In a post last September, I tried to explore what makes a heart peaceful and it helped me understand that a peaceful heart or a combination of peaceful hearts can lead to global peace. It all starts with who I am, how I perceive others and interact with them, how I use my influence in a group and how my group deals with issues in my society at large. No, I am not responsible for everything that goes around me but I may have a certain level of influence on it. I may fail sometimes but I might succeed on other times and it is worthwhile to try!
I am many people. I am a soul, have a gender and age, am a family member, I belong to a religious group, have a certain educational background, represent a professional organization, have a nationality and so on and so forth. Some of me may remain the same and some of me can change but all of me continues to evolve. The good news is that I can decide in which direction I want to evolve and what type of influence I want to have on my inner being and my world at different levels.
|Levels of Peace (Dayal de Prewitt A, 2012)|
The diagram above strives to dissect peace one more time! Many experts have looked at different paradigms of peace and I am not sure if I, as a beginner, needed to come up with one more. In all honesty, it just reflects my learning process and nothing else. Let me attempt to explain it briefly...
There might be 'peace processes' at several levels but if an individual has not experienced inner peace, everything else may lack its effectiveness for this individual. But it can be very complicated to reach out to that inner being, if it is hidden in a dark corner inside us. Our agendas, negotiations, fear projected as need to hold on to the power and superficial comforts hinder us from reaching inside. And reaching inside is not a one time event, it needs several and long visits down there.
Next level of peace is our interactions with those immediately around us, in our homes, neighborhood, workplace, even those that we may share a seat in the train. There are innumerable reasons that threaten that inner peace and often how we deal with them can safeguard or destroy it. Yes, we can take charge of our interactions and give them a peaceful direction no matter how aggressive the other person is.
Communal groups play a critical role in bringing peace and harmony in the society. Unfortunately, these groups have a great potential to destroy peace and harmony at the same time. Because when we are in a group of people that we identify with, we feel more powerful, which is a great thing most of the time. But in that moment of feeling powerful, if we perceive another person/group as an enemy, we may have the need to exert that power. That is why for any communal group whether it is based on religion, ethnicity, professional background, etc, we must take conscious pro-peace decisions.
Next comes political peace, it works at different sub-levels, from small towns to international situations. It has to do with our political leaders and their agendas. Most of the time they have nothing to do with destroying, sustaining or fortifying peace because they are too engrossed in pushing their agenda forward. And if peace helps in that, they promote it but if peace becomes an obstacle, they don't mind shattering it. Although, this level is hugely important in terms of influence on the society, however we cannot afford to bestow so much importance to it because sadly most political leaders are not worth it.
Finally, global peace which goes beyond all boundaries and all players has a direct connection with inner peace. Only those who have their inner peace or have managed to taste it are able to make a contribution to global peace. Global peace is the most interesting level because on one hand, it seems like the mirage in the desert and on the other hand, once you establish inner peace, it seems within your grasp. Having said that, please know that every time we are establishing peace at any other level illustrated in the diagram above, we are contributing to global peace.
Peace has no capacity on its own but if we are able to claim it within ourselves at individual level, we collectively have the capacity to claim it for our world. The real challenge is to find inner peace and sustain it. There is no one formula for all. It is an individual process that includes God, the nature and all around us. Come, let's claim our inner peace and let it overflow to the ends of the earth!