Transform the World
by Vania Butler Clark
In a world full of chaos, violence, and conflict, achieving peace can seem like an elusive goal. We often look for external solutions to solve conflicts and create a more harmonious society, but what if our focus needs to be directed inward first? What if true peace starts from within each and every one of us and emanates out from there? No matter how much we want to, we simply cannot offer the world something that we ourselves don’t possess. By finding our own inner peace, we create a strong foundation for building outer peace and building a world where everyone can contribute and feel safe.
Here are some key ways inner peace can transform our world:
- Leads to better relationships: When we’re at peace with ourselves, we’re more likely to have positive interactions with others. We’re able to listen, empathize, and communicate in ways that promote understanding and cooperation.
- Fosters creativity and innovation: When we ourselves feel safe and valued, we’re more open to new ideas and experiences. This can lead to breakthroughs and new ways of thinking that wouldn’t otherwise be available to us.
- Promotes social justice: When we’re at peace with ourselves, we’re more likely to stand up for what is right and just. We’re able to see beyond our own self-interest and work towards creating a more equitable society.
- Contributes to a more sustainable world: When we’re in harmony with ourselves and the natural world, we’re more likely to make choices that support environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
It’s important not to be too hard on ourselves when we don’t always feel peaceful and to view the cultivation of inner peace is a journey, rather than a destination. It’s a process of self-discovery and self-awareness that requires patience, practice, and persistence. As with any journey, we need to be heading in the right direction if we ever hope to get there. Of course, we may encounter obstacles, setbacks, and challenges along the way; however, if we stay committed and continue to move forward, we can eventually reach our goals of experiencing greater levels of peacefulness.
Peeling away the layers that hold us apart from peace while offering ourselves grace and compassion are beneficial steps on this journey. Just like peeling away the layers of an onion reveals a deeper, more authentic core, peeling away the layers of our doubts, thoughts, emotions, and beliefs can help us discover our true nature and a connection with self-appreciation. It’s a process of letting go of the things that no longer serve us and embracing the things that bring us joy, love, and fulfillment.
The wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz and the Dalai Lama can guide us on this journey towards inner peace. In his book, “The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom,” Don Miguel Ruiz offers four powerful principles for living a more peaceful and fulfilling life:
- Be impeccable with your word.
- Don’t take anything personally.
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Always do your best.
These agreements can help us cultivate self-awareness, mindfulness, and compassion, and free us from the emotions that weigh us down.
Similarly, in “The Art of Happiness,” the Dalai Lama reminds us that the ultimate source of happiness is not money and power, but warm-heartedness. By cultivating compassion, forgiveness, and mindfulness, we can free ourselves from the thoughts and emotions that hold us back – we can connect with an inner tranquility – something we all have a right to experience.
As we work towards cultivating inner peace and tranquility, we can transform not only ourselves but also the world around us and create a world where everyone can contribute and feel safe.
We can all take that first step and continue on this journey with faith, courage, and determination. As the philosopher Lao Tzu once said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” As we all take this step for ourselves, we have begun the work towards transforming the world from the inside out.