I am the product of hippies.  The vibe, social consciousness and liberal viewpoint are engrained deep within me.

And now, I am the product of war.  I was stranded and helpless for days 2000 miles away from my family on 9/11 and felt a burning rage just as deep within me.

When people talk of peace on TV, I want to turn it off.

When I see peace symbols and quotes and all this rhetoric about peace,  I burn a little inside.peace

I don’t see what’s so good about peace.

I don’t want to seek peace, I don’t want to know peace, I don’t want to work towards peace.

I don’t even want something called peace to exist.

To know peace means I know war.

It means that battles rage…  in me, in our world—the comparison of rights and wrongs, the segregation of beliefs, good versus bad, rich versus poor, mine versus yours…  these things are the ingredients, the invention, of war.

Brave humans who’ve served and fought to end these wars, the people we now memorialize, they are the inventors of peace.

We know all about peace and we know all about war and we know sacrifice and struggle and shame and valor and hate and love and the brave and the fallen and with this awareness comes responsibility because we can’t allow the sacrifice they made to invent this peace be taken for granted.

In 1863, Henry Beecher wrote a book “The Honored Dead”.  In it he spoke of the dead union soldiers who fought in the Civil War, saying they are physically dead however they remain with us in spirit and inspiring us with their heroic acts.  He described it perfectly I think:  

“They hover as a cloud of witnesses above this nation”

We all pause on Memorial Days to remember those we lost, the brave men and women who invented peace… however they are dead everyday, not just this day and their invention nourishes us everyday, not just this day.

The seeds that grow war are growing all over the world and within each of us and if those men and women are witnessing us, you and me, what are they seeing?

In my desire for peace, in my desire to help my fellow humans and end unspeakable suffering, I must admit, I’ve wanted war.  I didn’t know how else to stop, to help, to intervene.   It seemed like the only option too many times.

Because I realize I’ve chosen war I know it’s my absolute obligation now to also choose peace and learn everyday how to nurture and foster peace deep within me and then take it out into the world.

I first had to learn that being a pacifist has nothing to do with being passive.  I must fight just like the inventors of peace fight— I need to fight to remain as kind as possible, to keep my mind open, to honor and respect my fellow humans and to understand my nature as much as possible.

I know that I have to battle many fronts all at once, I need to work and practice and focus on inner peace, local peace and global peace for all of mankind… in this exact order.

How you ask?

I know for sure that a peaceful mind leads to peaceful speech and peaceful actions.

I know that if the minds of all of us are at peace, the world will be at peace.

So this is where I must start and probably where I must end.

Perhaps the first step on the path to peace is understanding the causality of peace. When we understand what causes peace, we know where to direct our efforts.

Those causes are manufactured in the untamed mind, within those of us who do not seek a noble life, who do not rigorously add love to the world and cultivate loving-kindness with all their actions.

We can take many actions in our battle for peace that may be helpful. But if we do not first address the fundamental issues, beginning with ourselves and our own inner lives and spiritual path, all other actions will be worthless.

Muste said “There is no path to peace, peace is the path” so I think we need to carefully study what peace is, and what it isn’t.

Buddha said:  “peace comes from within. do not seek it without” 

To begin, I think we must all become Bodhisattva’s… people who strive first to transform his or her own life and embrace the realities of human existence and put forth a hell-bent effort to alleviate people’s suffering.

When we do this, everything else resolves itself and peace will finally prevail.

For me living this way is the best way I know to memorialize and honor the inventors of this peace that we all cherish so much.

Bowing to all who serve and have served, in whatever form that’s taken, in this noble and universal pursuit of peace.  _/\o_

Sadhu, Sadhu, Sadhu.