Down through the millennia, the ancient sages, philosophers, and founders of the great religions all have taught us ways to achieve peace and harmony in our personal lives and in the world at large. It is time to pay attention to what they have tried to teach us down through the ages.|
Now is the time to be bold and engage ourselves with that Divine Power that is the essence of our being - love - and be transformed thereby. This involves shifting of our focus from the symptoms of all conflict and directing our energies to the goal of resolving the underlying causes of all conflict, of whatever kind and wherever found. We are called to transform a world that is permeated by conflict and its attendant lack of reverence for human life and dignity.
To that end, let us pursue an examination of the following proposal as a means by which we may achieve our own peace of mind and harmony in our soul. Just as our five senses function simultaneously, so these paths are interdependent and are intended to be pursued in like manner.
Renunciation is the first step on the Way of Virtue. This involves renouncing all types of attitudes and conduct which create estrangement. It includes laying down those burdens and commitments that harm others.
Forbearance is the second step on the Way of Virtue. This involves resisting the temptation to respond to violence with violence and other types of conduct which we ourselves have renounced, and, at the same time, embracing patience.
Forgiveness is the beginning of the commitment to living a life of virtue that embraces compassion and mercy. Such forgiveness must be complete, unconditional, unequivocal, and without any mental reservation. Such is the nature of love.
Seeking forgiveness requires great courage. It is necessary to accept responsibility for wrongs done to others in order that we may be worthy of asking those we have harmed to be forgiving. To do so requires abject humility and an admission of culpability for harmful conduct.
Reciprocity is the means by which our behavior towards others is replicated by them. It involves the mutual respect of fundamental rights inherent in all people. These rights include: life, liberty, equality, freedom of expression and, freedom to enjoy life - without regard to age, race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, or ethnic origin. Thus, in the words of Pope John XXIII, "We can achieve unity without requiring uniformity."
Excerpts from a work in process:
CONFLICT: CAUSES, CONSEQUENCES & CURES
(Read the introduction.)
By Paul Kester