We all want to know peace--peace in our hearts, our families, our communities, nation, and world.
But we cannot know peace if we put a price on it. That is, if we value some things more than we value peace--things such as our political affiliations, our thoughts and ideas, our religious identities, or our material wealth--we will forever seek division, not the harmony and wholeness that are the hallmarks of peace.
- Begin by calming your mind. Direct your attention to an object, such as a Scripture verse, an icon, a lit candle, or your breath. Allow your shoulders and jaw relax with each exhale. Sit in this silence until you feel called to proceed.
- Identify a material possession that you value. Bring to mind as many details about this object as possible. Now, imagine that object being taken away from you. What feelings do you notice welling up in you? Try to locate these feelings in your body--do they manifest themselves in a particular region? Are they marked by a particular sensation?
- Identify a relationship that you value. As before, imagine that relationship being taken away from you and pay attention to the feelings that arise in you. Observe them objectively. Do not judge your feelings as desirable or undesirable, as good or bad. Do not yourself for having any of these feelings.
- Identify any allegiances that you value. For example, you might pledge allegiance to a sports team, a political party, a religious institution, or your nation. As before, imagine that allegiance is taken away from you--perhaps it betrays you; perhaps it dissolves. Watch your emotions; remember: you are not your feelings.
- Identify an image of the Divine that you hold dear. Imagine that image fails you--it no longer serves as a source of comfort; it no longer provides a sense of purpose. If this is troublesome, remember that your ideas about God are not God. What feelings do you notice?
- Of the things considered in steps 2-5 (possessions, people, allegiances, or ideas), which one was the hardest for you to give up? Do you see yourself any differently without it? Would God see you any differently? Sit with this for a while.
- End the meditation with the following prayer (or one of your own):
Lord, you call us to be peacemakers. Teach me the holy freedom to abandon those things that prevent me from being one with you, one with others, and one with creation. Grant me the wisdom and compassion to treat all things with love. Only then will I know peace. Amen.