Explosion shatters peace but calm prevails

Question 2 of 4 on “Feeling Peaceful”

Thinking of this same peaceful experience, imagine that feeling of calm becoming deeper and stronger within your soul to the point where nothing happening in the environment could shake it. Describe what that kind of peace would feel like physically, mentally and emotionally. How could this type of peace change your life? — Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Day 3 — “Feeling Peace”)

Well, it would be hard to imagine my peace in Vietnam being any better than what it was that day. It could have very easily been shattered by gunfire. Worse yet, the peace could have been destroyed with my heart and my soul wounded by something called friendly fire.

That’s what happened during another incident while leading men on a search and destroy mission in what we called the “bush.” I had called in mortar fire on a suspected enemy location, but one of the rounds fell on my squad. Five soldiers were injured and I thank God that none were killed.

 (Please see Part 1 at:https://contoveros.wordpress.com/2014/08/22/peace-found-inside-middle-of-Vietnam-war/ /)

But, being the man in charge, the lieutenant, I got blamed and I carried that shame and sense of utter failure with me all of my life. Peace evaded me throughout my adulthood as I battled what was labeled Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, an anxiety illness that causes flashbacks of the war when certain stressful situations trigger a physical, mental, and emotional recall of the trauma.

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Express peace in any shape or form until it becomes a worldwide phenomenon


I found peace, however, while attending a five-day meditation retreat, and I was able to journal about my war experience. I felt safe and secure among like-minded meditators. I figured I could cry like a baby while with them and they would still accept me despite my tears.

I did cry and it was refreshing. I also wrote about that day, the worst day of my life. And it brought peace to my heart. I saw how I had functioned as a calm and cool soldier under extreme conditions never losing my composure when chaos erupted all around me. I became detached from the scene, the carnage, and I did my job to the best of my ability and then some, if I do say so myself.

Inside, I felt myself shatter like a pane of glass struck by a wrecking ball aimed right at me.

It was the first time I was able to do this. Look at that dreadful day without recoiling and feeling the guilt, the anxiety, the grief, and, worse yet, the shame. And I found that writing was indeed therapeutic. It is a method of meditation that I hope to continue over these 21-days of meditating through the Chopra Center for Meditation where I plan to take it “to infinity . . . and beyond.”

Peace is not found out there somewhere. It exists within and can be found by focusing on that place inside that offers comfort, security, and forgiveness.

— Michael J Contoveros, former US army lieutenant, in response to question at the 21-day Meditation Experience provided by Oprah Winfrey and Deepak Chopra. For more, see Chopra Center Meditation Experience)