by Helen Noakes
“And in despair I bowed my head/‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said/‘For hate is strong and mocks the song/Of peace on earth, good will to men.’”—Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
SAN FRANCISCO, CA—(Weekly Hubris)—12/6/10—Peace: that eludes us as a race. It seems that from the moment that humankind began keeping histories, peace has been much prized but never achieved globally.
Christian carols extol its virtues and beg God for its blessing . . . and yet.
Rumi wrote poems, beautiful, heartrending poems that inform us of its efficacy in communing with The Beloved. “Beloved” —that’s how he referred to the Divine.
The exquisitely spare haiku of the Edo Period express the delicate resonance of peace. Like the deep echoing sound of the evening bell at the Shinto Shrine near my house in Japan, peace settles the soul, gives us room to breathe.
The lights are twinkling on Union Square here and now, harbingers of a season of peace . . . and yet.
Somewhere in the world, guns are blazing, battles are being fought, people are made to suffer because of their gender, race, religious or political beliefs. I wonder why that should continue to be a part of the human experience. Why can’t we decide to change? Why can’t we make peace the norm, the accepted method of living?
It doesn’t fit in a bag, it’s too big, but it weighs absolutely nothing. And while it has no dollar price tag, it does require payment of greater value—mindfulness, compassion, fearlessness.
I fervently hope that wars, strife and intolerance will end one day, but know that until and unless each of us decides to make it so, it will not happen.
Vince Gill’s lyrics provide us with the path, “Let there be peace on earth/And let it begin with me.” It’s so simple. If every “me” in the world chose to create this metamorphosis, then the “me” would change to “we” . . . and think what a peaceful world this would become!
Happy Holidays to you all. I wish you, your families, friends, and loved ones, joy, fulfillment, love and peace.