Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.
The U.N. declared Sept.21 as International Day of Peace 32 years ago. Now, near the beginning of the 21st century, why not declare an "Internal" peace day, and encourage the people of world to look at the "hot coal" dwelling within.
The problem: Everyone has an ego, the "hot coal" when unchecked governs their life. The solution: Everyone has a decision-making mind that can regulate that "hot coal" and dissolve it and obtain internal peace.
Mindfulness vs. mindlessness means looking at that "hot coal" throughout the day. We watch the antics of the thoughts running the show and making decisions. As we watch the drama, the projections and the judgments, we observe; we look. If looking, we are no longer in denial: "There's that anger again." Look and do not judge, and see the thoughts; let them go. What we focus on grows. The ego has grievances, grudges, judgments, jealousy and strategies to manipulate to get its way, while thriving on guilt and fear. Don't believe it.
You have a powerful mind. You have power in looking, watching and most importantly letting the ego thoughts go. Refrain from judging the stream of concerns, worries, resentments and judgments. Your power is in replacing them with the sanity within. Ask: "Does this thought bring me internal peace?" And "I want to see this differently?" You are the decider, a powerful decision-maker who can both believe and follow the insanity of the ego or the sanity of the love within. By watching the ego, it is gradually undone and becomes less and less dominant. You will notice when you are more peaceful.
I overheard a worried conversation about "those Muslims." One was holding a grudge about the attack on the World Trade Center 12 years ago. The memory was making him miserable. His ego was holding onto the grievance and he was projecting fear onto others. Sometimes we enjoy our grievances. He chose the "burning coal" of anger. President Abraham Lincoln said, "To defeat an enemy, make him your friend." If he would become mindful and watch his thoughts and realize how he felt, he would see what he was doing to himself. The hate hurts only the self. Every time he reads about or sees what he thinks is a Muslim, he gets another "hit" which builds up the pain. If he were to watch his thoughts and say, "I want peace instead of this," he would have it. He could also imagine himself walking into a mosque, being greeted with "As-salam alaykum" (peace be upon you) and shaking hands with the imam and experiencing peace being in the mosque. Through this inner practice, his mind has made an enemy into a friend. The mind is the decider. He has defeated the ego and if he ever does meet a Muslim, he will be inquisitive and at peace. Try this on someone who annoys you, you'll be amazed.
You are not your ego and it is not your friend. You are mind, the higher self, spirit-loving and lovable, an innocent child of God. You have done nothing wrong. Case dismissed. No longer identified with the ego, you listen to the quiet truth whispered softly coming from the one loving mind we share with everyone. You are as God created you, a spark of eternal spirit, changeless, formless and loved. You are one with God, like a baby in the womb, resting, peacefully in oneness. You are having a dream of the world, your life, its trials and successes, but you can awaken in time, right now, and claim your true grandeur and identity as spirit. No longer living as the ego's chattel, your internal peace reflects a life at peace, inspiring others, a communit, and sends echoes of peace around the war-weary world.
Sally McKirgan facilitates A Course In Miracles study group and the Ashland Daily Tidings inner peace column. Send 600- to 700-word articles to firstname.lastname@example.org.