Peace, shalom, is not simply a normal courteous greeting; it is the eschatological promise of God’s continued hope for humankind. It is a Hebrew word which calls us to be a blessing for one another and a blessing for all the nations around the world, whatever the faith, language or custom. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God” (Mt 5,9). The statement says nothing about a particular religion, each of is capable of becoming an instrument and witness for peace
Peace, forgiveness and correct action
Peace between us is not merely the silence of guns and the absence of war. True peace is the “work of correct action”, in the self and those around you living and breathing. By correct action I mean respect for the dignity of every person, his or her fundamental human right and freedom to be. It means not discriminating on the basis of life style, economic well being, education, cultural background or gender. Correct action guarantees the right of every human being to life, land, food, water, and to an education that gives them a fuller awareness and access to what is given. It presumes that we stay awake in our efforts and not fall into the lies we create for ourselves.
Example, I live a small life in a simple home, my husband and I are artists and make and fix everything from furniture to plumbing. We live in Mexico where the weather is mild but has a few peaks of discomfort, like very hot and very cold but it normally does not last too long. They call the sun “the blanket of the poor” and if it is real cold, we bundle up. So, we have two different house guests one winter when it was particularly cold.
The first Guest was surprised to find it was colder than comfortable and asked why we don’t have a heat source? I replied, “no one does in the neighborhood” The second guest was more dismayed with our disregard for the cold and said, “why don’t you have a heat source? I said the cold would only last a few days”. They bought us a heater as a gift. They said, now you don’t have to live like everyone else. The problem is I thinking I am like everyone else and I liked the small amount of suffering. I invite the experience of cold and shared discomfort. Call me crazy.
You may not find the connection between this story and forgiveness/compassion. I have grappled my whole life trying to fix everything which I think needs fixing. I have striven to be a better person, to alleviate small kinds of suffering. Often I have unconsciously tried to make others like myself and attempted to impose my values. Being is an awareness of our existence and it changes all the time.
My wanting to share the “poverty” and allow for the “cold” was causing more discomfort, I believed I could impose less is better. I did not like accepting the heater. In a world where everyone wants more, I want less and am sometimes forced to accept more. There is no end to all this push and pull. Discomfort is part of spiritual evolution, it arises with the breaking down assumptions we put in place about our own agenda and sense of right and wrong. We must allow unfolding with very second as if it is a surprise; living life like we are children and everything is new.
What I am trying to illustrate is;
Today there is lot of noise produced as a result of our individual egoism and envy; our desire for more control and security creates a vicious cycle of ongoing discomfort for someone. It is not possible to establish peace without the belief if our commonality and shared resources. In the story above, the cold is the invader; it is merciless and affects everyone. We cannot all get a heater but we all can endure. It is a small example I am using but multiplied in millions of situations you can see my point. Pause before we act and see if endurance is more benevolent than action, or acceptance is more generous than resistance. I am learning to live and thrive in what seems like the utterly barren soil of not knowing, I’m 60 and surprised daily by my own ignorance.
The antidote to ethnic, racial and religious hatred, the spiral of violence that strikes at everyone today is played out in little events all day long. I want ask for less thinking it puts me outside accusations, discomforts, misunderstandings, and agendas. It doesn’t. I can strive for love, joy, self-control, kindness, simplicity, etc. and hope peace begins to flourish.
Christians, Jews Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus all believe that the ability to forgive is basic to wholeness as a society. This hope must profoundly inspire our prayer. Thepractice of prayer and forgiveness strengthens our mission to build a more just world, to recognize we have enough and there is always room to share. Forgiveness and compassion are interchangeable. You cannot experience one without the other. They illuminate each other, giving sight to our blindness.
Is dancing easier than blabbing on about peace?
Some of us paint icons and some of us dance.. This small film of two Chinese dancers is to be respected and pondered.