I don’t like chaos and discord. I can’t always avoid it, but you could say I’m not a fan.

I’ve got a coffee mug I bought once upon a time and, for years, it sat out on the counter in my kitchen. It’s a reminder of an inescapable truth.

On the cup is an anonymous quote: “Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”

It essentially means that, in spite of life’s demands and challenges, there is still a place of peace if I choose to go there.

Another of my favorite sayings is actually a partial bit of scripture from the Bible—Psalm 46:10, to be specific: “Be still and know that I am God.” This has always pointed out to whom I should turn to access this place of peace, and the manner in which I can always do it. This is an invitation to meditation, to be quiet, reverently speak with God and then listen.

I meditate regularly, though I’m certainly not as disciplined as some of my friends. Still, no matter what is going on in my life at the time, I come away from a time of meditation with a sense of increased peacefulness, not to mention a better perspective on the world.

The catch is that I have to seek peace intentionally. Dr. Wayne Dyer, a well-known author and lecturer who passed away in August 2015, would have called this living “on purpose.” Dyer wrote an entire book detailing this notion titled, “The Power of Intention.”

Many times these days—even in pop culture—one hears the term, “Namaste.” This is a form of respect shown in the Hindu culture that essentially means, “I bow to the divine in you.”

How could you hate or disrespect someone if you always recognize their soul, the “divine,” in this other person?

Jesus is quoted as expounding this principle in the Gospel of Luke 10:20: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” This is the very heart of Christianity, the recognition that, in the end, we are all the same.

I think that the use of the Internet and social media have, through their anonymity, freed people up to spew hatred, and for some to profit from the resultant unrest. It is far easier to say terrible things when you aren’t speaking face-to-face with someone. This also stands in stark contrast to the love, tolerance and kindness which most of us were taught as children.

Which brings me to a quote from the ever-quotable Mark Twain: “To get the full value of joy, you must have someone to divide it with.”

Twain is referring to community and the interaction we must have with each other, and the world, in general. As citizens of our various communities, states and the nation, we depend on one another. Nobody goes through life independently of others.

I think a lot of folks make the mistake, consciously or unconsciously, of thinking they will be happy only when all the stars line up. When there’s a full bank account, everyone associated with them is behaving the way they should, when all is happy and peaceful at work and at home, then, and only then, happiness will dawn upon the landscape.

It doesn’t take a great deal of reflection to see that happiness and enjoyment of life, based on such external parameters, is elusive. For me, improvement of my attitude and perspective on life is a much more reliable path to fulfillment.   

Another really bright fellow, John Lennon, put it this way: “All you need is love.” Finding a quiet place to ponder these words on a beautiful day in early autumn wouldn’t be a bad thing to do.

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