Peace is the heart-felt intention of creating and maintaining the world around us as a tranquil, harmonious, and not only nonviolent but also loving and respectful, place.
When we express and create Equanimity outside of ourselves, this is Peace. Peace is the Energy of Equanimity expanded. Once outside of ourselves, it multiplies and creates more of the same. It seeks to match the potential for Equanimity in others, bonding us in Peace. It also promotes Equanimity in others.
This is the element of Peace-making.
Peace is a hug; an apology; letting a real or imagined slight, slide.
Peace is recognizing that sometimes people have a bad day.
Peace is biting one’s tongue.
Peace is our spoken word and our body language.
Peace does not hold a grudge. Peace forgives.
Peace encourages conversation and resolution.
Peace encourages expression. Peace allows anger.
Peace validates the inherent worth of others.
Peace is healing.
Peace is not passive. It can be a capital construction project. It requires daily maintenance.
Peace is an expression of the desire for safety.
Peace is waking up in the morning with no reason to be afraid. It allows you to just be.
Peace is the world we imagine for our children.
“All we are saying is give peace a chance.” -John Lennon
False Peace might actually be seen as oppression. False Peace does not lend itself to bringing forth Equanimity in those who are exposed to it. In fact, it might achieve the opposite─ an inner turbulence of suppressed emotion, or worse, a deadening of emotions. False Peace is a façade of tranquility under the threat of harm, excommunication or withdrawal of affection.
I recall a recent pop culture figure speaking of his experience growing up as a Caucasian man in the Jim Crow era of the South. He said that the African-American people he observed during that time seemed “perfectly happy.” He was implying that there was Peace, yet African-Americans in the South at that time did not have basic civil rights and lived under the constant threat of violence for breaking that “false Peace.”
A family that has an alcoholic parent may similarly maintain a false Peace. In such a family, an unspoken rule may exist stating that the alcohol issue and any problems associated with it are not to be discussed. This is the classic “elephant in the room,” and the situation will likely lead to turmoil within the affected family members down the road. This false Peace enforced with the threat of some type of harm or withdrawal of Love. The façade of Peace exists as long as the rule is not broken. The brave child who dares question this dynamic, thus breaking this “Peace,” might even stand accused of being a source of problems in the family.
In the scene from the mainstream Bible where Jesus turns tables on end in a temple, a false Peace existed before the event. The façade that was maintained until Jesus showed up was that the money-making activities that occurred there were somehow not in conflict with the spiritual intentions of the venue. This inherent hypocrisy was not to be discussed, probably at threat of disfavor by the powerful clerics in charge. Peace-loving Jesus, prone to exposing hypocrisy and Truth, upended the tables as a matter of disrupting a false sense of Peace. He suffered for it, and the story teaches us that seeking true Peace sometimes requires disruption.
“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know peace”. -Jimmy Hendrix
World Peace Starts Within
The aspect of world Peace that each of us has the greatest ability to impact directly is the Peace within ourselves, or our own sense of Equanimity. One might say, “How can I have Peace within when there is so much war and injustice?” It may be that the anger within over what is happening on the outside drives us to work for Peace in the world. In our efforts, we may or may not see an immediate impact. At the same time, we can still have turmoil within—a lack of Equanimity—as we continue to deny or reject the reality of the existing conditions. Such a chaotic state of being can affect our personal relations, our rational thinking, our quality of life and our ability to access the spiritual elements and commune with Divinity. In this state of mind, Peace within─ where it really counts─ is nowhere to be found.
If you want Peace, be Peace. Start with Peace within, taking all necessary actions to foster Equanimity within yourself. On a foundation of Equanimity, we spread Peace on an intimate and subtle level first. When we do this, we will imbue Peace within others who are close to us, such as intimate relations, family and friends. Peace from within can then spread to acquaintances, community and outward to─ who knows? ─maybe even the whole world. Our rational intentions to spread Peace further and further will serve us, and we will better be able to access elements such as Empathy, Respect and Non-Judgment as well. We will also be able to connect with and understand others on a deeper level. When we have Peace (or Equanimity) within, we can better utilize Reason and Creativity to develop solutions to conflicts and problems.
There will always be individuals who are champions for Peace─ those individuals whose personal Truth and Service to the world is about correcting injustice and the march towards some large scale collective Peace. Most of us will not play that role, although we can certainly support those who do. Instead, those of us who are not official ambassadors for Peace can best serve Peace by fostering it within ourselves and spreading it in our familial, professional and social spheres.
