“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”
“Teach your children well,” wrote Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and I believe these are some of the wisest words ever written. It has been said that the future belongs to our children, and the future I envision is one where all people—young and old—across the world can live in peace, well-being, and happiness.
My purpose in life is to spread a message of peace to all who will listen. I believe deeply and say regularly, “Outer peace begins with inner peace,” so I teach tools for cultivating inner peace in our lives in my book The Practice. When we feel peaceful, strong, and loving, these feelings permeate everything we do and have a ripple effect on those around us.
We all know that children pick up our vibes and copy our behavior, so what better way to instill in them a sense of inner peace than to reflect that within ourselves? I have had the wonderful opportunity to teach parts of The Practice to high school students in my area and in other workshops geared for young people. I love how receptive they are to the idea that each of us has a steady source of inner peace that we can turn to throughout the day for support. I have even convinced some of them to sit in silence for one minute when they wake up before using the phone or computer!
As a child and a young girl, I didn’t have tools for cultivating inner peace, and so I found myself looking outside to the world for peace and happiness rather than within. It was a long, difficult road for me to find my way “home” to myself. For many, the times feel different in this age of technology and kids really do seem to have more stress and issues facing them; however, the desire for peace, courage, and happiness is never changing.
It Is Never Too Soon to Start a Practice
Whether or not you call it meditation, it is never too soon to teach children the idea of sitting quietly with themselves first thing in the morning and learning to allow their thoughts to come and go without judgment or engagement to start their day at their best.
Helping your child select a Sacred Mantra—or as I often call it with students, a Focus Phrase—gives them a positive, calming word or phrase to turn to when they are feeling stressed, scared, angry, or sad throughout the day.
As the day comes to a close, teaching your child how to reflect briefly on the day and then leaving it in peace can help them sleep more soundly, knowing that they did the best they could.
Teaching young people these three simple tools and helping them to develop a regular practice of using them will lead to a cultivation of their inner sense of peace. The vibe and message they will be sharing out in the world will be one of peace and love. How amazing it is that their generation has the potential to become the generation that brought light to all.
“It would be easy to become a victim of our circumstances and continue feeling sad, scared or angry; or instead, we could choose to deal with injustice humanely and break the chains of negative thoughts and energies, and not let ourselves sink into it.”
― Erin Gruwell, The Freedom Writers Diary
Life is like living on the “razor’s edge.” We are always seeking to find the balance in our lives between the happiness and goodness and the heartbreak and sadness. There are many beautiful things to experience in our external world that bring us immense joy, love, and satisfaction, but the external world also gives us plenty of opportunity to feel a whole range of uncomfortable emotions—from anger and fear to sadness and frustration. This may be the one point that everyone in the world would resoundingly agree upon!
In my blog today, I would like to take a look at how we can transform frustration and the emotions surrounding it into love in action. All of the strong feelings we are sensing today are completely normal human reactions; they are real feelings that many of us have toward the events and circumstances that happen in our lives. Anger wells up in the face of injustice, and immense frustration results over events that are seriously out of our control. I want to say here that there is nothing wrong with us for feeling this way. We are not going crazy! Actually, what these emotions are asking us is, “What action can I take?”
In my book The Practice and in my workshops, I teach tools for looking at these intense emotions and approaching situations from a new, calmer perspective so that we can take this necessary action from a place of control within. If we remain in the feelings of anger and frustration for too long, we may start to feel like victims, at the mercy of the external world, which takes away our power and our ability to heal.
Remember, this is not about ignoring or repressing the feelings, nor is it about allowing ourselves to become a doormat or to be used or abused. It is about learning to transform these frustrating feelings into purposeful, loving action. I strongly believe this is our step toward resolution and freedom. By fully acknowledging and getting intimate with our feelings, we are then able to use them to inspire us to have the courage to stand on our own two feet, fully grounded in who we are and how we feel. This provides the insight we need for taking actions that contribute to the greatest good for everyone involved.
Our everyday situations are unique, but some of the injustices in the world touch us all very deeply. We can all take a pause and ask, “Rather than bring about more separateness and anger in this situation, what can I do to contribute to the solution here?” This is how we change the world—one person at a time. We transmute our deep feelings of anger, hurt, and frustration into the flipside emotions of love and compassion, allowing them to be the foundation of our actions. This is true transformation!
This is the transformation that is necessary for all of us to come together to make a meaningful difference in ourselves and in the world. Please share with me what actions you are taking to transform anger and frustration into love in action in the comments below.