Peace is perhaps best understood by describing it rather than defining it. It is a dawn walk with your puppy, a sweet reconnection with a friend, a completion of a project long in the making, an embrace with someone you love . . . all life moments of joy which transcend the day-to-day.
What are your descriptors of peaceful moments? Is it the glow after a bike ride, a walk at the end of the day, meditation in a group of comrades, a hike in the full moon, or spending quality time with your children?
The concept of “peace” may be slightly less elusive if we have some ideas about what it looks and feels like – and if we can then navigate to those experiences. What are your favorite ideas of peace?
Making peace is something that most humans understand and practice to some degree. You’ve probably experienced discord in some kind of business or personal relationship where you became aware of a desire to return to a peaceful state.
Do you think that we humans are inherently peace-loving creatures? How is it that you have had your peacemaking activities? What have been your motivations? Have your peacemaking overtures ever been rejected?
The olive branch is the traditional sign of peace; and it means, “Let’s get along. Let’s stop fighting.” Who are the people, if any, toward whom you have maintained less than a full peacefulness? Are there any people whom you are now motivated to contact and seek to engage in a dialogue of peace? What have been your considerations, your resistances, your excuses?
Peace in the world includes peace of mind. The Course in Miracles says, “Peace of mind is my only goal.” Everyone can relate to enjoying a feeling of peace, tranquility and contentment.
We have the ability to support the peace of mind of others as we engage it for ourselves.
In what is without question the “busiest” time in the history of human beings, peace of mind can be elusive. Fear, very broadly stated, has been the most likely barrier to peace of mind; and practices like meditation, exercise and breathing can dramatically enhance peace of mind.
How do you engage peace of mind? Do you have a practice that works for you? Who do you know who has peace of mind from whom you can learn?
Peace, of course, is a state of non-violence and tranquility – yet it’s potentially something more. Writer Dorothy Thompson said:
“Peace is not the absence of conflict, but the presence of creative alternatives for responding to conflict – alternatives to passive or aggressive responses, alternatives to violence.”
A fascinating take, isn’t it, that peace is about creative approaches? There was someone who, prior to the war in Iraq, suggested that the religious leaders of the world meet in Baghdad and stay there until a peaceful solution could be found to the issues.
Without regard to either the political issues or the practicalities, that person was thinking outside the box. No bombing could start with that kind of high profile presence in Baghdad. And, potentially, the presence of those notables would have put pressure on the situation to manifest a peaceful solution. Who knows? The point is that it was a creative approach to peace besides the more-often-assumed pacifism.
What kinds of creative approaches can you think of to currently violent situations? What are alternatives to “might is right”?
September 21st is the International Day of Peace established by a resolution of the United Nations in 1981. According to the website listed below, “Peace Day provides an opportunity for individuals, organizations and nations to create practical acts of peace on a shared date.”
Peace is a concern, on some level, for all human beings. For many humans, there is no peace owing to overt war, omnipresent violence and ruthless oppression. Yet, even in our so-called “civilized society,” our newscasts frequently contain reports of violence and murder against innocent victims – most often because of differences that apparently frighten some people enough that they choose to harm others – most recently in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
How can today be a day of peace for you . . . within your family, your profession, your friends – and, as importantly as any other – within yourself? Peace can be built. How can each of us contribute to expanding peace on our planet?