Some of the greatest catalysts for Peace in the world have epitomized Peace within, often in the face of violence, while in their peace-making roles. Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Nelson Mandela easily come to mind. There are others, too, like the brave young lady, Masala Yousafzai, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for being a champion of a woman’s right to education and for being in opposition to violence and oppression aimed at women. This young lady, along with others awarded the treasured Peace Prize, were perhaps being recognized for their “Peace within” first, as well as for their capacity to allow it to permeate outwardly onto the global scene.
“Raising consciousness is the only path to peace on earth.” -anonymous
Living under Constant Threat
There are many men, women and children on the planet who live under constant threat to their survival in one form or another. For them, there is no Peace, inner or outer. This could be the teen living in the midst of gang violence, the spouse subject to domestic abuse or the young lady like Masala who simply wanted to pursue an education. Under such strain, whole groups of people are subject to a collective epidemic of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), which is a collection of anxiety-oriented symptoms that severely limit one’s capacity to attain inner Peace.
The lack of inner Peace can spread and affect others in intimate family relationships and outwards, with generational impacts that might be associated with a collective grouping of PTSD. With collective PTSD, Equanimity and its beneficial ripple effect is forestalled, along with any potential for widespread Peace.
The spiritual element of Peace would have us all seek to eliminate all areas of the planet where people live under constant threat of danger. This is no small task, but it is one that would eliminate all forms of collective PTSD proactively instead of reactively.
The spiritual element of Peace espouses a doctrine of: Let No One Wake Up in Fear.
“Peace has never come from dropping bombs. Real peace comes from enlightenment and educating people to behave more in a divine manner.” -Carlos Santana
Everyday Peace is the practice of fostering Peace within and toward those around us on a daily basis. We start by doing what we can to cultivate Equanimity. A lot of personal Healing work may be necessary as we take the first steps in this process─ making Peace with our own past. Look at the element of Healing for more information on how to do this, although the daily practice of Meditation (just seven to ten minutes is a nice starting place) will foster Equanimity within you independent of where you are on your path of personal Healing.
First we want to look at the Peace, or lack thereof, that exists within our own mind. We want to practice mindfulness as a matter of being less reactive to what is occurring around us as well as less reactive to our own thoughts. It’s not that we always have to think of flowers and puppies all of the time; we just don’t want our thoughts to be running us from a place that is reflective and non-reactive to one of knee-jerk reaction, anxiety and even panic. When we are cut-off by another driver in an unsafe manner, we can notice a temptation we may have inside to yell at or flip that other driver off─ and we can temper that feeling with the realization that the action wouldn’t have much of a payoff. This will go a long way in instilling a sense of inner Peace while actively promoting outer or universal Peace, by refraining from putting out negative vibes into the world instead of just thoughtlessly unleashing our anger.
We can continue to look at our own words and body language throughout the day. We can watch tone and inflection. We can speak up for our rights and express ourselves while avoiding the Blame Game. We can use “I feel” statements to express ourselves instead of accusatory tones or phrases. Here is an example you might hear in couple’s therapy: “When I don’t get a call ahead of time that you won’t be home for dinner, I feel neglected.”
Another good rule of thumb, I think, is to avoid blanket statements and words like “never” or “always,” as these are seldom true and tend to limit our perception in negative ways. When expressing our opinions, we should be careful to say “I feel” or “I think” rather than absolute nouns like “Everyone thinks…” or “Everyone knows…” This lets the other person know that we are not condescending to them or judging their perspective, even while ours differs from theirs. When we say “Everyone thinks…” to someone who doesn’t think the same thing, the implication is that something is wrong with that person. Similarly, when we assume “If I do this, everyone will [insert negative reaction]” we hold ourselves back when in fact, we cannot know for certain that literally everyone will have that reaction. This way of thinking also passes judgment on people, and judging people in general and judging them negatively in particular may interfere with our sense of Equanimity and ability to radiate and promote Peace.
We can extend this attentive manner of communication to emails or social media. We can err on the side of caution before hitting “Send,” “Post,” or “Publish.” We can give ourselves cooling off periods before responding to offensive or inflammatory communication, and read important and especially emotionally fueled correspondences several times before we send them to ensure that we are communicating clearly and in good faith.
