Peace, The Balm To Soothe Troubled Lives And Times
In his masterpiece, "Man's Search for Meaning," Viktor Frankl writes, "Every age has its own collective neurosis and every age needs its own psychotherapy to cope with it." There is a collective neurosis in our world today, it is the cry for peace emanating from individuals, groups, communities and nations, impacting the mass consciousness. The cries and marches for peace, power and freedom that marked recent decades, present a backdrop for today's human conditions of stress, anxiety, insecurity and turmoil. There are as many civil wars and wars between nations. From the individual perspective, the cry for peace is heralded as respite from the turbulence of today's hectic lifestyle. In the past four to five decades we have lived in such a way as to create challenging situations in our lives and create even more havoc as we try to solve the resulting problems.
There is a popular bumper sticker that states, "Peace begins within," and a hymn that is sung in thousands of churches world-wide on Sundays, "Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me." Yes, peace begins within the heart and mind of every person. Until we reignite the flame of peace, love and unity there can be no lasting peace in individuals, among people and nations of the world. Frankl, who lived a life shaped by war, states that, "Man is questioned by life and he can only answer to life by answering to his own life, to life he can only respond by being responsible." The question of whether or not we have lived responsibly in recent decades, has spawned national and international debates.
With the widely reported impending consequences of global warming, catastrophes of war and economic collapses, the outlook is bleak. These impact the human condition as they are fed in large daily doses at breakfast, dinner and all throughout the day. Conditions of fear, stress, anger, frustration, rage, insecurity and strife are the results. For individuals to have lasting peace they must live their lives from the inside out. This idea might send off alarm bells with shouts of hogwash. Well, let us see how real this is and how easily it can be accomplished. "Be in the world but not of the world," was prescribed by one of the great enlightened spiritual minds, eons ago. Is this possible you may ask, I dare to say it is. To the degree that we become caught up in the dictates and excesses of the outside world, is the extent to which we will experience chaos and turbulence and lack inner peace. I had first hand experience of this two decades ago.
For a while I worked as a journalist and it is a well known fact that the profession is demanding and can be stressful. My publisher and editor was an excess living, driven workaholic, who was always in conflicts, off deadlines and antagonistic to life and everyone in it. He would often ask me how I remained so calm and in control, "Nothing seems to bother you," he would state. My response was always the same, "Be in the world but not of the world." He was fascinated by the idea and wanted to know how I accomplish that. He had no knowledge of spiritual matters and showed no interest in learning. He later became an appendage who watched, studied and leaned on me for answers and solutions. Years later he became feeble, sick and broken. Stress is a natural response to the excesses that overwhelm our physical and emotional capabilities and life. The real or reality of us lies within us.
Strength, courage, peace and power all emanate from within. Our minds that create the thoughts that become things are within us. The learned and great apostle Paul admonishes us not to conform to the world but to be transformed by the renewing of our mind, that we may prove what is the good, acceptable and perfect will of God. He knew over zealousness, rejection, defeat and triumph, but through renewal of his mind, he left us a legacy in spiritual transformation. When we conform to the world we allow the dictates of the world and its appearances to control our lives. The real of man is spiritual and divine, not the ego driven personality that responds to the whims and fancies of every Tom, Dick and Harry. Stress and conflict occur when the inner spiritual self and its outer personality self are in opposing viewpoints. Frankl theorizes that mans search for meaning is a primary force in his life which is unique and specific in that it must and can be fulfilled by him alone. Our greatness as human beings lies in our ability to change our minds and the conditions of our lives. What is so great about living in a free, democratic country is that it affords us the privilege of freedom to be all we want to be.
Individually we must desire freedom and make the choice for freedom as we live our life. The great author and self help guru, Stuart Wilde, teaches that we should "Concentrate on ourselves and leave the world alone. As we strengthen ourselves we save all of humanity, because we are all linked to one another." We must desire a change from the stress and turbulent lifestyle we live today. We must dare to rise up, declare, pursue and claim peace for ourselves. This will impact the lives of family and friends and spread out to our communities and our world. The pursuit of peace is perhaps the most followed path to spiritual enlightenment. A peaceful disposition calms the rough and tossed seas of turbulence, strife, fear and discontent. The book, "Anchor in the spirit as God Beings - More than Mere Human," is presented as an easy to follow guidebook for spiritual transformation.