Thursday, August 23, 2012

Thoughts on Peace

The only peace we have comes from within ourselves. We each choose, each moment, whether to have peace or not.

The choice is a hard one, because many things around us are not peaceful, are distracting, are agonizing, are worrying. The world around us, much of the time, is not a peaceful place. And many of the people around us are not peaceful people.

We make the choice harder for ourselves when we expect the world to deliver peace to us. If only ... a person would change, my bank account would change, my circumstances would change, the world would change ... then, we think, peace will come.

But peace is already here. The world will change - it changes all the time - just not in the way we expect, or demand, or want. Making our peace dependent on what the world around us does is abdicating, surrendering ourselves to a million forces indifferent to ourselves. We will never have peace if we expect it to be delivered to us.

There is nothing new in this, of course. That's one of the secrets of the world - that there really aren't any deep secrets. The most important things are already with us. The wisdom of peace has been around for centuries, and is all around us - in the Prayer of St. Francis, in the Serenity Prayer, in a thousand other places we've seen or heard of or read somewhere.

So why don't we seek peace where we already are? Because we're distracted by other things. Because some part of us believes the lies of the world when it says If Only ... if we just wait for this or that, things will be better then. Because we want other things more than we want peace - we want fame, or money, or excitement, or experiences, or love, or things, or just Our Way. We want to impose our Will upon the world. We want to Be Right.

I can only speak for myself, but the older I get the more I find that peace is what I seek. This means, of course, not just for myself but for those around me, those I love and care for. But how can I give them any peace if I don't have any to give? So pursuing peace is not a selfish goal, but an act of love.

There's no conclusion here, no pithy observation at the end. It is the same truth that we've always had, just rehashed and recycled. But maybe that's the thing about truth - that the important thing is not to discover but to rediscover, to renew, to recirculate. Because we already have peace within us. We just need to be reminded to look for it.

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