Dona nobis pacem ~ Grant us peace
Now I’ve been thinking about the world lately…
When I first decided to participate in the Peace Globe Project my first thought was “What does the word Peace actually mean?” Peace… it’s a word we fling about a lot, same as ‘Love’. For many people Peace means no wars, but no fighting does not automatically mean no violence or hatred. It’s possible to force people to behave and not fight, but that’s not peace – that’s intimidation. A lack of violence and aggression can be attained through apathy and weariness too, but that doesn’t make it Peace.
Sitting thinking about the word the song “Peace Train”, by Cat Stevens, kept running through my head. I went looking for the song online… and something interesting happened. I found a small film documentary on why Cat Stevens had become Yusuf Islam. In it Yusuf/Cat spoke about how he had moved from singing about changing the world to being more involved in real change, but how first of all he’d had to change himself - change from within.
The truth is as much as we may talk of Peace, pray for Peace or Blog for Peace, we can never achieve anything unless we start from the simple truth that it has to begin from within. You cannot change the world to change people – people have to change themselves in order to change their world.
There’s a lot that has been written about what needs to change in order for us to live in Peace. Some talk of forgiveness, some of Love, charity, empathy, patience, tolerance… there are lots of words associated Peace. Today I’d like to add my own choice; I’d like to add ‘ENOUGH’.
It’s not an obvious word to pick, but the more I look at the world today the more I feel that this might turn out to be a very important word for Peace in our planet’s future. It seems to me that the concept of ‘Not enough’ causes most of our planet’s wars and violence, or at very least the belief in ‘Not enough’. Not enough food, not enough oil, not enough land, not enough power, not enough religious dominance, not enough religious tolerance… humans have found many reasons to justify aggressive actions through ‘Not enough’.
We fear it too. We fear ‘Not enough’ terribly and that fear makes us miserly and cruel. Believing in ‘Not enough’ we hate those who we think have more than us today and we refuse to share, in case we might be in need tomorrow. We use it to justify our greed as well. We use it to rationalize taking from others. We believe we have the right to have MORE than enough.
As far as I can see, for this world to have enough Peace we first need to let go of this phrase ‘Not enough’ and all the fears and angers that surround it - in other words we have to learn how to share. The thing I like best about the word ‘share’ is that it implies equality and mutual respect. You ‘give’ charity and donations to those you consider lesser than you, you ‘take’ from those you resent or hate, but you share with those beside you. Sharing happens between equals, family and friends. More importantly - you don’t take from people you share with. You don’t take their lands, their lives, or their freedoms and you don’t hate, murder or go to war with them either.
We need to relearn our concept of what is ‘enough’. Enough is being happy with what you have and who you are and then sharing that happiness with the world around you. Enough comes from filling that fear of ‘Not enough’ within yourself first; of finding your own inner peace, each in our own unique and individual way. What fills your soul with ‘enough’ might be anything from creating Art, writing a novel, saving a whale, mothering a child, or following a religion, as Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam did.
We need to remove that dreadful phrase ‘Not enough’ from our mindset, because it links us back to always grasping for more - more money, more power, more wars… more than enough.
Had more than enough?
How about you?
Now come and join the giving,
its not so hard to do.
Throw your bread upon the waters,
They will come back to you…