Being At Peace In a Just or Unjust World
I happened to attend a potluck dinner tonight where the discussion turned to our thoughts on "Inner Peace" and what it meant to each of us. To know thyself is to achieve enlightenment I thought. But, can we ever achieve it? We are ever evolving and so knowing oneself is a dynamic endeavor.
I find that there are many aspects to self, but the aspect that will bring inner peace to me is the spiritual self. I am an avid fan of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Jesus Christ. All were constantly seeking inner peace but also actively involved with trying to bring peace to the world through their own activism. However, I find there to be a natural conflict in the idea of being a peace activist. What moves one to activism is anger and anger is certainly not peaceful. How can one not be angry in the face of all of the injustices that we see on a daily basis?
Another role model of mine is the Herman Hesse character, Siddhartha. His analogy of the river being ever changing yet always the same rings true of humanity and the human condition. If I get angry that we spend more than the rest of the world on military expenditures and yet we are never at peace I just have to remember that this is not a new or temporary condition for this or any other period in history. There have always been war mongers and it is those war mongers whose lust for power and greed also puts them in positions of power ruling over the rest of us who may or may not agree with their public policy decisions. It is also Siddhartha's ability to not let others affect his inner peace that I consider the key to being able to be at peace in a such a world. If I look to the outer world to find inner peace I will never find it. Thus, while fulfilling a need within myself to speak out when I see injustice, I have to realize that it is not my responsibility to bring peace to the world. Otherwise, I will quickly become frustrated and even bitter or hateful towards those with whom I disagree. To allow this to happen gives my adversaries power over me which they don't have or deserve.
So, I recognize that the state of our health care, the environment, the economy, the war, etc., are being driven by the inertia of the collective psyche of all of us who, knowingly or not, have brought all of this upon ourselves. And I can be happy with that. I can be at peace with that. I know that there is much beauty, peace, and love in the world as well. I can see what I choose to see by adjusting my attitude. "We don't see things as THEY are, we see things as WE are." (Anais Nin). Knowing that I am doing all that I can to know myself and my creator's plan for me and sharing that with the world is all I can do and it brings me peace.