10 Ways to Bring Peace to the World
10 Ways to Bring Peace to the World
By Susan Skog
As Martin Luther King, Jr. illustrated with his life, the entire world is lifted up by one individual choosing peace. One person can create something that ignites all of our collective hopes, energies, and dreams. What if you could do that too? What if you are destined to be your generation’s peacemaker?
“We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love into the veins of our civilization,” King said. Here are 10 real ways you can cultivate deep in yourself the loving peace you want to see in the core of the world.
Wherever You Stand, Make It Camp David
“The only way we can make peace is for each of us to be the peace we want to see.” — Susan Collin Marks
It’s up to us. We can’t wait for someone more powerful or wiser to deliver peace. We are the wise and powerful ones who choose peace in every thought and action.
King showed us that even the simplest acts tilt the world toward peace. When his house was burned during the civil rights movement, he raced home not knowing if his wife and young daughter were safe. And he knew whatever he did could affect the anger brewing in the country. He stepped onto his porch and said, “Remember, this is what God said, ‘We are not advocating violence. We want to love our enemies. I want you to love your enemies. Be good to them. Love them and let them know you love them.’”
Global peace is a personal choice, hour by hour. Ask yourself, “Am I going to add to the fighting in the world? Or offer up something greater?”
Nurture Peace in Yourself
“The first step is to come home to ourselves. You don’t need to become a Buddha. You need to become yourself.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
It’s hard to stay peaceful if we’re overwhelmed by life. Find some peace, calm, and stability in your inner world so you can be kinder in your outer world. Do whatever soothes you, daily. Spend time in nature, meditate, sing, dance, play, chill on the couch. Do yoga, read by the fire, eat good chocolate while watching an entire sunset. Disconnect from conflict and just breathe for a while. Center yourself and tap into the peace you already carry within.
Heal a Piece of Your Anger
“Peace is as much about getting the bombs out of our own hearts as out of the Pentagon budget.” — Colman McCarthy
It’s normal to get angry. But as peacemakers, our challenge is to channel that frustration into something greater. Think of your anger as rocket fuel that can launch your dreams–not scald people around you. View it as a surge of energy to create what you really want and need. Practice breathing deeply, disarming yourself and asking, “Why am I so angry? What do I really want?”
If we can transform our anger into a higher dream, as King did, we take a stand for peace. We step away from the vise of anger and step into the lives we really want.
Focus on the Positive
“Plant yourself in the middle of what you love most–the thing within you that is most alive.” — Yael Lachman
Others may want to waste their precious time focusing on the perceived ugliness in the world. Be the one who focuses on the positive, and watch the magic happen. Our thoughts are powerful. What we pay attention to expands. Attract peace with your thoughts. Notice peaceful people and places, tune out violence.
And remember that more people are at peace than at war all across the earth. This is the story we need to focus on, broadcast, and amplify. The world is evolving and becoming a brighter place.
Creatively Resolve One Conflict
“Conflicts are a call to creative problem-solving.” — Louise Diamond
Whether you’re hosting a family gathering or conferencing with your staff, conflict will pop up as surely as that annoying neighbor who wants you to vote like him. Intensity will always percolate in any community. Conflicts can’t be avoided. But we can learn to navigate them more confidently and use the tension as an opportunity to express our views honestly and peacefully.
The next time conflict surfaces, keep breathing, stay calm, thoughtfully speak your truth, listen to others, and try to find some shared ground. Realize that your frustration may be about the situation, not the person. Set the intention to find a resolution. Try to find the humor. Agree to disagree, if necessary.
Be the Bridge
“Out beyond the ideas of wrong-doing and right-doing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” — Rumi
When do you demonize and fear people you don’t even know? When you have incorrect perceptions of others, it’s easier to fear, even hate them. Get to know the genuine in others. Meet people of other cultures, religions, and backgrounds. Find shared experiences, hopes, and beliefs. Connect on that holy ground, and peace will flow out from those moments.
“We want to put an end to wars without giving up our violent intentions and violent relationships,” — Arun Gandhi
Wars break out over our evening meals–or in the world–when we try to control someone else. Accept that everyone holds a piece of the truth, Arun Gandhi says. Accept that you’re only responsible for your own values, beliefs, and choices.
Forgive One Person
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” — Nelson Mandela
This month, try to release one individual–it could be yourself–from your anger and judgment. If you can’t change what happened, then change your thoughts about it. Let it go. Forgiveness isn’t about forgetting, it’s about being at peace in your own skin. It’s about getting on with your life, says Arun Gandhi, who forgave the man who killed his grandfather. “Being obsessed with anger only destroys us.”
Believe in Peace
“Dream. Dream. Dream. Be idealistic. Dream the world can be a better place.” — Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Believe that peace can happen anytime, anyplace. Love the idea of living in harmony more than the idea of living in chaos. Spend time each day visualizing how your own life will be different when peace grows in all your relationships. Imagine your community cooperative and thriving. Imagine our country no longer warring with others. See our homes bathed in peace and prosperity. Feel the joy of that! Believe that a peaceful world is our destiny.
Serve a Piece of the World
“Everybody can be great, because everybody can serve.” — Martin Luther King, Jr.
The world is asking for your light. Find a way to give back and make a difference. Help someone else. You and I make all the difference in whether the world grows more chaotic or more peaceful. “You don’t need a college degree to serve. You don’t have to know Einstein’s theory of relativity to serve,” King said. “You don’t have to know the second theory of thermodynamics in physics to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
Serve the world with your peaceful heart, with your peaceful soul. Make it big. Make it so.
Organizations to help you extend your peace reach.
The King Center
The online home of the nonprofit that educates the world about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of nonviolence.
A nonprofit that teaches skills for peace-building and reconciliation, including communicating from the heart, even in the heat of conflict.
Site of author, speaker, and consultant Naomi Drew, a world-renowned expert in conflict resolution, peacemaking, and parenting.
Search for Common Ground
This group works to transform how the world deals with conflict through collaborative problem-solving.
The Center for Nonviolent Communication
A global organization helping people connect compassionately with themselves and others through nonviolent speech and listening.
Susan Skog is an author, freelance journalist, and presenter. Her latest book, Peace in Our Lifetime: Insights from the World’s Peacemakers,” shows how we can resolve our deepest conflicts, personally and globally, with stories and suggestions from more than 50 peacemakers. Skog’s upcoming book is “The Give-Back Revolution: How You Can Transform the World with Your Travel, Time, and Talents.” Susanskog.com