“Peace be within you.” That is my wish to you expressed upon greeting or departing.
“Peace be with everyone.” That is my wish repeated in the course of daily prayer ritual.
It is said with an understanding that peace is not the absence of turmoil surrounding our lives. Or the concerns and fears that sometimes invade our inner space. These things are all too real a part of being alive on this earth.
Rather, it is a peace that takes these discomforts in stride, in balance. We feel pain when we are hurt, but do not unnecessarily add to that pain that is. We feel disappointment when expectations go unrealized, but are cautious and wise enough to not set expectations unrealistically or inappropriately, even as we do and should pursue great dreams.
It is a peace that understands that our life exists not in a vacuum, dictated only by our demands and intentions. Rather, we live interdependently with all other people, beings and elements of nature. So our peace is directly interdependent with our relationships and respectfulness of all such beings. It is a wisdom that knows our peace with others must first allow those others to fulfill their purest destiny free of our wants of them. That their life may be called in a direction that we might not have chosen for them. There can be no world peace without national peace without extended-family peace without peace first and foremost within ourselves.
It is a peace that knows there are some realities, if not laws, that make up nature, our earthly environment, and our human responses. We often foolishly attempt to conquer those realities of nature with our dams, our beachside or ill-constructed homes, our inadequate levees, our ocean-front nuclear power plants on seismic fault lines, or our drilled holes in deep waters. When these systems fail, our peace does not allow us to blame nature. In peace we accept our unwillingness to live in harmony and respect with Nature’s goodness and power as a primary cause of our misfortune.
Most significantly, our peace comes from simply knowing that there exists a reality, a force, a cause that is always bigger than just “I,” even if it is beyond our capacity to fully understand, to know, to adequately name. In our faith within such peace, all incomprehensible things are made comprehended, all unknowns are known, all questions are answered, all non-sense made sense. Even if it must wait for its time.
Peace be within you.