How welcome is further inquiry into peace? The world is rampant with anger and strife, injustice and inequity. Many people, including me, are not feeling peaceful.
For these very reasons though, peace seems to be calling as insistently as ever.
The global wisdom leader and peace activist Thich Nhat Hanh (Thay) taught about, “peace in oneself, peace in the world.” This suggests that our peace work requires just as much attention to the peace within us as to the peace around us. Our mindfulness inclines toward both with clarity and compassion.
In this teaching I hear a courageous, unshakeable peace that transforms fear, hatred, and violence. One that offers a healing and connecting — yet still bold — path forward in each moment.
It is a peace that makes more peace possible, yet is not at all passive, silenced, or conforming.
Can we make lasting peace in the world without tending to a peace within ourselves? Can we find inner peace in a struggling world? If not, how does the world’s struggle ease? How do we nurture and embody peace in our individual and collective habits of mind, emotion, speech, and action?
This reflection on peace seems worth exploring for ourselves. After all, we have a choice in each moment about whether (and how) we water the seeds of peace within and around us. Thay offered this in perspective: “Our own life has to be our message.”
In the spirit of living into these questions, here are some inspiring works that can help exploring and practicing “peace in oneself, peace in the world.”
- Being Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh
- A Heart Full of Peace by Joseph Goldstein
- We Were Made for These Times: Ten Lessons on Moving Through Change, Loss, and Disruption by Kaira Jewel Lingo
- A Fierce Heart: Finding Strength, Courage, and Wisdom in Any Moment by Spring Washam
- Justice is What Love Looks Like in Public by Kaira Jewel Lingo
- Peace is Possible by Jack Kornfield
- A Peaceful Heart In A Time of War and The Legacy of Thich Nhat Hanh by Jack Kornfield
- Navigating the Dark Ages by Tara Brach
And just for fun, a movie: Phantom of the Open
“There is no way to peace – peace is the way.” Thich Nhat Hanh
When peace calls, I listen:
Interestingly, I had no intention of focusing this article on peace, especially since Jenna offered such a lovely article on finding your pace for peace last month. It seems the universe had other ideas. For days now, everywhere I turned “peace” literally called to me – articles, quotes, songs, conversations. On the day I found my bracelets forming a peace sign on my bathroom counter, I gave in. I can take a hint.
Please click here to read the complete monthly newsletter.