"It is not enough to win a war; it is more important to organize the peace." -- Aristotle
Sitting in front of the television listening to the news, one is bound to wonder if there's any way to help those in immediate need. How can we ever alleviate starvation and suffering as well as fear and hatred? Humanity, with faltering steps, walks a knife-edge between complete chaos and a possible golden age. While strong forces push toward chaos, we must remember to put the welfare of the whole human family in the forefront.
Is peace possible in our lifetime? Where do we begin to make it a reality? Recently, a friend lent me a book about a silver-haired woman who called herself "Peace Pilgrim." From 1953 to 1981, Peace Pilgrim walked over 25,000 miles--a distance a bit over the circumference of the globe--vowing to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace."
A penniless pilgrim, she belonged to no organization. Her message, "overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth and hatred with love," is not a new one. However, it is a powerful one. The practice of this message is required in our personal situation as well as in the international situation.
Peace Pilgrim explained that before we can have harmony among nations, groups and individuals, we must obtain the all-important inner peacefulness.
"This inner peace," she said, "is oneness and respect for all fellow human beings and with all creation."
By claiming God, though no formal religion, Peace Pilgrim was strong on practicing The Golden Rule: Do for others as you would have them do for you.
"The Golden Rule, which governs all human conduct, applies as rigidly as the law of gravity," she said.
Through compliance with The Golden Rule, this frightened, war-weary world of ours could enter into a period of nonviolence and richness beyond our fondest dreams.
"All of us can be peace workers," said Peace Pilgrim. "We can work right where we are, right within ourselves, because the more tranquility we have within our own lives, the more we can reflect it into the outer world."
In fact, her dream was for humanity to work together to bring concord into all un-peaceful situations.
"Stop judging others," she said. "Just concentrate on thinking, living and acting for peace. In reality, you cannot change anyone except yourself. Subsequently, by being an example, you can inspire others through good, not evil, deeds."
Service to others, not taking from others, is the first step to reconciling the world. It is through compassion, not hate, that we can drive out evil and darkness. Those who work for peace must be supported by this great inner awakening if their work is to endure and not falter.
"We must continue to speak for peace, live the way of peace and inspire others to know the possibility of peace," said Peace Pilgrim.
"The day the power of love overrules the love of power, the world will know peace." -- Mahatma Gandhi