What Is Peace?

Definitions vary, but generally, peace of mind, serenity, and calmness are descriptions of a disposition free from the effects of stress or conflict. Many believe that inner peace is a state of consciousness or enlightenment that may be cultivated by various forms of training, such as prayer and meditation. Similarly, the state may be achieved through calming movement such as Tai Chi or yoga.

Buddhists believe that peace will be attained when all suffering ends. The idea is that suffering stems from cravings, aversions, or delusions. Leave these behind and you will experience peace.

Some call peace the absence of war or violence. Yet intuitively we know that peace more than the absence of something. Peace is a substance of its own.

Some believe peace comes through total involvement. Involvement distracts from the self. If you can let go of the self, you’ll experience peace. Yet you can’t find peace by simply distracting yourself from life. Virginia Woolf said, “You cannot find peace by avoiding life.”

The novelist Milan Kundera noted that “Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace.”
Gautama Buddha put is most simply – and probably most correctly: “Peace comes from within. Do not seek it without.”
As for seeking peace, Mahatma Gandhi said, “There is no ‘way to peace,’ there is only peace.”

I believe all of creation is peace. When we see creation as something other than peace, we experience something other than peace. If we let go of that misperception, we create space. Peace will fill that space unless we fill that space with something else.

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