September 21 is being celebrated as the International Day of Peace. Since I attended a meeting of NGO’s to discuss how to bring awareness of IDP to the world at the UN last May, I have been spending serious moments considering peace.
Here is the short video I made to acknowledge the day.
The vocalist is Derek Stroh. I think he brings a genuine sensitivity to Imagine. Tony Woodroffe, a great friend with tremendous heart and tremendous talent, works with Derek and suggested I create the video.
Now I will share with you some of my challenging thoughts on the Paradox of Peace.
Maybe it is my personality or the years I have spent working as a counselor, speaker, writer and workshop facilitator in the realm of personal awareness and development but I found myself questioning the major gesture of this Day of Peace. The gesture felt more like having a party for peace rather than participating in peace. The gesture felt comfortably intellectual and not uncomfortably intimate. The planners, who were heart felt and passionate, were focussed on inter – NATION -al peace and inter – GROUP activities rather than inter – PERSONAL development of a consciousness of peace, a feeling for peace and a will to peace.
What is peace?
Can there be peace among nations, among groups, if there is no peace within souls?
I have the feeling that the meaning of peace in the International Day of Peace is simply the opposite of war. No more war is a good thing. But just military war between nations? What about verbal war between persons, between lovers?
I think Peace is so much more than the absence of war. I feel peace is a complex language that none of us yet knows how to speak. Or maybe we know the language but lack the courage to speak it.
How do we learn the language of peace and find the courage to speak it?
When in your life have you felt inner peace? Was it merely the absence of inner war or was it more?
Do you have any peaceful relationships? What is a peaceful relationship? Is it a relationship without little wars?
Could you name and define four qualities of peace? Not qualities in the abstract, but qualities you and each of us can develop in order to be at peace.
Can we create and sustain peace and still feel we and our beliefs and behaviors are the only right ones? Can peace contain differences and disagreements?
Can we create and sustain peace and still maintain boundaries? After all each of us has skin defining where “my” territory is.
And if we had peace, what would we do for entertainment? So much of entertainment is dependent on the absence of peace, truth and kindness. There was a great suggestion that for International Day of Peace all media withdraw any programming that contained violence! Imagine that! Could we ask newspapers and blogs to do the same? could we ask Netflix and video stores to not rent videos containing violence for just one day? Could we ask those who play video games to not play?
There are so many aspects of our lives and our economies that depend on the absence of peace. Just think about it.
Would peace be boring? I know enough about neurochemistry to know that risk, uncertainty and threat are arousing and give us a feeling of being intensely alive. I also know that love, belief, and passion generate levels of commitment and a willingness to defend until death. Can we have peace and still have great love, great belief and great passion?
I do hope I have stimulated your thinking about peace. Please spend some of September 21, the International Day of Peace, thinking deeply about peace. Please, too, share your thoughts here on the blog.
Think peace. Find peace. Create peace. Sustain peace.
Engage peacefully. React peacefully. Love peacefully.