There is an unmistakable hint of autumn in the air this morning. As a matter of fact, it is more than a hint. There is a definiteness of purpose in the breeze as it rustles the leaves on the trees who have enjoyed an extra-long stay on the branches due to the grace of a longer than normal summer. Most of the leaves are still adamantly green, steadfastly oblivious of the cycle of nature that is imminently at their doorstep.
Watching this play of wind, earth and clear-blue sky that is pure as the driven snow that is yet to come brings a wonderful sense of peace to my being. The serenity seems to merge well with the theme of peace observed as the “International Day of Peace” earlier this week by the United Nations. In this moment, as I sit here and write, this is my reality. However, in the moment that you read this, your reality may be far from the peaceful easy feeling that I currently am feeling.
So, let me step back and acknowledge that we perhaps most appreciate the peace-filled moments in our gardens when we have experienced moments that lacked any semblance of peace. When we are engaged in our ‘daily struggles’, when we watch the pain of those we love, when we hear the despairing cries for justice of those we barely even know – in some or all of those instances, peace may be the furthest thing from our hearts and minds. In fact, we may even question the value of, feel guilty of owning our “inner peace” when it is clear that there are many – sometimes in our own families – who are lacking of it.
In the book, “The Heart’s Code”, the author suggests that we humans tend naturally towards pessimism because that has served us well on the road to survival as a species. So, one may non-scientifically extrapolate that we would be naturally pessimistic about creating “sustainable peace” in our world. If we engage in even a cursory reading of history, the incidences of our less-than-peaceful attitudes and actions towards each other provide enough evidence to support this extrapolation. Current events further seem to support that the idea and ideal of “sustainable peace” may not be the best solution for humanity at large.
The fact is that we are at a crossroads in our journey. On the one side lies the path of (sustained?) disharmony, violence and destruction. The ones who are fighting for justice, for equality, for representation and more seem to have grown weary of waiting for hope to deliver. On the other side, the path of a (fragile?) peace and the voices counseling non-violence, love, patience and more. Which way shall we walk? Or may we need to discover an alternate ‘middle way’?
I propose that we put our natural pessimism on hold. History is replete with examples of those who, even though they may have started their walk down the path of violence, ended their walk on the path of peace. Let the theory of “sustainabile peace” state that if there exists a single instance where a commitment to peace has produced long-term harmony for a family, a community, or a nation – then, yes, peace does have a chance. It may take extraordinary courage and extraordinary spiritual force of leadership to propose a plan, act upon, and maybe even ‘fight’ to remain on the path of peace. Yes, it may take an extraordinary amount of work to create ‘sustainable peace’. But, I ask you. What other alternative is there for the heart to thrive?
Where do we begin? You know the answer. It begins with you and me. The path the ‘sustainable peace’ is to bring back sustainable joy into our heart. I hope that we all have (or are diligently working towards developing) a sustained, consistent, non-negotiable spiritual practice that is positively impacting our inner-peace on a daily basis. For me, it is a combination of meditation, walking in nature, and staying connected with positive energy people (through books, music and community) that help me build a spiritual practice of ‘sustainable peace’. How about you?
I invite you to share your thoughts on this topic of “Peace as a Spiritual Practice” in our weekly chat – Sunday, September 25th at 9amET. The community would love to hear from you.
P.S. In observance of ‘International Peace Day’, we will have a special #meditation ‘sit-in’ at 8pmET on Sunday, September 25th. The meditation will be led by @amalik1818 and serves as an invitation to those who would like to experience #heartfulness (see heartfulness.org) – a ‘sustainable peace’ activity 🙂 Do join us!
A Peace Bench on one of my walking trails