“Pray for Peace.” “Peace not war.” “Peace be with you.” “Peace.” “Be at Peace.” “Peace among us.” “Work for Peace.” “Peace Advocate.”
These are all words reflective of what we desire and what we often see painted on protest signs, written in graffiti on walls and freight trains. Peace. Peace. Peace. We all want peace, but sometimes I wonder if in asking for peace we are asking for enough.
Is Peace Enough?
When I hear the word, peace, several images come to mind.
A cessation of violence.
The end of war.
A diminishing of conflict between people, nations, etc.
Yes, it would be great if conflict between people diminished, if war came to an end and if humanity would cease from trying to resolve its issues through violence. However, I don’t think this is enough, because in reality, one of the ways we can have peace and put a stop to violence is to simply build more walls and after the walls are built, to hide behind them. This does nothing to bring us together, which is ultimately WHY we are here.
Envisioning a New World
My proposal is that we begin by asking for more than peace, praying for more than peace, working for more than peace. In a word, what we are asking for might be love – but it is much more so even than love – at least in the way that we commonly understand love in our Western culture. Love in this sense is known by an unconditional positive regard, seeing and treating every single human being as sacred, precious and holy; reaching out our hand in kindness; working for justice; tending to all those in need; making sure that all people’s needs are being met for food, clothing, shelter, education, adequate medical care; but even more than this, making sure that every man, woman and child has what they need to thrive – to become self-actualized, to find meaning, purpose and connection in this life. Love, in this sense, means caring for our planet, making sure that all species are cared for, that the earth is treated as the sacred temple on which we dwell and the sacred source of our nourishment, sustenance and support. Love means reaching out in curiosity to those we might view as different or who hold differing beliefs or born into lifestyles different from our own. Love means treating EVERY human being as sacred and holy, not just those “like us.”
Praying for More than Peace
As I sat in meditation over this question, a powerful meditation practice presented itself to me. I want to share this practice with you here today. If you feel so called, please join with me in praying for more than peace by engaging in this practice, both in your time set aside for your daily spiritual practice and when going about the business of your everyday life:
1) KNOW that the love that you desire to be made manifest in this world resides within you and is, in fact, your intimate connection with God – the place where you remember your Oneness in love with God.
2) Enter into that place of LOVE that dwells within you. Feel this love. Experience its uplifting, peaceful and expansive nature. Notice that this love does not want to remain constrained within you but that it wants to go out into the world.
3) Imagine this LOVE that dwells within you as a huge ball of energy. Visualize and feel this love centered somewhere near your heart. Intend that this love be shared with the world so that it can turn our world from fear into love.
4) “Send” that LOVE forth from within you, out into the world. Imagine this love like a blanket of energy going out into the world and making the world into something new. As you are sending the love forth from you, feel how it uplifts you and expands forth from you.
5) Imagine other people joining you in this prayer of love. See the LOVE originating in all corners of the world, spreading out and expanding across the globe. See and feel the world bathed in this love.
6) After you have sent love around the world, offer a prayer of gratitude to the Source of LOVE who has planted this love within you and through whom the sending of this love was possible.
Thank you for your help in making the world new – changing our world from a world of fear to a world of love.
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– Sehme Aniyakah, Sehme Oniyahkah