By Robert Rabbin
"In the hearts of people today there is a deep longing for peace. When the true spirit of peace is thoroughly dominant, it becomes an inner experience with unlimited possibilities. Only when this really happens, when the spirit of peace awakens and takes possession of men's hearts, can humanity be saved from perishing."
-- Albert Schweitzer
"Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people."
-- Jawaharlal Nehru
The greatest weapon of mass destruction is the attitude of militarism within the human mind. The missiles and bombs from this arsenal are more lethal than anything we could find in trailers and bunkers and silos. However many weapons might be found, however many might be destroyed, ten more will appear for every one that disappears. We will not be safe until the attitude of militarism is dismantled; we will not be safe until the attitude of true peace is created as the rule of law for persons and nations alike.
The human race has come to this precise point in its brief history: change, or perish. There is no middle ground. Weapons of mass destruction are proliferating like toxic clouds within the minds of so many people whose power threatens civilization throughout the world. Change, or perish. Let us change. We already know about militarism; we already know about this barbarism. We do not yet know about peace. So let us learn, and then change.
There is no more urgent question than this: How can I make peace real? How are we to meet violence with nonviolence, to meet war with peace, to meet fear with love, to meet hatred with compassion? How are we to dismantle the attitude of militarism and install the attitude of peace, within our own minds and within the very structure of society? It is, first and foremost, a choice, a decision, a commitment, a stand. In this moment in which the world is trembling and reeling with angry passions and violent convictions, we must call for peace, stand for peace, and act for peace. We must accept only peace. But first, we must become peace itself, not an idea or image of peace, not the rhetoric of peace, but actual peace, the peace in which violence cannot arise, the peace in which the attitude of militarism cannot survive.
We must seek that peace, know that peace, and become that peace. How do we do this? We can do this through understanding, and through reflection, and through empathy. We must understand that we already are peace. It is called the soul, and it is given to all in equal measure as a flame of the Creator's fire, full of love and joy--this is the soul, and this is peace. Regardless of what our mind may say, regardless of what today's headlines may say, regardless of what society may say, peace is the essential nature of all human beings. This is the savage irony of our times and of the human condition: within each of us is the loving and peaceful flame of the Creator, and yet we continue to accept violence and war as though they were as natural as sunlight. They are not. They are an aberration, a disease; and the medicine is experiencing the reality of the soul. We cannot kill our way to peace. We cannot bomb our way to safety. We must understand that within the soul of all human beings is peace.
How do we find our way to the soul? How do we live from the soul? We have to reflect deeply on the nature of the mind, we have to reflect deeply on the nature of thoughts and beliefs. Even if this seems unrealistic, we must do this. We must come to know that Silence which waits for us just beneath the ragged surface of the mind. We must sit together in Silence. We must join with others in Silence. We must let Silence illuminate and transform the hateful delusions of demagoguery. This is how we enter the soul. We must learn to be Silent, and from within this Silence we wash ourselves clean of anger, fear, and hatred. And we must question our beliefs about self and other, we must inquire into the origin and nature of anger and retribution, of fear and hostility. We must, in a word, become wise, in the way towering trees are wise, and glaciers, and tides. We must become wise, like deserts and mountains: Silent, profound, majestic.
Entering this Silence is discovering our soul, and from within the infinite beauty of our soul, we know peace, we become peace. We must do this now, today, and tomorrow, and every day for the rest of our lives: for our own sake, and for the sake of our families, our communities, our world.
But do not be fooled: Silence is not passive. Silence is not weak. Silence is not mute. The Silence of which I speak is the mind and heart of the universal soul: it is active, strong, and loud. And it is peaceful. And it is unconquerable. When we become truly peaceful within, we will create peace without.
This is the work that we must all take up, now and for the rest of our days. There is no greater work than this. There is no greater wealth than this. There is no greater philosophy than this. There is no greater security than this. There is no greater justice than this. There is no greater contribution than this. There is no greater truth than this.
You do not have to take my word for it. You know this for yourself. You know it now, resting in your soul, resting in the depths of your being. Here, we find each other. Here, we find our lost love and compassion. Here, in this depth, we find that truth which is beyond differences, beyond dogmas, beyond justifications. It is the universal soul, and its face shines with beauty, with tenderness, with love, with compassion, with forgiveness. But most of all, it shines the same in all, and we must learn to feel this as a living truth.
Our world risks losing this soul, if we do not find it within ourselves and if we do not then stand and move and speak and act in the world with the full weight and measure and power of this soul found again within our own depth of being where the Creator placed it.
Do not be fooled by the shrill voices that call upon your fears and urge you to war, to violence, to brutality. Do not do this. Turn away from this noise and enter the Silence of your soul. Entering this place, then find new mouths and new words, new hands and new actions, new hearts and new compassion. Let the children waiting in celestial realms be suddenly happy at the prospect of coming to Earth.
Let us now resolve to enter the depths of Silence every day, let us resolve to purify our mind and heart in these still waters, let us resolve to wash away all anger and hatred and fear in these still waters, that we may find the peace, the love, the joy that is within us and that we share these soul-treasures freely with one another in friendship and mutual respect.
Let us affirm that we are peace, and knowing that we are peace, let us also affirm that we will stand for peace, speak for peace, and create peace in each hour of each day.
Though there is a great army of those who prefer violence, we must create an even greater army of people who choose peace. Once we find our way into the spiritual heart, into the silence of the soul, into the very mind of God and then into Oneness with all of life -- we have no choice but to live in peace.
But we can be strong and active in our love. We can be mighty in our peaceful ways. We can work long and hard to eradicate the true cause of violence, which is poverty of spirit. We must work to enrich our own understanding, to unfurl the flag of peace within our own heart. We must find strength and solace in our own inner light and peace, and then we must spread this light and peace throughout the world in real and telling ways, even dramatic ways.
Robert Rabbin is a San Francisco-based writer and speaker. He is the author of numerous books and articles, and the founder of RealTime Speaking, an online hub of global spiritual activism. For more more information, please visit http://www.robertrabbin.com
Copyright © 2005 Robert Rabbin, All Rights Reserved