I promise there won’t be so much text to read for the rest of the series!

I’m going to speak personally, among friends, here. I hope you won’t mind if I refer to you by “name.” Your comments in these diaries are so thought-full that I feel that almost any one of them could be the basis for a diary of its own. Since yesterday, for instance, I’ve been thinking about sbj’s idea that “peace is a verb,” and that you can’t have too much compassion and brotherhood in the world. I have been mulling supersoling’s desire for “change for many. Now.” And Katiebird’s and Second Nature’s honest confessions of a fear that a lot of people have, which is that life may “call” us to do exactly what we’re the most scared to do, and “ask” us to give up what we cherish most. Tampopo illuminated how Peace’s description of the energy she felt is the exact opposite of being “burned-out.” Ductape Fatwa pointed out that while we are not all cut out to follow Peace’s exact path, we are all cut out to be able to make a decision not to hate in this moment. Songbh was struck by the fact that Peace didn’t do it over-night, that 15 years of hard training preceded her walk. Wilderness wench said that when she reads about other people’s self-realization, what jumps out at her is, first of all, the fact that they successfully engaged in the process, and second, how they “measure” their progress.

I could go on here doing nothing but quoting you back at yourselves, but I need to give Peace a chance to talk again. Here is the next short section from the pamphlet we’re using as a launching pad for our own thoughts, worries, fears, aggravations, resentments, hopes, conflicts, dreams, actions, ideas about peace. At one time or another, she had all of those, too. Martin Luther King Jr. was frightened a lot of the time (it makes my heart ache just to type that), but still he marched. The Dalai Lama has lived through the genocide, direct and evilly indirect, of his people, and he’s still able to laugh and rub noses with Barbara Walters (!). Nelson Mandela spent decades in prison, and emerged in serenity to lead his nation. Peace’s path appears more modest, but I think that her very “ordinariness” makes her seem maybe a bit more accessible to the rest of us who have our own paths that are different from all of theirs.

(In the following excerpt, the boldfaced emphasis is mine.)

In Peace Pilgrim’s own words, reprinted with permission from Steps Toward Inner Peace.

It was only at this time, in 1953, that I felt guided or called or motivated to begin my pilgrimage for peace in the world-a journey undertaken traditionally.  The tradition of the pilgrimage is a journey undertaken on foot and on faith, prayerfully and as an opportunity to contact people.  I wear a lettered tunic in order to contact people.  It says `PEACE PILGRIM’ on the front.  I feel that’s my name now-it emphasizes my mission instead of me.  And on the back it says, `25,000 MILES ON FOOT FOR PEACE.’  The purpose of the tunic is merely to make contacts for me.  Constantly as I walk along the highways and through the cities, people approach me and I have a chance to talk with them about peace.
    I have walked 25,000 miles as a penniless pilgrim.  I own only what I wear and what I carry in my small pockets.  I belong to no organization.  I have said that I will walk until given shelter and fast until given food, remaining a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.  And I can truthfully tell you that without ever asking for anything, I have been supplied with everything needed for my journey, which shows you how good people really are.
    With me I carry always my peace message: This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love. There is nothing new about this message, except the practice of it.  And the practice of it is required not only in the international situation but also in the personal situation.  I believe the situation in the world is a reflection of our own immaturity.  If we were mature, harmonious people, war would be no problem whatever-it would be impossible.
    All of us can work for peace.  We can work right where we are, right within ourselves, because the more peace we have within our own lives, the more we can reflect into the outer situation.
 In fact, I believe that the wish to survive will push us into some kind of uneasy world peace which will then need to be supported by a great inner awakening if it is to endure.  I believe we entered a new age when we discovered nuclear energy, and that this new age calls for a new renaissance to lift us to a higher level of understanding so that we will be able to cope with the problems of this new age.  So, primarily my subject is peace within ourselves as a step toward peace in our world.

Introductory Diary: LINK:
Yesterday’s Diary: LINK:
Tomorrow: The Four Preparations
Thursday: The Four Preparations, continued
Friday: The Four Purifications
Next Week: The Four Relinquishments

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