The United Nation’s International Day of Peace is Saturday, Sept. 21. Imagine all the people in all nations of the world stopping for 24 hours to think about peace!

Peace with other countries, counties, family and neighbors! We don’t have to hate. Do we? Do we have to judge or condemn?

If a trusted adult tells us that others are offensive we may tend to believe them, especially when we are young. We are taught and most of us believe and accept but we certainly don’t have to. For example my mother was prejudiced against a certain race. I had played with some of these kids at school and liked them so I did not accept her belief but I did obey her and not go to their house. As it turned out my sister married a man of that race and lo and behold, she changed her mind. A mind is a beautiful thing to change. Mom was a lovely person but she accepted her conditioning and passed it on. It reminds me of the Roger’s and Hammerstein South Pacific song, “You Have to Be Taught.” But we do not have to accept society’s teaching. Hate is a choice.

Could it be that a part of our mind enjoys hate? Think about how you feel when you are in the “hate” emotion. Doesn’t it make you feel strong and powerful and above all right! Years ago I worked in an office with a young man who was mentally impaired. He was from a rich family and he annoyed me and I disliked him. Looking back after years of spiritual work I wondered what that was about. I think I hated him because he reminded me of my own mental impairment. I always thought I was stupid! We project onto others that which we have inside, yet do not want to see or admit. It is projected out and seen elsewhere — but heaven, not in me! When I think of him now, I send love to him wherever he is and I believe his soul receives it. I know mine does.

Hate and anger are harmful to the hater in many ways. Have you ever tried to be nice when you didn’t want to? What does that type of mental activity do to the brain/body? Check out the Every Day Health website (www.everydayhealth.com/news/ways-anger-ruining-your-health) — this site documents from various studies the side effects of hate and negative emotions on the heart and brain, creating stress hormones causing depression and even inflammation. The ego is the “Master Judge” in our mind that runs our lives until we understand we are in fact miserable and we can see through the fog and decide to change our thoughts and choose peace. The ego very wisely uses projection and hate as a road block to love. We choose the ego — until we decide not to. We, however, have a choice, because we are a decider!

Hate is offensive. When we see angry people, it is very ugly and distasteful. We feel a churning inside. TV and movies offer a heavy diet of violence and hate — an onslaught to the nervous system. To be honest, we need to admit that the hate we see reflected in the world outside is also within. If we can admit that, then we are no longer in conflict and it dissipates. Instead of pulling the wool over our eyes, we just look honestly and, in looking, it dissolves.

If we don’t fight it or put up obstacles, we avoid a pile of buried guilt being placed deep within the psyche to emerge unexpectedly, which it will. Look squarely at the angry person and see either love or a call for love. Try it. You will access a place of peace. You do not need to say aloud “I love you” — merely think it. The mind is choosing love instead of the ego’s automatic response of disgust or hate. Their anger is their momentary condition but not their reality. In giving love, you receive it. You don’t know if or what you will “do or say” as the situation will depend on wisdom from the higher self.

But you can always think love.

I love this quote attributed to Abraham Lincoln: “To defeat an enemy, make him a friend.” You could also say, “To defeat an angry person, recognize it is also within and see either love or a call for love.”

If I exclude love from others, I am excluding love from myself. With compassion we no longer condemn.

We are the same. We are all people. The spark of the divine is within everyone, so I challenge myself to look for it.

—Sally McKirgan facilitates the Tidings Inner Peace Column and one of several "A Course In Miracles" study groups in the Rogue Valley. Contact her at innerpeaceforyou@outlookcom.