“Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”–Jawaharlal Nehru
The world is in dire need of peace in these times of trouble. We need more people with a mindset similar to that of Nehru. Jawaharlal Nehru being one of the founding fathers of India, he was under immense pressure to negotiate with various conflicting factions during India’s late colonial period into the early times of the once again independent nation. The various factions were naturally eager to reassert their traditional cultural values. There were also adversarial relationships between some of regional cultures. The rebuilding of the nation was a process that required a careful balance of sensitivity and assertiveness. The chapter of history that belongs to the early years of modern day India is well worth reading–especially for people interested in the topic of peace.
The pursuit of peaceful relationships among nations is an arduous process and one that doesn’t end after treaties are signed and ratified. World peace doesn’t magically end after defeat or victory. Peace and subsequent social progress occurs over time with consideration for all parties involved. Peace is something that is strengthened and maintained by wise leaders who are subject to the values of the nations’ citizens. As Nehru said, “Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”
“It is easier to lead men to combat, stirring up their passion, than to restrain them and direct them toward the patient labors of peace.”–Andre Gide
It’s interesting to note that the advocates of conflict have an easy time of it because such individuals have ready access to institutions of power and influence. Meantime, advocates of peace most frequently are the rank and file citizens. That’s likely the case because everyday people prefer to live life peacefully, going about our business. For the most part, average folks are peaceful people. This is true regardless of the cultures and ethnicity of human beings. Regular folks do not like to pick fights with others.
Clashes between cultures and subcultures happen intra-nationally and internationally. This has been the case ever since empires and nations have been around. One group or another wishes to assert dominance over other groups. Then there is push-back. We might say this is karma taking place on a large scale. For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Once the cycle of conflict begins, it’s difficult to dial it back. It takes cool, calm minds to begin and carry out the peace process.
“What we need is Star Peace and not Star Wars.”–Mikhail Gorbachev
I think Gorbachev was truly onto a good idea. War and peace are cultivated by the culture at large. This is a controversial topic. However, there is some merit to the idea that culture reflects and amplifies a society’s mores and values. Artifacts and entertainment that spotlight mayhem and killing tend to desensitize the users. While calm walks in nature and consumption of literature written by wise sages tends to encourage the sensitivity of those who read and contemplate the meaning of life.
The world is at the threshold of destructive times. The Earth’s inhabitants are ready for calm and thoughtfulness. It is time to promote compassion, unity, and peace on our planet. We need peace inside and out.
The Blue Jay of Happiness ponders an idea from the popular musician, Carlos Santana. “The most valuable possession you can own is an open heart. The most powerful weapon you can be is an instrument of peace.”