For many people, the idea of peace is an illusion, some unreachable state. The irony however is in the illusion created by the negative, that it’s unachievable.
Peace is possible in every moment. And it begins within the hearts and minds of evert single human being.
I’m told that my late grandfather would say “if brothers and sisters cannot live together peacefully, how can there be peace in the world?” I think that this was an insightful question that he asked when he was alive. And I think it’s a question we can ask ourselves today, not within the parameters of our own family units.
How are we living peacefully with our neighbors, in our community, when we go into other communities here and abroad? How are we living peacefully with Nature and her creatures?
Peace is freedom.
And if you sit with this statement long enough you may find that it’s not simply limited to ending violence on an illusory battlefield.
Walking in a field of just bloomed wildflowers, wind blowing softly across skin and dappled sunlight of dawn shining through leaves, one feels at peace in this image. But even this is an illusion when thoughts turn from enjoying the beauty of nature to worry, re-runs of a recent argument and a laundry list of thoughts that run the gamut of fear to irritation.
For what happens in the mind happens in the heart. A memory of anger, no matter how fleeting, closes the heart, and the hand.
Attitudes of “us” and “them” don’t just happen in the news. It happens every single day, from driving a car, to getting a seat on the bus or train, to waiting in line for coffee. As long as we continue to see everyone else as “other”, a boundary is defined; a boundary of separateness. And while there is nothing wring with knowing who you are in your identity of self, it is the unwillingness to break down the boundary to knowing your Self as everyone else. This is the experienced realization of interdependence and oneness, and it needs to be cultivated every single day.
But this also cannot happen if you are unable to be at peace within, merging the self of identity with the Self of love. The inner dialogue of negative self-talk, is a kind of self-inflicted violence upon oneself. And this inner dialogue is then projected and reflected into the world.
We can look out into the world and see the news and the daily stories of violence, hatred, death, intolerance.
And we can make a choice.
One choice is despondency, despair, anger, blame, more separation.
Another choice is hope, love, kindness, understanding and tolerance.
There is never a reason that can justify violence.
Waking up saying “I am just one person, I can’t do anything” is another illusion. You many not be motivated to protest for example, but it is not always about that. Waking up every day and cultivating attitudes of understanding and loving kindness are doorways towards peace.
For every small vibration of peace that is held within the heart of one human ripples out reaching and touching other equal vibrations, creating a net to uplift those that it catches.
The way towards peace always begins within. It was the great Mahatma Gandhi who said, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”
Endeavor to practice and cultivate peace every day. And most importantly, teach this to others through your actions. Practice at home and out in the world.
Not everyone will be making these same choices at the same time. But that is the work, in striving to provide a reflection for others so that they may at some point see the possibility of peace within themselves.
H.H. The 14th Dalai Lama has been quoted as saying “look for the fruits of your actions 700 hundred years from now.”
May we all plant seeds today of peace that they may have the opportunity to grow in the garden of love in the days ahead.
From my heart to yours ♡