Peace is a Path, not a goal.
Our work is to walk the path of Peace, courageously sharing Peace with others whose paths intersect our own. Understanding Peace, and creating Peace, are impossible through eyes of fear. True and lasting Peace is created from wisdom that knows love (not fear) must guide us...even if the circumstance says love doesn't make logical sense. Walking a path of Peace requires courage and patience, trusting love's wisdom to inform each step.
Fear blinds us from the path of Peace, telling us Peace can be stolen from us. Love illuminates the path, revealing our power to walk in Peace now. When fear is the driving fuel of one's life, Peace is nowhere to be found. When love is the fuel of life, even death cannot disturb the soul's Peace. One cannot fight for Peace. It is an illusion to believe war can create Peace. War creates fear; fear creates war. Love creates Peace. Walking the path of Peace, one creates more Peace. When others join on that path, Peace branches out creating many Peace paths.
The Peace Prayer of St. Francis
by anonymous, 1915 A.D.
Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred,
Let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is error, truth;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
And where there is sadness, Joy.
O Divine Master grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled
As to console;
To be understood,as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive,
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
What do we do with the wisdom contained in the Peace Prayer (above), in a time when many people have been deceived into thinking that Peace is something you can impose onto others by force or manipulation? How do we work out Peace in each of our lives, in our personal relationships, and in the larger world around us? Peace must develop from the inside out.
Peace is an assertive choice. Peace is not aggressive or passive. It is not a reaction, or even a response to discomfort or circumstance. True Peace is a path that is chosen because of love.
Peacemaking (which can be applied to the self, a relationship, or the world), "is the science of perceiving that things which appear to be apart are one, and the art of restoring love to a relationship from which it has been driven by fear and hatred".
Peace requires discernment of where to invest the attention of our minds and hearts. When we invest energy in the things we do not need (hate, envy, control, isolate, resent, blame, etc), we create struggles, fatigue, conflict, disharmony, or other undesirable outcomes.
Peace requires letting go of blame, judgment, comparison. We are not to judge the world. We are to create Peace within ourselves, and then act out Peace, love, and mercy. Our motivation to live in Peace cannot be based on results from outside our control. If motivation is dependent on external forces, we will be investing our attention away from the true power within. We must allow love to reveal the Peace within us; then share this with the world. But, we can't impose Peace. Imposing Peace is a clash of terms. Love exists within ourselves and our relationships. Love's power resides with, and springs forth from, those relationships. It exposes Peace to those who desire to see it also.
This powerful, simple peace process is contrary to the logic of our culture. In a culture of logic and complexity, the words 'powerful' and 'simple' may not seem to be optimal partners. Love's simplicity sees us as we are; through honest and pure eyes. Love sees us as whole and brilliantly lovable. We know love through the eyes of mercy and forgiveness. It is powerful and humbling to walk in this love. Love is not something we create; it is the pure reality of our core. We must see ourselves and others through the honest, accurate (yet culturally illogical) eyes of unconditional love.
We often hear that we must accomplish Peace. Yet, it is something already available. It is difficult to have enough humility to receive Peace in an ongoing way. In the Bible, the Book of Corinthians says Peace appears foolish to many people. This is because fear's illusions can hide the truth. Fear sees survival as being in opposition to another. Love sees survival as cooperation and compassion towards others. As we value relationships more than we value the material world, we surrender selfish motives. We act in reverence for our selves and all of life. In this, we not only survive; we thrive.
As we surrender to love, fear may still try to cloud our vision of Peace. We may want to run away, or even fight against Peace. But we must care more about the love in our hearts than we do about toxic/fearful perspectives. Our love knows who we are, and what is most important to us. If we don’t move in love toward what is important, we may loose what we love, giving fear its way. Thus, we must care more about giving love in relationships than we care about our fears (e.g.., being misunderstood, devalued, hurt, etc.). We can trust love will take care of all our desires which are best and necessary. Love will empower us to respect ourselves, to have healthy boundaries, and to accept others as they are. The metaphor: even when the clouds cover the sun, the sun is still shining. In the darkness of night, our sun star is still shining; and because of darkness we can see the suns/stars beyond our own.
In the Book of Philippians, chapter 4:6-7, Paul writes from prison,
"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
When we are misunderstood, or devalued, or seen as foolish, we must not be pulled off track from our humble walk in love's power. If we allow pride to enter in, we are setting ourselves up to judge, blame, and resent others. In this way, we distance ourselves in our relationships. It is only when we believe we can accomplish something apart from the whole that we separate ourselves from Peace. We have to work from the inside out, allowing love to create Peace from within.
We focus and direct our minds and our hearts towards love, without fear. Do not focus on what is unhealthy. Do not sacrifice Peace and joy by judging or resenting. Be refreshed and challenged. Move past self isolation and fear; look at possibilities. Act, relate, and walk in the flow of Peace and love.
Love exposes the Peace we are given. Love requires responsibility. We must act justly, have honest hearts, and be honest with ourselves and others. Love must be shared unconditionally, in order to be increased. The increase will come from the inside out. Expect to be misunderstood. Lovingly use mercy to forgive oneself and everyone encountered. Walk humbly in this magnificent power. Be meek enough to know the source of our strength is the love we give (to self and others).
We expose unconditional love to others, while never demanding it in return. We can love those who hate us by surrendering all judgment we have. In this way, our Peace is not dependent on external apology or understanding. We are able to have personal Peace in the relationships of which we are a part, no matter the position of the other.
Love uses each of us to connect with others. Judgment interrupts connection. Only love has accurate perspective to see what Spirit is doing in each life, each community, each denomination, each religion. If we are going to give unconditional love, meeting people where they are, how can we demand they be somewhere else? As we accept ourselves and others, we and they are free to change and grow in love's strength.
Love's humility ironically trumps iconic power. Love delivered the message of Peace to people by becoming human in the form of Jesus. Here, the message of Peaceful power comes in the form of humility. In the Bible, 1 Corinthians 1:26-31 says,
"Notice among yourselves, dear brothers, that few of you who follow Christ have big names or power or wealth. Instead, God has deliberately chosen to use ideas the world considers foolish and of little worth in order to shame those people considered by the world as wise and great. He has chosen a plan despised by the world, counted as nothing at all, and used it to bring down to nothing those the world considers great, so that no one anywhere can ever brag in the presence of God. For it is from God alone that you have your life."
We are to love mercy, rather than judge (self and others). Jesus said the religious leaders who tried to make themselves look good at following the law were hypocrites, blind guides, fools. He said they cleansed themselves on the outside, but not on the inside. Do we stay alert, and clean out any false pride in our lives?
In the power of love, our humble walk will bring Peace into our lives. We know our access to Peaceful power depends on allowing love to flow in and threw our lives. We can be free to know we just have to love, try our best, and accept life as a part of love’s wholeness. In this we are humbled.
Walking humbly in love gives us the confidence to live in Peace. Peace is not a goal, but a gift we choose to accept directly from Spirit. Nothing (not people, circumstance, or anything else) can be an obstacle to love’s Peace living in each of us. It is a FREE GIFT. Each of us chooses to what degree he or she will embrace it.