This is part 2 of a 2-part interview with John by Laren Bright
Is being in a place of peace a necessary prior condition to experience the presence of Spirit?
JM: I would say yes, because they are one and the same. It’s not like you need to have this place of peace and then the presence of Spirit will show up, or you need to have the presence of Spirit and then peace is. They walk together as a presence.
I have seen you demonstrate a meditation of breathing. Do you think that this is a technique for getting to a place of peace?
JM: Yes. Breathing is a great way to emphasize our awareness of peace. It begins very simply by having a consciousness of our breathing and allowing ourselves to go with what the breathing is, so the breathing has a natural tendency to go deep, past our diaphragm. Allow the breathing to go in so that we are breathing into the body, into the toes, into the hands. Breathe out, and allow all those places to empty, to be more conscious. It’s just being a little more willing to allow the breathing to complete itself. That’s a slowing, relaxing process. It also has a way of disengaging our attachments.
Would you continue in that vein?
JM: Sure. One of the great exercises of being peaceful and finding peace that is present, is to be aware of our breathing. With awareness of our breath, we come into contact with the balance and calm that we often associate with peace.
We can do a little exercise right now. So, wherever you are, take a moment to just be aware of the peace and to be conscious. Breathing is an exercise of our whole being, not just our lungs. Experience the air coming in and permeating the body. Often, it’s good to open ourselves up, to find a comfortable position. Just take a moment to sit down, or lie down, and relax yourself. Breathing is the ultimate relaxer. As you pay attention and allow your breathing to go in fully and to go out fully, there is a part of breathing that is ridding us of whatever is no longer useful. We allow things to go out. As we do that with each breath, it translates into every other level of our consciousness. We’re breathing our emotions. We’re taking in the good and allowing the emotions to be reenergized and balanced. And we’re breathing out what has been called the bad. We are letting go of disturbances. Simply be conscious of breathing in and breathing out without any effort, as you cooperate with that natural rhythm. You are allowing each breath to be done deliberately and completely.
Each breath has its own rhythm and movement. And so we remove the restrictions we have placed on our breathing, often habitually. You may have a habit of shallow breathing, rather than breathing fully. Why are you not allowing your chest to expand? Why are you not allowing you abdomen to take in the breath? “Well, I’m worried” can be the answer. Or “I feel pressure,” or “I feel someone is going to criticize me.” Those kind of thoughts often lead to breathing that is not full, to not taking in that which is the life power, the life source that is recharging and regenerating our consciousness. In order to remove those restrictions, we need to be willing to let go of our worries, our doubts, our fears, our judgments, our angers—at least for a moment. And a basic question might be, “Are you willing to be at peace?”
We would think everyone wants peace. Yet it’s surprising how often, in the moment, that’s not the response. “No! I need to teach them a lesson. I need to get back at them.” So, you would prefer that to the experience of peace. A consciousness that is at peace knows that it’s more important to let things go. That’s really what it costs you, that willingness to let things go that actually no longer serve you.
There is an interesting thing that is going on for me. I am just sitting here, being with you, and I have been experiencing a greater peace.
JM: That is because of the focus. We start talking about peace, and really we’re doing it. What I’m talking about is something we can do and, more than do, experience. I’m addressing something that is an experience of peace, and that starts transmitting. Explaining it is less effective. There is a more powerful form: simply breathing and being aware that we allow our thoughts and our emotions to restrict the life force coming into us. As we allow the life force to fully come in, we find things are at peace.
It would really be wonderful if, before very intense negotiations go on, where people are attempting to resolve conflicts and differences, there would be a process of coming together in a meditation of peace through breathing. “Let’s all focus on our breath now. Let’s all breathe in together. Let’s appreciate that we have air to breathe. We shouldn’t take that for granted. Appreciate and be glad for our next breath, and take a moment to be thankful together. We can have our differences, but together let’s be thankful for our next breath. Be thankful that we have a place to gather together, where the bombs aren’t falling and the bullets aren’t whizzing by and people aren’t being hurt in our midst, that there’s a place of surrender, where we can come together in peace.”
You know, this all sounds great. And yet, in my life I can see positions that I’m so committed to, that I would rather have the position than have the peace. What is it that you and I can do to support people into seeing that peace is better than having the position?
JM: It’s the attitude that when I think about someone else, I have a loving regard toward them. You may ask, “What about the guy that bombed a village and twenty-eight people died, and forty-three were injured, many of them children?” That guy, especially. “Why would you care about him? He should be damned to hell.” I don’t see that as my place, in a consciousness of peace. My place is the attitude that “there must be some hurt that is so deep, so severe in you that would cause you to do such a terrible thing. If you were really conscious of your being, you would never have hurt someone else, and hurting you is really not going to solve the situation.” Should that person be out on the street? Should they just do whatever they please? No. There is a consciousness of peace that stops the againstness, that is the cessation of the againstness. As I’ve said, there are people who are willing to put their bodies on the line, who are willing to face the perpetrators of violence and againstness with the power that stops the againstness and restores the peace. “Peace officers” is an appropriate designation for those who are charged with keeping and restoring the peace.
