This is a question on many people’s minds. Life presents such a quagmire of challenge to peace that we can find it impossible to start the journey there. But anyone can achieve peace.
Peace is achieved in the principle of congruence.
This is an important fact to know; if we can plan life and respond in ways that reinforces this principle we’re closer to achieving peace. And as many of us prefer to understand ideas as processes, I’ll describe it that way.
1. Start with a Vision
Peace means different things to different people. A vision is not created and then left; it’s an idea in the mind that constantly changes with new information and self-concepts formed. Vision is about the direction of our formation toward congruence and peace. When vision slips so will our drive to achieve.
Start from where you are. Ask, “What would living in peace mean for me?” Be concrete in your mind; develop a picture or a word phrase or feeling that means something to you.
2. Admit and Accept Limitations
We must acknowledge some limitations. No one retains peace indefinitely; it tends to ebb and flow. It’s connected with what’s going on in our lives, including many things beyond our control.
It’s important to admit this and accept it. That alone will reap us peace.
3. Commit to Reflection
If peace is about congruence the only way we’ll establish a more congruent life is by stepping back, reflecting and analysing life more. This is not the anxiety-producing sort of analysis that perhaps we’re used to inflicting on ourselves. It’s the focused process of coming into the knowledge of what makes us tick, and then using that knowledge to design life plans and responses so they better align life itself.
The practice is not about meditation per se. It’s about meditating on what’s occurred as a means of learning what’s worked from what hasn’t. Without such a practice the same mistakes will be made, producing the same dissonance we’ve been experiencing. Meditating on experiences is just reflecting; it can be done anywhere at any time.
Reflection is a commitment to learning. Learning is a vehicle to future peace because it takes us on a journey to congruence.
People find that it’s areas of virtue (honesty, courage, faith) that test their congruence most. The more faithfully we live, the more peace we achieve. Reflect on and learn from failures to live honourably.
4. Now Do It
Many plans stall in the execution of them. Enters now does self-discipline.
Committing to reflect is one thing, now we need to start doing it and that, as a process, can take years to hone. Not that that’s a concern right now, it’s just catering for the inevitable changes we all make to our processes of reflection.
There can be no easier way to encourage someone to do something than just urge them—start and then continue. Make it a habit. Be passionate about it.
True peace is beyond our circumstances, lack of time, opportunity and freedom. It’s a concept of congruence and all things at inner harmony. The world can be at war and we can still have our peace. And from peace comes life, hope, wisdom in decision-making, and trust and respect in relationships. Peace is a beacon of light.
When this process is achieved, peace also can be achieved—yes, by anyone.
© 2011 S. J. Wickham.