How to Find Pathways to Peace in Tumultuous Times


While I strive toward the sunlight on life’s journey, I admit, I’ve stumbled around plenty of times in obscurity too.

bridge over water

Views of the Unaffected
Such is the case with these last 18 months (and counting) of obstrusive ccp/covid restrictions that feel like an engineered extended winter solstice. Trying to balance between letting go of what I cannot control, and safeguarding my values, truth (and physical person) has been torturous like the rack. For most of the time, I could not understand this confounding conversation with one of the unaffected few:

“It’s not my world. None of this concerns me.”

“But, how can you sit idly by amidst the injustices and lawlessness?”

“I’m choosing peace of mind. There is nothing I can do about this in my orbit. I’m going kayaking.”

“Don’t you care…at all? How can you have peace of mind for humanity amidst worldwide angst and insanity? Isn’t it unloving to ignore it?

A Passage to Peace
When seeking a more expansive understanding, I often turn to the Tao. In this case, a passage from Alan Cohen‘s book,The Tao Made Easy – Timeless Wisdom to Navigate a Changing World, elucidates the unaffected’s pathway to peace:

“When we grow intolerant of social and political madness and we reach for a simpler, easier, saner life, we encounter dragons at the door of the temple, threatening to devour us with guilt for not suffering as we should. Or for choosing ease while others yet choose pain….Those still committed to suffering will argue, chastise or reject you if you step out of the way in favor of a freer journey.”

I didn’t argue, chastise or reject the unaffected’s viewpoint per se. I just couldn’t understand what appeared as a lack of caring. Perhaps that is the illusion.

Being Unaffected to be Uninfected
Being an HSP, it’s a struggle to not feel things deeply. It’s not that I don’t have faith or envision a better world, but the upside down dialogue and non-enforcement of laws with increased control, manipulation and violence against innocent persons is an incomprehensible, sickening reality.

While I do not succumb to MM, these accounts find their way into my orbit from bloggers and organizations I care about and support. Often my peaceful feelings then give way to concern. And if I am not mindful, concern can collapse into fear. And while my thinking can get me stuck in fear it can also take me to peace.

“…good fortune is invisibly there in all moments of despair, and you want to learn to live untroubled by them both.” – Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

This Too Shall Pass
Again I turn to the Lao Tzu’s wisdom in the Tao Te Ching. While Lao Tzu’s writings have various translations, and numerous verses could apply, Dr. Wayne Dyer interprets the 58th Verse for example, as living untroubled by good or bad fortune. He suggests that instead of viewing the world as good or bad to see it as wholeness — one component needs the other.

Drawing of yin and yang symbol, the Taijitu

The Taijitu always helps me visualize this concept as it perfectly depicts life’s complementary aspects — rather than polar opposites — continually flowing into each other.

The key is remembering that all is subject to change. Ah, I breathe a sigh of relief. In essence, it could probably be boiled down to acceptance and letting go…that change is constant.

Other Sages of the Ages


Several of Lao Tsu’s other verses in the Tao help keep me buoyant such as: “There is no way to happiness; happiness is the way.”

While the concepts of acceptance and letting go are elusive to teach, they appear everywhere in Nature as when Thoreau wrote: “Let us spend one day as deliberately as Nature, and not be thrown off the track by every nutshell and mosquito’s wing that falls on the rails…

And yet, perhaps it is Mahatma Gandhi’s words that the unaffected live by: “Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.”

A Bridge to Understanding
There are no coincidences. It just so happened that the meditation I picked up this morning in the 365 Tao Daily Meditations by Deng Meng-Dao, began with this visualization for receptivity:

curtain blowing in open room

I want to make myself an empty room

Quiet whitewashed walls with slant sunshine

And a fresh breeze through open windows.

Continuing with the passage, he states:

“We do not have enough peace. Yet peace will never be attained by perpetual action. Stirred water never has the chance to settle clear. A tree buffeted by winds can never grow straight. Give up all unnecessary activity. Give up all arbitrary actions. Make yourself receptive. The peace that you seek shall be quickly at hand.”

And in the end, this visualization along with Les Coleman’s quote below offers a light-footed pathway to peace…

“A bridge has no allegiance to either side.”

How do you process current events, especially while things have become so touchy? Do you tune out? Refuse to discuss certain topics? Dedicate a specific amount of time to a cause then relinquish the outcome? Do you stand by and observe, feeling confident God will take care of it all? Meditate? Pray? Reference some go-to wisdom? Go kayaking? Your insights help widen the pathways to peace.

Image credits in order of appearance:
Featured photo by Athena on Pexels.com
Bridge photos by Huebert World on Pexels.com
Window photo by Jan Koetsier on pexels.com

2 Replies to “How to Find Pathways to Peace in Tumultuous Times”

  1. Thanks for taking time to contemplate and offer your thoughtful comment. I agree; I also have a hard time understanding Cohen’s concept but at least it offered me a possible way to understand the viewpoint of the unaffected. And while I can accept that suffering exists, there is a drive within me that wants to ease it. My lesson is attempting to balance awareness without being consumed. So, is acceptance your mode for finding peace in tumultuous times? 🙂

    Like

  2. I’m far from an expert on any of this, but the Alan Cohen quote, “threatening to devour us with guilt for not suffering as we should. Or for choosing ease while others yet choose pain….” didn’t ring true to for me. I don’t think it’s a matter of ‘should’ or of choosing. I think it’s an acceptance that suffering exists. Yes, we can turn off the TV and unplug and leave the “social and political madness” behind, but we can’t escape the fact that suffering exists. Locking ourselves away inside the temple is not a pathway to peace because there is suffering (aging, illness, misfortune, etc.) there as well.

    Liked by 1 person

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