One of my favorite authors, the late Dr. Wayne Dyer, once stated that "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way." This seemed rather contradictory to the common belief that a peaceful state of existence is a destination we arrive at after traversing a righteous path. Wayne challenges us to view peace as a state of mind, a choice, a way of life. One who is serene makes different conscious choices in the way they live. Here are five steps you can take to create a more peaceful life:

1. Refrain from judging others. Judgment of those who are different from us in any way or from what we consider acceptable is arrogant and self-righteous. In comparing individuals to ourselves or others we deem them less valuable, less worthy or inherently wrong and in doing so create unrest within ourselves.  Once we commit this infraction, we must then work through the process of forgiveness in order to reinstate serenity. Remember that we were all created equal by our Heavenly Father. It is our personal issues that are unique to each of us but we are not our issues. We are physical expressions of God's love in this world. Recognizing such eliminates the need for judgment.

2. Be grateful. In all that you do, find things to be grateful for. Gratitude wards off bitterness and resentment and allows for joy to flourish. Recognizing all of the beauty God created that is available to us on a daily basis keeps us focused on the positive, on the blessings in life. It also enables us to find goodness in every situation, including hardships, loss, betrayals, and such. I am at peace with all that is and do not feel the need to change anything for nothing is lacking. Everything is exactly as it is meant to be in this moment.

I begin each morning in prayer: "Heavenly Father, thank you for everything you have given me, for everything you have taken away from me, for everything you  have left me, and for everything that is yet to come. Amen."

3. Re Evaluate. Put everything into its proper perspective. Very little that occurs in life with worthy of upset. Most incidences are relatively insignificant and only have the degree of importance that we assign them. Asking yourself, "Will this even matter in ten years?" enables us to release much of what distresses us. In that way, we eliminate worry, fear, anxiety, anger and other stressful emotions. Trust in God. He's overseeing everything.  What may appear initially to be damaging may in truth reveal itself at a later date to be a great blessing. Look beyond the obvious to the value within.

4. Always be kind. In any given situation, we have the option to be kind or cruel. Choosing kindness allows for a more positive outcome to the situation. It prevents hurt feelings, is inclusive rather than divisive, shows respect, values the other party, uplifts and inspires, encourages and heals, and invites others to respond similarly. And, it's good for the soul (yours and theirs). Knowing you were polite and courteous enables you to feel good about  yourself and at peace with your actions. Even in circumstances where others are being unfair or rude, you can maintain your dignity by enforcing reasonable boundaries and extending respect regardless.

5. Live for God. Most people do what feels good or what they believe is right for them. Since our knowledge is limited, a more reliable source for righteousness is our Heavenly Father. Doing what makes me feel good in the moment can have serious consequences for me and those around me later on. However, when I follow God's directive and live my life in such a way as to always seek to do what is right by Him, then I never make decisions that I will later regret nor that may cause suffering to others for all of my actions are motivated by love. In this way, I am at peace knowing my life is a reflection of God's Word. No God - No Peace; Know God - Know Peace.

As Wayne Dyer stated, peace is the way. But the key to living a peaceful life is awareness. Just as one much pay careful attention as they traverse down any path in life so as not to become distracted and lose their way, one must always keep their eyes on peaceful choices, making peace their way of life. It's not so hard, really. And it is well worth the effort.

"Peace isn't the absence of fighting; peace is the presence of kindness." The Secret Side of Anger by Janet Pfeiffer

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