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Putting Peace into Your Heart

Christmas is a time when our minds are naturally drawn to peace--the birth of Christ symbolizes humanity's hope that peace may indeed come to live on earth and that we sill stop seeing enemies in the faces of our neighbors. It is our hope that good will triumph over evil, that forgiveness will replace discord, and that love will transform all hate. Jesus, in his birth as the Christ child, is the promise that a new Paradise is coming, and each year at this time, we celebrate his birth at the time when the winter solstice represents the return of light in the darkness.  

So, I want to talk about peace in the season when peace is on our minds, and because I have a family member in Iraq, you might imagine I want to talk about the war there or about some other global conflict that gives me a forum for my political views. That's not what I want you to ponder this season, however. I am sure you have your own views, and chances are that my views would either affirm yours or serve to place me as a target for your scorn. The war I want to discuss is the one that goes on inside each of us everyday, and unless we win it, we will never find the peace for which we are looking, no matter what is happening in the world. 

In The Four Agreements, don Miguel Ruiz talks about real freedom and why it is that we are not free now. He says we blame everyone for our lack of freedom, but basically, we have forgotten what freedom really means. We had it as children--a wild, carefree freedom to be ourselves that engendered a warrior spirit in us, but by now, as adults, we are trapped by the memories of our past experiences, by the expectations of our parents and social groups, and by our conditioning and our belief systems. He asks, 

Ruiz's words echo the teachings of Don Riso and Russ Hudson in my Enneagram work and A. H. Almaas and the Diamond Approach. Using the psychological nomenclature of Superego rather than Judge, all three teachers emphasize that to do real spiritual work demands quieting that inner voice whose only job is to make us feel lousy about ourselves, each other, and the world. How can we feel peace when there is a little voice inside us shouting that in order to make us "better" people, we need to shape up, live up to expectations, get in line, and get down on anyone who doesn't agree with us? No wonder most of us feel defeated and dejected a lot of the time, and those feelings do inevitably turn us toward a victim mentality and cause us to judge everyone else everyone else to make ourselves feel "better". What we forget is that as our True Selves, we are already perfect just as we are, and so is everyone else.

According to Riso and Hudson in their book Wisdom of the Enneagram, 

Both Ruiz and Riso/Hudson say the way to defeat the Superego is to be present. Ruiz says the Superego is a parasite, sucking our energy without giving us anything useful in return. Our first step in defeating it is to be aware of it, in the present moment. In that way, we stop feeding it. Riso and Hudson suggest becoming more aware of our bodies in each moment as a method of being present and more fully alive because our physical bodies can only exist in the present moment. Likewise, the Diamond approach teaches us to sense the body and in particular to feel or be aware of our arms and legs 24/7 as a practice for being more present and for turning off the constant drone of the Judge/Victim.

One Diamond Approach teacher, Byron Brown, has written an excellent book on the the Superego entitled Soul without Shame: a Guide to Liberating Yourself from the Judge Within. When I first read it, I was convinced that I didn't even have a Superego. Later, when I acknowledged it, I had trouble telling it to back off and shut up because it felt like I was "back-talking" my mother. A partner of mine in a Diamond Approach exercise reminded me that my mother loved me and her goal was to protect me and guide me. My Superego doesn't love me. It only wants to make me feel bad about myself. It has no resemblance to my mother except as a way to control my actions and keep me locked in the habits of my personality. It was an excellent observation that helped me to defend against the Superego for the first time in my life. Like Ruiz says, it is a war for the right to control my own mind and my own brain, and now I think I have a chance of winning it.

It is not always easy to recognize the Superego. Brown reminds us that our judgments about ourselves always touch on something we believe is true about ourselves. Likewise, the voice may sound like our conscience. Don Riso says the way to tell the difference is by looking at the fruits. The conscience makes us feel better about ourselves and others when we act according to its dictates; the Superego always makes us feel bad about ourselves and the world whether we listen to it or not.

Furthermore, the more we work on ourselves, the more refined the voice can become. There is probably nothing more insidious that the voice of the spiritual Superego. It uses the deepest desire of our hearts against us, and it can destroy the faith of the seeker.

Still, the best thing about present-moment awareness, that state of letting go of the inner dialogue with the Superego, the worries and concerns of living, and the daily inner and outer busyness that keeps us in the harness of doing instead of being, is that being present leads to peace. The mind stills, the senses paradoxically relax and sharpen, and the world seems both fresh and mysterious.


Somehow, winter always draws me to the stillness within. This feeling of the mysteriousness of stillness and beingness are what Christmas is all about. It is the peace that the Christ child brings to us as he invites us to meet our True Nature and the kingdom that lives within us. It is the peace he invites us to share with the world.

So in this Christmas season, I wish you peace. 

