October 27

The world will never have lasting
peace so long as people reserve
for war the finest human qualities.
Peace, no less than war, requires
idealism and self-sacrifice and a
righteous and dynamic faith.

John Foster Dulles


Today's Meditation:

We do spend a lot of money on war.  We spend a lot of time and effort and money and energy on creating things that will harm our fellow human beings because we're afraid that if we don't do so, we'll be vulnerable to attack and conquest, that we'll lose our chosen way of life and be forced to live the ways that other people want to force us to live.  What would happen, I wonder,  if we were to spend just as much money and time and effort pursuing peace? 

What would happen if our peace budget were as much as our defense budget?  What could we accomplish in this world as individuals if we were to focus on creating peace in our own lives, and in our own relationships, as much as we focus on making money and doing things that we think others want us to do?  The finest human qualities to which John refers, I believe, are things like dedication, perseverance, focus on accomplishment, hard work, courage, and sacrifice.  Do we put these things into practice each day in our relationships and into our communities?

There's something about hardship that seems to stimulate our survival instincts.  And once those are stimulated, we seem to be able to reach inside and tap into reserves of qualities that are among the best we have.  It's unfortunate that we so often wait until adversity strikes to reach inside and find those strengths--for they're strengths that could contribute much to the spread of things like peace and community and compassion if we were to apply them to those things.

I can imagine some of the qualities that I might find inside myself in times of great turmoil and struggle.  The trick is to tap into them during other times so that I might use them in ways that will contribute positive things to this world of ours while I'm here.

Questions to consider:

Why do so many people not tap into their finest qualities every day in order to work towards lasting peace?

What does "lasting peace" mean to you?  Is it just a pipe dream, or is it a possibility?

Who is responsible for lasting peace in our world?  Is it just the leaders, or are more of us actually responsible for contributing to it?

For further thought:

The real and lasting victories are those of peace, and not of war.

Ralph Waldo Emerson


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