SKILLS OF PEACE CONTINUED
Not everything I prepared for my “Skills of Peace” article made it into the San Francisco Chronicle of May 4, 2003. I asked almost everyone I interviewed for their definition of “peace.” What follows is a selection of those quotations…
WHAT IS PEACE?
"For me world peace and inner peace are closely connected. It's creating a sense of well-being in the world that comes from a realization that we're all connected to one another. It isn't just not making war, or not firing weapons. It has to do with really acknowledging the interconnectness of all things and of all beings, and living with a realization of the importance of that connection, so that if a child dies in Iraq, part of me dies there. We're all part of one another. The absence of peace comes, and war comes, when we make believe that we're not connected and the other person is expendable."
"Peace has to start with us as individuals. For me peace is holding myself accountable to communicate from a non-defensive base at all times, so that I am living and modeling and working towards resolution, rather than attempting to control or punish other people."
For me peace is when people trust that we're all conscious that our well-being is interdependent. We can never benefit at one another's expense. To the degree that we have that consciousness, we'll be at peace. We'll trust that other people see that our well being--- as people and with nature-- is one and the same."
"Peace is being able to deal with conflict. As long as we see conflict as negative and peace as good, it's not a useful paradigm. Even in peace there's conflict, and in conflict there is peace. There will always be conflict, so the question is how can we work with conflict to tap into its innate energy for change, growth, insight and new understanding."
"Peace is a way of being, a preferred mode. You have to live it everyday. It's not something I've ever pulled off completely, but it's part of that ideal self. But you have to work at it."
"If you accept that human nature is truly mixed and has pieces of good and bad, real peace is being able to accept equally what's good and bad in oneself in relationship to what's good and bad in another. It wouldn't be eradicating evil but accepting it and one's part in it and the other person's part in it, and coming to some solution. Coming to such a peaceful resolution in personal relationships requires an enormous amount of psychological work, so one can multiply exponentially the work required to find peaceful resolutions at the level of the group psyche which governs the relationships between rival nations."
Dr Tom Singer