Is the yearning for peace sentimental and cliched?
The war mongers and politicians certainly think peace is over rated because they believe their country will seem much stronger to the rest of the world if they’re always prepared for war. Its a deterrent, they say. They’re as determined in their beliefs as are the peaceniks. I count myself as one of the lovers of peace. Those of us who love peace and the concept of tranquillity, who long for a world where human beings love and understand each other don’t seem to be able to convince the army generals. Usually we don’t even try to. The peace lovers talk to each other and the army froths at the mouth at imagined breaches, resolute in their aggressive stance to maintain the peace of the country. They wouldn’t even read essays on peace just as we recoil in disgust at articles stating the need for war, for an arsenal of weapons ‘just in case’.
A HYMN THAT I LOVE
Mother Theresa said, “Peace begins with a smile. Smile five times a day at someone you don’t want to smile at.” As women, we’re tired of being told to smile more because we look prettier when we smile but I think Mother Theresa was talking about a need to feel empathy towards somebody we don’t want to understand. Perhaps we can bring about a change by smiling at the war mongers who believe that peace is bad politics. It seems like a very difficult thing to do, smile at a handle bar moustache. Peaceniks and warriors are as far apart from each others thinking as vegans and meat eaters, India and Pakistan, dogs and cats.
Leading Buddhist, Daisaku Ikeda talks about xenophobia in his 2017 peace proposal, “The world is not simply a collection of states, nor is it composed solely of religions and civilisations. Our living, breathing world is woven of the endeavours of countless human beings, who may share particular backgrounds but no two of whom are the same.To view and judge others only through the prism of religion or ethnicity distorts the rich reality we each possess as individuals. In contrast, when we develop a deep appreciation, through our individual friendships, of each other’s unique value, differences of ethnicity or religion are illuminated by the dignity and worth of that friend and shine as the value of diversity.” The respect worthy opinions of everyone can help us smile as Mother Theresa suggests. We could try because peace won’t come about because everyone has the same thoughts or beliefs. It will come about because we make an effort with each other.
The Dalai Lama
“Peace does not mean an absence of conflicts; differences will always be there. Peace means solving these differences through peaceful means; through dialogue, education, knowledge; and through humane ways.” says the 14th Dalai Lama.
We could start with a smile, perhaps that would lead to dialogue and knowledge of what the others are saying and why they are saying it. After listening, instead of being convinced by them or rejecting what they have to say, we would know how to argue in ways that make sense to them. An army general won’t be convinced by the argument that little children in Syria deserve a childhood. They already have an answer to that, ‘collateral damage’ they say, where they use technical jargon to distance themselves from the reality on the ground. Its what generals do.
Pema Chodron and Thich Nhat Han
Its upto us to find a way to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to violence, as how Buddhist nun Pema Chodron sees it. We could say that sounds far too idealistic and would never work, if we didn’t have Gandhi to prove to us that it does work and it can work. Gandhi freed a country through non violence. Thich Nhat Han also reminds us that understanding the other is the key to peace.
“All these acts of terrorism and violence come from wrong perceptions. Wrong perceptions are the ground for anger, violence and hate. You cannot remove wrong perceptions with a gun.
When we listen deeply to another person, we not only recognise their wrong perceptions, but we also identify our own wrong perceptions about ourselves and about the other person. That is why mindful dialogue and mindful communication is crucial to removing anger and violence.”
Seven Types of Peace
I came across a beautiful concept of seven types of peace believed in by the Aymara Indians who live around Lake Titicaca in the Andes – a mountain range I long to visit, now even more so after learning about how they perceive peace.
First we need inner peace which comes from health and enjoyment of our work. The second kind of peace is directed upward – make peace with your ancestors and your gods. The third is peace with your past, which is seen as being directionally in front of you because it is known. The fourth is directionally behind you because you can’t see it – peace with your future – if you have fears about death, debt, old age you’re not at peace. The fifth is to your left and refers to peace with those near you, your friends and family; the sixth is to your right and refers to peace with your neighbours and the seventh is peace with the earth on which you stand. To achieve peaces every human being must have these seven. We can’t have peace within ourselves if someone in the world is a victim of violence, angry with their ancestors or the ice caps keep melting. Let’s get praying, it’s a mammoth task.
This is my P post for the A to Z Challenge. Click the badge above to know more.
This is also my post for Write Edit Publish. Click the badge below to know more.