A Culture of Peace
A CULTURE OF PEACE
A Culture of Peace or a Culture of Violence?
Do we pull together or pull apart?
We live on a unique and exquisite planet that has a complex system of interconnections and interdependencies that work in harmony to maintain balance or homeostasis so that all species survive. The essence of this system is cooperation for the optimal function of the whole. Nature has been perfected over 3.5 to 4 billion years and we are part of nature. So if peace is viewed as balance, harmony and cooperation, it has always existed. In moments each of us have known the experience. Otherwise we end up in a tug-o-war of win/lose.
Human civilisation is on a journey of self discovery. Humans are faced with challenges of economic crisis, ecological collapse and violent conflicts. We find ourselves at the precipice of old paradigms that have emerged out of fears and self interest. We are at the beginning of a new paradigm where we will be making decisions about the future of our world. Are we able to learn to resolve our conflicts peacefully and create a future based on mutual respect and shared stewardship of our planet? In reality we are naturally peaceful, the Seville Statement on Violence asserts this clearly.
The United Nations Decade for a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World (2001-2010) was implemented to protect children from violence. The aim of the decade is to:
“transformation from a culture of war and violence to a culture of peace and non-violence”
Children from all walks of life across the world will inherit complex and difficult challenges in the future such as:
- environmental depletion and destruction, world governance power and control issues, nuclear weapons, war and terrorism, disease, AIDS and HIV, social displacement, family breakdown, psychological disorders, violent resolution of disputes, unfulfilment and a sense of meaninglessness in their lives.
The UN Culture of Peace consists of:
“values, attitudes and behaviours that reflect and inspire social interaction and sharing based on the principles of freedom, justice and democracy, all human rights, tolerance and solidarity, that reject violence and endeavour to prevent conflicts by tackling their root causes to solve problems through dialogue and negotiation that guarantee the full exercise of all rights and the means to participate fully in the development process of their society.”
Resolution (A/53/243) adopted by the General Assembly in 1999 advocates Action for a Culture of Peace:
- Human rights
- Free flow of information and knowledge
- International peace and security
A Culture of Peace reflects the global vision, the realisation of such a vision will occur locally and indeed, personally. The issue of inner peace refers to peace within the thought processes of each person. This idea is linked to the question ‘is the world a reflection of the self? or ‘is what we see in the world a reflection of what we believe?’. If we believe the world is a violent place that is confirmed by what we see, the media is a case in point. If we believe the world is a peaceful place, then we look for the good. To live in reality both points of view require the question, ‘how do we know it is true?’. The Work by Byron Katie is a process of inquiry for those suffering in conflict or confusion. The simple four question approach and turn around question enables people to question their beliefs and projections onto the world. She asserts that peace is our natural state of being and when we question our negative beliefs honestly we find conflict disappears and peace is the result.
There is a wise saying ‘what you resist persists, what you look at disappears‘. This is the true meaning of conflict resolution. The result is no conflict.
I have recently discovered The Work and I see that peace does not need to occur through external struggle but is effective when each person takes responsibility to tackle the inner wars we all create through negativity, cynicism and judgement. When we become clear and open minded, we will start to see reality as it is. As Gandhi says “to be the change we wish to see in the world”.
As a clown I genuinely see beauty in every person. My world view is summed up by my poem ‘The Gift’. This I give to you.
My highest wish is happiness,
It is the gift I give to all,
To see the smiling faces,
To catch them before they fall.
To be a clown,
Is like surround sound,
It spreads a ray of sunshine,
To all without discrimination,
To see the world as one,
To inspire and have some fun.
I have no enemies,
I have no-one to hate,
To me there is no nation state,
I see the world as my family,
I just want to bring them home,
Into the warmth of love and kindness,
So no-one feels alone.
I see every story,
In its real glory,
I know the potential of what can be,
I long to set them free,
Into a world of their own making,
Into a world that is no longer breaking into fragments of glass,
Shards of misunderstanding,
Where we see only a fraction of what is true,
We assume that it is not safe,
That is the myth,
That is the spin,
That disempowers and tries to win.
One truth is that life begins,
When we step out of the comfort zone,
The boundaries of insecurity build walls,
We are not alone,
And when we step out of illusion,
We realize that there is no fear,
That there are many tears,
That are flowing down the rivers of separation,
But they will reach the headwater,
They will unite in the end,
The journey is the experience,
That life sends.
I believe in peace,
I believe in goodness,
I believe in action,
I know that for every cause there is an equal and opposite reaction.
My life is dedicated to principle,
I know the answers are simple,
When you throw away judgment,
When you throw away hurt,
When you throw away hate,
And think about what you’ve learned.
Under the canopy of respect,
You will never reject,
The will of others,
They must travel their own path,
We need to learn to laugh,
Life is the comedy,
Perhaps I am the fool,
But just maybe,
That’s the school for world peace.
Peace is a joyful experience and each of us can contribute to a happier and peaceful world. When we focus on peace, we see it then live it by example.