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The Art of Knowing Peace: Part I
By: Most Rev. Dr. Marilyn L. Sieg


As we look upon all the preparations for war in response to the recent terrorists' attack on our country, it will become more important than ever to keep our inner selves in peace. Any peace in the world must begin in the individual heart. Osama bin Laden's heart will never be changed without peace in our own hearts first.

You need no special verbal formula nor is there a special place to go to obtain peace. Some will tell you that you must go alone to the seashore to learn about it. Some will even suggest that the top of a mountain is the best learning place. Environmentalists will try to convince you that the woods, where you are in the midst of green, growing things, is the greatest teacher. All of these suggestions are helpful, but, at best, a place can simply provide you with surroundings that are conducive to peace.

They are peace-filled. They are not your peace.

The place to begin is in your heart. Open your heart, take a deep breath and know the silence within every cell of your being. It is a short journey to the most beautiful place in the world. Here you find remembrance that the peace of God has been there all the time. You have simply forgotten that you have this valuable resource. If you believe that God dwells within you in Divine Wholeness, then the very peace of God must be there because it is part of God's wholeness. And since you and God are ONE, then you must also be the very peace of God. The challenge is to become aware of it and to learn how to use it.

Be aware that peace can never be an excuse for inaction or for solving a situation at any price. Peace is not being a doormat or a wimp. Rather, it is that magnificent quality which unobtrusively and quietly brings the wisdom of resolution. Peace is born of knowing that everything in your individual and collective plan is in Divine Order and is unfolding as it should in your life and in the life of Planet Earth. The way of the true Master is the way of peace.

Peace is an abiding presence that comes right out of your love for God and for every person in whom God rests, which is all humanity, known or unknown to you in the physical world. It is a permanent state within you from which you can deal with any circumstance.

Peace is the topic of this article because nothing of value in your life can happen without its spiritual, life-giving center from which you perceive your highest good. Given the myriad of pseudo, deceptive propositions presented to our human hearts and minds, it is only in a peaceful heart that you can penetrate to the core and see each one for its true value. So peace is both atmosphere and condition for clear discernment. In its energy, you intuit when it is time to change perspective, when compromise is better than victory and when silence gains more than argument.
The other day, as I was meditating on the acquisition of peace, a clarifying example occurred to me. Before mountain climbers ascend to the peak, they establish a base camp. This camp becomes their center of operation where they plan strategy, designate their point of rendezvous and bring fallen comrades for medical assistance. As I thought about this, I realized that peace is our base camp. In its center we plan our life goals and their manner of achievement. It is the point of rendezvous when the winds and the waves are overwhelming and our spiritual life, itself, is threatened. It is where we go when we have lost our way and have no idea in which direction to proceed. What happens if we come to this base camp and there is no help available-no peace? From this example, you can understand how necessary true peace is, if human beings are going to live a divine life here and now.
The most natural question to ask at this point is, "How do I access this peace?" The answer, once again, is inside you. You must make a deliberate choice to remember that you are peace. Once you have done this, every step you take follows in logical sequence.

You need quiet time. Easier said than done, I'm sure. Your world, like mine, is a whirlwind of schedules, activities, financial concerns, children and social obligations. Nevertheless, the beginning step in the process is to set aside some quiet time to remember that YOU ARE peace.

First, you create this time by looking over the list of activities which often drain your energy and keep you spinning like a whirling dervish. Which ones are essential for your well being, your family's and the highest good of others? Which ones can be excluded from your life?

Next, examine your list of friends. Which ones are real friends and which ones are simply acquaintances? Are there any that we can drop from our roster? A close friend deserves a letter. An acquaintance merits an occasional card, or perhaps, just a Christmas card, depending on the circumstances.

Then, consider carefully how strong you are about saying "No" to requests for which you really have no time, unless you set aside the last few minutes you have for yourself. If what you are being asked to undertake requires all the time and energy you have and it's something that someone else can do, it's important to say "No."

Have you trained your children to carry out responsibilities around the house, which will lighten your load, or do you have them committed to so many activities that you cannot ask them to bear their share of the household work? Remember that your children need quiet time also, if they are to acquire peace at an early age. They need to make prayer and meditation a daily habit. Then, when it comes time to make young adult choices, they will have a spiritual base from which to make their decisions.

This same process applies to your spiritual life. Some are over-committed to spiritual activities under the false impression that the more activities we engage in, the more we will show our love for God. In grand disguise, it is a massive takeover of doing before being. Spiritual activities can drain energy even more than secular kinds of activities, primarily because we attach so much importance to them. Examine why you feel you must do these things. Give yourself time to think about how much energy you can expend without hindering your own spiritual life.

Whatever you do, please do not underestimate the importance of this winnowing process in every area of your life. Separate the chaff from the wheat. When it has been completed, you will find not one, but several times during the day when you can sit in quietude and awaken to the peace that you are.

More on the acquisition of peace at another time.

Most Rev. Dr. Marilyn L. Sieg

We would like to thank Most Rev. Dr. Marilyn L. Sieg for the Spirituality Articles she wrote for us.

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