Most of us are familiar with the phrase “Peace on earth, goodwill to men.” How many of us consciously practice it in our everyday lives and what does it mean exactly? From my perspective, peace and goodwill begin with me. It is that internal sense of absolute quiet and calm glimpsed in those moments or gaps between the zillions of thoughts that zip through our minds on a daily basis. Our brains are like huge computers running a multitude of programs simultaneously with frequent pop-up boxes that distract us from clear thinking. If we can focus on the gaps between the bits of streaming information, we can realize moments of lucidity and calm. When we are centered and connected to that inner quiet, we exude a sense of peace and, not incidentally, goodwill.
Typically in the U.S. we get wrapped up in a flurry of seasonal preparations and holiday activities; purchasing presents, decorating our homes and workspace, and engaging in social and religious activities. The holidays can be very stressful, particularly if you get caught up in trying to get everything accomplished in time. We put stress on ourselves to get all these holiday tasks and obligations completed and still manage our already busy daily lives.
Here’s a suggestion for alleviating the stress: when you notice yourself getting caught up just take a big breath in, let it out slowly and completely. Repeat until you’ve restored a little inner quiet. It is amazing how this simple act performed consciously can be so self-calming. When you are at peace, it impacts everyone and everything around you. Perhaps the greatest gift we can give to others is to be at PEACE ourselves.
When you are out and about this holiday season, look at the people around you, share eye contact, smile, acknowledge them, start a conversation. You have an opportunity to shift the atmosphere around you. We can share an implicit appreciation of one another, or GOODWILL. In eastern traditions this moment might be described as Namaste, which may be translated as “the goodness in me recognizes the goodness in you.” See how many of those moments you can experience in the coming days and notice how you will be promoting, “peace on earth and goodwill to men.”
Wishing you the peace and joy of the season!