Does Peace Have a Chance?

As a little girl, I was aware that there were problems in the world, way before I could fully understand those problems. I always believed that world peace was possible and hoped that as I got older I would hold on to that belief. Recently, when I was home with my family for Thanksgiving we started talking about recent news events specifically in the United States. Both of my sisters, at different times, asked me my thoughts on Ferguson, MO. Whatever your thoughts are on this topic, I ask that you consider the rest of this post before you create a lens that may keep you from understanding the rest of what I am about to say. I believe that we need to come to the table and start having open discussions about racism, classism, sexism and all the hard conversations that each generation has put off. The thing is that even if/ when these conversations occur I have a hard time seeing the outcome because of how systemic these “hard topics” are and how much they are woven in our history and our society. For the first time in my adult life I am starting to question if peace really does have a chance?

When corporate issues have occurred within our recent history we look at the corporation as the issue, but forget that there are people who make up the corporation.  It’s those people who made poor decisions that resulted in a bad outcome. In the case of the “hard topics”, we again look to society as the big entity, forgetting that we as people are a part of society. While we may not help or hinder society in any way, sitting idle is no longer an option. We can no longer act like we don’t see it, hear it, or speak of it, because either way it exists. If you aren’t part of the solution then you are part of the problem. These issues aren’t going away. While the solution is hard for me to picture, there is a solution and we can only find one if we work together.

There is a story I once heard about a monk who went off to mediate and heal himself to create world peace. When he finished with his meditation and saw that there was still no peace in the world, he went back to meditate again. He believed that world peace could not be possible until he was at peace with himself. I have thought about this story a lot lately. I am starting to gain a deeper understanding of how connected we are as beings.

 

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A first step to world peace is to remind ourselves that no matter how different we feel we are from the person standing next to us, we all belong to the human race. The human experience is difficult enough, on top of the level of difficulties that we add to the experience for ourselves and for each other. In the Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz, outlines Four Agreements to live by that will in many ways create inner peace and will affect every aspect of your life upon practice.

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Recently this year, I heard of a Hawaiian Prayer Ho’o Pono Pono that I feel would be of benefit to practice. As human beings we make mistakes. I am sure there is something we have either said or have done that we wish we could take back. I have always known that forgiveness is important. It is even more important to forgive yourself, which I learned first hand this year. Let go of any shame and guilt that you are holding on to. During one of my speaking events I felt the need to apologies to students I talked to on behalf of people who were not in the room for ever making them feel that they weren’t enough (smart enough, capable enough, pretty enough, thin enough etc.) I felt the need to apologies to them, based on the honest writing about their experience as teenagers.

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Example:

I’m sorry for what I have said or done, I didn’t mean to hurt you.

Please forgive me for what I have said or done, I am hurting too.

Thank you for seeing that I am human and make mistakes too.  Thank you for knowing that my actions or words don’t define me as a person.

I Love you for the person you are and for freeing me from the hurt, shame and guilt I have carried.

 

This may not be the world peace solution, but it’s a start.

Have a wonderful day and weekend.

 

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