Can you think of a time when you wish you had said something differently or had not said what you did? We all have. But think of what might have been said if love was held in the mind.
Perhaps you were angry at the time but if we can remember to stop before we say something, take a breath and access the place within where love resides, we can trust what we say will be loving. We don't know what the words will be, but we can trust they will come from compassion — love. The other will recognize the love being offered and will not be offended.
There is a place in you where peace and stillness abide. It is only found within and nowhere outside or in the world. The world can serve as a reminder of the sacred place and we visit cathedrals, holy places and perhaps nature in search of peace but these things, while being beautiful, are merely echoes of what was first held in the mind.
Nourish, practice, develop and cultivate this center, the spirit self that you are. It is the place to go when chaos arises; where the wisdom of love resides; and where to turn and ask "What would you have me say?" Be aware, it is not the ego part of the mind which usually speaks first. The ego mimics love, but the difference is it's manipulating rather than peace-making.
The more you practice finding that "still center" the faster you will become at accessing it. The feeling we have when something is amiss sends us into fear or love. We usually go to fear but the instant you realize you are feeling fearful or upset, go to that place of refuge. Say "I'm feeling upset but I now choose the love within to guide me." There are many spiritual paths that can help, but the only one who can do it is you. There is a beautiful old hymn "You gotta walk that lonesome valley, you gotta walk it by yourself, nobody else can walk it for you. You gotta walk it by yourself." We all walk the lonesome valley but help is within yourself, in your powerful mind.
Eckhart Tolle's book "A New Earth" has a chapter called "Recognizing Inner Space." We have so many thoughts and distractions in the world that we are not aware of the consciousness of our true self within. If we listen to our thoughts of worry, despair, achievement, anxiety and negativity we will not enjoy the simple things like watching clouds, the rain, and the flash of a blue jay or sunlight on a flower. He goes on to say "stillness is the language God speaks and everything else is a bad translation."
As we become mindful we realize we can access this quiet space anytime, even while sitting through a tough meeting or watching a disaster on TV. Tolle says a space has opened in the mind; no matter how briefly, in the otherwise incessant stream of thinking. As we nurture and develop the inner center, let our awareness see and hear beauty. We expand the spacious place of love in the mind. Choose to be and speak from that center of love that you are. When you go to the still place, remind yourself: "I choose the love that is at my center to guide me. I ask to be guided by love."
You don't know what you will say, but you can trust it will be something kind, loving and helpful. And don't worry if nothing seems to come at that particular moment, but trust when the time is right you will say it with love, the love that you are, coming from the stillness within.
Sally McKirgan facilitates an A Course In Miracles study group in Ashland and the Tidings Inner Peace column.
Rogue Valley residents are invited to submit articles and share their experiences of inner peace. Send 600- to 700-word articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.