Should peace be easy to find?

A dear friend forwarded a video on the theme of peace: panoramic aerial shots, uplifting music, smiling faces. ‘It could be so simple,’ it seems to say, ‘just put your arm around your neighbour and sing together in the sunshine and celebrate the unity of the one single family of humanity.’

So, why haven’t we done this? Why does the body of humanity have to endure year after endless year of misery, bloodshed, famine, pain and grief?

No doubt everyone longs for peace in one form or another, but each one’s understanding of peace will correspond to the depth of their insight into life.  For one person, ‘peace’ might mean the freedom to play their music as loud as they want without anyone complaining; for another, ‘peace’ might mean forgetting the self in the all-pervading sublimity of God.  Telling the person in the first example that they must change their idea of peace (to correspond with mine!) will not bring a peaceful result.  They may, in time, come to see from the second point of view but that is a matter of their evolution, and evolution comes in its own time.

What is more, individuals themselves don’t always act in conformity with their own idea of peace.  How often we hear this question in one form or another: “I want to do my spiritual practices, but I neglect them – is there a practice that will get me to do my practices?”

And if we ourselves are not always in a peaceful state, how will it be in our families?  Recently a mother, reflecting on the inevitable battles involved in raising a child, said, “I love her so much–it should be easy!”  And probably every parent in the world on hearing this could raise their eyes to heaven and say ‘Amen!’  In this example, love provides the patience to find a way to harmony, perhaps some days more, some days less; but how will it be with my thuggish neighbour who lets his goats graze in my garden and who claims the rights to an olive grove that I know belonged to my great-great grandfather?  I don’t feel the same love for him as for my own flesh and blood, so how will we find a way to harmony?

No doubt the video serves a purpose.  If it feeds the flame of hope, that is helpful, because without hope life becomes meaningless.  But to make that vision a reality requires a lot of hard work that doesn’t appear in the clip.  One of the very first sayings in the Gayan, that perhaps came in the time of the First World War, was appropriate a hundred years ago and is still valid today:
O peace-maker, before trying to make peace throughout the world,
first make peace within thyself!


2 Replies to “Should peace be easy to find?”

  1. Inam

    O peace-maker, before trying to make peace throughout the world,
    first make peace within yourself!
    ¡Oh conciliador, antes de tratar de hacer la paz en el mundo,
    haz primero la paz dentro de ti!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.