For many years we have been urged by a sticker on the car in front of us to "Visualize World Peace." Sometimes the imperative is "Visualize Whirled Peas,"* but the thought is the same. It always seemed like a good idea. Creating a common vision is a good start at manifesting a common goal. But good idea or not, it seemed like an awfully big peace to visualize. Let’s see if we can try.
What would be the conditions of world peace?No more war for starters.What are the causes of war?Fear. Fear that we haven’t got enough. That we haven’t got enough property or security.So might we eliminate war by reducing fear and ignorance?
Anger, which arises from fear. Anger that we have been wronged.
Ignorance. The root of evil. Ignorance that allows us to believe that we are essentially different from other people and somehow more deserving.That’s a tough one because each child born into the world starts with a fresh ignorance. Ignore the child and they will remain ignorant. Still, each child is born with the capacity for love. Love the child and they will love people and life. Loving life they will seek knowledge and wisdom. Humans want to love and be loved. It is only when love is absent that the roots of war grow.When people express love, those around them know they have nothing to fear from them. When we are not afraid of each other or of life, we are interested in life, and we gain in wisdom. When we act out of wisdom, we are less likely to make the mistakes that generate fear and anger, and when we make mistakes we are better able to repair the damage. So we can raise children of wisdom and compassion by practicing love. These children then will not grow up with the urge to harm other people and the likelihood of war is reduced.What can you do?But what about parts of the world where children are not treated so well, where hate and intolerance persist. Won’t those children grow up in fear and ignorance. Won’t they make war on us?Perhaps. We can reduce that likelihood by keeping communication open. If we know each other we are less likely to war on each other. If they see the love in us they will not be afraid of us. If we treat them well, they will have no need for vengeance. If we care about their hunger, we will help them feed themselves, and they will have less to fear. The modern world offers opportunities for travel and communication never known before. We must use them wisely.What are other components of world peace?
What can you do?Widespread prosperity?How can we achieve both prosperity and ecological balance?
A humanity that lives in balance with the planet and its resources? What would that look like?What can you do?Some may say world peace is just a dream. And maybe it is. But it is a worthy goal. It is a dream worth working for. It is a dream to be patient for. It is a dream we all can dream. And perhaps someday we will make it reality.
In the mean time, we can ask ourselves moment to moment, "How can I bring peace to this moment, this experience?" The world without will only find peace when each of us finds peace within and has the will to share it.
* Yet another permutation of the bumper sticker message is
Using Your Turn Signal."
Other bumper stickers that strike us as pertinent to our topic are:
"Think globally. Act locally."
"Practice Random Acts of Kindness and Senseless Beauty"
© 1999-2002 Tom Barrett