The Beginning of Peace

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Photo by Tamara Menzi.

Audio Version.


This blog is a follow-up to my last blog, entitled “The End of Violence.”

Where does peace begin? The simple answer is, it begins with me, and you. Peace on a large scale is not possible unless peace on a small scale is possible. The idea that peace begins with me inspired me some years ago and, as a result, I began to think world peace is possible. I mused that peace is possible with me, therefore world peace is possible.

How does peace begin right where we are? It starts with an intention, or, more accurately, a commitment. It starts with each one declaring “I intend to be peaceful toward myself and all other beings.” Here begins an amazing journey of growth and discovery.

For we know, the moment will come when we experience something other than peace toward ourselves or another. Something will eventually occur that triggers us, takes us to anger or some sort of disharmony. This is not a problem, so long as our intention and commitment to be peaceful are solid. When our intention and commitment are solid, the trigger becomes a further step toward peacefulness as we look more deeply into ourselves to see what did cause us to be unpeaceful.

The only way to become the embodiment of peace is to uproot all within us that is not peaceful. The clear intention and commitment to be peaceful is the vehicle to create this uprooting. In fact, it wouldn’t be surprising if the very moment that we declared our intention to be peaceful, that moments later we noticed something in ourselves that was anything but peaceful.

Our intention to be peaceful doesn’t create the experience of being unpeaceful; it reveals the unpeaceful aspects that are already present within us, so that they may be transmuted.

I am reminded of when I participated in a ten-day silent Buddhist Vipassana meditation retreat. One of the agreements while we were there was that we would not kill, which I thought was a ridiculous agreement for people committing to meditate in silence for ten days. Of course, we wouldn’t kill; no agreement necessary. Then, moments after arriving, upon entering my room, I discovered a mosquito. My natural reflex kicked in and, just before smashing it into oblivion, I remembered my agreement not to kill, and suddenly I felt silly at how quickly I was about to break the agreement, that was supposedly unnecessary.

This experience illustrates the power of intention and commitment. They reveal to us, like nothing else, the ways that we are not living up to them, so that we may take corrective action to come into alignment. No matter how many times we slip, each slip leads us closer to alignment with our intention and commitment.

In this way, peace for ourselves becomes possible. We become more peaceful with ourselves and more peaceful with those around us. Experiencing our peace, those around us are more likely to be more peaceful. Thus, one person at a time, world peace becomes possible.

This is likely the only way that world peace is possible—one person at a time, doing the inner work to create peace within themselves. One great thing about this is that the more peacefulness we create individually, the easier we make it for others to be peaceful because there are fewer triggers to bring forth unpeaceful reactions in others. In addition, we create an example of what peacefulness looks like for others to emulate and embody.

Yes, world peace is possible. And, yes, it begins with me, and you. I’m in; are you? I know you are, so I am already excited about the world at peace. I rejoice at all the examples I see every day of my own peacefulness and the peacefulness of others. And, then I rejoice at how my attention and gratitude for the peace that already is, magnifies it.

Oh, it just keeps getting better! Enjoy the journey.

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