I don’t know about you, but if I’m not careful, I can easily let what’s happening in the world get me down. Terrorist attacks, racial injustice, hate crimes, desperate people fleeing their countries, fires here, floods there – the list seems endless and often overwhelming.
I also understand enough about how “thoughts become things” to realize that the current state of our global, national, and local communities is a reflection of what is going on inside each of us individually. If you are on this website, I suspect you do too. And we know that if we shift what’s going on inside us, we each can play our unique role in shifting the outside world.
That’s why I’ve been focusing on what’s bothering me about local and world affairs. My intention is to glean what my negative thoughts and feelings say about opportunities for my spiritual growth. Not surprisingly, my work with others has prompted me to adapt the process I’ve been using, and share it with you here.
As you move through this exploration of your own reactions to what’s going on these days, feel free to make changes to meet your own needs. Maybe you want to focus solely on a global perspective right now, or perhaps take the local view instead. Great, that will work.
And many of you will find it better to work with a partner, or even a group. That’s fine, too. Whether you capture your answers on paper, a computer, or a recording device also is up to you.
To find your way to peace in the world’s events, relax, and take several full breaths before you answer each of these questions:
- What are you feeling about what’s happening around the world, in your country, and locally? Narrow the list to your strongest three to five feelings.
- What are you thinking about what’s happening around the world, in your country, and locally? Narrow this list to your most frequent three to five thoughts. What do you notice about the relationship between your thoughts and your feelings?
- What would you prefer to think and feel about what’s happening in the world, your country, and locally? Narrow your list to the most important three to five thoughts and three to five feelings.
- For the next two weeks, look for evidence in the news, in your conversations with others, and in your own experiences that supports your preferred thoughts and write them down. List your predominant three to five feelings each day too. Watch to see how your feelings change over time.
- What are your insights about how your thoughts and feelings shape your perceptions of events in our/your world? What do they tell you about what you can do differently from now on, so that you can pay attention to the events in our world without being overwhelmed by them?
Some people, before they’ve actually explored this process, have been concerned that it asks them to stick their heads in the sand and become Pollyanna. “What would I prefer to think and feel?! How is that important?” they ask, incredulously.
As it turns out, it’s the fear that our hopes and dreams for this world are impossible that leads to our anger and overwhelm. Chances are, however, our aspirations actually do exist in this 3-D world. But when we are in fear, it’s very hard to see that.
When we invest the time, energy, and mindfulness in looking for what our hearts and spirits truly desire, our worldview can shift. Peace becomes possible, as do wiser responses to events in the world around us.