Peace is not simply the absence of physical violence; peace also means that where there was once a void or emptiness, that space is now contently filled. Our man made societal ills actively push against the growth of a collective peace. When people do not have enough food to eat, while others waste about as much food as they have ever placed into their mouths – this is violence. When people feel so unsafe that they cannot fully express their thoughts or themselves – this is violence. When systemically, people have no option but to participate in a competition against one another, where, if some are winning it must mean that others are certainly losing – this is violence. The design of our society enthusiastically erodes any work towards peace, because much of what we know and have is a product of violence.
The void that allows for rampant violence in our societies is only capable of existing, because the empty space first originated inside the individuals that hold societies together. The vast majority of humans suffer an emptiness that no object can fill, no consumption can quell. This is an emptiness that stretches around our Earth, from those that most benefit from imperialism to those that most suffer from its unhinging grip. This void is currently a human quality; throughout much of the world we do not practice or teach our younger generations to seek fulfillment. Please do not confuse fulfillment with consumerism, no object can make you feel whole.
The majority of human societies do not practice or teach their people to get to know themselves, to observe themselves deeply in one meditative form or another, as an aspect of their dominant cultures. When one takes their senses from observing the outside world and turns them inward, it begins a process that will, with time, produce some clarity and understanding. Through this process one can begin to understand how a human functions and how to go about seeking personal fulfillment. Peace can grow within the context of this understanding. Remember, observation is a powerful tool that is often clouded by our egos; one cannot observe well when their ego is standing in front of the view.
There will be a chance for peace when a significant amount of humans have developed the fortitude to accept that all things are always changing. When people can accept the ephemeral quality of existence, without becoming miserable, they are more likely to come across a situation that would formerly make them angry and now realize, this is impermanent – I do not need to be angry over something that is so fleeting. This power, to be able to observe yourself when you are getting upset and then recognize that it is a disservice to you to allow yourself to be angry, is the power of authority. When people begin to understand how silly it is to be so attached to something that is bound to change, they will quickly detach from many of the things that they would formerly allow to make them miserable. Removing the misery allows for compassion to grow and it is this compassion that will maintain our shared peace.
It is vital to remember that working towards peace is a twofold job; we must not only restructure global society to regain its humanity and have peace and prosperity for all people as its overarching guide, but also instill in our cultures a practice of self observation so that our youngest generations grow up not being clouded by miseries. Furthermore, while people work towards ending direct violence and the indirect violence of our oppressive global systems, we should simultaneously cultivate a new sense of compassion in our cultures to fill the global void where violence formerly emerged.
As people spend less time and energy reveling in their miseries, it allows space for love and compassion to blossom. It is this sensation of love and compassion for others that fills the void that many humans carry with them throughout their lifetimes. Once our void is filled with love for ourselves and a selfless love and compassion for others we can look out into the world with peace in our eyes. Our Earth’s foundation for peace rests inside each one of us. When the compassion of individuals can extend over the seas and to the ends of the earth, covering the entirety of humanity in its unselective love for all, then the world will know a lasting peace.