Today is September 11th. Though I remember each moment of that day vividly, I will only discuss it with those who were downtown in NYC with me on that day—and only if they ask. Otherwise I change the subject or leave the conversation.
Yet today I’ll share these thoughts. In a World, filled with uncertainty, one might wonder if it is truly possible for World peace to exist. Sadly, I don’t believe we will ever achieve world peace though I pray for it. We struggle with getting along with our families, neighbors, others within our communities, states and country — so I am not of the belief that some new order will bring us all together and suddenly we’ll all be getting along. I’m realistic enough to know that many “interests” impact that possibility.
Still, I think about peace. I believe it starts with each of us doing our best to make our minds and hearts peace-ful. No easy ask.
It starts with a moment-by-moment awareness of what is happening in our thoughts as well as our reactions to our immediate surroundings. It is believing that peace can be found even if we are in the noisiest, dirtiest, crowded place with people all behaving in their own annoying ways, totally oblivious to us and others or even if you are within the walls of your own home.
Peace is as simple and hard as this: Understanding that human nature hasn’t changed much since the earliest recordings of time — so acceptance regarding our differences is essential. As Billy Joel sang, “We didn’t start the fire. It’s always been burning.”
Yet, fires around us or not, we can each choose to compose ourselves. To really consider what it takes to actually love one another. To make the decision to breathe deeply when we are angry. To observe our anger: Noticing how it feels and impacts our breathing, heart rate, thoughts and emotions. To choose to stop, breathe and walk away until such time when we can respond (or not) with a clearer head.
The more we each try to do this all of our encounters, the more peace we we will find in our lives regardless of all the chaos and confusion around us. This is the peace I strive for. Peace be with you today and always.