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If you ask a peace advocate how they create peace in such a troubled world, most will state the obvious–be peaceful.

That is both a practical and a spiritual directive. Peaceful people are quiet in their speech, conciliatory, not prone to loudness or demands. They are solicitous of others, courteous, and kind.

They are clear about what they believe, never waivering in their commitment, stoic in the face of adversity, and always seeing the positive. They are firm.

One cannot be these things outwardly, it seems to me without feeling them inwardly. And since so many of us who yearn for peace are a cauldron of anger and frustration inside, we neither are peaceful ourselves nor do we accomplish much toward changing the hearts of others.

So peace does start with each of us. This is true whether we are actively spiritual or not. Whether we believe in a God or not. For, God, I believe uses all his children who exhibit a willingness to do his will, whether they are in active partnership or not. God takes what he can get, as long as it is offered willingly. The atheist who works for peace is as welcomed as the practicing Hindu who does the same.

And it is God’s will that there be peace. If we believe either on the basis of some scripture or because nature is a beautiful  harmony the result of evolution only, it is good. It deserves our attention and care. That should be whether we speak of people or animals or plants, or our oceans.

Words that signify peace are tranquility, repose, quietude and concord, order. There is a rightness that exudes from these words. A sense that they reflect goodness, that which should be. They are the “absence of mental strain or anxiety.” There is a congruity of parts. All work for the betterment of the whole.

Whether directly from God or through the agency of evolution, life clearly works together. We cannot evolve without being in some kind of symbiosis with our surroundings. We cannot continue without relational quietude among ourselves.

War with its attendant greeds, jealousies, fears, and anxieties is the antithesis of harmonious living. It solves nothing but the briefest of issues, and sets into motion inexorably, the series of issues that will erupt again in violence.

Not even the most hardened biblical literalist, can believe that God wills the polluting of stream and river and ocean, the fouling of our air. The most cruel arms dealer knows in his heart that he does evil for filthy lucre that will not serve him when he breathes his last.

Common sense leads us all to the only clear conclusion–that peace makes for a better life for all of us. Short term gains are eaten in the vast maw of history. We are plunging head long over the cliff collectively. The rich sit upon their estates, but the weight of the billions of humanity will drag them off too. They will just be the last to go. Or not. For those billions may rise up and destroy their torturers.

But this will solve little. For if we don’t evolve from violence, from within the billions will arise a new ruling class who will do it all again.

I can but cite the obvious. Those who “protest” not with signs and shouting, but with silent witness are the most powerful advocates we have. Gandhi and King were our models, along with brilliant martyrs for the faith in many and various religions. Men and women who chose to simple be peaceful in the face of hate and aggression.

It is better to be for rather than against. That is why “war’s on drugs” don’t work. We must be for healthy people who have lives that give meaning without resort to destroying agents. We were, I believe, meant to be happy, meant to be joyful, meant for laughter. We were meant to enjoy good food and drink, good music and art, good conversation.

We are meant for loving and friendship. We seek it, and we mourn its loss. We are naturally empathetic and compassionate. It has just been pushed down in some of us so far that we no longer feel it. We are so awash in the need to be here and there, doing, making, counting. We have lost our way.

But in moments of quiet, we remember. We remember who and what we are, whether we conclude ourselves to be spiritual beings or an amazing evolutionary creation, we are so much better than we let ourselves be.

 We know who we are.

Let us be it today.

Peace starts with one step, one choice, one issue. Be peace. And then, be peace again.

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