IDEAS OF PEACE
Am I saving the possibility of being in peace for last? If I am, time out. A change of
plans is required. That is not what I want to put off till the end. I need to feel peace
every day that I am alive.
I go around the world talking about peace, and I have understood one thing: People
don’t even know what it is. Nobody has a clue.
Some people think that peace is when people put flowers in their hair and dance in
the streets, and when they meet, they hug each other. When they go to a restaurant,
if the waiter was good to them, then after they’re finished, they pay the bill and give
the waiter a hug—no more tips. That is their concept of peace.
Other people think peace is when all the fighting has stopped. Nobody will fight
with anybody else. If your neighbor does something annoying, you’ll just sit there
and pout. And some people think that peace will be the day the trains stop running
and dogs stop barking.
Some people think peace is being on top of a mountain overlooking a beautiful lake
at sunset. When you hear crickets, you say, “Oh, it’s so peaceful.” Next time you see
a cricket, don’t just shoo it away—it’s associated with peace. Of course, if that same
cricket ends up in your bedroom, then peace is over; you declare war on it. And it is
not a question of “wanted: dead or alive.” You want it dead!
The peace I am talking about is the peace without which we would lose the very
fabric of who we are, the peace that dances in the heart of everyone. The reality. The
beauty. The joy. The true peace—not an absence of something, but the very presence
of something. That is what is alive. That is what is possible. Even in the middle of a
war, a person can experience this peace.
Some people think freedom is when you get away from your house for the weekend.
To teenagers, freedom is when they leave their parents’ house. Freedom to parents
is when their teenagers actually leave, not just threaten to leave, but actually leave.
Is that freedom?
Freedom from my troubles. Is that freedom? Freedom from my concerns. Is that
freedom? Freedom from my responsibilities. Is that freedom?
I talk about a freedom that can be felt even in a prison. That’s the freedom that
no one can take away from me. Peace that cannot be disturbed—that is real peace.
Freedom that cannot be taken away—that is real freedom.