The Prayer of St. Francis of
make me an instrument of thy peace –
GO PLACIDLY AMID THE NOISE &
HASTE, & REMEMBER WHAT PEACE THERE MAY BE IN SILENCE. As far as possible without
surrender be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly & clearly;
and listen to others, even the dull & ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid
loud & aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit. If you compare
yourself with others, you may become vain & bitter; for always there will be
greater&1esser persons than yourself. Enjoy your
achievements as well as your plans. Keep
interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the
changing fortunes of time. Exercise caution in your business affairs; for the
world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals; and everywhere life is full of heroism. Be
yourself. Especially, do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for
in the face of all aridity & disenchantment is perennial as the grass. Take
kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not
distress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and
loneliness. Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a
child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to
be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is
unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive
Him to be, and whatever your labors & aspirations, in the noisy confusion of
life keep peace with your soul. With all its sham, drudgery & broken dreams, it
is still a beautiful world. Be careful. Strive to be happy.
We will be at peace as we let go of thoughts of the past and thoughts of the future.
I often hear people say they find it difficult to practice this, that is, to meditate, to clear the mind of all thoughts of past and future, to rest the mind, clean out the cobwebs up there.
This is really a very simple thing to do. When you do not do it you are simply resisting your peace. So first you need to find within yourself the willingness to be at peace. Is peace the only goal you have for your cluttered mind? Or do you choose to keep the razzle-dazzle thoughts spinning up there? Do you want inner peace or do you want to keep your inner turmoil? Do you want to focus on your anger, your resentment, your upset, every moment, or are you willing to let go of these thoughts, if only for awhile? Are you willing to give peace a chance to heal your emotions?
The simplest form of meditation that I am aware of is to be mindful of one's breathing. Simple, yet profoundly effective in resting the mind, this method can help you clear away all thoughts of past and future and be in the now.
Here is the method I use: simply focus your thought on your breath, breathing in,
breathing out, for 3 breaths or 10 breaths or as many as you want. Do this with your eyes open or closed. You can do it sitting, walking or while driving your car. While breathing in, this mindful way, you remain totally aware of all of your surroundings yet you do not focus on them. You focus on your breathing in and your breathing out. You might want to do three breaths in and out before starting your car every time. You could practice this mindfulness of breathing at stoplights. You might want to do this occasionally through your busy workday, while waiting for someone to answer your phone call, while riding in the elevator, waiting in line at the bank, while walking, anytime, anyplace.
Give your mind a break!
When you say to yourself, "Breathing in. I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out.
I know that I am breathing out," you are not really thinking at all. You are simply giving a command to your breath. Your mindfulness is on your breath, not on your thought. So your mind is actually at rest.
The practice is simply this:
As you inhale, give mindfulness only to, "Breathing in. I know that I am breathing in."
On the exhale, be mindful of only, "Breathing out. I know that I am breathing out."
You might find that you have a longer period for the inhale than for the exhale and so you can simply adjust the way you command your breath. It could be as simple as "In." "Out." You can arrange the words in any manner that is comfortable for you.
We learn from A Course in Miracles that there is no peace to be found when our thoughts are on the past, no peace to be found in thoughts of the future. No peace there. Peace, the Course teaches us, is to be found only in the present moment. And we can be in the present moment at any moment by simply being mindful of our breathing with no thought given to anything else.