Peace in the World; Peace in Our Lives

Have you considered your role in bringing peace on Earth?

The stream of news continues unbroken: the ravages of war continue to tear apart Syria and South Sudan. People live with unrelenting oppression in North Korea and Iran. In many parts of the world, children die from hunger and starvation. Will our world ever be at peace?

In the midst of these tragedies which devastate the lives of millions of people, anti-immigrant sentiment grows in the United States, England, Germany, France, and many other places in the developed world. Opposition to welcoming those who seek refuge is often characterized by messages of hate, selfishness, and intolerance. Can human beings share their resources with others who have lost so much and live in peace with them?

We expect global leaders to provide solutions to complex problems — and well they should. At the same time, many families and homes are unstable because of domestic violence. We freely spew anger at each other while driving on our roads and highways. We blindly pass by those who are homeless, mentally ill, or caught in cycles of poverty because of an economic system designed to reward the rich while squeezing the life out of the poor. How many ways does our hard-heartedness prevent us from experiencing peace in our day to day lives?

We believe that someone should solve these problems. We fail to realize that the world will only know peace when we learn to live in peace with ourselves and others around us.

One of my heroes of the Christian tradition, John Cassian, a monk from the sixth century, wisely wrote: “Let us not look for peace outside ourselves and let us not count on another’s patience to rescue us from our own impatience.” The peace we seek begins inside of us. Until we learn to live in that peace, we will not be patient with those around us: our family and friends, our neighbors and co-workers, and, yes, even the driver who made the left turn from the right lane with no turn signal.

We begin to experience deep inner peace when we allow our spiritual practice to draw us past the turbulent emotions, resentments, and fears we carry within us. By allowing the inner light within us to illuminate these dark places of unrest, inner healing is possible. The result of such inner healing is the experience of deep peace and contentment. We learn to live in peace.

The world does not find peace when wars cease. Instead, the world will find peace when we individually learn to live in peace. While advocacy for others who are harmed by the divisions in the world is critical, the real solution is recognizing that when we live in peace, the world has the opportunity to be transformed to a planet of peace.

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How can you learn the ways of peace? What aspects of your spiritual practice enable you to live in peace?

Photo credit: Simone Pirozzi via Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

© 2016, emerging by Lou Kavar, Ph.D.. All rights reserved.

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