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The opening line to the 1955 song, Let There Be Peace on Earth, by Jill Jackson-Miller and Sy Miller has been looping through my head since yesterday. But the part that really gets me is the next statement, “and let it begin with me.” This, I believe, is where peace does begin, on a personal and individual level. I cannot, for example, be peaceful to another if I am not at peace with myself. But it is not that simple, is it? How easy it is to have angry thoughts at a person because they don’t have the same views as you, or have misinterpreted something you said or wrote? It’s slippery slope. The Buddha stated that “Peace comes from within,” and that “Those who are free of resentful thoughts surely find peace.” This can be summed up in the famous but succinct quote by Plato, in The Apology, where Socrates proclaims that “An unexamined life is not worth living.” My favorite quote which echoes both of these comes from the Book of Matthew (23:26) where Jesus chides a Pharisee and actually gives him instructions, albeit a bit coded, “First clean the inside of the cup and the outside also will be clean.” In other words, first do work on yourself—clean what’s inside—and your outside will shine with love. I’m a visual person and when I picture this process the result looks something like a “Mobius Strip,” where there is no inside or outside—they are one in the same—and the entire ribbon is exposed. And this is what I think the great mystics speak of when enlightened...nothing in them is hidden, they radiate pure love. I do not believe it is possible for us to have peace if we harbor ill feelings for ourselves or others. And when I say these things I am not pointing a finger at you but more so at myself, as there is so much work to do. Adherents to all three Abrahamic religions greet and bid one another peace. Rather than just saying it as a comment, my prayer is that it is a reality. Thoughts and words have power; they are precursors to what we manifest. If we want peace, we must become peace. Peace, Salaam, Shalom.


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