Je suis peace. I am peace…. or at least I aspire to be. I’m not a politician or even an activist, however with global tensions rising, and the recent events in Nigeria, Yemen, Niger and France, I feel that it is time to look at some underlying issues to help generate an attitude towards peace. By focussing on these commonalities, we may be able to direct our thoughts towards producing actions that facilitate peace.
Regardless of age, gender, nationality or faith,
- We all mourn the loss of people we care about. Many of us mourn the loss of people, period.
- We all can be angered when what we hold dear is repeatedly attacked or threatened. These attacks or threats could be physical or verbal. Some of us care about religion, others care about ideas, others care about the environment, others care about freedom, others care about peace etc.
- We all want to live in accordance with principles we believe are correct. These could be secular, religious, spiritual etc.
- We all are limited by our lack of understanding.
- We all are, at least for the moment, limited to one planet.
So what can we do with this information? How can being aware help? We can remind ourselves about how we feel about each of these points. The more we think about this information on a personal level, the more alike others we will feel, and the more we will see that if we want peace, we have a responsibility concerning what we put out into the world.
We all mourn the loss of people we care about.
We want to avoid losing people that we hold dear. At one level, the fewer people we harm, the fewer will seek vengeance against us. Our loved ones will be that much safer when the element of vengeance is reduced. The less violence and negative energy we put out into the world, the less will come back to us.
On a deeper level, if we develop true compassion, because we know how it feels to lose someone, we simply hope that other people can avoid that feeling.
We all can be angered when what we hold dear is repeatedly attacked or threatened.
Very connected to the first point, if we feel anger in certain situations, others may as well. Again, we can look at this in two ways. We don’t want to facilitate anger in others, because that anger could be directed towards us later. Being on the receiving end of anger often complicates life and leads to negative emotions and situations. Further, again, if we develop true compassion, we simply will not want another person to feel this potentially destructive emotion.
We all want to live in accordance with principles we believe are correct.
We were all educated in some way. This could have happened at school, through other people, through information we had around us, through stories, through nature, through our own thoughts and reactions to life…there are countless ways to be educated. Even if we have rebelled against outside influence, we have somehow been educated or “formed” into the people we are today. Through that education, we have generated ideas about what our basic rights are and what is right and what is wrong.
As there are countless ways to be educated, there are also innumerable ways to live. There are also drastically different opinions about what is right and what is wrong. Without even addressing the possibility of the existence of a universal ethic, we can address the existence of universally experienced human emotions. Think of the negative emotions you feel when you are “wronged”, or restricted in terms of how you want to live, and realize that others may feel the same way. If we want peace, the less we infringe on others’ fundamental rights, the less negative emotions will be directed towards us.
We all are limited by our lack of understanding.
The above points address feelings that we may share. Contrastingly, if we don’t know someone intimately, it is very difficult to know exactly what they are thinking. Even with those closest to us, we may find this challenging at times. If we want a greater understanding, we need to have true communication; communication that accesses a persons core, rather than their anger, pride, fear, ego, or other obscuring factors.
This also comes in to play when people do things that we know will lead to negative consequences. We have different levels of understanding about different issues. When we need to teach it can be more effective when we do so from a place of simply wanting to lead a person to true understanding; a place void of anger, frustration, inflated ego or condescension. When we need to learn, we need to open ourselves to being lead past our preconceived notions and prejudices… all the way to true understanding.
We all are, at least for the moment, limited to one planet.
Just to name a few ways, we are connected geographically, economically and environmentally. Because we are all on earth, our actions affect others, even when we believe they are “far away”. There is only so “far away” we can be from each other on this relatively small planet. We are all in “this” together.
All of the above points indicate that we have a personal responsibility in creating peace. Peace may come from within, but we also live in the external world. If we want peace on that level as well, we must contribute to it…personally. So, as I mentioned at the beginning, I aspire to “be” peace, and finally, I endeavor to share it.
Originally published at www.paulbrundtland.com.