Betty W. Phillips, Ph.D., Psychology
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For Christmas, 2010, and the New Year, 2011: Peace on Earth and in Your Heart!



For Christmas, 2010, and the New Year, 2011: Peace on Earth and Peace in your Heart!



I hope you feel a warm glow in your heart as you think about peace. My Christmas and New Year's present to you is to continue writing about happiness and stress. There are several years of articles on my website about happiness and its converse, stress. When you attain a life of peace and contentment, you will be inoculated against stress and distress. But-- you're probably thinking-- peace on earth? Phillips, you have really gone off your rocker now. There is very little peace on earth these days. Yes, you're absolutely right. The Stress Monster is roaming the earth sowing the seeds of chaos, war and destruction. Yet my message is that we can have peace in our household and peace in our hearts. When enough people really believe and follow this message, the world will change!


The message of peace is ancient and is especially heralded at Christmas time. Just recall the lyrics of your favorite songs, for example the message “Peace on earth, goodwill to men”:  "It came upon the midnight clear, That glorious song of old, from angels bending near the earth.” You may think that angels are fictional beings, devised to make us feel good but not actually effective forces in the world. Well let me tell you about two special books which convey information about angels and

their messages. John Lerma, M.D., is an acclaimed doctor, board-certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine at the Medical Center Hospice in Houston who has assisted thousands of patients in their last weeks and hours of life.  You can read more for yourself in his two books (Into the Light, Career Press, 2007, and Learning from the Light, Career Press, 2009.)  Why am I writing about these books now? Because the messages of kindness, love, hope and peace are especially pertinent in these troubled times. When we raise our voices in song with others to tell of joyous Christmas messages, we may feel in our hearts that the messages are true, only to be shattered by the sometimes grim realities of day-to-day life.  I've written before about many methods to keep positive feelings alive, and I'm sharing Dr. Lerma's message as one of these ways.  Reactions from his readers are very positive, describing the books as "inspirational" and "uplifting." One of the primal human stresses is fear of the afterlife. Dr. Lerma's books share the angelic messages of "hope and enduring love for all" and that "starting to love oneself and forgive oneself is truly the answer to a beautiful, peaceful life on Earth as well as a more gentle transition from this world to the next." Dr. Lerma faced "criticism from investigations by the medical community… at great pair up to my career, truly believing that these messages these stories conveyed were instrumental in providing relief of both patients’ and families spiritual, emotional and interpersonal pain."


You'll have to read the stories to believe them. Lerma found that 90% of his patients experienced visions and messages from angels as well as deceased family members coming to escort them to their next life. His books clearly differentiate these visions where the patient is "quite lucid and oriented" from hallucinations which are "confused periods of brain function" which the patient cannot later recall. The true stories include a wide variety of children and adults. Some people experienced a reinforcement of their spiritual beliefs while others came to the realization that the final messages were quite different from their lifelong beliefs.  An atheist, in the end, became a "true believer." A minister who railed against gays became profoundly changed, stating that the angels "reminded me that God is love and His love transcended all boundaries." The books describe other miracles as for example the young woman blind from birth who was allowed sight at the very end of her life. Dr. Lerma found that only a few people ever talked about hell, explaining it as a self-created separation which came from difficulty in forgiving oneself and loving self and others.


Can there be peace on earth? The song says yes, ending: "And the whole world sent back the song, Which now the angels sing."