It’s really important that we confront the violence that is in this world and the situations that are violent, that we don’t ignore them. Ignoring them can be reinforcing them and inviting them to perpetuate.
Does praying for peace help?
How do you do that?
JM: When I pray, I often visualize, and so I visualize peace. Right now, as you are talking, I can do that. I can think of Northern Ireland and Belfast, and I can think of people who are, perhaps, plotting violence while we speak. I can see them shifting toward a consciousness of peace, realizing that there is another way, that there is a better way to resolve what is bothering them and disturbing them, and realizing that violence is not going to solve anything, but what is bothering them deserves attention. And it’s being willing to participate in that as well. So, it’s not just the visualization and praying for peace. It’s also, if I’m called upon, that I would stand in and participate in resolving the conflicts.
When I do anything, my intent is to do that in the Light of God. We are particularizing this Light, in a way. Someone might say, “Well, I don’t know what the Holy Spirit is. I hear this referred to, but I don’t know what you are talking about.” That’s all right. If one day you have a realization about it, you will know what that is, and it won’t be about somebody philosophizing or discussing it. It will be an experience.
This Light is a consciousness, an energy, that shifts things toward greater good. Its direction is the greatest good. It is the power of the greatest good. It is the power that would know all things, all possibilities, and amongst all those possibilities, which is the direction, the movement that is of the very greatest nature, the greatest good toward all. That is the Light. That is the consciousness of the Holy Spirit, as I experience it.
So how do I as an individual get in alignment with that which is for the highest good, as opposed to, perhaps, what I think I want? How do I choose into this? How do I move into this?
JM: That is really a good question. For me, it is a process of surrender. I have a form of prayer that renders me as nothing. In my prayer, I’m giving up my wants, my desires, my preferences. It’s taking whatever volition I have, whatever creative choice I have, and making it an offering. I’m saying, “Not my will, not what I want, but what You want. Change my mind. Turn me into a different person, a different being. I’m giving it all to You. You can do whatever You want with my life. It’s Yours to do whatever you want with.” What is the power I’m surrendering to? It’s all power; it’s absolute power. It could do anything, and I’m giving myself over to that.
What I experience then is, “Well, I’m still here. I don’t really feel like I’ve changed, or now it changed me, but I am still who I am.” It takes my consciousness and brings it back to where I am in this moment. What I find, in my willingness to be completely available, is that it renders me into someone that will do things beyond myself.
What does that look like?
JM: It’s like, “How do I become unself-conscious?” where I wasn’t doing it for me and what I was getting out of it. I was doing it as an act of giving, an act of service. Even that process is not really rendering myself into a nothing. Rendering myself into a nothing is to give myself over in the moment to what is outside of myself, outside of my flesh. So it’s something with another or with a situation, where I am available to it to do whatever is necessary to make it better. It works as a response.
How do I know it still wasn’t my personal response, my ego fooling me into thinking it’s this altruistic response but I really just want mine? When the thing is really working, the self-consciousness comes in later. In the moment, there is not a real self-consciousness. There is just a doing consciousness in a form that is uplifting, in a form that “I’m doing this for you as though I’m doing it for myself.” I’m not realizing a real difference; it feels good to do this for you, just like it would if I was doing it for myself.
So is feeling good a signpost that you are on the right track?
JM: I would put a caution there, that you don’t rule your consciousness by “if it feels good.” There is something that is very uplifting and expansive in the correct feeling of good. It’s very difficult to describe, but it’s a goodness that we know is a blessing from beyond our personal self. It’s a beautiful experience when I allow myself to be available toward a greater good, a good beyond myself that includes you and would include all things.
How much of your day, would you say, is spent in that consciousness?
JM: You know, I have no idea. Certainly I can find myself being petty, being small, being very personal, being very particular about what I want and what I like. And I recognize that’s just human nature. My experience overall is that being willing to serve, being willing to be available is by far the best way to go. It delivers the greatest good, delivers the greatest things to me. Having myself in a place where I am willing to serve has been what has allowed my life to be really blessed and have great fortune.
Are there things you do to start your day that put you more in a place of being open to serve like that or to receive like that?
JM: Absolutely. Upon waking, at the moment I begin the day, to have my awareness conscious of God, of something divine, of something beyond myself. I find it is really important to start the day in a prayer, in a meditation, in thankfulness. To really start there. Does life always allow us to do that? No. If the phone rings or a fire alarm goes off or something pulls me immediately into the world, then it’s how I take my consciousness into that. I just find that it’s an awareness, regardless of what’s going on, that I’m in awe of God. I’m on my knees in this relationship.
We have come to the end of our time for right now. Thanks very much for your thoughts.
JM: “On my knees in awe of God.” That’s the perfect time to end.
Baruch Bashan (which means The Blessings Already Are).
To read Part 1 of this interview on Peace with John Morton, click here .