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Deepening Your Inner Peace

In preparing for my talk on The Deeper Meaning of Peace next week, I came across a wonderful section in William Barclay's terrific book on the Beatitudes, that amazing preface to Jesus' Sermon on the Mount. In the section discussing the bliss of the peacemakers, Barclay says that we all need to make peace on three levels, with ourselves, with others, and with God. I'm convinced that for most of us the most difficult is the first, making peace with ourselves.

My favorite poet, Kahlil Gibran says, "We speak when we cease to be at peace with our thoughts." Such is the bane of the talkaholic, but it's also a tendency we all share at times. And often, the speaking we do is downright inhospitable. We are angry with our life, so we get ferocious with those who brush against our pain. We are dissatisfied with the choices we make so we frantically search for someone to blame. We are afraid of our future so we project our guilt on others who let us down. It's just too terrifying to accept responsibility for our own life, to look inward, to try and change what's wrong with us.

I was recently chatting with a woman who asked if I'd always had a beard. I knew what she really wanted to know is if I would be willing to shave it. I assured her it would probably stay where it's been for the last 30 years. She laughed. "We women love to try and change men, don't we?" I told her that that aint gonna work. She agreed. "I never even got my ex husbands to take out the garbage."

The reality is, when we're done kicking against the reality of others, when we're ready to stop the blame game, when we finally acknowledge that our lives only improve when we change the only person we can change - ourselves - then we are ready to grow up a little more. And growing up isn't all bad.

As Barclay says, "Every man is at least to some extent a split personality." Each of us is a mystifying mixture of dust and divinity, angel and ape, tarnished sinner and spotless saint. And inside, in that dark inner dialogue of the soul, we endlessly play good cop/bad cop with the disturbing foibles, flaws and fallacies in our own personality. We know we are capable of awesome selflessness and grotesque greed, personal generosity and stultifying selfishness. Such is the inherent hypocrisy of the human condition. And the worst hypocrites are, like I used to be, ever mindful of the blatant hypocrisy of others while blissfully blinded to their own.

When you finally see how weak and evil you can really be, you may even feel, like the apostle Paul, that you don't want anyone to think more highly of you than they should. I heard a famous preacher say once that he didn't want anyone putting him on a pedestal because God is in the business of shattering idols! 

A black preacher likened our divided soul to a man who owned two dogs, one mean and vicious, the other gentle and sweet. "On any given day," he said, "whichever one we say 'sic em' to, wins. "

So what's the solution? How do we find a way out of our painful inner duality? What can help us tranquilize the warring dogs within?

Many things, both good and bad, made us who we are. And the wonderful news I've discovered along the path of my own healing journey is that the healthier I become, the more the good dog wins. The reason for this is simple. The more we heal, the less pain we carry, and the more we are able to allow our higher and better self to manifest itself.

In a verse that aptly describes our state, A. E. Housman offers this little ditty:

   More than I, if truth were told,
            Have stood and sweated, hot and cold,
   While through their veins, like ice and fire,
            Fear contended with desire.

That's it, isn't it? We agonize over the fear that our needs and wants won't be satisfied, then anxiously wonder if we've been careful enough about what we prayed for. In the same day, even the same hour, we can find ourselves propelled by lust for the very things we hate, yet also be powerfully drawn to sublimate our self destructive tendencies and opt for the finer virtues, the higher goals, the loftier rewards of life. As truly as virtue is its own reward, vice is its own punishment. We know this, so why don't we live it?

I will tell you this. Though I never cease to be surprised by the depravity that sometimes burns in my own bosom, I am also delighted by the magnetism of the higher calling that usually wins out. When I think about it, I know that the greater fulfillment is found in a lust that is subordinated to life's deepest Love, that the narrow road with few travelers is by far the more joyous path, that true happiness is only found by giving, not taking. And that's a lot for this only child to say.

Moreover, I am most comforted that He who has begun a good work in me will finish it. He isn't through with me yet and He won't give up. "I aint what I should be, I aint what I'm gonna be, but thank God I aint what I used to be."

More than anything else, spiritual healing has helped me become better, faster than anything else. That's why it's such a joy to offer it to you. God knew more than we did how broken we all are. That's why He gave us His healing gifts.

Ken Unger is President of and founder of, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at  The Ultimate Breakthrough "


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