Throughout the day, there will be numerous opportunities to forgive, forget, compromise, mediate and resolve conflicts. Peace-makers take advantage of these opportunities. Peace-makers don’t let problems fester. We approach others in order to have difficult conversations because we know that if things go unsaid, it will eventually and inevitably disrupt both inner and outer Peace. We seek help from impartial third parties to resolve differences as necessary, always with good will and Non-Attachment to the outcome, outside of maintaining our own self-respect.
Validation is Peacemaking 101. With validation, we are letting others know that they matter. Validation doesn’t mean that we are always in full agreement with them. We do, however, acknowledge how others feel and their right to express themselves. We give time and attention. We listen.
After we validate one another by acknowledging our feelings and perspectives without judgment, we should experience and express Empathy. Look for understanding and connection. Practice the Golden Rule. Respect others, seeing the Divinity within.
We wage Peace. We make Love, not war. And Eureka! We can just try to be nice.
We pray for Peace. We pray for the world that we imagine for our children.
This is Everyday Peace.
“Peace is not something you wish for. It is something you make; something you do; something you are, and something you give away.” -Robert Fulghum
Equanimity is foundational to the expression of Peace. Peace is Equanimity outside of ourselves. In the outer world, it can spread.
Justice serves Peace in that it seeks fair and impartial resolution of conflicts and elimination of social inequity that undermines Peace and often masks itself with a false sense of Peace. Justice further supports Peace by foregoing vengeance.
Non-Attachment supports Peace in that we do not attach ourselves emotionally to the outcome of our attempts to resolve conflicts. We remain flexible and open to unknown solutions, or to simply letting go (which sometimes we just need to do). Non-attachment may further help us to have Peace in our immediate environment by enabling us to break off relations with those who constantly conflict with our sense of safety or inner peace, despite our efforts to mitigate conflict.
Empathy, Respect and Love all serve Peace by helping us to see the value in others, connect with them and bestow Love upon them. When we Love others, we want Peace for them. Peace and Love are two elements that are highly attracted to each other.
Truth exposes where true Peace is absent.
Optimism helps us to see that Peace is possible. It helps us to see resolution and common ground where we thought none existed. It helps us to see the Peace-full world that we imagine for our children.
- Make a personal commitment to support your own inner Peace. Undertake daily meditation of 7-10 minutes, or alternative meditative activity, as an integral part of achieving Equanimity.
- Pray for Peace daily. Pray that conflicts in your life and throughout the world are resolved by peaceful and diplomatic means.
- Be conflict resolution-oriented in your own life on a daily basis. Let go of conflicts that are of no consequence. Forgive others for transgressions against you, and seek forgiveness for your own transgressions. Do not let problems fester. Shine Light on them and bring them out into the open for resolution. Be wary of behaviors that might hinder conflict resolution, such as yelling, verbal insults, condescension or employing accusatory blanket statements and rhetoric, such as “You always…” or “Everyone knows…[except you.]” Avoid committing these errors yourself, and be honest with people when you observe them engaging in these behaviors.
- Be especially open to admitting your own wrong-doing. Don’t wait for someone to call you out; once you realize you’ve made a mistake, own up to it voluntarily and offer a sincere apology, coupled with a verbal and mental commitment to learning from that mistake and not repeating it.
- With any personal conflict, ask yourself: How did I contribute to this situation? What could I have done differently to have prevented or resolved the situation? How might I help to resolve this conflict now?
- When all else fails, seek outside assistance to resolve conflicts, such as from counselors and professional mediation service providers. Many communities have local non-profit organizations oriented towards mediation and conflict resolution for a variety of issues, including those between family members and neighbors or as an alternative method of divorce.
- Support a non-profit organization dedicated to Peace-making and peaceful conflict resolution through donation or service (local non-profit mediation centers may need your help too!).
- Take a class, read a book or read a few articles on nonviolent communication and/or conflict resolution.
“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kinds.” -Dalai Lama
I Am Peace at this Moment; I Wish Peace for All Others.
Let Peace Fill My Body. Let Me Be Peaceful With All.
Please let me be with peace in my heart and peace in my words and actions.
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred, let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; where there is sadness, joy. -St. Francis
Please Let There Be Peace in the World. Let Peace Always Be Our Guide. Let Peace Prevail in Conflict.