A practical application of cultivating peace, the fourth pillar of good health, is to develop the ability to distance oneself from ones circumstances. You are not your circumstance, no matter how tragic it may be. One of my favorite quotes in this arena is ‘With awareness, comes the space for choice.” How do we build awareness so that we can choose how to engage our circumstances? Like any good skill it begins with practice. Meditation is a great example of how to practice. Stopping for a few minutes to step back in order to see the constant stream of concerns and thoughts running through one’s own head and then deciding how to address them is a very practical tool to manage your current circumstance. Being aware allows you to choose. It allows you to respond instead of react.
The Scriptural mandate for this comes, in part, from Paul in his letter to the Ephesians: “to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
(Ephesians 4:22-24 ESV)
It has been said that during a crisis one tends to fall back to the level of their training; rarely does one rise to the level of the challenge. So we must practice the task of becoming aware of our emotions, our thoughts, our passions, our anxieties and worries and then addressing them as a parent addresses unruly children. They are not to be ignored or cast out but ordered, tended, and cared for so that those natural expressions of our limitations grow up to be productive inclinations of our heart calling us to trust the creator sovereign God.