Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Striving for Peace: A way to reduce Stress and Tension

The New Year is coming.  2021!  And there is a lot of potential for peace in it.  The reason is because it's not hear yet and so we can set our intention on making it a peaceful year.  It's all in knowing what we want to accomplish.  

Setting an intention has a slightly different flavor to it than setting a goal or a resolution.  An intention indicates that something is the aim, and all efforts that follow will keep that aim in mind.

If we have a certain intention, then "most" of the activity and energy we apply in that direction is for the purpose of that intention, and therefore, we try to avoid activity and energy that is not going to serve that intention.  So having an intention to make 2021 a peaceful year should be full of activity that strives for peace.  You won't do it perfectly and yes, you will slip up.  But the idea is to move in that direction for the most part.

There is an area of study called "Peace studies", or sometimes called "Peace and Conflict studies."   The Institute for International Peace Studies at Notre Dame defines "peace" as "not just the absence of war", but also as "the presence of the conditions of a just and sustainable peace, including access to food and clean water, education for women and children, and security from physical harm."  In other words, there is "negative" peace, which is the absence of direct violence; and there is "positive" peace, which is the presence of justice.

So we have to look at the direction of our intention when we say we are striving for peace.  I'm sure many of us have heard ourselves and others claim we want peace, but then our actions and behavior don't necessarily seem intended toward something that looks like peace in the end.  To strive toward negative peace, we have to discontinue our own forms of violence, and to strive toward positive peace, we have to strive toward justice of many kinds.

Bringing peace to your daily life includes bringing peace to your community, including your home, neighborhood, town and city.  So as you approach 2021, try to set your intention on less violence in all of its many forms, while also moving toward actions that support justice, which means acting in accordance with "moral rightness based on ethics"--and that includes fairness.

If you want to be a part of a peaceful 2021 it's going to mean taking a look at yourself and your own daily thoughts and behavior.  If you find yourself thinking you are not a part of the problem, sit with that for a moment and try to dig a little deeper.  Look until you see a human place where you can change for the better and be a part of the solution. 

Thanks to John Attebury for the great photo (quote added),