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When the world ends, family members and friends surround me just as we are preparing to leave on a road trip. That is the way the dream started. Cars are crushed, the ground rips in two, and whole buildings fall—everything in ruins. The sky is blood red and grey at the same time. Nothing feels right. Light isn’t the right color, the air is thicker and dirtier as if it has been scorched, and rubble is everywhere. In the distance exploding methane and gas stations can be heard. Alarms blaring, dogs barking, people running around frantically, the looting, hoarding, and accumulating of food and supplies has already begun.

My uncle is in near tears. All he wants to do is call his wife and tell her he loves her, to see that she is OK, and to console her, to let her know she is not alone. But the phone lines are jammed. Too many cell towers fallen, too many people seeking to do the same as he. And the world sinks into mass pandemonium.

And yet a calmness or peace overwhelms me.

This is the dream that woke me up in the middle of the morning. And yet in reality, everything is opposite from the dream. It couldn’t be farther from the truth—the world isn’t coming apart physically (perhaps socially and politically). More glaring than the lack of calamity, is the realization that I don’t have peace.

In the dream I do have peace when all hell has broken loose. But, in reality, when all around me is “tranquil” for the most part, I am not at peace. So the question is raised, “How does one achieve peace when you don’t have it?”

Always, I am reminded of the way that I, and it seems that many others have found peace, begins with an overwhelming sense of gratitude.  This is why I say, “And this is the way of the Peace Artist, it all begins with Gratitude: Love, Help, Make Art & Peace.

For me it is a truth, that when I become truly thankful, I mean really grateful for anything and everything, I have peace. My gratitude then prompts me to realize that, “Man! I have received A LOT of unmerited favor and kindness.” Which of course makes me feel all the more grateful.

Therefore, doing the same for others becomes the only logical solution. But how?

I try to start with loving others, helping others, and making the world prettier, better, and nicer. I try to start by doing some pretty art, playing some beautiful music. Dance if I feel like it. Doing gymnastics, writing poetry, cooking for others, planting a pretty garden of flowers, or anything else that I can think of that is kind, loving, or compassionate.

The depth of one’s gratitude can be measured by the extreme to which we attempt to share what we have been given.

And yet the guy writing this…KNOWS THIS…and yet doesn’t have peace. Why?

Lately, I’ve been having discussions with friends online about how to have world peace. From my vantage, and based on a life dedicated to trying to create peace, I have found that it is a choice. A choice about which reality you wish to believe. Which reality you wish to foster. Which reality you wish to plan for, help germinate, and create. Quantum physics and most religions seem to express the same idea as well. If you believe it—you have it.

The converse of that is true as well, i.e. that if you don’t want peace, that will be your reality. The observer determines their reality.

With all that being said, why do I who knows all this, lack peace at this moment?

I’ve gotten frustrated.

I really don’t get frustrated anymore. It was about a month ago that I last got frustrated. I’ve learned to live in a status of peace. But not having it now and feeling like I want to pull my hair out begs the question, “Why do I not have peace?”

Like the John Lennon song says, “Nothing’s gonna change my world.” I have chosen a reality that accepts that little things can make you frustrated. There, in the problem, lies the solution. I have chosen my reality. If I don’t like it…choose other. My peace isn’t dependent upon what is outside of me, but rather what is inside of me. To achieve world peace, the whole world doesn’t need to sit down to decided to have peace. Only I have to choose that.

If I do, I have it.

Peace isn’t outside us. Peace is inside us. If I get frustrated with the small things that I allow to irritate me, it is because I choose to do so. They are a test. A test to see if this guy named “Peace” is really who he claims?

And with something so simple, these tests broke me.

A few weeks ago I was playing Frisbee golf with my buddy Dave. Just as I was getting ready to throw, I noticed some people near watching. Knowing they were watching, I wanted to make a good impression (read pride), so I put a little extra umphf into my throw…right into tree. I immediately turned to them and said, “Thank you Sensei for that lesson in humility,” and I was serious.

Everyone is a Sensei. Everyday is a test. Each moment is a lesson. What will you learn?

The extremely frustrating moments are the instances with which you have the greatest chance to do the greatest good for others…and yourself. You can see the stone that stands before you as a punishment or a challenge. An exercise in humility, patience, commitment, love, peace, or joy.

Break the rock in two.

A famous Shaolin teaching exercise it to set a student in front of a board that seems impossibly thick. The student is asked to break the board. The teacher then demonstrates on a similar board. Snap! The first try.

The student then tries, nearly breaking his hand. For the next day, week, month, or year this student hits the board. Perhaps strengthening his hand, but more importantly beginning to develop the belief that one-day the board will break…if only he could figure out the secret.

The secret is believing it can be done. But more importantly, it is believing that it will and must be done…this time. That is the obstacle, not the board. The belief that it can be done is the first hurdle. The belief that you can do it the second. The belief that now is the moment that it will happen the last.

Breaking a rock in two is just an extension of the belief that it can be done. Faith then is believing that not only CAN something be done, but that it MUST be done.

When the grandma sees a baby trapped under the car, she doesn’t list all the reasons why she cannot lift a car. Rather, there is NO acceptable reality in which she does not lift the car. Therefore the car is lifted. Yes, we can explain it with an adrenaline rush, but that is how she did it, not why she did it. For her, a reality where she allows a child to be crushed is not one that is acceptable. Therefore, she altered her reality.

So, my little “problems” serve as my sensei. They have caused me to examine a great many things, and ask myself why do I not have peace?

The answer, for me, is that my peace is my manifestation. Like the woman lifting the car, it a choice of which reality do I wish to exist in? I choose to break the board. I choose to snap the stone. I choose to lift the car. I choose to have peace while the world is ending around me.

Nothing can change my world…but me.

 

Words are flowing out like

Endless rain into a paper cup

They slither wildly as they slip away across the universe.

Pools of sorrow waves of joy

Are drifting through my opened mind

Possessing and caressing me.

 

Jai Guru Deva. Om

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

 

Images of broken light, which

Dance before me like a million eyes,

They call me on and on across the universe.

Thoughts meander like a

Restless wind inside a letterbox

They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.

 

Jai Guru Deva. Om

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

 

Sounds of laughter, shades of life

Are ringing through my opened ears

Inciting and inviting me.

Limitless undying love, which

Shines around me like a million suns,

It calls me on and on across the universe

 

Jai Guru Deva.

Jai Guru Deva.

Jai Guru Deva.

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

Nothing’s gonna change my world

 

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