Waging Peace

“Instructors can impart only a fraction of the teaching.  It is through your own devoted practice that the mysteries of the Art of Peace are brought to life.”
Akido Master Morihei Ueshiba

“Peace is not simply the absence of war. It is not a passive state of being. We must wage peace, as vigilantly as we wage war.”
The 14th Dalai Lama

“We have thought of peace as passive and war as the active way of living. The opposite is true. War is not the most strenuous life. It is a kind of rest cure compared to the task of reconciling our differences. From war to peace is not from the strenuous to the easy existence. It is from the futile to the effective, from the stagnant to the active, from the destructive to the creative way of life… The world will be regenerated by the people who rise above these passive ways and heroically seek by whatever hardship, by whatever toil, the methods by which people can agree.”
Mary Parker Follett

“Seek first to understand, then be understood.”

“Peace will remain a distant vision until we do the work of peace ourselves.  If peace is to be brought into the world, we must bring it first to our families and communities.”
— Seek Peace and Pursue It, Rosh Hashana prayer

“Wage Peace”
By Judyth Hill

[reprinted with permission]

Wage peace with your breath. Breathe in firemen and rubble, breathe out whole buildings and flocks of red wing blackbirds. Breathe in terrorists and breathe out sleeping children and freshly mown fields. Breathe in confusion and breathe out maple trees. Breathe in the fallen and breathe out lifelong friendships intact.

Wage peace with your listening: hearing sirens, pray loud. Remember your tools: flower seeds, clothes pins, clean rivers. Make soup. Play music, learn the word for thank you in three languages. Learn to knit, and make a hat. Think of chaos as dancing raspberries. Imagine grief as the out breath of beauty or the gesture of fish. Swim for the other side.

Wage peace. Never has the world seemed so fresh and precious: Have a cup of tea and rejoice. Act as if armistice has already arrived. Celebrate today.

For Our World
[Mattie Stepanek, author of several NY Times best-selling books of poetry, died recently at the age of 13. He wrote the following poem on September 12, 2001, when he was 11 years old]
We need to stop.
Just stop.
Stop for a moment
Before anybody
Says or does anything
That may hurt anyone else.
We need to be silent.
Just silent.
Silent for a moment
Before we forever lose
The blessings of songs
That grow in our hearts.
We need to notice.
Just notice.
Notice for a moment
Before the future slips away
Into ashes and dust of humility.
Stop, be silent, and notice
In so many ways, we are the same.
Our differences are unique treasures.
We have, we are, a mosaic of gifts
To nurture, to offer, to accept.
We need to be.
Just be.
Be for a moment
Kind and gentle, innocent and trusting,
Like children and lambs,
Never judging or vengeful
Like the judging and vengeful.
And now, let us pray,
Differently, yet together,
Before there is no earth, no life,
No chance for peace.