The New Year is around the corner. Some of us do some thinking this time of year. We look back on the passing year. We look ahead to the new year.
What I have been thinking about lately is the fact that I am inching up on 60. I have no qualms with that. I do not see growing older as something to feel bad about. It is just what is happening. What intrigues me, are the things that are most important to me now as I move into these later years.
“The life of ‘peace’ is both an inner journey toward a disarmed heart and a public journey toward a disarmed world. This difficult but beautiful journey gives infinite meaning and fulfillment to life itself because our lives become a gift for the whole human race. With peace as the beginning, middle, and end of life, life makes sense.”— John Dear
This is the quote that inspired the title of this blog. It also reflects something I have come to understand about my journey on my path in this world. A journey that has sometimes been interrupted. A path I sometimes had difficulty seeing in darkness.
I grew up in a family that believed, still believes Peace is The Path.
“If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, there must be peace in the home. If there is to be peace in the home, there must be peace in the heart.” – Lao Tzu
I believe strongly in the importance and power of Peace, the real need for Peace. As John Dear says, it is a beautiful journey that gives meaning and fulfillment to life. And, it is a two part journey: inward and outward. As I grow older, this disarming of my own heart and the working towards a disarmed world is what is giving infinite meaning and fulfillment to my life. “With peace as the beginning, middle, and end of life, life makes sense.”
My public journey is one that is quieter and softer than others. On this path my voice does not often raise up in volume but rather chooses to ask others to think about what they are saying and to challenge them to look intimately at their own thoughts. Professionally, I teach preschoolers and incorporate a Peace Curriculum into their days.
“If we want to reap the harvest of peace and justice in the future,
we will have to sow the seeds of nonviolence, here and now, in the present.”
— Mairead Corrigan Maguire
On this public path I stand in solidarity with others to protest violence. I stand united with others because violence against one is violence against all. Violence does not beget Peace. I speak out against war. War does not beget Peace. It breeds violence and hate.
“When people talk about war
I vow with all beings to raise my voice in the chorus
and speak of original peace.”
— Robert Aitken
On my inner journey I work very hard to hear the words I plan to say BEFORE they are spoken out loud to be aware of what I am saying. It is difficult. To paraphrase Buddha,
“Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace.”
My husband and I raised two children with the intention of them being compassionate, respectful and kind adults. Compassionate to all: the are no “Others”. Respectful of differences as well as similarities: there are no “Others”. Kind to all: there are no “Others”. Those three qualities go hand in hand with Peace.
“Questioner: ‘How are we to treat others?’
Ramana Hasharshi: ‘There are no others.'”
I explore religions in order to learn about, and understand them. I study religion because religious myth, doctrine and dogma are things that have a strong influence on what people believe and as such, directly influence their thoughts and actions. I understand most religions teach non-violence and make the call for Peace. Yet most also are the source of much violence in the world. I think Krishnamurti was right when he offered that religion is one of the things that separates us. We separate ourselves by nationality, tradition, religion…. I am of the school of thought that if we feel separate from each other, then we see others as “The Other”. It is somehow easier for us to wage war, oppress, be unjust, or be violent towards the “Other”.
These things are what I care about. These things cause me to work towards disarming my heart so I may hold softly, within it, all people. In compassion, love, kindness and peace.
So, before I end up being “preachy”, let me offer you all a wish for a peaceful New Year. Peace in you own heart, in your life and in the world.
For me, I am going to continue on this “inner journey toward a disarmed heart and a public journey toward a disarmed world.” This is in many ways my personal resolution every year…..it is a part of my life. It really never changes. It brings sense to my life. It’s a slow journey on a long path. As I continue on my journey I will remember the words of John Lennon:
“Peace is not something to wish for.
It’s something you make, something you do,
something you are and something you give away.”
Happy New Year.