Peace is more than freedom from disturbance or the absence of war. It is a commitment to assuring the well-being of all.
Peace is more than a state of tranquility. Tranquility is a feeling – a sense of calm and quiet that is by its nature transient, ephemeral. It may be experienced in meditation or sitting under a starry sky, listening to the crickets. The aura of tranquility is often associated with a calm environment, a temporary (perhaps fleeting) sense that you don’t have a care in the world.
Though the critical components of peace do include affects such as the absence of war and freedom from disturbances, they are so much more. They include mutual respect, shared values, a commitment to put peace ahead of prejudice and rivalries. True peace will only arise when these components are recognized and the underlying obstacles to peace are addressed and resolved.
Sustainable peace is not passive. It is the work of a lifetime – the conscious commitment to assure that the components of peace are conscientiously strengthened and preserved. Fears and insecurities can cause otherwise stable individuals to waiver. Even a well-developed sense of self can be challenged by the numerous forms of inequity that are presently evident. Those inequities must be eliminated. Diligent reassurances of progress are critical to establishing lasting peace.
For peace to be sustainable it must be based on mutual respect – the recognition of the divinity of all creation demonstrated in all relationships. It goes beyond surface level interactions to supporting one another in developing human dignity – soul-level self-respect rather than ego-based pride. Such dignity is the right of every person to be valued and respected for their own sake, to be treated ethically and to experience equity in all areas of life. This is an inherent, inalienable right. This is a keystone component of enduring peace.
Open communication is essential so that common ground and shared values can be identified and used as the foundation on which to build trust. Fully embracing “oneness,” and accepting the responsibilities that come with that embrace, make sustainable peace possible.
Stay tuned for coming blog posts as we explore the United Nations International Day of Peace and actions local faith communities are taking to empower people to build sustainable peace in their homes and communities.
This blog post is the expressed opinion of its writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Tysons Interfaith or its members.