When we speak up and out for what we believe in, someone always disagrees but if we will remember to be kind, we will have inner peace.

When we speak up and out for what we believe in, someone always disagrees, but if we will remember to be kind, we will have inner peace.

The Sept. 11 families could not agree on whether a Muslim Mosque should be built near Ground Zero in New York City. Everyone had their own belief system coming from various life experiences, family, education, culture, time and place, preferences, religious and inbred societal factors of right and wrong, not to mention personal fears. Even these good, wounded people, who identified themselves within the same cause, could not agree. Just like Democrats, Republicans, religious organizations, political groups, associations, corporations, choirs, city councils and nonprofits — no one agrees.

We come from different perspectives and we like to hold on to our beliefs, being independent thinkers. But we can have inner peace if we remember to be kind. The culprit is the ego. We all have one but it is not who we really are.

We feel attacked when others do not agree with our thought system and they feel the same way when we do not agree with them.

The key to inner peace: know that your ego will feel attacked and recognize the feeling but acknowledge that it is the ego feeling this, and you can choose to remember you are not the ego and see the situation differently, i.e. be kind. You are the peacemaker within. Your true identity is the peacemaker within and you are not weakened or discredited because someone does not identify with your thought system. They have come to their belief system just as you have come to yours. We do not need to succumb to the ego's wily ways of separation. Refuse to identify with its beliefs (they are just thoughts) and choose to remain kind and open minded for inner peace.

Two thousand years ago, Jesus ran into this very problem. He was only speaking truth, as he saw it, however it upset those who saw it as an attack and a threat to their thought system. They projected "radical," "terrorists" or "rabble rouser" onto him. Freud's law of projection came into play: we see aspects or qualities we dislike in others and blame them or attack them rather than recognizing we have the same qualities. We project out upon others what we refuse to see in ourselves. Projection makes perception. It is also called having a scapegoat handy. We just need to turn our pointing finger around and point it at ourselves. It is all false perception. Be kind.

For example, if I oppose a farmer burning slash on his property (or a Mosque in my neighborhood, expanding Mount Ashland or any other local problem) what should I do? Get a sign and picket the farmer? If inner peace is my spiritual path, I must look within and honestly see if I have ever done something similar. Have I ever burned something to get rid of it? Maybe not. But I must look deeper into the issue. Burning something is an easy way to get rid of it, or more simply put: it is an easy way out. When do I take the easy way out to solve a problem? All the time.

Now I see that the farmer is no different than I. We both take the easy way out and I can no longer be angry but have compassion for him. We are the same, we are one. He is trying to solve his problem just I try to solve mine. Now I understand. Now I can be kind.

With the anger replaced by compassion and understanding, I approach him with inner peace as I am seeking to find another way. In that frame of mind, creative opportunities present themselves. When he perceives I am not angry but trying to be part of the solution, his defensives may be lowered. Perhaps not, but having an open mind, being respectful of him and holding the hand of faith, that, with kindness as the goal, then we, together, will find another way.

Sally McKirgan lives in Ashland. Send articles on all aspects of inner peace to innerpeace@q.com