Let It Begin with Me
Dear old and new friends,
As you read this reflection our world suffers from raging bloody conflicts in the Middle East, Israel, Ukraine, Russia and Africa that cry out for peace on earth. We pray for peace, yet our prayers seem impotent since perhaps God wants more from us than lip prayer. What can we who are helpless spectators watching the killing and bloodshed on television do while globe traveling diplomats and the United Nations work to resolve these bloody local wars. We are spectators because we feel impotent to change these global realities or the horrible gun violence in our own cities and country. But we are not powerless—only dreamless! So let us dream of being ‘empowered’ peacemakers inspired by the verse from the popular song of the 1960’s, Let there be Peace on earth, and let it begin with me.
Mahatma Gandhi reiterated the challenging lyrics of that song saying, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Whatever changes you want to see in the world you must first make them within yourself. Those who desire to be peacemakers should develop the forgotten virtue of equanimity, the ability to be even-tempered and at peace in the midst of life’s turbulent chaos. Being so composed is the living prayer of being acrobatically balanced while being buffeted by the strong winds of change, failures, mistakes, injustices and disappointments.
If you desire that peace flows out of you into the earth, how does one do that? Begin with the greatest intensity of heart to be at peace with yourself, with all of you, including your mistakes, faults, virtues and often turbulent emotions. Secondly pledge to strive to live as a poised person who is unaffected by outside influences. The poised or balanced person is able to remain calm when their plans blow up or things go haywire. This state of equilibrium is only acquired by failures followed by the discipline of returning to the practice of living in peace.
Contrary to common thought, such people are not indifferent to what is happening to them; they are not “sang-froid” (unperturbed) since literately in French that means, “Cold blooded!” They are the opposite…hot blooded, passionately dedicated to peacefulness and can feel intensely their pains or disappointments. Still anchored by their inner-peace they remain calm amidst the raging storms swirling around them. Their calmness isn’t being level-headed; it’s being level-hearted as the nucleus core of their heart-soul is peace.
To be inspired to be a peacemaker, reflect that this August 6th is haunted with the memories of the first atomic bomb dropped in 1945 by America on Hiroshima, Japan, leveling 90% of that city and killing 130,000 Japanese! While atomic and nuclear weapons were thought to bring to an end all war, they have not, nor have they produced world peace. And on this August 6th Harold Brown’s invention of the electric-chair in 1890 was welcomed as the greatest deterrent to murder and capital crimes. Over a hundred years later our cities aren’t any safer or more peaceful as we continue to violently take the lives of those guilty of capital crimes.