(Photo by Jim Burton)
Peace Pilgrim, Cologne, N. J.
When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others. Inner peace is not found by staying on the surface of life or by attempting to escape from life through any means. Inner peace is found by facing life squarely, solving its problems, and delving as far beneath its surface as possible to discover its verities and realities. Inner peace comes through strict adherence to the already quite well known laws of human conduct, such as the law that the means shape the end - that only a good means can ever attain a good end. Inner peace comes through relinquishment of self-will, attachments, and negative thoughts and feelings. Remember that one who does an unworthy deed is in reality psychologically sick, and should be regarded with as much compassion as one who is physically sick. Remember that no one can hurt you except yourself. If someone does a mean thing to you, that person is hurt. You are not really hurt unless you become embittered, or unless you become angry and perhaps do a mean thing in return. Inner peace comes through working for the good of all. We are all cells in the body of humanity - all of us, all over the world. Each one has a contribution to make, and will know from within what this contribution is, but no one can find inner peace except by working, not in a self-centered way, but for the whole human family.
GOD'S LAWS AND GOD'S GUIDANCE
There are some well known, little understood and seldom practiced laws that we must live by if we wish to find peace within or without. Included are the laws that evil can only be overcome by good, that only a good means can attain a good end, that those who do unloving things hurt themselves spiritually. These laws are the same for all human beings and must be obeyed before harmony can prevail. There is a guidance which comes from within to all who will listen. Through this guidance each one will feel drawn to some part in the scheme of things. This guidance is unique for everyone, for no two people have exactly the same part to play in God's plan. God's laws can be known from within, but they can also be learned from without, as they have been spoken of by all great religious teachers. God's guidance can only be known from within.
There is a path which pleases the senses and gratifies worldly desires but does not lead to inner peace. There is a path which requires purifications and relinquishments, but results in untold spiritual blessings. You have free will and the choice is yours.
A VISION OF HOPE
At the end of my 45-day period of prayer and fasting for a beginning toward world disarmament, as I lay between sleeping and waking, a wonderful vision came to me - a vision of hope. I saw the nations of the world arming for war. I spoke to them, but they did not listen. I wept for them, but they paid not attention. I prayed for them, and then as I looked about me I saw that the people of the world were praying with me. Next I noticed that a luminous mist was rising above us as we prayed and gradually taking form. A radiant figure emerged whose white robes were full of light and whose face was so bright I could scarcely look upon it. When the figure spoke the gentle voice had the power of thunder. "Put up your swords!" the figure said. "Those that take the sword shall perish by the sword!" And the nations of the world looked up startled and dropped their armaments, and the people of the world rejoiced together.
A FRIENDLY POLICEMAN
On the first day of several years I have been at the well-known parade in the vicinity of Los Angeles. I have walked ahead along the line of march, talking to people and handing out peace messages, and noticing that the holiday spirit did not lessen the genuine interest in peace. Once when I had gone about half way a police put his hand on my shoulder and I thought he was going to tell me to get off the line of march. Instead he said, "What we need is thousands like you."
THIS STRANGE CREATURE CALLED MAN
A being from another world parked his spaceship in an isolated spot, and after he had made a preliminary survey, he opened his notebook and wrote: "I find myself on the planet Earth. It is inhabited by a creature which looks very much like we do and is called Man."
The next morning the being from another world passed a military camp, where he saw men sticking knives fastened to odd-looking poles into hags of straw. "What is this?" he asked a uniformed youth. "Bayonet practice," answered the youth. "We're practicing on dummies. We have to learn to use the bayonet a certain way to kill a man. Of course we don't kill many men with bayonets. We kill most of them with bombs." "But why should you want to learn how to kill men?" exclaimed the being from another world aghast. "We don't," said the youth bitterly. "We are sent here against our will and we don't know what to do about it."
That afternoon the being from another world passed through a large city. He noticed a crowd gathered in a public square to see a uniformed youth being decorated with a medal. "Why is he being decorated with a medal?" inquired the being from another world. "Because he killed a hundred men in battle," said the man beside him. The being from another world looked with horror upon the youth who had killed a hundred men and walked away.
In another part of the city the being from another world heard a radio announcing loudly that a certain man was soon to be executed. "Why is he to be put to death?" asked the being from another world. "Because he killed two men," said the man beside him. The being from another world walked away bewildered.
That evening, after the being from another world had thought the matter over, he opened his notebook and wrote: "It seems that all youths are forced to learn how to kill men efficiently. Those who succeed in killing a large number of men are reward with medals. Those who turn out to be poor killers and succeed in killing only a few men are punished by being put to death."
The being from another world shook his head sadly and added a postscript: "It looks as though this strange creature called Man will exterminate himself very quickly."
THOUGHTS FOR OUR TIMES
The key word for our times is practice. It isn't more spiritual light we need as much as putting into practice the spiritual light we already have.
Mankind stands now at a fork in the road. If we would avoid the way which leads to world chaos we must take the way which leads to world disarmament - and soon!
All right work like all right prayer does have effect. Those who seem to fail pave the way, and often contribute more than those who finally succeed.
Many seekers after the spiritual path encounter obstacles which seem to come from without, but no outward thing can actually hinder your progress. It is your wrong reaction toward outward things which can hinder your progress.
The path of gradual relinquishment of things hindering spiritual progress is a difficult path, for only when relinquishment is complete do the rewards really come. The path of quick relinquishment is an easy path, for it brings immediate blessings.
Worry is a useless mulling over things which cannot be changed. Here is a remedy. Take the matter to God in prayer and visualize it in God's hands. Then leave it, knowing it is in the best possible hands, and turn your attention to other things.
Differences between faiths lie in creeds and rituals rather than in religious principles. If you are guided toward a faith use it as a stepping-stone to God, not as a barrier between yourself and God's other children. If you are not guided toward a faith (or if you are) seek God in the silence, seek within. God is revealed to all who seek; God speaks to all who will listen.
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