Let There Be Peace on Earth

How many of us pray for peace, become involved in organizations that promote peace and, through our spiritual practices, advocate peace? Many of us certainly do yet, despite our efforts, we seem to move from one war to another, from one act of terrorism to another. As we become more technologically advanced, so do our methods of war. We appear to be more intelligent as a species than a thousand years ago, so why are we still fighting, why are we still at war?

Yes, we can blame conflicting concepts regarding religion and property as two of the top reasons for war. But truly, as aware and awake people on our spiritual path, it behooves us to take responsibility for the real reason for war in our reality. War only occurs in humans and, although animals may defend their families or feeding grounds, they do not engage in war to defend ideas. Only humans do this.

The reason for war among humans is that we are projecting the personal reality from our minds out into our conjoined reality. We create this reality with the word, as the word is the power we have from the infinite to create in this life. If we have conflict in our minds between the concepts, ideas and beliefs in our heads, that is what we are going to project. Those conflicting beliefs and agreements, which are at war in our minds, are formed using the word because words form the basis of any agreement or belief.

When we cannot make a choice due to our conflicting thoughts, even about something simple in our life, this is war. When we are having an argument in our head with someone we love, this is war. When we are listening to our mind making assumptions about someone or something and we feel ourselves getting upset at our own thoughts, this is war.

This war inside our mind is ongoing. Only by cleaning our minds of everything that is not truth can our minds become calm. When this occurs, and we no longer get upset about anything in life, we are no longer at war. Then we will project our inner peace out into the dream of the planet, which will shift the balance of the dream from war to one of calm.

What I am saying is that as long as humans create war within their minds and are at the mercy of their conflicting concepts and beliefs there will never be peace on earth. No amount of committees or organizations can change the human mind and its fear-based egocentric projections. Only each one of us, by taking responsibility for our thoughts and beliefs, can change this reality. That means each of us must make a choice to stop blaming the ills of the world on others, stop focusing our attention on everyone else’s problems, and, instead, work on changing what is inside of us.

I know what I am suggesting is challenging – but what else do we have to do while we are alive except learn to be happy and at peace? Let’s start right now and make the commitment to change ourselves and, in turn, the world. There is an interesting website that discusses the Science of Peace and I highly recommend that you go and check it out. Click the following link below to watch a fascinating video hosted by Levar Burton. Please don’t miss this video as it is important and thought provoking. http://www.science-of-peace.com/demo.html

After listening to the video, reading my article above and contemplating the quote by the Dalai Lama below, I challenge you to answer the following questions.

Ask yourself:

  1. Why do you believe you are compelled to argue?
  2. What is the fear which appears in the mind preventing us from making decisions with ease?
  3. Are you living your life from your heart or from your mind? What’s the difference?
  4. Since the duality of this reality is not truth, how does duality create the war in your mind?
  5. How did watching the film augment what I wrote, or not?
  6. Do you now have a better understanding of how each one of us is personally responsible for war?
  7. What are you going to do about this now that you have this realization?

With All my love & blessings… Sheri Rosenthal

Sheri Rosenthal, DPM, is a master Toltec teacher and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Toltec Wisdom. Having trained with don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements, she currently takes students on spiritual journeys, works with personal apprentices and enjoys being extremely happy. You can reach her at info@sherirosenthal.com or http://www.sherirosenthal.com.

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Dec.. 2005

In This Issue

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R & R
for Peace

There is a really beautiful web movie on peace created by Edmond See from Penang, Malaysia. Click Here

 Go to the homepage to navigate to other movies. They are extraordinarily creative and have profound messages.

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Copyright 2005
Suzanne H. Eller

Suggested Reading:

purple spiral

Quotes about Peace

christmas world ornament Image: Francesco Marino / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of ourselves we find in them.
~Thomas Merton

Peace is more precious than a piece of land. ~Anwar el Sadat

If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.
~Nelson Mandela

Our chiefs are killed...The little children are freezing to death. My people... have no blankets, no food...My heart is sick and sad...I will fight no more forever.
~Chief Joseph

There can never be peace between nations until it is first known that true peace is within the souls of men. ~Oglala Sioux

Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don't really want to smile at at all. Do it for peace.
~Mother Teresa

This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.
~Peace Pilgrim.

When my heart is at peace, the world is at peace.
~Chinese proverb

Peace demands the most heroic labor and the most difficult sacrifice. It demands greater heroism than war. It demands greater fidelity to the truth and a much more perfect purity of conscience. ~Thomas Merton

May you have the gladness of Christmas
    which is hope;
The spirit of Christmas
    which is peace;
The heart of Christmas
    which is love.

Inner peace leaves nothing behind--nothing but simple being. Not being someone or something, just being. You are that being, that stillness--alone in a deep refreshing quiet. ~Byron Brown.