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As for staying in a peaceful frame of mind, the first step that I take is realizing that I am in control of my emotions... This is either an upward or downward spiral, depending on how in control of my emotions I actually feel.
I use meditation nightly to figure out what I need to work on, connect with my form of spirituality, and to gain understanding of some of my tougher questions. My post on Evil was the result of about a month of these nightly meditations, as well as asking people who I regard highly and who were also working on the same question at the time. Foremost among them was Jeff Lilly at Druid Journal
Some of the things that I find extremely useful is understanding the difference between pleasure and joy, and a rather large breakthrough was realizing that they are not exclusive despite being different. Some pleasures are exclusive of joy, such as smoking, but sex in a healthy relationship of mutual respect is both pleasurable and joyful. Exercise in small doses is not pleasurable, but when exercise becomes fun, it gives both pleasure and joy, even if not at the same time.
The ace in my sleeve, when I need a quick rush of joy to combat negative emotions, is cleaning. I'm in the middle of a thirty day experiment with it, and the results are outstanding. It is still hard to start cleaning, but if I take just five minutes to make a start that I can notice, I can raise my mood far enough to get the motivation to continue cleaning indefinitely, which gives a very quick, very powerful surge of joy.
The hardest part is to find peace with things that I find repulsive, such as war, the tools of war, and intolerance. Especially when I remember my past as a soldier and the people I have trained who are very likely to be in combat right now. Despite them being the catalysts for my life purpose, I still can not find peace with the events of Sept 11, 2001, and the DMZ, the border between North and South Korea.
Most of all, it takes practice, habit, and the willingness to either change your environment to be one that you can love, or change your beliefs about your environment so that you can love it.
I especially agree with Erin. I accept that everybody is learning, including myself. My brand of spirituality helps me out quite a bit on this, as I believe that we choose the lessons that we are to learn while in a spiritual perspective, and that we can try each lesson again until we get it right. The ability to fail in any endeavor is an opportunity learn, and the only real failure is when we don't take that opportunity. Being angry isn't sliding backwards along the scale of consciousness, it is a lesson on how it feels, what it takes to be angry, and how to pull yourself back out of it. Perhaps further down the line, you can help someone out who is feeling angry so that they can learn how to pull themselves out of it as well... so would being angry now be a failure, or just a potentially useful lesson?
Just take comfort that everybody is improving in their own way, even if they seem to be sliding backwards. In school, people learn despite themselves. It is simply unavoidable. Whether they can apply that knowledge or not, or pass a test, is up to the individual, but each day, we all learn something.
One thing that I'm going to try very soon is to start some more physical rituals, rather than simply meditating. It has been quite a while since I have practiced anything actually Wiccan, so I don't think that my rituals will exactly match the ones that I learned before, but at least I have a template to go by. I'm working on a non-denominational ritual outline for those interested, and a general symbol database, but I expect the ritual outline to take a few more days, and the database to take a few more weeks. By the time the database comes through, my thirty day experiment with rituals should have some handy results.
To sum it up (since I've gotten a bit long winded), the way that I find peace is to be accepting of other people and their progress within their own set of lessons, to pursue joy through meditation and through working within my environment, and to practice with the mindset that I can not fail, since I'm only and always practicing. (There is a huge diference in stress between practicing and doing "the real thing." If I'm always practicing, I'm not stressed, I'm always improving, and ultimately, I'm still getting my task done.)