Words of Hope: Can You Feel the Peace?
At the celebration of life, we had a video of my Dad talking about peace and the importance of pursuing peace. He asked us, “Can you feel the peace?” Research studies reveal that those with higher levels of inner peace have increased cortical thickness, which is the brain region associated with attention and sensory processing. People operating in peace sustained attention and awareness longer and had greater integration of emotion and cognition. When activated by fear, our amygdala, the location of the brain where emotion is given meaning, relevance, and attachment to memory, creates anxiety, tension, increased heart rate, and poor digestion. Lack of peace results in distracted thinking, losing track of our thoughts, wasted time, and lack of focus. When we get anxious, we can become more agitated and use more pressure or even aggression in our attempts to move others to our point of view. We can forget what was just said; we can be distracted from the original argument and begin diatribes routing us away from the possibility of persuasion or connection.
Dad often would invite me to sit down and breathe with him. Breathe in peace, breathe out fear. We would spend a few minutes like this and then pray together. Cancer reminded Dad to fight for mental peace. He purposefully disciplined anxious thoughts about cancer from his mind. Before his doctor’s appointments, I could see him battling for this peace. His habit of peace speaks to me. I have a choice. Will I choose to feel the peace, or will I choose to feel the fear? Both are always present if we look.
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. – John 14:27