May Peace Be In You

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by Annette Kahmann

“May peace be with you” is a common wish, especially around the beginning of a new year. As human beings it is our nature to want to live in peace. Yet, we are surrounded by quarrels and scenes of violence; war — rather than peace — stories dominate the news; we experience worries that result in sleepless nights and fears. What is it that keeps us from living in peace?

When we look at history, we find that wars between nations are based on one or more of these factors: the greed for more power, the lust for particular goods, anger over someone else’s remarks or behavior, and possibly even over others’ perceived religious infidelity. It is easy to see these traits as we look at history and observe the dealings of modern day politicians. All major religions agree that “lust, greed and anger must be overcome if we wish to have peace.” (Bhagavad-Gita, Talks…)

While the consequences may be less visible, as individuals we generally don’t fare much better. Shopping frenzies that culminate in injuries and death are merely the tip of the iceberg of greed and lust at work. Our inner peace may be disturbed because our favorite comforts are not readily available, and we make our dissatisfaction known through less than peaceful behavior. Remarks and behaviors of others may leave us sleepless and sometimes seething with anger, resulting in hurtful acts that we dish out to others. The constant desires for bigger, better and more torment us.

One step toward inner and outer peace is to control the multitude of our desires. Instead of allowing our desires to control our minds, we can take charge of our mind and ignore this onslaught; if giving in to our desires brought lasting peace of mind, the advertising industry would long ago have closed down. “A person who is not disturbed by the incessant flow of desires — that enter like rivers into the ocean, which is ever being filled but is always still — can alone achieve peace, and not the man who strives to satisfy such desires.” (BG 2.70)

Complete peace will be hard to achieve on this planet. The ancient Srimad Bhagavatam from India lists three causes for this: “The material world, or material existential life, is filled with threefold miseries: miseries pertaining to the body and mind, miseries pertaining to natural disturbances and miseries inflicted by other living entities.” (Srimad-Bhagavatam 3.22.32) Old age and disease are just as much a part of life as are youth and perfect health. Our minds can torment us with powerful desires and illusions. Natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and storms occur that no science can avert. And other people sometimes make our lives miserable, whether knowingly or by accident.

While disturbing situations cannot be avoided in life, we can learn to accept that “the nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress, and their disappearance in due course, are like the appearance and disappearance of winter and summer seasons.” (BG 2.14) When we learn to accept life’s ups and downs the same way that we surrender to the seasons of nature, when we can “tolerate them without being disturbed,” we can achieve inner peace.

Ultimately, inner peace depends on our realization that there is a Supreme Power who provides for all of us: “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them.” (Matthew 6:25–26) With faith that we are superbly provided for by the Supreme, our inner peace will manifest as outer peace that we will share with the world. “Your life is your message,” as Gandhi said.

Sources: Bhagavad-gita As It Is and Srimad-Bhagavatam

Ranchor Prime, Bhagavad Gita: Talks Between the Soul and God, The Holy Bible

Annette Kahmann is a spiritual seeker who facilitates energy healing for humans and animals with spiritual guidance. Based on the teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita, she strives to honor the divine nature of all living entities. She can be reached at <> or 970-407-9973.