By Joseph Antoine, President, Friends of the Earth, Grenada.
“We are in need of an integrity of being that recognises the disregarded inner world. I mean integrity in the true sense of the word, the sense that addresses a human wholeness and completeness an entirety of living, with body, land, and the human self in relationship with all the rest and with a love that remembers itself.” Linda Hogan, Wisewoman, 1996.
International Day of Peace is recognised this Sunday, 21 September. Maybe we can spend some time thinking about peace, health and sustainability and then look at our personal responsibility in relation to these issues. Living in peace with ourselves and our neighbours is a choice we can all make. Living in peace and harmony increases our possibility of living in good health, without stress, frustration and anger. When we choose to have a positive outlook on all aspects of life, we are making an effort to create peace within ourselves; to challenge the negatives and the naysayers, to not see the world from a fearful point of view but to see it as a number of possibilities, ones that we can create and develop, always with a peaceful manner. Peace is our natural state of being; it resides within us. We just need to let go of the thoughts that seem to contradict it.
If we really believe that we are an innately peaceful people as the Buddhists insist, then we will approach everyone with an attitude of wanting to ease their burden or to be of service. We will develop skills of empathy and compassion for our fellow beings, we will see our neighbours as a reflection of ourselves.
How will you know when you are propagating peace?
a) When you stay in the present at all times, knowing that the future is created by every act and thought you indulge in.
b) When you continue to refuse to be coerced into aggression and conflict, always aiming for agreement and solutions that please all parties.
c) When you remain in a peaceful frame of mind despite everything being in flux around you.
d) When you practise responding instead of reacting when your gut wrenches again telling you that your buttons are being pushed, your old wounds are being opened.
e) When you refuse to be dragged into taking sides in an argument, staying open to all points of view and making attempts to mediate and offer solutions.
f) When you are practising being peaceful, you know that you cannot be engaged in a battle. We do not gain peace by going to war. As an unknown author said, “They march out from barracks of morality to commit greater immorality,” and as Thomas a Kempis said, “First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.”
Maintaining harmony also applies when we are thinking of what we put into the earth, which in turn finds itself in the food we eat. This affects our health and then we find ourselves in the doctor’s surgery ingesting more chemicals to negate the ones we ate in our food, an ever growing spiral of destruction of the human body. The approach to medical intervention has become one of ‘medicate or amputate’ and when we take some of these medicines it can be compared to dropping a bomb on a city, such is the devastation.
Approaching life holistically assists in the generation of personal peace, taking control of our diets and the kind of lifestyle we indulge in empowers us; when we are not in conflict with our surroundings we have energy to spend doing the things which bring us joy and happiness.
‘Take a day to heal from the lies you have told yourself, and the ones that have been told to you.” Maya Angelou.