What is the meaning of life?
What is the meaning of my life?
I see breathtaking beauty and soul-rending pain. Joyful creation and thoughtless destruction. Nobility, courage, fear, shame playfulness, curiosity, frustration, disappointment, striving, devotion, despair and alienation, boundless love and uncomprehensible violence.
I see that each day is an opportunity to notice and appreciate the countless miracles around me, to see the experiences, knowledge and capabilities I choose. But how will I choose?
I see too that as my thoughts beliefs, emotions and desires are manifest in words and deeds, this energy of mine affects the world around me. Will I wound or heal? Nurture or destroy? Amuse? Anger? Inspire?
My days seem to have slipped away so quickly – so many lost to distraction, to stress, to impulse, spent in response to others’ needs and expectations or sometimes just in the numbness of exhaustion. But I have come finally to this place of wanting to choose – wanting to consciously dedicate the life energy with which I’ve been gifted. To choose a meaning for my life – or at least an aspiration.
Peace – as essential and elusive to the human heart as it is to the affairs of mankind. Peace – at once gentle and powerful, requiring openness, acceptance and compassion as well as courage, strength and discipline. Faith. Hope. Love.
Peace which can change a life, a family, a community, a nation, the world.
I have long felt drawn to the great teachers of peace – Buddha, Jesus, Gandhi, King – and the incredible power of their teachings even when imperfectly realized. But my reason for choosing peace is more immediate. The practice of peace is the only answer I see to the needless cycles of hurt and pain occurring around me every day. My hope is at the very least to cease to contribute to that cycle – to heal my own fear and pain so that I no longer lash out at others, creating pain in them which they may in turn pass on. Rather, I see the ability to hold a space of peaceful presence; to witness, absorb and release expressions of anger and fear from others and return to them love. If this can, in some small way, lessen the amount of pain in the world, it will be enough. If in doing so, others were inspired to do the same, it would be the most I could ask for from my life.
I write for two purposes: first to chart a path for myself – to explore and articulate my thoughts and beliefs about peace and the challenges to it. Second, this is a call to others of like mind, in hopes of creating a dialogue and community in which we can explore and pursue peace together. Peace can only come to the world one heart at a time. The support we can offer one another will give us each strength on the path. The creativity and inspiration born of collaboration will energize and teach us, and the joining of our energies and intenions will multiply the good we can do.