I have to live my life looking toward the future, whether I have many years ahead of me or very few. What possibility do I see for our common future? What do I want to give myself to in the time that I have? I have chosen to work for peace. As soon as I say the word “peace,” myriad ways to promote it rush into my mind. There are political, environmental and social action groups, non-profit organizations, public forums, religious and humanitarian associations, academic programs and think-tanks that are all engaged in this endeavor. I am inspired by others’ insights and efforts and am very willing to support them.
In addition, it is clear to me that I need to work for peace by delving into the resources of my path. To work for peace must mean to nourish it, to cultivate an environment in my inner and outer life that expresses this possibility. It’s important to orient myself to work for peace rather than merely against what I perceive as an obstacle to peace. I have been experimenting.
One friend suggested praying for peace every day at a certain time. I chose noon. Noon often comes around when I am in the middle of an activity. If I am walking from one place to another, I collect my thoughts and remember, for example, how much people who are caught in a war zone are longing for peace. The sense of having to stop in some way, even if only interiorly, marks the importance of the prayer. But one day, feeling that this prayer was lifting me out of my immediate environment, I paused to take in where I actually was. I heard children playing in a nearby schoolyard, and I realized, “Of course, peace means praying for the well-being and happiness of the children right here, not to mention the well-being and happiness of their teachers and families!” It felt good to bring my prayer for peace back into my immediate surroundings.
I want so much that the children in my neighborhood today and the children whom I see on the television or in the newspapers will grow up appreciating other people’s views and cultures, will know how to resolve their conflicts, and take responsibility for creating and sustaining peace in the world. This marvelous possibility that I glimpse demands of me my energy and time right now, because I realize that the future we are all walking toward is mysteriously and wonderfully bound up with the way each one of us perceives and lives this present moment.