Living Peace

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selfArchive Blog 10/17
Living Peace

Consider 10 words from Mohandas Gandhi,* the international figure of peace.

There is no path to peace.
Peace is the path. **

The words embed a profound approach to many of the world’s social and political problems, yet this simple, direct message of peace is often lost to us. Here are five reasons for why we might overlook it:

1
Some of us can’t hear the message;

2
Some of us don’t understand the message;

3
Some of us distort the message, and

4
Some of us simply don’t care.

A fifth response is more interesting:

5
Some of us can hear and understand the message perfectly well but choose to ignore it because—whether consciously or unconsciously—we realize that peace requires too much effort on our part.

A willingness for encounter speaks directly to what lies at the core of self-awareness. Becoming self-aware doesn’t ask us to behave in any particular way except in one regard: Self-awareness asks us to notice what we’re doing and what we’re not doing.

When we read Gandhi’s words, even those of us with the best of intentions, might find ourselves jumping straight to an impersonal concept of peace activism (likely something far too ambitious to sustain) instead of being thoughtful about what is actually being stated and what is being asked of us. These simple words challenge us to sit in the ‘peace begins with me’ place for long enough to create a change in our own lives. If we’re willing, we’ll hear that peace is not something to seek, but something to live. 

Far from being in any way simplistic, these powerful words challenge each of us to live a peaceful (or peace-filled) life. In other words, right here, right now, peace demands our personal commitment. We’re asked to acknowledge that even though we might want peace in the world, peace demands something of us that we may or may not be willing to offer. If we’re honest with ourselves, we’ll concede that we’re making peaceful choices in our lives… or we’re not.

When we stay present and resist hiding behind the complexity of our stories, truth comes forward. Facing truth in our daily lives can be as daunting a challenge as it is for Gandhi’s’ would-be peace ambassadors. Most of us know this firsthand because between the consequences of our behaviour, the demands of our relationships and the constant bombardment of media, we struggle to live a peaceful life every single day.

Truth is elegant and simple,
so unlike
the complications we create
to keep us from facing it.

selfArchive 757 | Awareness | Illustration

* ** Mohandas Gandhi (1869 -1948) was a political leader for Indian Independence and world figure for non-violent activism. 
© 2017 Arlene Cotter selfArchive
© 2017 Arlene Cotter, Peace