“Becoming a Peacemaker”
“Lord make me an instrument of your peace.” – Saint Francis
How do we become true peacemakers? How do we bring real peace to an often troubled world? Have we lost the vision of peace? Research is showing that people are burned out on demonstrating for peace and are beginning to lose hope that peace is even possible now. For each of us as individuals, we must never lose the vision or the hope of peace. We need to believe in the miracle of a peaceful existence here on earth, and know that part of that miracle begins with us, like the popular song, “Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.” Very, very few of us will ever have an opportunity to be a part of a major peace talk with top government officials, but in our own unique way we can bring peace.
Many of us have grown up hearing the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” This same sentiment runs through all of the major religions and spiritual paths. A person who can bring peace into a situation is a true blessing.
So how can we rise to be a true peacemaker? Here are 6 important ways.
1. We can make a commitment to find peace within ourselves. There is a saying, “Think globally, but act locally.” The most local place to act is within ourselves. If we are at peace within ourselves, we have a tremendous power to help others. The sufi teacher Pir Vilayat Khan taught us the Islamic wazifa, “Allaho Akbar.” It’s essential meaning is that true inner peace brings the greatest power. Martial artists know the power that comes from inner peace.
If we forget inner peace and commit only to peace outside of ourselves, we lose our power. The person who ignores his or her own inner peace in order to bring peace to others has no power, and does little real good.
Similarly, Ram Dass often spoke about the angry demonstrators shouting out for peace, who were really only spreading anger, their predominant feeling. Gandhi, on the other hand, marched with true inner peace, and had tremendous power to change lives. His words say it all: “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”
Inner peace is not dependent on outer circumstances. We’ve met people who were going through very difficult challenges in their lives, but have maintained a commitment to inner peace.
Inner peace is attainable for anyone who sincerely wants it. It’s our birthright, our true and natural state of being. If we give ourselves enough time (and there is always enough time if we want it), we can breathe peace into our body, or pray or meditate in a million different ways.
2. Make a commitment to see beauty and light in other people. Everyone needs to know that there is at least one person on this planet that believes in them, that can see their beauty. We could be that person for others. Take the risk to express appreciation often to others, especially those closest to us. We can change someone’s life just by pointing out their goodness.
3. Apologize first. We don’t apologize first when there has been a conflict with someone because we fear we will look weak or entirely at fault. However, when we apologize first we hold the power, because we are reaching out to be peacemakers. We can apologize powerfully by saying something like, “I am sorry for hurting your feelings. I never meant to hurt you.” If this is said with an open heart, then it is usually effective and will open the door for an honest discussion, one in which we can each learn our responsibility in the conflict.
4. Do not be afraid to offer help when two people are in conflict. If they ask for your help, the most important thing you can do is to just sit and listen deeply to each side. Know that there is no right or wrong person. Try to hear what each person is really wanting and reflect that back. See the beauty and intention in each person. If you take sides with one of the people, you will not be able to help either one. If the talk is not going well and the people are still polarized, then urge them to get professional counseling and work toward a resolution as quickly as possible. It is a wonderful feeling to be a peacemaker for two people and see them begin to understand each other again.
5. Be in balance with how much media news you absorb. A man came to us recently for counseling. He was compulsively listening to and watching all the news about the war, as well as checking several websites daily. Though his career did not need this information, he was becoming an authority on the war, but it was coming at a big price. His health was failing, he was having trouble sleeping and he was losing friends because all he wanted to talk about was the war. This man was out of balance. We told him to greatly limit the amount of time he spends absorbing the media. A better use of his time would be to develop peace within himself. If we let news of terrorist activities rob us of our peace, then the terrorists are winning within us. It is important to be informed and take action outwardly, but just as important to develop inner peace and quiet within ourselves.
6. Take compassionate action. Find ways to help relieve suffering in the world. Reaching out and volunteering to help others is a powerful way to spread peace.
There is so much that we as individuals, couples or families can do to keep the vision of peace alive. “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” May we strive daily to be a peacemaker and bring light to our world.
“When there’s light in the soul
-- Written by Joe Marshalle. Recorded by Scott Kalechstein on “Midwives of the Light” (scottsongs.com)
Heartletter Archives2006 Spring:
The Shared Heart
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Inner Peace Through
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