we are - a combination of strengths and weaknesses. The great thing is that as long as we live we have the privilege of growing. We can learn new skills, engage in new kinds of work, devote ourselves to new causes, make new friends."
I believe that by doing the best that we can, by learning to love ourselves and others, by learning to forgive ourselves and others and by not holding on to negative emotions (fear, anger, guilt, resentment, jealousy, etc.) - we will learn to have inner peace. We have to let go of all negative thoughts and feelings, trust in ourselves and our inner abilities to forgive and move-on. If we keep anger and all those other negative emotions mentioned bottled-up inside of us, they will hurt us emotionally and physically. Many times people prefer to get sick than to be strong and courageous. We all carry baggage, we all have been hurt in one way or another; but we cannot live in the past - we have to live in the present and look forward to our future with hope and optimism. We have to learn to believe in the innate goodness of men. Concentrate in the good not the bad. Happiness is ultimately our responsibility. Pay attention to your thoughts - they are powerful! You create your own reality with your beliefs, your thoughts and your actions...
When we have a clean conscience it is easier to find peace. If we know we have done our best and learned from our mistakes, we feel better about ourselves and we feel at peace. If we acknowledge that we did something wrong and forgive ourselves and ask for forgiveness -if we hurt others- and make a commitment not to make the same mistake … we feel at peace.
These are some of Dr. Liebman's quotes:
"Treasure each other in the recognition that we do not know how long we shall have each other."
"Tolerance is the positive and cordial effort to understand another's beliefs, practices and habits without necessarily sharing or accepting them."
"We achieve inner health only through forgiveness--the forgiveness not only of others but also of ourselves."
"If we want to master fear and worry we must not only be willing to accept help from others, but also learn to accept ourselves and our abilities as well as our limitations."
"The great thing about life is that as long as we live we have the privilege of growing."
"Not only must we accept ourselves, but we must also CHANGE OURSELVES. Until the day of our death we CAN CHANGE."
"We can discipline ourselves and begin to give our energy to other people, to a cause, a movement, a great social enterprise. In such service we can find freedom from ourselves and liberty from our fears."
So many great people have written about the importance of finding peace of mind; but my favorites so far are Dr. Liebman, Peace Pilgrim and The Dalai Lama.
From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only "Peace Pilgrim" walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food." In the course of her 28-year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. It continues to inspire people all over the world:
"This is the way of peace: overcome evil with good,
and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love."
You can go to the website created by friends of Peace Pilgrim at www.peacepilgrim.org. We can surely learn a lot from her. Also check "Steps Toward Inner Peace" at www.peacepilgrim.org/steps1.htm.
The following are some of her quotes:
"The way of peace is the way of love…"
"Love is the greatest power on earth. It conquers all things."
"Ultimate peace begins within; when we find peace within there will be no more conflict, no more occasion for war. If this is the peace you seek, purify your body by sensible living habits, purify your mind by expelling all negative thoughts."
"Sometimes people find inner peace by losing themselves in a cause larger than themselves, like the cause of world peace. Finding inner peace means coming from the self-centered life into the life centered in the good of the whole."
"One of the ways of working for world peace is to work for more inner peace."
"In order for the world to become peaceful, people must become more peaceful."
"The basic cause of all our difficulties is immaturity. When we are immature, we think evil can be overcome by more evil and that is not the case."
"When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Inner peace is not found by staying on the surface of life, or by attempting to escape from life through any means. Inner peace is found by facing life squarely, solving its problems, and delving as far beneath its surface as possible to discover its verities and realities. Inner peace comes through strict adherence to the already quite well known laws of human conduct, such as the law that means shape the end: that only a good means can ever attain a good end. Inner peace comes through relinquishment of self-will, attachments, and negative thoughts and feelings. Inner peace comes through working for the good of all. We are all cells in the body of humanity - all of us, all over the world. Each one has a contribution to make, and will know from within what this contribution is, but no one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family."
I love her messages! We can learn a lot from them. I definitely believe that LOVE is the answer (like the song says), love is always the answer!
The Dalai Lama (who has also written some beautiful books) wrote in his book "The Dalai Lama's Book of Wisdom": "There are a number of qualities which are important for mental peace, but from the little experience I have, I believe that one of the most important factors is human compassion and affection: a sense of caring." He also writes: "If the individual can become a good, calm, peaceful person, this automatically brings a positive atmosphere to the family around him or her. When parents are warm-hearted, peaceful and calm people, generally speaking their children will also develop that attitude and behavior."
"All of us have our own answers deep within - it's only when we honor those knowings that we progress and find peace. We can find the strength within us to face any problems that life throws at us...!"
Find harmony in your life.
See the beauty in all things and in people.
Have no regrets.
Search for the truth and you will find it.
Simplify your life.
Count your blessings.
Let go of fear and worry.
LOVE YOURSELF !
Check www.pathways-to-peace.com - amazingly beautiful website! You'll enjoy it!