Peace and the Individual

By Nhilde Davidson

"Peace," you say, "let there be peace on earth -- let the armies of this world drop their weapons and live in peace!" The wise man will ask, "What are you doing in your life to promote this peace you so ardently desire?" We may well ponder this question. We are small and insignificant, or so it seems, so what can we do to bring about a resurgence of goodwill toward all, thereby ending hostilities that exact such a high price amongst all peoples?

Let us start the journey together with a first step and not look too far ahead and get despondent over the long trek -- the way always begins with that initial step followed by another and another. Therefore, with a lighter heart let us approach the task at hand, knowing that we are masters of our own destiny and, because we are a part of the human race, we are thus contributors to its destiny too. So, you and I will now start to think of peace -- not as an ultimate end, but as a living reality. We will try to live peacefully with those around us, recognizing that, like us, they also long for an end to pain and suffering.

There is a very real benefit to be gained by making good resolutions because, no matter how often we may fail, the recognition of the ideal and the inner resolve to do better strengthen our character, and next time we will return to our ideal more quickly -- by practice we will eventually gain what we seek. In the grand picture of the whole, if you and I truly live in peace with our family and neighbors, colleagues, friends, and all others, meeting anger with calm, hatred with kindness, offenses with justice and benevolence, giving each person that respect due to a fellow human being and potential god, then a beginning will have been made. We cannot change another but we can change ourselves, and our living example does not leave others untouched. The ripples of right action will spread forever wider and wider, till no one will be left unchanged and a bigger reality and consciousness will have been attained.

Idle fancy? Not at all! Our very endeavor speaks of the influence of those who have gone ahead of us and show the breadth and height of the true human spirit. We can place our lives and all that that encompasses on the altar of promoting the greatest of ideals -- brotherhood amongst all peoples -- for who would kill a brother?

  • (From Sunrise magazine, December 1983/January 1984. Copyright © 1984 by Theosophical University Press)

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