Today, more than ever before, humanity is facing uncertainty. In the midst of global economic crisis and fears of climate change, our vision for the future is blurred. Humanity is restless, and stress levels are soaring.
How can we find security in an uncertain world?
In our society, we have learned to look for security in the wrong place: we look for it outside of ourselves. The people and things that surround us will always fail to reassure us; the nagging fear that everything could change in an instant will always be present, until inevitably, things do change. Solid marriages are torn apart by infidelity, 20-year careers are cut short by an unexpected change in company policy. And when the Taliban is destroyed, the next threat will be just around the corner, waiting silently to avenge their death. The outside world has never held promises for safety; a reality that we often prefer to ignore.
For the past decade, I have come to discover the rich beauty of South America, a continent that I admit to knowing very little about before moving here. When I first arrived in Caracas, I was struck by the warmth and emotive innocence of a culture previously unfamiliar to me. Ten years later, I have brought the work of my foundation to catholic nuns, priests and even bishops, as well as rabbis, atheists, ex-guerrilla soldiers and high security prisoners. In this time, I have found that there is a common core that moves us all, regardless of religion or creed; love. All religions agree that god is love. The form this wisdom is presented may change, and the trappings surrounding this truth may differ. But that core truth is common to all faiths.
As humans, we have a tendency to focus on our differences. The things that set us apart seem to be the most apparent, yet the most important things in life are universal, and the same in each of us. The nature of love is a mystery, not because it is impossible to discover, but because it is impossible to explain. Love reaches beyond the scope of the intellect, just as no cup can ever hold the depths of the ocean. Yet to experience love… That is not only possible, it is the most natural thing in the world. I’m not talking about romantic love, or the love we feel for another; I’m talking about the presence of love in everything, the energy that is our very being. This is the religious experience, the peace that passes understanding, nirvana… the only thing that can fill the human heart. I call this experience love-consciousness.
In a world of increasing uncertainty, every one of us has the responsibility of making the difference. We can wage war upon nations, but that is not going to change things. Terrorism cannot be stopped by war, just as a fire cannot be put out with more fire. Yet although this may be true, it is useless to blame the politicians, or even war itself. If we cannot find inner peace, how can we expect to create a world that is peaceful and harmonious? Our own minds, full of dissonant chatter and confusion, are the source of our insecurity. Our actions arise from our thoughts, from our feelings. If we are full of fear, how can we hope for a loving world family?
When Bill Clinton asked Nelson Mandela if he felt hatred towards his oppressors, he replied, “I realized that if I kept hating them once I got in that car and got through the gate, I would still be in prison. So, I let it go, because I wanted to be free.”
In the quest for peace, there is something very concrete that we can all do to contribute. In every moment, we can make a choice, the choice to rest in the abiding peace – or love-consciousness – that lies within us right now, and that nobody can take away from us. In the same way that learning to depend on our surroundings has filled us with fear, we can learn to depend on our inner state, and find a security that is always pristine and untouched, that no 9/11 can cast a shadow on, or threat of destruction shake.
Let’s fill our personal lives with peace, honesty and transparency; that will go much further to contributing to world peace than any war.
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