What does peace mean to you?

With what’s happening in the world now, how are you letting that affect your inner peace?

By Anjaan

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Published: Thu 24 Mar 2022, 6:22 PM

Is it something that happens on the outside? Or an inner state that we can cultivate? We all agree that peace means to live in harmony, to live without fear that someone will harm you. But with what’s happening in the world now, how are you letting that affect your inner peace?

“People used to think about a new car or iPhone, but nobody was thinking about peace. Now, we are dreaming of it. When old people used to wish each other peace, we didn’t understand what they meant. Now we do.”

This was said by Natalia Balasynovych, the young mayor of Vasylkiv, a Ukrainian city under attack.

Karma — the course of action

What is the best course of action for a human life? Why should we do good, and not bad? The wise Buddha said that our tendencies for action, whether good or bad, exist at three levels:

Level #1. Latent

Level #2. Arising all around

Level #3. Going beyond

The first is simply a potential. Imagine you have a tendency to get angry at other people, but right now are feeling relaxed. Therefore, your emotions and thoughts of anger are not part of your conscious awareness.

The second level is the perception and experience of these emotions — now conscious and active. The third when they translate into thoughts, actions, speech or body activities.

Clearly, the most dangerous is the third level, when it is no longer private but public. Ironically, it’s also the easiest to tackle, since it is visible.

How to deal with these

In Zen Buddhism, the way to deal with each level of actions (karma) is by

1. Developing wisdom from experience for the first.

2. Developing meditation for the second (training the mind to not be scattered is the result of meditation).

3. Developing an inner moral conduct for the third.

Knowing that you can control how you react to situations gives you the inner power to find peace.

What is peace?

The world is now a victim of the fires of greed, excessive desire, ill will and hatred. What’s happening in Ukraine highlights these fires. Peace is the ability to understand and experience this cyclical nature of phenomena.

We are all going through a cycle: we were born, we reach a physical peak, and then deterioration, sickness and death follow. Can you see this is the natural way of things? This too shall pass.

The regular reflection of these three characteristics, of change, dissatisfaction, and lack of constancy, with the support of morality and meditation, can slowly transform how we deal with the fires of greed, hatred and unawareness.

The fires might burn outside but we can find solace within. This is Peace. Having reactions of kindness, love, and wisdom and living in the present with gratitude, will give you relief and real peace within. We are going to get through this stronger and wiser. Stay resilient.


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