To every argument there are at least two sides, and each of those arguing their perspective will usually believe that theirs is the correct one. Whether it’s a political argument, a religious one, a moral one or a scientific one, everyone believes they are correct in their assertion of what is true and what is accurate, and will often defend their perspective with vigour and passion if they feel strongly enough about it. And aggression can easily come into the picture when either side believe in their own righteousness with such fervour that they are willing to fight for the triumph of their own ideas.
But there is a higher ‘truth’ to all arguments, which is actually a moral truth. It is peace. People often seem so willing to forgo peace and embrace force and anger in the pursuit of proving themselves to be right, yet as soon as they do so, they have lost the larger argument. They have foregone the higher truth, which is the transcendent truth of peace, forgiveness and humility.
The peaceful – those who do not resort to aggression, coercion or force and who do not promote such tactics as a means to win an argument – stand strong on the ground of compassion, humanity, respect, tolerance and humility. If they refuse to drop down to the level of force and aggression, they are embodying and demonstrating a truth that transcends all other truths: that Peace is the core of our humanity. It is our noblest quality, and if we lose it we lose our claim to decency and respectability. We become like savages. We join the fighting crows, when we are supposed to be soaring above them, like an eagle.
Unfortunately there are people in the world that like conflict, that like hostility, and they consciously engage in generating it. If someone is trying to make you feel angry and hostile towards other people – as politicians sometimes do – they are not a peacemaker. They are a war monger. They are not attempting to heal the divide between humans, they are increasing it.
This is humanity’s greatest problem now. Societies are polarising, and anger is growing. Right now, you can make a conscious decision to be part of the solution, by turning away from anger, blame and an aggressive mentality, because that is the only way that the solution manifests on a wider scale. Millions of people, one by one, deciding to choose peace – in their thoughts first, then in their words and actions. If you do not choose peace, you will sooner or later find yourself in a battle of some sort, and there will surely be loss and suffering to one degree or another. It could very well be yours, and you will wish you had chosen peace. This is guaranteed. You will never regret choosing peace.
So this is an invitation, right now, to decide to be a peacemaker. Consciously decide to stop entering into conflict with other human beings, both in the inner dialogues in your mind, and in your words and interactions in the real (and digital) world. Help to resolve differences. Build bridges. Be patient with people and forgive them. Be an agent of reconciliation.
Practice putting all inter-personal differences to the side; political, religious, social, spiritual… let them be irrelevant when you interact with another person. Focus instead on the shared desire for peace, the shared desire for understanding, resolution and humanitarian progress.
Even if the person you are engaging with seems to want conflict instead of peace, you can still choose to be a peacemaker. This is a much more challenging situation in which to choose peace, but no one said it was easy. It takes a strong person to choose peace, especially when they are faced with someone who wants conflict, who wants to battle. But you can be that strong person if you start practicing from now onwards. You will not be perfect immediately. You will get triggered, you will lose your patience, lose your temper sometimes. You will feel indignant and angry sometimes, your ego will undoubtedly want to rise up and strike, when confronted by the ego of someone else. But at those times you have to remember you have a choice, and it is a crucial choice: Either you fuel the fire of conflict, or you pour on the water of peace. Only one of these choices enables us to evolve, which is what we are being called to do now at this challenging time in human history.
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