Christmas is a great time to re-reflect on the need for peace in our families, tribes and planet. We often hear about the need to reduce personal violence or eliminate war, or better yet, to embrace peace. Making peace with people is the right thing to do, but perhaps there is an even better plan than some amorphous peace.
What if, instead of identifying with a fuzzy kind of peace and brotherly love, we focused on the two specific things I so often blog about: acting with Gratitude and enabling Understanding with those connections we have now?
Peace is a good choice and a civilized principle that helps us to avoid anger and violence. As grownups we know that there is a better path that includes the benefits of finding joint solutions. And beyond using political diplomacy is the will to understand those people and situations that bother us. This allows us to live without fear of those troublesome aspects of connection.
Fear, the Great Barrier to Peace
All of us are badgered by fears of multiple sorts, crippling our efforts at peaceful coexistence. And typically we believe that it is other people that are responsible for our discomfort. But what makes us truly afraid is the fear lurking within ourselves. Too often we don’t Understand that others are sorting out and reacting to their fears, living in fear of their unknown. In other words, afraid of what they do not yet Understand.
Yes, others are very much like us and it may just be their fears that show us the truth about fear itself. But how will we come to grips with that if we don’t reach out to Understand others? And when we reach out to find Understanding beyond ourselves, we learn that our problem was not where we thought it was. It was simply within ourselves doing to us what fear does….or tries to do: shut us off from others.
Enter Gratitude, the Next Step Toward Peace
At this point we can let the fears be known and assigned a smaller role. This allows us to entertain Gratitude where fear used to live. I have learned to be Grateful for Understanding, for fear, for brains that learn and then move forward. All of us can begin to have Gratitude that others are different, that we can work together, and for the freshness that each connection allows us to feel. We can give a place in our hearts to what is known as common respect, not out of principle but out of appreciation.
Gratitude for one another is the antidote to fear within, both imagined and real. This grows into Gratitude that the unfounded fears have no place to grow.
Thank you for reading my Christmas message of peace and I wish each reader as much Understanding and Gratitude as they can hold. Not just a comfortable peace, but a knowing that can never be taken away.
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PS. I just found a week after making this post a quote from Albert Einstein that speaks directly to the above Christmas message:
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.”