How does one get on this path of peace, and more importantly stay on this path?
I think first we need to look at ourselves. Look honestly at ourselves and see the things that upset us and give us disturbing emotions.
The first awareness that I have learned to see is that these are all by my choice. My opinions and judgments are the root of my disturbances. Then it is my foolish desire to control others.
When someone is acting angry or hostile, my first instinct is to calm them down or return the hostility. But you can see that this will usually only result in both parties being upset. I see that them being upset is not me being upset. I can choose to just view this compassionately without judgment. The same thing applies if they are sad.
This is not to say I distance myself from them, only to be accepting and kind to them.
The old saying that misery loves company may be true. But this is not what the Buddha taught, and it is not a way to eliminate suffering.
To attach to another’s suffering is to only bring more suffering upon yourself. And you have done nothing to ease the other persons suffering at all. Once we each begin to see this as the truth, we can begin to change our negative behavior. This is a first step on the path to peace.
But perhaps the real first step is mindfulness. If we have no mindfulness of these behaviors and actions, we will only continue to have this endless cycle of suffering. Perhaps for another lifetime or more!
Now ultimately I may have no choice about this future. But I do wish to live this life well, mindfully and lovingly.
I truly believe that living ones life in this way is the path to peace. And it requires moment by moment awareness, mindfulness and acceptance.
I can tell you that this is working for me, but I fall off the path quite often. This is my practice, and I know the more I practice the more it becomes my nature.
I hope you find this a source of encouragement. I know you can do it, and I know I can do it.
With gentleness and acceptance of ourselves and each other we can change the World.
Be well, happy and peaceful