Living in peace is about living harmoniously with yourself, others and all beings around you. While you will find your own meaning of peaceful existence and outward manifestations of a peaceful life according to your beliefs and lifestyle, there are some basics underpinning living in peace that cannot be overlooked. These include being non-violent, tolerant, holding moderate views and celebrating a wondrous life. Here are some tips of important ingredients for achieving and living in Peace:
1. Understand that living in peace is both an outward and inward process. Outwardly, living in peace is a way of life in which we respect and love each other in spite of our cultural, religious and political differences. Inwardly, we all need to search our hearts and minds. Please understand that fear causes the impulse to violence; if you continue to ignore the rage within, the storm outside will never subside.
2. Seek to love, not control others. Ceasing to seek power over people and outcomes in your life is the first major step to living peacefully. Trying to control people is about seeking to impose your will and reality on others without ever trying to see their side of things. A controlling approach to relationships will put you in conflict with others. Instead, replacing a will to control with a broad approach of loving others, including their faults and differences, is the way to a peaceful life. Think peace before power. Gandhiji said that power based on love is a thousand times more effective and permanent than the power gained through threat of punishment.
3. Be tolerant. Tolerance in all that you think and do will make a difference in your life and in the lives of others around you. Tolerance for others is about appreciating diversity, plurality of modern society and willingness to live and let others live too. When we fail to tolerate others’ beliefs, ways of being, and opinions, the end result can be discrimination, repression, dehumanisation and ultimately violence. Practicing tolerance is at the heart of living peacefully. Rotary is what it is in its second century only because of this Tolerance.
4. Be peaceful. Gandhiji said “There are many causes that I am prepared to die for but no cause that I am prepared to kill for.” A peaceful person does not use violence against another person or animal (sentient beings). While there is much violence in this world, make a choice to not let death and killing be a part of your philosophy of living.
5. Reflect and not react. Reflection of thought is important — many a hasty response has resulted in a tragic outcome because time to think through all of the issues and angles has not been taken. Naturally, there are times when fast action is essential to ensure safety. But these times do not excuse the many other times when reacting with care and consideration will result in much better outcomes for all concerned. Is not our Four-Way Test telling us the same?
6. Broaden your understanding of peace. You’re free to choose your path. At the end of the day, living in peace will be your own conscious, daily action founded on your own strivings and understandings, gleaned from all corners of the world, from all people you’ve ever met and known, and from your own consciousness and knowledge.
My dear friends, you may find many articles and tons of books written on this subject of Peace. You have already read the article written by Rasheeda which told you of my journey from an Angry young man to …! Let me confess, Rotary has a big role to play in it. Realities of life after the Gujarat earthquake shook me up. What we did after that gave me My Inner Joy and Peace — just remember, God has sent you with a purpose of making you an instrument in Changing lives. Listen to that Inner Voice and let us continue our Quest for Peace. Enjoy World Peace Day in your own way!