We live in wonderful, terrible, pivotal times. It’s scary, yes, but I think fear and the anger that often comes from it will be the thing that will destroy us–if we let it. I think awareness is the opposite of fear, and I think it can only come to us from a place of peace. I think we are the ones who are determining the future, and that is a heady bit of knowledge, and a great responsibility.
We are each our own spiritual authority. We are free to believe–or not believe–whatever we choose, and to work in the ways that feel right to us. We are free to put our feet on the path to peace in as many different ways as we can imagine. I believe that our strength lies in this freedom, and the wisdom that comes from it. It’s harder to work in this way. You can’t just show up and do as you’re told. There is no certainty save that which comes from our own hearts, yet we humans cannot create community from those things that we hold in common until we know what we hold in our own hearts.
If I were going to ask us all to do anything, it would be to find out, moment by moment, what lies in your heart. Take a little time every day to hold peace in your heart. How does it feel? What does it look like? It doesn’t have to take very long. It can be done hanging on a strap on public transit, on the walk out to your car at the end of the day, in the morning or the evening, or during your shower. I do mine as I travel through my quiet neighborhood in the early morning, alone on the streets of Oakland. What would the world look like if everyone had this peace I hold within myself, alone among the trees of the urban forest, walking the folded hills? What if everyone knew that they would, more likely than not, come home every night to their home and family? What if everyone knew they had enough to eat, a roof over their head, and clothing appropriate to their needs? What would our world be like if everyone knew that we are all part of the web of life, and that what we do to that web we do to ourselves? What would the place you are standing in right now look like in that world you hold for a moment each day?
Yes, my neighborhood will have people shouting in it later in the day. There will likely be gunshots. Demagogues around the world will inflame their followers to fear those who are different and incite people to violence. There have been bombs and death in Belgium, and there is death daily no matter where we are in the world. But right now, I am at peace, my neighborhood is at peace. It’s hard to remember to spread that peace during the day, but each moment I can keep my mouth shut when something nasty wants to come out, each moment I can avoid dehumanizing someone else because they’re annoying me, because they live in another country doing things in ways different from my own, or have done something I don’t agree with, I’ve made the world a better place. It starts with me, and it starts with you. It isn’t easy, but I think it’s the most important work there is because ideas spread. We all need to make sure there are a lot of good ones in the mix.
I think those of us who live in a bubble of peace, who live in a world where we see our loved ones come home every day, where if they don’t it’s a tragedy and a surprise, rather than something we face the reality of each day, have a duty to send that deep peace out into the world however we can. Let it spread like a cool fog, an inner silence that lets us hear our own inner voices. Let it wrap us in the knowledge of all the tomorrows that wait for us.
What ideas will you spread today? What peace will you create?