Good medicine – the therapeutic benefits of reading
A sailor’s tale: Whatever became of the Mary Celeste

What is peace? And how can we spread it around?


An entry in the 2016 Crocodile Prize

EVERY day the death toll is rising, the number of refugees is increasing, children are being abused; violence is swelling; and here I am wondering why.

I have not lived two decades in this world but I have already witnessed at first hand violence, discrimination, brutality and suffering.

Peace is “the non-warring condition of a nation, group of nations or the world; mutual harmony; freedom from civil commotion of violence; freedom of mind from annoyance, distraction, anxiety and obsession”. So says the Online Dictionary.

Personally I believe that peace comes from within; that it is simply acceptance.

I am talking of acceptance of my current situation and my past; acceptance of the mistakes I have made; acceptance of life’s disappointments and failures; acceptance that in life there are good times and there are bad times.

I know of many people who say that they are happy and at peace and who wear big smiles and laugh loudly. But ask them how they really when you’re alone with them and there is no one around and you will hear the truth.

It is the same story for the people who seem the coolest or the people who seem the happiest or for the people who are always willing to lend an ear; they all can have sleepless nights accompanied by tears and fears as they feel trapped within walls of anger and frustration.

Then they build higher walls of isolation to protect that which is hurting and broken. To them peace is like an umbrella on a rainy day; carried around in front of everyone and left at the doorstep before entering the house.

Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nobody can bring you peace but yourself.”

I believe that peace is not a mathematical formula to be taught and applied in a given situation. Peace is like an individual’s calling in life; some people find their calling at a young age simply because of the environment they were raised in; others find their calling within themselves as they journey through life.

This world is designed so that after a storm there is always a beautiful sunrise, but it takes a person who is willing to rise up early, regardless of what happened the previous night, to witness that wonderful morning ray of hope.

Peace is that stillness within yourself when you accept the situation you are in and focus on the solution rather than the problem.

Peace is hope. People who full of hope are by far the most peaceful people. We lose peace when we lose hope.

Fantasies are not hope. They are unconsciously created in the minds of people who are in despair or who have hardships and heartaches. People imagine a superhero who will save the day. Everybody awaits that hero; but who is that hero?

I believe that being appreciative and accepting; finding sympathy and empathy within ourselves; extending a hand of support to our neighbour regardless of our situation are characteristic of the manner in which peace is truly within us.

From within, it builds; pours out of our heart and flourishes in our mind, body and soul. I feel the presence of peace when I remind myself there are people whose challenges in life are far greater than mine.

Sometimes when we help those who are in need, we tend to find the solution to our own problems. Sometimes when we redirect our focus to helping another person find peace, we see that our problems are no longer as big as we thought they were.

Real peace is a lifestyle, not an act. It can be found only within ourselves, not from searching without.

Peace is like a smile, it starts from within an individual once we find our inner peace and we give hope to the person beside us to find theirs.

Once we all find our inner peace; then and only then shall the world be in peace.


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