world peace

Image courtesy of digitalart/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This afternoon’s blog is written in response to the following quote from the Dalai Lama:

“Peace in the world depends on peace of mind, and peace of mind depends on an awareness that all human beings are members of a single family, despite the variety of beliefs, ideologies and political and economic systems. ”

365 Dalai Lama Daily Advice from the Heart, 2001, p. 176,  London: Harper Collins Pub. (Element).

I have thought about , marched for, prayed for, and even experienced peace. I can easily accept it is based on a foundation of peace of mind.  I have, however, never considered that one’s peace of mind depends on a sense of belonging to the family of humankind. Perhaps, I have seen too many dysfunctional families who seem determined to sabotage any chance of experiencing peace of mind. And yet, that sense of family belonging  is strong and often hangs on tenaciously even when family based stress abounds.

If I am able to truly envision and accept my relatedness to all humans it should make me less likely to want to harm another human being. I am not so sure about it creating peace of mind. It is easy to believe being at peace with oneself would in turn create world peace. However, the thought of being related to absolutely every human can be quite discomforting. Doing so means I have to identify with the evil as well as the good in people. Identifying, or trying to, with persons like Adolf Hitler and Charles Manson makes me extremely uncomfortable. That is because if I accept being one with Adolf and Charley  it means I  have to admit to myself that I have the capacity to be just as evil. Succinctly put, owning the “evil” part of my humanness has not, so far, given me one moment of “peace of mind.”

I know I am not supposed to judge others. I know I am supposed to love and forgive everyone. I know I intellectually believe that all of us are one in Christ and in God’s love. But I am really having to work on acknowledging my oneness with notoriously evil people. I am not saying I am not capable of evil; I have had evil thoughts from time to time, and I have done things in my past while I was intoxicated that could have easily harmed or killed others….if it were not for God’s grace I might have done so. That makes me as capable of killing another human as Adolf and Charley. I just don’t like to look at myself that way.  Doing so reminds me of the power of God’s love and forgiveness. It makes me “right-sized.” It makes me less judgmental—-and, in turn, I suppose less likely to be “un-peaceful” in my actions towards others.  If  God can forgive me, who am I to condemn others?

Food for thought on a snowy, cold, afternoon with more of the same on its way. I am grateful to be in a warm, dry home. I pray for those who are not safe, for the homeless, and for those in Lui (Sudan) where heavy fighting is taking place (accessed 1/5/14 at: http://luinetwork.diocesemo.org/profiles/blogs/updates-from-lui). I am sitting in a comfortable chair typing on a laptop about peace while other humans in the Sudan are in real danger of being killed. God bless and keep them and you.

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