When you hear someone make a reference to ‘world peace,’ what goes through your mind?
– Gosh, I hope I get to see that in my lifetime;
– What are you, some kind of hippie-peace-freak from the 60s;
– I don’t see that happening – ever;
Or do you simply think,
Rather than being in the doom-and-gloom perspective, or even the critical or apathetic perspectives, I find myself closer to the “Polyanna” end of the spectrum. Although I don’t go all the way to thinking it will happen during my lifetime, I’d love to be proven wrong on that.
It is a pretty big dream, I’ll admit. And maybe it won’t ever happen. Who knows? I certainly don’t.
What I do know, however, is that it definitely won’t happen, if we don’t do one very important thing:
Be the change.
Yeah, I know we hear that a lot these days. But to me, it’s more than just a platitude. I think of it as more of a call to being and a call to action. It’s a call which, should we choose to answer it, invites each of us to do our part in the noble quest for World Peace. What an opportunity.
It’s World Peace Day, 2014.
The grassroots movement of World Peace Day was started in 1997 by a man named Don Morris. Maybe you’ve heard of Mr. Morris by a different name. He also goes by “Peaceguy.”
Peaceguy wrote a prayer, which is posted below. It’s beautiful and moving; inspiring and motivating. In it, he makes many important points. I believe that praying this prayer, using it as a mantra, or simply reading it often, is one of the ways we have a chance of making the grand and exquisite vision of World Peace a reality. And at the end of the prayer, he points out another way, his most vital point of all:
To change the world, we must change ourselves.
There’s that message again.
Here is Peaceguy’s Prayer.
May the people on this planet be changed.
Changed from hatred to love,
Changed from greed to giving,
Changed from selfishness to selflessness,
Changed from apathy to action,
Changed from jealousy to joy over someone’s accomplishments,
Changed from intolerance to acceptance,
Changed from being destructive to being constructive,
Changed from fighting to peace,
Changed from killing to protecting life,
Changed from censorship to freedom,
Changed from ignorance to education,
Changed from fearing our differences to rejoicing our variety.
May we each take it upon ourselves to feed the hungry, cure the sick,
House the homeless, educate the illiterate, love the unloved,
Compete to do the right thing instead of winning at any cost,
Make heroes that teach our children to
Make the world a better place instead of glorifying violence and war,
Stand up and speak out against things that are wrong
Instead of sitting back and waiting for someone else,
Demand honesty from our governments,
Demand honesty from ourselves.
May we each take responsibility for our own actions
And realize that by refusing to change ourselves,
We condone all the evils in the world.
If one person changes they teach others by example,
Who in turn change and teach more,
One person becomes as a pebble rolling down a mountain,
Picking up more pebbles as it continues,
Becoming an avalanche of change.
It can happen, it must happen, it will happen.
I’m just about to reach the “too long” mark for this post (or maybe I’ve already passed it). I don’t want to run you off before you finish it (and miss the treats at the end, so I’ll do my best to wrap it up.
I plan to become a part of World Peace Movement, to get on the “Peace Train,” in the words of Cat Stevens. But I’m going to start small. Maybe I’ll make some origami peace cranes as Peaceguy suggests (and gives instructions for) on the World Peace Day website. Or maybe my gesture will be something even simpler, such as driving with my headlights on, as he also suggests.
Frankly, I think what matters more than what we do, is that we do something. I also think it matters that, while we’re doing that something, we do it with the vision of World Peace in hearts and our minds.
So this is my plan: tomorrow – maybe even today – I will make my own unique contribution in an effort to one day bring about World Peace.
Are you with me? I hope you are, whether it’s on November 17, December 17, or sometime in 2017. I promise you’ll be in good company.
In fact, here’s a message from some astronauts at the International Space Station:
And here’s a message from Cat Stevens/Yusef Islam who was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame:
Call me a Polyanna, but I think we can do it.
And so did Margaret Mead. It was she who said,
Never believe that a few caring people can’t change to world. For, indeed, that’s all who ever have.
Amen and Peace!