I shall build a more peaceful world.

This I believe with all my heart: if we want to be a free and peaceful world, if we want to make the deserts bloom, we can do it. — Eleanor Roosevelt

Peace. The word brings memories of people like Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Nelson Mandela — all great men of peace. With all the wars, conflicts and acts of terrorism, we hear about daily, it is hard to imagine a peaceful world. But, the mere absence of war does not make peace.

Working to achieve peace does not mean giving up power, resigning yourself to do whatever is asked. It is not being meek. It means working to unite people, and that takes power and vision. It means having, like Martin Luther King did, a dream, and being willing to fight for that dream. Not a fight with fists or guns, but rather a goal to strive for by means of voice and nonviolence.

Peace is also tranquility. It is not creating noise that pollutes the air — such as not cranking the boom-box, or yelling, or swearing. It is also knowing what strength lies in silence.

As Franklin D. Roosevelt once said, “Peace, like charity, begins at home.” Like the victim of abuse that perpetuates the abuse to another generation of children, peace (or anger) passes through family and example. For those who grow up in homes where there is constant fighting, to strive for peace is itself a battle. It is easier from these circumstances to strike back or to yell than it is to control the tongue and think about ramifications. Sometimes , it is easier to deal with anger than with love. Much like the young boy throwing starfish back into the sea, this part of the student oath is a reminder that we must strivre for peace as individuals and together. One person cannot create “peace.” If each of us works to create just a little more peace in our part of the world, it will grow.

Several Chrismases ago, a local bookstore featured holiday windows centered around peace instead of Christmas and Chanukkah. A thousand origami cranes hung in the windows. Giant Picasso doves covered the walls. Running through the windows was the word peace in over 190 languages, forming a long banner. Creating these windows was a labor of love for me. Countless unpaid hours went into folding the cranes and researching the words of peace. I loved putting it together. Everyone at the store, myself included, assumed that it would win one of the prizes for the Church Street decoration contest. It didn’t. But what it did do was get parents and kids talking about the reason for the thousand paper cranes, about what the word for peace was for grandma or great-grandma, about what exactly peace was. We even got a letter at the store about the windows saying: “…Another encouragement to folks to imagine a better world and to see what they can do to contribute to such a pathway..Thank you for all those colors of hope!”.

Building a more peaceful world can be as simple as that or as a website with those words of peace. It’s a step. As Lao Tse said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

Random thoughts on building a peaceful world.

To promote the sense of morality one must treat others with faithfulness and sincerity based on righteousness and completely eliminate vicious thinking. — Confucius

When one’s thoughts are neither frivolous nor flippant, when one’s thoughts are neither stiff-necked nor stupid, but rather harmonious they habitually render physical calm or insight. — Hildegarde of Bingen

Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding. – Albert Einstein

True peace is not merely the absence of tension, but it is the presence of justice and brotherhood. — Martin Luther King, Jr.

Make me an instrument of your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love; where there is injury, pardon; where there is doubt, faith; where there is despair, hope; where there is darkness, light; and where there is sadness, joy. — St. Francis

I think great damage has been done by people romanticizing the image of a gentle warrior, a peaceful warrior, although I understand the intent. It’s honorable. But I think we have to come up with another word. To use the word warrior in that respect is to confuse the issue. A “good person,” a “brave man,” “courageous woman,” those are better. — Riki Moss (It’s like dancing…an Aikido Journey)

For the uncontrolled there is no wisdom, nor for the uncontrolled is there the power of concentration; and for him without concentration there is no peace. And for the unpeaceful, how can there be happiness? — Bhagavad Gita

To reconcile conflicting parties, we must have the ability to understand the suffering of both sides. If we take sides, it is impossible to do the work of reconciliation. And humans want to take sides. That is why the situation gets worse and worse. Are there people who are still available to both sides? They need not do much. They need only do one thing : go to one side and tell all about the suffering endured by the other side and go to the other side and tell all about the suffering endured by this side. That is our chance for peace. That can change the situation. But how many of us are able to do that? — Thich Nhat Hanh

The man does not live who is more devoted to peace than I am.
None who would do more to preserve it.
But it may be necessary to put the foot down firmly. — Abraham Lincoln

Mankind must remember that peace is not God’s gift to his creatures; peace is our gift to each other. — Elie Wiesel

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