With all the tragic events that have occurred in Paris and Beirut over the past week, I – along with everyone else – have been thinking a lot about peace: peace between nations, peace between religions, and peace within ourselves. One thing that really stood out to me this weekend was the idea that:
Peace starts with me.
What does that really mean? And how do we be at peace in our world? If only I knew all the answers to those questions… The search for inner peace is a different journey for each person, but what I do fully believe is that when we start on our individual path to peace, we inspire others to start on theirs. When one beacon is lit, it illuminates for others to follow. I also believe that peace isn’t an external condition, but rather a state of heart and mind. When we are all at peace in ourselves, we each become a part of a peaceful whole and a world in harmony.
So, whilst reeling in shock at the events in Paris, I realised that the most powerful thing that I can do as an individual is ensure that I am at peace in myself. To me, peace is joy, harmony, love, comfort, fun, laughter, friendship, family, creativity and connection to the wider universe. What I can control is the presence of these things in my life; I can choose them.
Others who are allowing that peace within themselves to radiate through have inspired me to do the same. I believe there will be others who will be inspired by me, and so on and so on. There is nothing egotistical in that, just a beautiful truth about our interconnectedness as people and how we respond to the positive energies of others.
When world peace seems like a distant holy grail hidden behind an insurmountable obstacle, we need to stop thinking about how we can change the world – as counter-intuitive as that may seem – and think on a smaller scale: how can we change ourselves for the better?
“Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself.” – Rumi
The only thing we really can control is ourselves, and how we connect to the world. We can fill our lives with love, kindness and joy, and teach our children these values. If we each devote our energies to making our little corner of the universe a haven of light, then one day the world will be full of it!
We are stewards and guardians of this planet. As humans we have great power, creativity and potential. Whatever we direct our energies towards, we bring about. As a race, we have already achieved incredible things. Not even the sky is our limit. Imagine what we could do if the majority of people directed their thoughts and intentions towards complete happiness!
We cannot wait for external circumstances to become suitable for peace. The world is what we make it; an unbalanced society leads to an unbalanced world on the brink of global disaster. We need to find the peace within us now in order to manifest peace out of the chaos.
It might not seem like a lot, or enough, to simply choose peace within our ‘small’ lives – especially when you consider the scale of conflict around the world. But, actually, it is the bravest, boldest, most sure-fire thing you can do to help bring about peace on a global scale.
“What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.” – Mother Theresa
So, in honour of all those lives lost, not just in Paris but everywhere, I am going to cherish my existence, make it a happy one and, from a place of love, do everything I can to make this world a peaceful place for others. I am going to keep my body in balance through good, healthy food and movement. I am going to keep my mind in balance by detaching from drama, focusing on positive thoughts and learning. I am going to keep my heart in balance by opening more up to love and not being afraid. I am going to use my voice to speak up for the voiceless. I am going to tread lightly on this planet, and nurture it, and try to spread a little joy and kindness wherever I go. That is my pledge.
What is yours?