Peace Begins With Our Minds

The good occurring in this world isn’t newsworthy nor is it widely discussed. Good deeds won’t capture our attention like a natural disaster or a conspiracy plot come to light, but that is attributed to the way the good is portrayed. The good in a breaking story can be quite boring; it is, after all, the drama that seductively pulls us in. We enjoy our stories when they’re unpredictable and chaotic. Our anticipation verges on obsession when a twist of events shatters what we thought we knew about the world. Whether it is real or fiction, a tragic story makes long stretching waves. More specifically, an act of nefarious violence, like terrorism, sends that shock wave, like a volcano erupting and spewing ash to coat the sky. The lava flows from the news to the cinema and vice versa. The violence unleashes the powers of hell; it effects our lives, our creations, our attitudes, and our future. There is, however, a source of all this unrest: our minds. Fear can weaken, fragment a mind no matter how attune to reason it is, no matter how wise the person has become. Self-righteousness has equal disastrous effects.

If we allow our fear to guide our thoughts, by excessive pride or worry, impatience or possessiveness, our lives will crumble to dust before we even die. Even if we aren’t brave enough to confront what terrifies us, we rationalize our choices to keep us safe as if we’re tucked away inside a chamber depriving us of our good sense. Fear itself, of course, is a useful emotion that lends us the strength to face adversity and the chaos of wars over resources, religion, and property. Nevertheless, the consistent feeding of fear makes our lives miserable. We actually aren’t as ugly, stupid, and weak as we sometimes think we are. We also don’t have to overcompensate for our insecurity with narcissism. There must be balanced thought when it comes to our self-image, but that is difficult to master as it’s not a simple task. Is it really that surprising to see drama and suffering unfolding in our creations, which spill out into our streets, our homes, and our families?

If we care one iota about enjoying our lives and our children, we need to focus on our fear, our anger, the irrational thoughts that lead to suffering. All good action, all bad action starts with our minds. If we reinforce our irrational anger against the world, how can we expect the world to facilitate our happiness? We can choose to keep our rational thought, practice taming our emotions to create a peaceful society. Although, being in control of our wild emotions does not give us license to judge or humiliate the ones acting on their anger and hurting others. The people who mistreat each other are no different than us. Let’s not pretend that through discipline and the monitoring of our emotions, we become divine beings whose purpose is to correct the mere mortals. Our wrath only proves how little we’ve examined ourselves. Sometimes condemning, casting out the instigator can make matters much worse anyway.

What might improve our situation is leaning into our intense fear. Out of sheer self-preservation, with our senses heightened we can defend not only people we love, but the notion of good itself. Fear is useful. The only time when fear outgrows it’s utility is when we let it paralyze us. Unpleasant emotions shouldn’t be eradicated, only examined and used for our benefit. By leveraging the energy that evokes violence we can create a more peaceful world for ourselves. Our emotions create the world we live in, even if we bury them and allow them to fester inside. The chaos that the news brings to our media devices might entertain us much more than our efforts to clean up the destruction, but we’d all rather live in a peaceful world. A peaceful world decides to watch less destruction and without trying to control, make still the collective mind. The wisdom of knowing why we feel what we feel and dealing with that appropriately creates this kind of world.