Peace Begins with You
I travel a lot and talk to people about peace. People have so many different interpretations of peace. Using the analogy of a lamp, we want to see lit lamps of peace on the borders of India and Pakistan, Beirut, Israel, Palestine—wherever it may be. But peace is a little more than lit lamps. And that’s what we have to consider.
The body of an oil lamp is made of clay. In the lamp is a cotton wick, and in the bowl is oil. If you light the wick, it will burn for only a few minutes before going out. If you want the lamp to stay lit for a long time, you need oil. You may not actually see it, yet it is the oil that is helping the wick to stay lit and give light.
There is a peace that is not just a surface peace—not just a peace of ideas or conditions, but a peace that goes far beyond those things. The peace that we need to get in touch with and that we should be discussing around the world today is the peace we would like to see reflected on the borders of nations.
People not fighting each other is just a reflection, a consequence of something else that happened. Not the real thing.
A mother or father would like to see their child smile. It’s a wonderful feeling. So how should they go about that? Pull their cheeks? Put a piece of wood between their lips?
This is what we try to do. We have created a qualification for peace, and that is: no wars. But “no wars” is a consequence of something, just like war is a consequence of something. Peace will happen when every one of us can feel that feeling of peace within us.
If you want to light a room, you light the lamps. Each lamp is a human being. If you want peace on this earth, you will have to light these lamps called human beings.
We have fundamental needs, and unless they are fulfilled, it really doesn’t matter what we do. We have traded today for tomorrow. Today was spent planning for tomorrow. But tomorrow will never come because tomorrow always comes as today. How will tomorrow be spent? Planning for the next day.
The world is in a rut. We have traded peace for prosperity when the formula has always been peace first, then prosperity. Not prosperity, then peace. We think that all we need is prosperity. If everybody had food, everything would be fine. But even when people have food, they still have needs.
There is something that has been the quest of every civilization on the face of this earth. The thirst for peace. The thirst for peace lies within you, and peace is also within you. Begin with yourself. Begin with respecting what today means to you, instead of trading it for tomorrow. What does this moment that you are alive mean to you? Your life is like a necklace—one moment, another moment, another moment, another moment.
You are the first step. Peace begins with you, not somebody else. All our lives, things have come from somewhere else. But the process of peace begins with you. It begins with you understanding the possibility that being alive brings.
So much happens that attracts our attention. Maybe one other thing should attract our attention, and that’s the possibility of peace. So much happens that distracts us. Maybe there is one thing we should never be distracted from, and that is the possibility brought by life itself.
I present people with the possibility of themselves. I remind them to pour the oil in the lamp. It’s fine to decorate the clay, and you need the wick, but don’t forget the oil. There are many priorities and demands, many things that have to be done. But begin with the very simple formula of peace and prosperity. That formula was laid out a long, long time ago. And peace begins with you.