Today is the International Day of Peace established by the United Nations in 1981. I was lucky to be part of a local group who helped coordinate events throughout our city, many of which took place this past week or this weekend, such as the talk by Rajahon Gandhi on Wed and the orchestra concert last night. However, the local group (Peace Coalition) made a move to make the entire month of September peace month locally. Therefore, events will continue even after today. At my college, students, faculty, and staff have started a peace chain (wrist bands on which people have written vows of peace that are linked together) that we have hung on the bridge that spans the creek on campus. It’s a great visual. Tomorrow we plan to dedicate the peace pole (a marker that has May Peace Prevail on Earth written in different languages on it) that the college purchased.
Peace is something that I think starts on the inside. Aside from the absence of war or violence, dictionary.com defines peace as a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, and a state of tranquility and harmony and freedom from strife or dissension. Unless you can find peace within yourself, you can’t have it in a lasting way with others. I think too many people walk around with a war on the inside because they haven’t come to terms with who they are as a person and what role they have in this great play we call life. “Finding yourself” is often said in a disparaging way, but in the basic sense of the term, I see it as self-acceptance. Not an easy thing for most of us in a society that is constantly pushing impossible ideals. I like this quote from Nathaniel Branden, a psychotherapist and writer, Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself. In fact, I always wear a ring on my right hand which bears the inscription “peace” on it because I’m thankful for the reminder that peace starts with me. With my own state of harmony. I’m grateful to have been part of the peace activities this week.