Last week, we were looking at the problem of undertow and how dangerous it can be to slip into despair about the state of the world. But there is another feeling that can sabotage you in working for inner and outer peace, one that not everyone likes to admit. This feeling is resentment. It could come cloaked in a feeling of self-righteousness, focused on how wrong someone “over there” is and how unfair it is that you “have to” deal with it. This feeling can even give you a bit of a charge as you join protests or rallies and raise your voice to call for change. But because resentment is based in unrest and divisiveness, it cannot bring the change or peace you deeply seek.

How do you really feel?

When you look at today’s world with its pollution, poverty, starvation, vanishing glaciers, clear-cut forests and bleaching coral reefs, how do you feel? Deep sadness? Numbness? Or maybe even resentment? How do you feel about the idea of finding inner peace when all this is happening? Go deep. Be honest.

It is very easy to slip into something like “Why should I have to find peace amidst all this, when the previous generation (or big business, or political leaders, et cetera) is responsible for these problems?” Feeling this way does not make us bad people. It is just a tendency. But if we wish to cultivate inner peace and support peace in the world, we need to face this feeling so that we may ultimately release it.

Two sides to every story

There are two sides to every story, as well as that which is really going on. Pointing fingers makes us feel temporarily powerful, as though we are on the “right” side of the fence. But we could become so busy wanting to be right that we forget we all have the same potential for ignorance and greed that block inner and outer peace.

Resentment is one way that our divisive ego-mind keeps us focused on the problem, rather than on solutions. We suffer and lose our peace when we think resentful thoughts. Remembering our interconnection is what frees us from the tyranny of our ego’s need to create separateness.

Letting go of the need to be right

The truth is, we all err in some way. We all need to make amends with ourselves, with our families, with our brothers and our neighbours. We all can learn to love better, in each moment, of every day, until we have realized that our true nature is neither right nor wrong – only love. What if you went there, now?

Being part of the solution

Life is not happening “to” us. We have free will. Because we are essential parts of a vast whole, what we each think, feel and do is continually reflected back to us. What exists today on our planet is a reflection of who we are as a species at this time. There is no one to blame. There is only the choice of what we do with this moment. Are we going to be part of the solution, or part of the problem?

We are all equally responsible to switch on and serve. Whether or not someone else chooses that does not change our own responsibility. Inner peace never depends on the actions of another person, but on our own.

Between now and next week, ask yourself these questions with as much presence and compassion as you can:

  • Do I have a tendency to resent or judge myself or others for the state of the world?
  • Do I have a tendency to feel like a victim?
  • Am I willing to let go of finger-pointing and take responsibility for my own inner peace?
  • What simple, self-compassionate action can I do today that would help my life feel more fulfilled?
  • What simple, compassionate action can I do today to ease suffering in another’s life?

From my heart to yours,
Parvati