3 Simple Steps Toward Grassroots Peace

By Mary Jaksch

Do you think we could have world peace one day? It seems an impossible dream, doesn’t it?

Just look at today’s news: Shootings, bombings, wars, civil unrest – it just goes on and on, day after day, year after year.

But what if you could make the world a more peaceful place?

Yes, you!

I’m not talking about big-picture peace; the kind of peace politicians try to achieve. I’m talking about grassroots peace.

But first, let’s take up an important question:

Who is responsible for peace?

Whom do you hold responsible for peace: politicians, or the ‘system’?

Or is it the ‘others’?

Those who don’t have your kind of values, or who don’t believe what you believe in, or who come from a different background and don’t understand the way you live?

Who is responsible?

I bet you can guess who is responsible. It’s not the politicians, or the system, or the others who are responsible for peace.

You and I are responsible for peace.

Grassroots peace is what we each create in our little bubble of the world. Each bubble is linked to every other bubble. And our little bubble of peace can spread. It can spread right across the world.

Here are steps toward grassroots peace.

1. Let go of being right

Do you enjoy looking down from the ‘moral high ground’?  There is a kind of satisfaction about thinking that we are right and they are so, so wrong, isn’t there? Be honest now…

What would happen if we gave up on being ‘right’? What if we gave up on concepts, like ‘right’ and ‘wrong’?

Watch the video below to see what would happen.

2. Stop ‘us and them’ thinking

It’s so easy to slip into a thought-pattern of ‘us’ and ‘them’.  This estrangement is the root cause of much suffering in the world.

Just think of ridicule, bullying, and ostracism on one end of the scale of evil, and slavery and torture at the other end. It all starts with the thought of ‘us’ and ‘them’.

3. Let go of grudges

Do you hold a grudge? Maybe it’s time to let it go. Or do you want to hold onto it for longer?

Do you want to hold onto your grudge for another day, another week, another year, another decade, or even for the rest of your life?

Grudges eat away at the soul and poison relationships.

The good news is that you can let them go. All you need to do is to notice each time a grudge and its poisonous story arises in the mind. Then say to yourself with compassion, “I let go of that story,” and bend your mind toward something else.

The gift of peace

If you take up these three steps toward peace, your heart will become more peaceful, you will smile more and others will enjoy your company.

They will enjoy your company not because you are smart, or interesting, or beautiful, or successful. They will enjoy your company because you offer the gift of peace.

What do you think? How can bring about peace? Please share your thoughts and feelings in the comments.

 

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  1. Tracy Eubank says:

    I agree that one of the main argument starters in my own relationships is “who is right?” If a person could get over the thoughts of always being right, then there would be less arguing.

    I don’t hold grudges, never have. I can be mad one day and over it the next. To me life is too short. It’s that “being right” thing that I need to work on. I’ve always known that true friends, like you for yourself, not your success or beauty. When in good company just being together is all that matters. Laughing, and enjoying life and each other peacefully.

    Most importantly, I have found out over the years that in order to achieve peace within a group of people, whether, community, friends, or even a nation, the people have to want to make the necessary changes themselves and that my friends is a big task. So do I think there will ever be world peace? No. but I do think that you can choose to be a peaceful person and surround yourself with the same types of people to achieve a peaceful environment together.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Yes, Tracy – I agree. The question of ‘who is right’ can be really poisonous in a relationship. A great way to work with conflict is to ask oneself, “What is the grain of truth in what the other person is saying?”

  2. oscar says:

    This sounds all well and good but it is easier said than done. It is very hard to let go of grudges etc. when there is so much evil and destruction and diabolical schemeing trying to destroy you and yours and the things that you love. How do you just ignore such things? If you see a wrong and ignore it you are part of the problem.

    • Mary Jaksch says:

      Thanks for your comment, Oscar. Yes, grudges are hard to let go of. Letting go of grudges doesn’t mean accepting or endorsing a hurtful act. It means letting go of the story that poisons your mind.

  3. Vishnu says:

    Thanks for these tips Mary. As someone who works in grassroots movements, I can appreciate all the ideas of achieving peace. The work I do to achieve this is to help collect like-minded individuals for peace or for other goals and help them take our views to the politicians, the system etc. So yes, we start as individuals but can be heard collectively when we organize ourselves as a group.

  4. Shaya Kass says:

    Mary,

    Thank you for the beautiful post. It reminded me of the TED video at http://www.ted.com/talks/israel_and_iran_a_love_story.html. The video dhows the power of one person following what you wrote about.

    Shaya

  5. Roman Soluk says:

    Hi Mary,
    You’re so right! Today’s world is full of cruelty and we need a bit of peace in ourselves. Thanks for a nice post! And interesting ideas!

  6. Anita Lim says:

    Thank you for a lovely post!
    I practise a martial art called aikido which can be translated as the Art of Peace. My teacher recently explained that he thinks of the peace with a small p instead, as starting with ourselves is much easier to consider rather than the whole world!

  7. I fully agree that peace begins with each and everyone of us. The more peaceful we are, the more we bring peace to others. Peace can be contagious. Of course, there are deep-seated problems and troubles, but peace begins with our every thought, word, and action. These three steps are the perfect way to start. If we hold a grudge ourselves, how can we expect there to be peace in the world?

  8. […] should red 3 Simple Steps Toward Grassroots Peace. Pay particular attention to the three main points she makes and see if you catch on to what I […]

  9. Robin says:

    I have always believed in the concept of “you dont have to wait for the other party in order to make peace”. I have tried to make peace
    with my husband who after a job loss became very depressed and angry and drinking. If I have the “energy” to begin the peace,
    how is it possible if the other party has a closed mind and heart?

  10. sarab says:

    Hey Mary.. thanks for the post, you have set up a reasonably simple template to guide individuals towards peace with innerself…My concerns are around the fact that most spiritual/religious discourses in one form or the other give simple templates but the trick lies in the fact how do we ensure people adhere to some of them.. a society which is genetically and culturally wired to be incentive driven .. the major challenge will be how do make more and more people think like that and if i may add think slightly unnaturally on how they have been taught to think…. would love to listen to your views on this…

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    I personally think your article is fantastic! I agree with a lot of your distinctive views and am inspired to study much more. I truly like your writing style. Thank you.

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