The Peace Critic

Making peace with the enemy.

I recently met someone who has a kind heart and gentle soul, but he is so angry at what he has experienced in life — divorce, job loss, death of his parents — that he lint-picks at everything. “Lint-picking,” according to Julia Cameron, is what we do when our inner critic runs the show. We find fault with just about everything; nothing suits us, and nothing is perfect enough to satisfy our high standards, so we have to criticize and pick apart our world. And then our world falls apart.

According to Eckhart Tolle, When you hate what you are doing, complain about your surroundings, curse things that are happening or have happened, or when your internal dialogue consists of should and shouldn’t, of blaming and accusing, then you are arguing with what is, arguing with that which is already the case. You are making Life into an enemy, and Life says, ‘War is what you want, and war is what you’ll get.’ External reality, which always reflects back to you your inner state, is then experienced as hostile.

Now, I can see the beauty within my friend. I can always see potential in another. Like in the gameshow The Price is Right, I can see what greatness lies behind those doors that, once opened, offer us our new vision of reality. Unfortunately, my friend doesn’t have access; he doesn’t have the “secret key.” He remains mired in the bubble of “poor me,” which doesn’t have room for any other perspective than his ego’s.

So, how do we find that “secret key,” the access code to break us free from our stories? According to Eckhart Tolle, Byron Katie, Abraham, the Dalai Lama and many more spiritual teachers, the answer is right in front of us: Make peace with where you are. All our suffering comes from arguing with what is. If we truly want peace, that is what we will choose.

Choosing peace, not war, within ourselves will catapult us out of suffering and out of our limited idea of who we are. Then we respond to life rather than react. If we make peace imperative, an essential ingredient in our lives, then the lint-picking peace critic will float away as easily as bubbles from a wand.

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