In a small village not far from Florence, Italy, a thirteenth-century soldier was imprisoned. The son of a rich merchant, this young soldier had been “lost” for most of his life when suddenly he had a vision to serve God in an unconditional way. He gave up all material possessions, ultimately living and teaching the message of Jesus of Nazareth. This was the man who would come to be known as Saint Francis of Assisi. He became renowned for helping many by simply being in their presence. Wild animals and birds became tame near him, meekly tickling his fingers and flying into his open hands.
On a pilgrimage many years ago, I went to Lower Assisi to visit the tiny chapel that Saint Francis had prayed in every day. The chapel still stands in its exact condition from that time. Today it is surrounded by a spacious building with glorious stained glass windows and an ornate ceiling. Thousands of people mill about in this outer structure; all are in Assisi to pray and pay homage to the thirteenth-century saint. The visitors come and go every day from all over the globe, in solemn, somber, loving tribute to this divine being.
I was escorted into the tiny chapel Continue Reading
If you want to be a voice for peace in the world, begin by making peace a permanent condition of your own life. Your higher self knows the way, and all it takes is awareness and a determination to listen to the calling of love, forgiveness, and kindness as you move through your days. Here are a few ideas to think about:
- You must offer peace to have it. Think of yourself as a peaceful person. Watch out for your ego’s inclination to take offense and ramp up confrontation and disturbance in the lives of others. Try saying, “You are really having a rough day,” to a harried clerk, rather than, “I’ve been waiting for fifteen minutes already.” Let your loving presence, not your ego, guide your words and actions.
- Remember that grievances bring turmoil while communication brings peace. You can shed grievances by letting go of your own self-absorption and practicing forgiveness. If you are angry toward someone in your life, work at communicating with that person. A few moments of discussion and forgiveness can send the turmoil away and weaken the influence of your anxiety-loving ego.
- Give yourself the gift of a silent retreat every day. Even if it is only for a few moments, experience this key to higher awareness. Shut down the inner dialogue and see the difference between the constant chatter and the bliss of your silent connection to the Universe. This is the surest way to ease control away from ego and move into the inner vision of peace that is your birthright.
- Remind yourself that the greatest technique for bringing peace into your life is to always choose being kind when you have a choice between being right or being kind. This is the single most effective method I know for having a sense of peace. And you have that choice in all your interactions.