Many of us are actively searching for peace or trying to practice peaceful living as part of a spiritual path and yet we are besieged by an endless array of choices each day, each one of which has the potential to derail our attempts at peaceful living. We might start the day off well, with meditation or yoga or introspection, but then those first choices come up to meet us. In seeking to hold onto our peace, we often focus on our state of mind and the many things we can do, to support a peaceful outlook, such as meditation or affirmations. But if we are making poor choices within our day, we can be easily shaken by the consequences of our everyday decisions, no matter how long we meditated that morning, or how wonderful that walk by the beach was. We all have bad habits and emotional sensitivities to overcome which only hard work will conquer, but there are simpler choices we can make within each day, which will not only help us become more peaceful individuals.
It can be one simple decision, which sets off a domino effect. For example, you might decide to walk the dog before eating breakfast or make a call to the Doctors before you go to work or check the news on your smart phone, and these simple choices can set the pattern for the rest of the day. You end up eating breakfast on the run, because when you were walking the dog, you met a neighbour who needed to talk and the walk took much longer than you expected. Your call to the Doctors gets you thinking about other tasks you need to complete, and before you know it, you have spent an hour dealing with bills and making one or two phone calls, and are late for work, playing catch up for the rest of the day as a result. You check the news on your smart phone and see that your favourite popstar has just died, and suddenly you are trawling through the various news articles and expressing your shock to family and friends.
If only, you had taken the time to eat something before walking the dog, then you would have been better placed to deal with the neighbour from a calm and centred space. If only you had waited to call the Doctor, during your lunch break or once the children were at school, then your morning would have been less hectic and your day more peaceful as a result. If only you had waited to catch up on the news, until you were on the train to work, or until your morning coffee break, then the morning would still have been your own.
Every day we have a few key choices to make, which if wisely made, can provide a smooth structure for the flow of daily activity or which, if impulsively acted upon, can create a disjointed, chaotic movement of events. Some of these decisions are harder to make. It is tempting to drop everything for an adult child who needs your help, but you can still help them within that day or possibly the next day, if you take the time to identify when is the best opportunity to do so. With food and water within you, with your morning routine completed, you can meet the day head on, with confidence and calmness.
We need to ask ourselves, 'will this choice be peaceful?'. The movie that you really want to see, the book that is waiting for you to devour it, the second helping of chocolate cake, the too long phone call with a friend, the focus on smaller tasks at the expense of larger projects, the run that is put off for another day, the money that is spent when it should have been saved, these have cumulative effects on our peace.
The morning is an important time, because it sets the tone for the rest of the day. Put first things first when you wake to greet a new day; make the time, to get up earlier than normal, to commit to your practices of meditation or to your exercise routine or to spending time helping the children get ready for school, and launch yourself into the day in full faith, that you can meet all its challenges, peacefully and cheerfully.