It’s become almost cliche to talk about World Peace. Given the state of our own country, much less the world, World Peace seems more and more like a grandiose abstract fantasy than a potentially real experience. The truth is, World Peace is an inside job. It will never manifest on the outside until it becomes our way of being on the inside. Our ever-present challenge is to eradicate the IF-THEN cycle of thinking from our minds. IF I get this job making this much THEN I’ll feel financially secure and prosperous. IF I find a life partner THEN I won’t feel alone or unloved. IF this illness goes away THEN I’ll feel whole.
In his book Silence:The Power Of Quiet In A World Full Of Noise Thich Nhat Hanh says this about Silence:
Silence is ultimately something that comes from the heart, not from any set of conditions outside us. Living from a place of silence doesn't mean never talking, never engaging or doing things; it simply means that we are not disturbed inside; there isn’t constant internal chatter. If we’re truly silent, then no matter what situation we find ourselves in, we can enjoy the sweet spaciousness of silence.
It sounds like he’s talking about Inner Peace...not being “disturbed inside.” The IF-THEN cycle keeps us looking on the outside to provide what we have to choose for ourselves on the inside. Instead of IF-THEN, our spiritual practice needs to be I CHOOSE. Choosing our inner experience is not our default way of being. This is why we have to practice: meditation, prayer, affirmations, mindfulness, yoga, tai chi, qigong, zen archery, insert your favorite here. These are not just things we do in the vain pursuit of flipping a switch to turn on Enlightenment. They are proven methods of resetting our default way of being. And they only work if we do them repeatedly and consistently.
To reiterate, this does not mean we settle or accept the outer conditions. Change is essential to growth and well-being. And we will make the highest and best changes when we are at peace; when they come from the Silence.
Peace in Oneself, Peace in The World.