Peace is every step.
The shining red sun is my heart.
Each flower smiles with me.
How green, how fresh all that grows.
How cool the wind blows.Peace is every step.
It turns the endless path to joy.

This is a quote from Peace Is Every Step, a book by Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnamese Buddhist monk and great teacher of the C20. The peaceful state that meditation brings can be found in the daily, habitual, active mindfulness of body and soul. Peace and happiness are available for all of us if we can quiet our racing thoughts, notice the present joys of everyday life.

Peace begins inside each individual. Cultivate inner peace, then we can have family peace, urban peace, national peace and world peac

Our society fosters quick fixes, escapism, tangible, material, quantifiable results. Alternatively, inner discourse, small individual moments of truth and wisdom, allowing ourselves to feel fear and doubt, have no place in the race to be safe, comfortable and above all, in control.

Peace, you see, is not for the faint-hearted, or the philosophically certain. Peace is for the explorer, the collaborator, the rationally realistic, happily hopeful, patiently pragmatic. Peace presents a challenge and an opportunity to anybody who is willing to embrace it.

Peace requires that you take the ultimate journey. It is time-consuming, scary, exhausting, a struggle with doubt. It is easy to become lost, confused, and certainly you cannot hang it on the wall in a nice little frame, or buy your dream home with it.

Peace is an active, passionate process. It does not stand by, inactively hoping for better things. It requires creativity and nurturing, an engagement with the business of living. It can be confrontational and far from simple.

The business of living is your business, and my business, and the business of each and every individual.  And the business begins at home and goes out into the world. Before you can connect with others, it helps to have a pretty good connection with yourself. The business of peace, a foundation of healthy of living, is in constant motion, requiring constant maintenance, input and plenty of  Intra-personal Rest.

It is no accident that any of the Great Wisdom Traditions to which you belong, refer, or draw from, have as a cornerstone, time to be with yourself. You can reach this through meditation, prayer, vision-quests, time with nature; breathing, stretching and vocal exercises; writing, painting, music, food-preparation; activities that focus us inward, that incorporate our minds and bodies in harmony.

In that way, you connect to Spirit, the Higher Power, Source, God, Creator – whatever you choose to name this Life Force that is greater than the small ego-ic self.

Peace means “living in harmony with”. First you find the harmony within yourself, who you are.  Then harmonize with life outside – with the air, the earth, the animals, plants, and people. And then you go back to yourself and then out again, then in and out. Like breathing isn’t it?

Our world feels very disconnected, in fragments. We have detached ourselves from the things that cause us to hurt, to fear, to sorrow. We have pulled away, not to fill ourselves up from the inside but to cover ourselves from the outside with layers of insulation. And by that isolation the world and even ourselves become places of which we are fearful.

Insulated from your own soul, your own peace-spring, and from the peace and soul of the cosmos, of others, you are adrift. As your sense of isolation increases, you panic, lash out in fear, grab in desperation and set up a huge, frantic din of activity and noise.

Where is the possibility for peace then? Still within. There are words for it – quiet time, down time, alone time. Peace AND quiet. When you stop, you notice peace around you. A bird call, a child’s laugh, sunset, tree trunks, hard earth, sweet grass! And you start to feel – your heart beat, blood flow, arms hanging, fingers tingling, tongue on teeth.

Now you can cry, rage, you can celebrate, wonder and can be. It is peaceful enough that you can face your fears and dreams.

Peace does not deny pain and loss. Peace does not paint the world in rosy hues. Peace provides a nesting place for expansion into all that is out there. It expands your concept of who you are, of what the world is. Peace is inclusive.

If you want to feel at peace with yourself, if you want to live in the world as an active, peaceful being, turn off the noise, peel off the layers, reach in as you reach out. Only when you are connected to peace within, can you spread peace without. Peace is worth the price of silence.

Peace is also worth the effort/restfulness; struggle/release and activity/stillness of being peaceful. It brings a paradoxical state of grace, the tension of being one with the other and, ultimately within the sea and sky, earth and air, a filament of the one.

When fear and anxiety threatens to overwhelm you, step into your peace. When there are stands to be taken, take them from that place of peace. When you need to rest from the whirling dervishes of the political, economic and social world, go to nature, create through the arts, breathe from within. Embrace Peace in your every step.