“Peace in the struggle to find peace.”
– Sarah McLachlan, “Fumbling Towards Ecstasy”
Sometimes what we want most is freedom from our suffering, and we take shortcuts to get there. We silence ourselves when we need to speak, we make ourselves smaller. We cut people off and disconnect. We get angry and rail against our suffering. We abuse drugs and alcohol. We abuse sex or food. We tune out watching TV. We try to get rid of parts of ourselves that only become more stubborn and vicious. We go numb.
There is something within us that does not want to sit out life. That is the part of us that gets angry, resentful, and toxic every time we fail to speak up about an injustice, fail to speak on our own behalf, fail to set a boundary we desperately need.
It takes courage to face the conflicts in our hearts and minds, let alone the conflicts in our relationships and communities. There is a world out there that needs us to show up. The world needs us to live for our values, even when it means conflict, even when we’d rather pull the blanket overhead and sleep until the world gets better.
The world won’t get better on its own. The world is us. We are creating the world every day. Even our inaction is an act of creation, colluding with the world as it is.
No one can solve the world’s problems alone, but we will not find peace within or without by standing by or going numb. Peace is not the absence of conflict. Inner peace comes when we know who we are and act according to that knowledge. We can feel this peace even in the midst of chaos, because we realize we are acting with integrity and purpose. The struggle feels rich and suffused with meaning. We are doing the best we can to create the world in which we want to live.