Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding. Albert Einstein
… cause peace by becoming peace – not just being peaceful temporarily. To become peace requires embracing a mindset that recognizes all of creation as one organism expressing in myriad forms and committing to treat all others (human, non-human, animate and inanimate) with kindness and respect, no matter what. Rev. Trish Hall, founder Way2Peace (https://way2peace.org/)
The idea of ‘peace, no matter what’ is an ideal of the highest magnitude, or so it seems in a world hell-bent on destruction. Peace seems out of reach until we bring it home, seeking to maintain our personal sense of peace and making a commitment to peace in our hearts, minds, and homes. We do this moment by moment, choice by choice, conversation by conversation. Some are easy, natural, and effortless. Others choices call forth our conviction, invite us to step into the unknown, or even to swim upstream counter to friends, neighbors, or social norms.
That is way the way of change. That is way of creating peace. Those are the individual choices that we must make collectively if peace and love are to prevail on our precious planet.
Recently just such a choice presented itself. In the midst of reflecting on somewhat disconcerting conflicts and reactions in my community – events that have resulted in some friends deciding to arm themselves and others considering doing the same – these words came to me crystal clear as if someone was in the room speaking:
Disarmament of nations will only come when individuals shed the fear that has us keep weapons for our own protection.
While I wasn’t considering arming myself with a gun, a friend currently living in my home voiced that possibility for herself. Given the events, I understand why one might consider this choice. Yet, my initial reaction was ‘no!’. And after a day of thoughtful consideration, I was clear that this choice would stand. I was also clear that new criteria for sharing my home had emerged: no guns, no weapons – no matter what.
I feel a deep sense that my personal safety, like peace, comes first from within. The cause of war and violence in any of its forms is fear. Fear is the absence of love. The path to peace collectively is to expand and deepen our individual capacity to make choices grounded in kindness and respect – love, if you will – not in fear. I have work to do to increase my own capacity for kindness and respect to myself and to others, especially those with whom I disagree.
Too often we think of peace only as the business of nations. Governments engage in war to ‘win’ peace. Do you notice how broken this model is? Fear and dominance have had their time. Their time is done (though letting go for some will not be done without fight).
The time is now to end violence and to call forth peace, the peace that is our business – yours and mine – to create. The time for simple kindness, respect, and relationship is upon us. Let our love shine light in the dark corners of fear. Let us each become portals to peace, putting our attention on the work that needs doing to build that peace – moment by moment, choice by choice, conversation by conversation, and even social media post by social media post.