My Psalms 150
Instrument of Peace
It has been said that it is one of the most famous lyrics of all times. “Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one. I hope someday you’ll join us, and the world will be as one.” Written by John Lennon, the song is both a wish and an example of an impossible dream for many.
As the world has gotten smaller, figuratively, with greater population, which means less square footage for each individual person and greater demand for land upon which to grow and raise necessary food for that population, as well as with technological advances that enable the world’s population to communicate instantly regardless of location or status, the demands on each person have gotten larger.
Childhood today is no longer a time of freedom to explore the natural world and one’s own developing abilities. In many industrialized nations childhood has become a period for training to often extreme lengths. Because of the time and expense invested in developing specific talents, a child if often no longer free to explore various things and many no longer have the luxury of the most successful teaching tool of all time – the try and fail method.
Somewhere in the hustle and bustle of modern living, we have forgotten how to live. We no longer spend reflective time determining what we hold to be true and what has value for us. Instead, we have given that right over to the media. Peer pressure has become pressure to look and do just like whomever is the current star of the day, regardless of their values, beliefs, or the validity of what is being reported.
Conversely, in less industrialized nations, children have become the bread-winners of the family. Children are the ones working in the fields and/or sweatshops. Education is often a forgotten thing and even in those areas where it is permitted, it is only for the rich or those whose parents support whatever the reigning regime of the day happens to be. Culture and religion have become the tools of the dictatorial and seldom are based upon actual belief systems.
The concept of individual peace has become the advertising spotlight of many pharmaceutical companies and clothing lines. The truth is that finding peace will never be achieved by swallowing a pill, wearing the latest trend, looking like one’s neighbor, attending a specific church, mosque, or temple. Individual peace is a personal quest that is not only attainable but necessary.
First and foremost, a person needs to determine what hold importance in their life. Basic requirements for life aside, there are core elements of our being that we hold dear and value above all else. Determine what that is for you and accept that it might not be the same for another. Then look at how you spend your time and ask if time is spent on what you feel to be paramount in your life.
Many people believe the art of scheduling to be cramming as much as possible into an hour. It isn’t. Many people, children especially, lead overcrowded lives. The human body is a wonderful machine but it is based upon a system of checks and balances and needs its periods of rest and relaxation in order to function properly or in a healthful manner. Perhaps you have spent so much time being busy that you’ve forgotten how to relax or play. Go back to the rules of childhood and allow yourself to try some things out. Go bowling one afternoon or volunteer at a soup kitchen.
The rules of play do not mean imbibing alcohol or food. The substances we put into our bodies are for purpose. While they have their pleasurable side effects, like a delicious gooey piece of caramel chocolate bars or a hot buttery bowl of popcorn, food’s purpose is to provide fuel for the body. The candy and popcorn are fine when eaten in a small amount. The same is true for certain drinks. However, filling the body with non-nutritious food is like pouring concrete into the gas tank of an automobile. It might fill it up but you are not going to get very far!
I find it interesting that some of the unhealthiest food and drink items are found and imbibed while watching sporting events, displays of ideal health. How far would the quarterback, soccer player, or tennis player get in their chosen fields if they daily ate what their fans eat? Spending a day at a game eating the delectable garbage served at the concession stands may not seem like much but in reality, you have blown almost twenty percent of your weekly intake on that delectable garbage. How peaceful and efficient will that make your body run?
Mental and emotional peace is based upon our physical peace. We cannot cope with the daily ups and downs of life when our bodies are in turmoil. Having a healthy body, though, is not the only key. We have to be comfortable with what and how we are living. Volunteering is a great outlet that boosts our mental and emotional satisfaction level. The same pleasure we get from fun is indicated in the brain when we volunteer. It mimics how the brain reacts to love as well. We also need to realistically allow time for the things we do. Giving yourself an hour to paint an entire house is ridiculous and yet, we often schedule ourselves into unrealistic expectations. We need to allow enough time to not only perform a task but to enjoy it. Not everything is a task of delight but most things can be appreciated, if not in the doing then in the completion.
Recently new definitions for the terms introvert and extrovert have emerged. There are no longer based upon spending time (or not) with people. Instead, the new definitions are based upon how spending time with people affects the person. Both, however, require some time to recharge, to reflect, to renew. The introvert is a person who values solitude while the extrovert feels rejuvenated by the energy of others. However, every person needs some periods of solitude in order to determine if their priorities have changed, their scheduling is adequate, their lives are in order. No one can really do that for a person except that person.
What about stress? Live a life in peace and the stress will take care of itself. Stress is simply a challenge placed upon the body and when the body is healthy, it can adapt and handle that challenge efficiently and smoothly. Life is never perfect. Each day will bring its own set of challenges and stresses. When we are living a life we approve, a life that has value, we are then comfortable in responding to that stress and confident in dealing with whatever outcomes arise. When we live a lief in peace, we are being true to ourselves, our belief system, our world, and our Maker.
My Psalm 150
The psalmist of old, Great Spirit, encouraged we “praise you with clanging cymbals”.
However, cymbals don’t clang.
They sustain a roll.
When life rings with joy, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
When life vibrates with the business of duties and expectations, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
When life seems to crash around me, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
When life requires me to do that which is needed to sustain it, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
When my fears clang loudly within my soul and heart and head, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
In every step, with every breath, every motion of my hands, every word of my mouth, every though in and out of my head, every gaze I see and every shadow I leave, let me shout “Hallelujah!”
In my living and in my dying, let me shout “Hallelujah!”