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What Is Peace, Really?
By Art Ramsay, PhD

 Peace is a word that has been tossed around for centuries. It has been used in songs, poems, quotes, movies, and books. Over the past two decades there have probably been more books published about peace, then in the past century. The word even pops up in seasonal celebrations, such as Christmas "peace on earth, good will to men."

 Peace has been recognized by countries, communities, and the world as a whole, as a condition worth striving for. So much so that Swedish inventor Albert Nobel established a 'Peace Prize' before he died in 1896. The first prize was awarded in 1901 by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, and has every year since. It is given to the someone chosen from many nominees, who is basically doing work that furthers the attempt to establish peace between, or within, nations.

 Another attempt to establish peace is through the American Government's Peace Corps, created in 1961 during the Kennedy era. Volunteers spend a specific amount of time in countries requesting assistance in some area that, in their opinion, will promote peace in that country. Diverse areas such as economics, social interactions, industrial, geological, and environmental are a few that have been chosen.

 Out of over 200 'peace organizations' worldwide, The National Peace Foundation, established in 1975 in the United State seems to have many of them under its umbrella. This organization is based on helping people through conflict resolution and peace building.

 Another attempt at peace was put into the United States Government's view in 1793 by Benjamin Rush, about a Federal Government Department of Peace, and has been requested by various organizations since 1925. Congressman Dennis Kucinich introduced a bill in 2001, and has again every two years since to establish such a Department. The National Peace Alliance has supported the legislation as have many other organizations.

 So what does all of this mean? Is the world at peace? Is there 'peace on earth, good will to men'? Are even organizations or most families at peace? Of course, unless you have been living on another planet, you know the answer is emphatically no. Why? I mean with over 200 peace organizations worldwide, books, movies, and other forms of media out there about peace, why is the world still in conflict?

 Well, one reason many of the organizations have not worked is because they are 'anti-' something. Being against war or conflict does not promote peace. You cannot be at peace while being against something; you are merely adding to conflict by protesting conflict. John Lennon says it all "Image there's no countries . . . nothing to kill or die for, and no religion too. Image all the people sharing all the world . . ." Stopping wars and conflict does not bring peace, only a lack of war and conflict; actually a temporary lack of war or conflict.

 Have the peace organizations been successful in what they are attempting? Some have to some extent I am sure. Will they help bring peace to the world soon? Of course not. The only way to bring peace is to add one word inner and then apply it. Peace can only come from within. It can never come from outside. That is why so many peace organizations and other attempts at world peace have never, and will never, work. You cannot bring peace to the world or to yourself, while holding conflict within.

 Inner peace is a state of mind that erases the need for conflict from your life. Don't think you have conflict in your life? Look again. Lack of conflict does not exist; whether it is external or internal, it is there. There is some amount of conflict within me as I write these words. What you do with the feeling of conflict is what is important. The first sentence above says to erase the need for conflict in your life, and there are plenty of people who feel this need.

 Most people have a need to be right, coming from some long-held belief about not being good enough. In A Course In Miracles, it asks "would you rather be right, or happy?" It is always your choice, isn't it? How you deal with that internal need creates conflict, both within you and outside of you. Inner peace opens the door to resolving this conflict quickly and easily.

 World peace can only come from a world full of peaceful people there is no other way. That is why I use the slogan 'peace on earth, one person at a time.' Is it a quick fix? Of course not; there are over six billion people on this planet. Is it easy? No way. I have worked at it for over a decade, and while I have attained a level of inner peace beyond what most people will ever have, I still do not have total inner peace 24/7. I get closer everyday, because I continue to do the work.

 Inner peace is a state of mind that allows you to resolve the issues that will always appear in your life, with ease and grace. I remember the 'famous' statement in Love Story "Love, is never having to say you are sorry." Well mine might be, "Inner peace, is never having to be right." This is what peace is about. While I applaud the many groups and organizations around the world working to end conflict, I believe their efforts could be better served by helping people attain a state of inner peace.

 How do you resolve conflicts in your life, either internal or external? Do you always need to be right, always have to have the last word, feel that people, the world, is against you, cannot do anything right?? The list goes on. Take a hard look at where you are in your relationships, especially those within your immediate family. Your relationship is really within you; the others around you are merely a reflection of what is inside of you. Inner Peace this is where is it is at. Got peace?

 

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