Mudrashram Institute of Spiritual Studies
Peace: Interpersonal, Personal, and Transpersonal
by George A. Boyd ©1988
A Buddhist prayer says, "As I wish to be happy, may all beings everywhere find happiness; as I wish to feel peace, may all beings everywhere know peace."
In the remembrance of the year past, and meditation upon the year to be, people's thoughts turn almost spontaneously to a wish for continued world peace. They remember their loved ones and wish for a year of safety, freedom from harm, and success and prosperity. At some very deep level they also wish to be happy, and to know a peace of minda freedom from stress, care and pain.
It is when you turn your thoughts to the collective sense of humanity itself that you write these silent wishes grandly, nobly for all men. It is a great dream, a wonderful dream. Though you see that in everyday life there are continual wars, thoughtless violence, blind prejudice, intractable poverty, lingering injustice, religious intolerance, and seemingly unending suffering in this world. It is your choice to rise above your own problems and to do something about the collective misery that gives rise to the possibility of something better for us all. Thus there is hope.
It is when you as an individual take responsibility for establishing the groundwork for peace in your relationships, your mind, and your Soul that the possibility of peace becomes real.
Social or Interpersonal Peace
At the foundation of your social behavior is the drive to fulfill your desires. Your relationships in day to day life, be they casual or meaningful, are an ongoing negotiation with others for fulfillment of your desires: the things you want to have, to do, and to be. Your values demand, your wants demand, your dreams demand, your truth demands, and you pressure others silently, relentlessly, patiently or impatiently until you have what you desire, or perish in the pursuit.
When you recognize the impact this ceaseless pressuring and demanding, this ongoing manipulating and squeezing for what you want has on others, you come to realize that what you do and say creates suffering and pain. You also come to discover that you have a choice. You notice the results, the behaviors you use to achieve your desires have on other's lives, and you find new ways to achieve them. You come to discover the eternal values of truthfulness, non-injury, compassion, understanding, tolerance, patience, kindness and love as the bedrocks of your character and as the touchstones of your life.
As each man lives and touches other lives, so spring our families, our communities, our nations, and our world. It takes but a single person to win another heart by patience, by kindness and love, to begin to create a new relationship. Out of relationship, a new world is born.
When kindness, understanding and love come to govern the affairs of men, you shall not have to fear nuclear wars, nor violence in your streets or your homes any longer. It means that man must choose to live dharma: ethically, righteously and consciously. Not out of fear, but by seeing what is true and living it.
Ethical systems in the world's religions, the yama and niyama of the yogin, were all put in place with the practical aim of avoiding the creation of interpersonal friction and strife. For, how shall you turn to the inner life, if your outer relations torment you, and your personal affairs are in a shambles?
Personal Peace or Peace of Mind
You know personal peace by its effects on your subjective or inner life.
When you meditate to calm your body and breath, bring tasks to completion or reach a goal, you experience the peace and joy that is your self. This peace and joy is the whole basis of the internal reward system that makes your life meaningful and worthwhile. When you are proud of yourself, satisfied with your work or an accomplishment, or are complete with an action, you taste this reward that is the self. At your personal core you are pure pleasure. You are joy.
Nirvana, or Transpersonal Peace
When you transcend the personality altogether in deepest meditation, you touch the Transpersonal sphere. Here, by sustained inner work you will reach the completion of the Soul's evolutionary purpose, re-immerse of the spirit in its origin, and develop the full range of abilities and gifts in your Superconscious Mind. This leads you to that Highest Peace, the Mystic Union or Nirvana. In this Timeless State, the microcosm of man is united with the Macrocosm of Universal Life. You are One with Everything that Is. You become a Master.
Creating World Peace
When you are at peace with the world around you, at peace within yourself, unfolding the supernal peace that is your Soul, you are creating world peace. When you return to the harmony of your Tao, your natural rhythm, you cease to harm. You cease to crush through life like an icebreaker in Arctic seas, leaving wreckage in your path, leaving blood on the ice. You become a peacemaker, and heal the hearts of men and the nations of the earth.
Peace is your heritage, may you begin to make it now.