Three Principles Living

Judith A. Sedgeman, EdD

Peace on Earth?

Peace on Earth?

Many people long for peace on earth, but few truly believe it is possible. Count me among the few.

If people saw that peace of mind is deeper than their opinions and more powerful than their thoughts…

If the insight spread like the dawn around the world that peace arises from an internal experience, and is not imposed by external pressures or arrangements…

Then peace would be a natural state, the logical and intuitive outcome of spiritual stillness. We could take it for granted as easily as we now take war and chaos for granted. We accept war and chaos because we generally operate from the innocent thought that there must be winners and losers so the strong can prevail and enforce peace. The world is missing the point that you can’t “make” peace with dominance and rules and fences and treaties and weapons. Force cannot generate peace; force sets up an uneasy system to contain insecurity — temporarily. Insecurity generates stress, anxiety, fear, selfishness, distrust of others.  In a setting ruled by the internal experience of insecurity, there is no true or lasting peace, only the shaky illusion of security dependent on unreliable external factors. No ease; it keeps people on edge.

Peace is only an insight away, though. A moment in time and a realization that changes everything seems simple and obvious when it is our moment in time, our realization. We’ve all had those moments, when something we were really sure about crumbled and a whole new reality appeared, just like that. I remember one from my youth that was stunning to me, and changed my entire understanding of life.  I was in 7th grade. I loved grammar because it was orderly and predictable. Things were what they were and stayed in their place, in nice, diagrammable relationships, like good children. Nouns were nouns, verbs were verbs. Then, in late fall, my English teacher introduced the concept of gerunds (verbs acting as nouns), and a seismic shift occurred in my world.  An amazing thought popped into my head, transporting me way beyond grammar. Nothing is predictable or certain. The deeper you look, the more “facts” are like quicksilver.  I “saw” in that moment that it makes no sense to get attached to “predictable” realities; they aren’t what they seem to be. It was clear and clean. OK, I’d been wrong about what was what.

When I was 22, I had the privilege of teaching English and civics in a missionary school on Okinawa. My students were mostly displaced from strife-torn areas, seeking safety on an island that was under the control of the US. One, originally from North Vietnam, wrote an essay for a civics assignment: “When I was little, the French were our enemies. They went away and the South Vietnamese were our enemies. Then the Americans were our enemies. But now that I am here on Okinawa, living happily with all kinds of people, I realize that enemies are just friends we don’t really know yet.” Powerful insight.

Think back. Life is full of these experiences. For me, fast-forwarding to the year I learned about the Principles of Mind, Consciousness and Thought that explain how we create our own ever-changing realities, leads me to another astonishing insight. I am making all this stuff up. Everything I assume about my life is just my thinking. With that one insight, I set myself free from all kinds of opinions and judgments and ideas about what should be, releasing a huge burden I had carried for years as quickly as one could drop a 50-pound sack of potatoes and stand up straight.

And that is how peace can come. One soul at a time, insight by insight, washing across the earth in a series of gentle, illuminating insights, as individuals find peace of mind and set aside the darkness of chaos to enter the dawn. It is within the power of each of us, all of us, to find the wisdom that sets us free to see beyond the illusions of insecurity.

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