The Daily Dalai: “World peace must develop from inner peace. Peace is not just mere absence of violence. Peace is, I think, the manifestation of human compassion.”
We do think, I do, of peace as the absence of violence. Given the immediate horrors of never-ending war, how else?
I display peace-oriented bumper stickers on my car. One says “Visualize World Peace.” It’s an old one, from the 60’s, vintage peace regalia. I’m convinced most people are unable to visualize world peace. When a state of being is defined by absence of an opposing state of being, what exactly is it? Most if not all people are unable to picture a world at peace. It makes no sense to them. It looks like weakness, vulnerability. An invitation for evil-doers to have their way with us.
Surely we can not be faulted for our short-range vision. We can’t see beyond the horror of it, which we daily face or turn away from. There is no blame in this. We are here. It is now. Too many babies grow up in war zones. Too many parents are lost to war. In survival mode, how visionary can we be? And who among us has experienced peace?
If we find some measure of peace within ourselves, we can project the possibility of peace outward into the world. We must put clothes on it, flesh it out, build it up, and we must give it voice.
Sharing what we have each individually learned about peace within our own often embattled psyches, let’s begin to fill in the details of our sketch.
In the absence of war, we shall find peace. But if it is merely the absence of war, it will return again to war. Put another way, if we still focus on war we will never create peace, only a temporary time of no-war punctuated by more war.
If peace is not just the opposite or absence of war, of what does it consist? Indeed what will we do when we are not at war?
What we do now is prepare for the next war. Futile.
Maybe we can get past war vs. peace to a place of integrity. Now that really would be something. Rather than resistance of war, which creates it, we can stand in wholeness before the mirror and honestly see who we are.
We are warlike. We are competitive for resources, jealous of possessions, suspicious of difference, and we are easily aroused to battle. In truth, we like battle.
Humanity is a confusing business. We are predator and prey. Both and neither. We follow our fears. Wherever they lead us.
HH is correct, compassion for others slows the impulse to slaughter, but it doesn’t extinguish it.
We engage in peacefulness as if it is a holiday. The serious business of survival ever awaits our renewed attention.
We must WAGE PEACE with as much vigor as we wage war. But how?
I think it begins when we stop believing war is necessary. And who can even begin that?