Living Peace

selfArchive Blog 04/17
Living Peace

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

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

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

Perhaps we can’t hear the message; 

Perhaps we don’t understand the message; 

Perhaps we distort the message, or

Perhaps we simply don’t care. 

A fifth response is more interesting:

Perhaps we 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. 

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 Gandhi actually meant and required of us. His words challenge us to reflect upon the idea that “peace begins with me” for long enough to create personal change. In other words, for long enough to model peace in our own lives. If we’re willing, we’ll understand that peace is not something to seek, but something to live. Right here, right now, peace demands our commitment. We might say we want peace in the world but peace demands something of us that we may not be willing to offer. 

[ C O D A ]
Peace speaks directly to the core challenge of self-awareness. Becoming self-aware doesn’t ask us to behave in any particular way except in one regard: Self-awareness requires that we notice what we’re doing and what we’re not doing. We’re either making peaceful choices in our own lives, or we’re not. When we stay present and resist hiding behind the complexity of our stories, truth emerges. Facing the truth of our daily lives is a daunting challenge for us would-be peace ambassadors. Most of us know this firsthand because between the consequences of our behaviour, the demands of our relationships and the near-constant bombardment of media, we struggle to live peace-filled lives 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 leader of India’s independence movement and an international figure of peace who inspired global movements for civil rights and freedoms based on a form of non-violent civil disobedience.
** Quote from Mohandas Gandhi.

© 2018 Arlene Cotter selfArchive
© 2018 Arlene Cotter, Peace