IMAGINE Magazine-Spring2016 - Page 30

PEACE PRACTICES Choose peace as your daily word by Robert V. Taylor, author of A New Way to Be Human and President of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation T o choose peace as your daily word is a bold choice. In a world where fear and anxiety are the cherished outcomes of bullies and terrorists, their byproduct is instability and chaos. Choosing peace as your word signals your intention to be an activator of life instead of a passive bystander. More than a New Year’s resolution, peace will shape and impact everything you do and say. Peace is commonly spoken of as the absence of war or conflict, or living a life free of strife and discord. By themselves such understandings are shallow and ignore the richness and complexity of peace. Choosing peace 30 IMAGINE l SPRING 2016 as your word for the year will reveal a more robust and richer understanding of peace. I’ll offer you a taste of the richness and liveliness the word peace invites followed by three tools for making your chosen word part of your daily routine, as well as three key elements to be sure to include in your practices. The Greek and Roman idols of peace were women often bearing a horn of plenty or a torch of light and olive leaves. Within Judaism the Hebrew word shalom has diverse meanings but most often connotes an active striving for the well-being of individuals and society including economic, spiritual and physical health. The Arabic sa- laam is similarly more complex than the English translation of peace and for most Muslims, it includes seeking prosperity and safety for all and a commitment to friendliness. In both the Jewish and Muslim traditions shalom and salaam are used to greet and bid farewell to people as if to bless their prosperity, health and wholeness. For many Christians Christ is the Prince of Peace and he is typically conjoined with images from Jewish prophets like Isaiah and Micah. These images include one in which the animal kingdom and human beings will live peaceably and another of turning weapons or ploughshares into instruments of peace or well-being. For Buddhists the Four Noble Truths are the path to detaching from greed and fear because attachment to them is believed to be the cause of all suffering and only when suffering ends will we experience peace. This is just scratching the surface! Your exploration of peace as your word might include the richness of peace in other traditions, art, music or literature. As you live with the word peace each day you will be drawn to exploring peace as much as you are to reflecting and meditating on it. Here are some tools for making this a life-giving experience for you and some ways to think about three aspects of the word peace in your daily life. l Make your chosen word part of your routine every day of the year. Carve out small blocks of time to reflect, meditate and think about your chosen word each day. Make the word visible to you when you wake up, throughout your day and before sleep. It could become your screensaver on