Inner peace

Once there was a time when leaders were peaceful people. Personal attacks of character were absent. People disagreed about principles and not about personalities. When someone thought differently than we did, leaders did not criticize the character or make fun of those who saw things differently. Political parties could strongly disagree about principles but did not attack the person or character of those who disagreed with their viewpoint. I have lived through 12 presidencies. Never have I seen this country so divided in attitudes and emotional tension within itself. I have voted over the years for Democrats and I have voted for Republicans. Many times, I voted because the character of the candidate was more important to me than their political viewpoints. I voted for Jimmy Carter but then I voted for Ronald Reagan because I thought his personality and character were what the country needed because though I may not have agreed with all his political viewpoints, I felt that his ability to get along with people and treat everyone with respect is what the country needed at the time. I also looked at how each candidate responded under pressure. Those who were calm, respectful and kind toward others helped me in my decision to vote for them.

Never before in all of the years that I have been on this planet, have I witnessed such emotional tension and disunity in our country. There is such disrespect for the political process because the leaders of our country seem to have lost respect for others who see things differently. This lack of respect has had a negative influence on the whole country. Our social technology allows us to show disrespect for others and attack one another's character on a daily basis. This lack of respect comes from both the most powerful people in our country and from the least powerful people in the country. It has become an epidemic and is socially acceptable in this present day.

We need to have differences of opinion in politics. We need to have different and challenging attitudes in our religious life and in our social life. Differences are good and healthy and help us to look at life in a deeper manner. But when I make my attitude an absolute truth for everyone and condemn anyone who sees things differently, I promote a harm to my own person and a harm to those around me. People who do this help no one.

I am convinced that inner peace in life results from being grateful for everything I see and everyone I meet and experience. Gratitude helps me see the goodness in creation and the goodness in other people. It also helps me to look at life and at other people in a deeper and kinder manner.

The times in my life when I have had the most inner peace are the times that I have lovingly looked at others and been grateful for the goodness in them. This has reduced my ego to learn from others. But when I am condemning and judging others, my ego gets very big and I become closed off from learning anything that will help me to become humbler and loving.

When I can be grateful for everything, it opens my heart and mind to a sense of humility. I begin to see God's power and strength and love in everything and everyone. At this moment I become open to allowing God, whoever may be my God, to change me into a more loving and kinder person. But I must make a conscious effort to be grateful and turn my life and my will over to the care of a loving God or power or philosophy or theology of life. When I look at the next thing I see or the next person I experience with a grateful heart, I will discover a profound experience, an experience of God. And my ego begins to get a little smaller. Maybe, inner peace results from our egos becoming smaller and our attitudes becoming more grateful and loving.

Fred Cavaiani is a licensed marriage counselor and psychologist with a private practice in Troy. He is the founder of Marriage Growth Center, a consultant for the Detroit Medical Center, and conducts programs for groups throughout Southeast Michigan. He can be reached at 248-362-3340. His e-mail address is Fredcavi@yahoo.com and his website is fred thecounselor.com.

Published: Tue, Oct 09, 2018

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