The deeper beauty of spring is its process. In winter's last days, as the sun warms the earth, each root and branch awakens to the patterned memory of who it is and what it can be. Life stirs and nature's growth in turn awakens all of us to the glories of being fully alive.
Consciousness awakens in much the same way, doesn't it? One moment, everything is dark and still. Growth begins and we are excited by movement and its vibrant promise of what is to come.
I have a sense of our world awakening to peace: not a blind pretense that we are coming up roses, but a soul-deep vision of the seeds of peace within us, just waiting for the warmth and light needed for them to flourish. In the quiet stillness of centering prayer and meditation, we connect with this warmth and light, and become it. Our joy sweeps across green valleys and white-clouded blue mountains kiss the sky.
That’s how it was for Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, Mohammed, Mother Theresa, Buddha and so many others who became our great peacemakers. They were divinely illuminated in the silence and carried this peaceful inner light back into our world.
I remember the power of this impulse in the 1960s and see it taking hold again today, as people tire of war and destruction. It is a telling co-incidence that Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" comes along now to rip away the veils concealing our brutality. When people see in this movie the raw atrocity of violence, and know it for the monster that it is, then perhaps we will begin to reject it on our airwaves and refuse war in our lives and as a nation.
This awakening to peace is deeply needed in our suffering country, and I believe our silent prayers have brought an opportunity to choose a new symbol of who we are, in the U.S. Department of Peace. It is an impulse whose time has come, for within it is the potential to shift the consciousness of war to peace.
The Department of Peace, initiated by two spiritual peacemakers, Marianne Williamson and Dennis Kuchinich (D-Oh), holds peace as an organizing principle in our society. The DoP would teach conflict resolution in schools; address domestic violence, child abuse, mistreatment of the elderly, and other issues of cultural violence; monitor arms sales and weapons of mass destruction; and in every way seek to prevent conflict, determine the root causes of violence, and increase our national security.
By raising the torch of peace, the DoP has stirred up some fundamental questions for each of us to answer: Is there within us a compartment of peace or a compartment of war? Is it time to release our fearful struggle for power, position and possessions, in which we accept conflict and violence as ways of life? Can we shift to the life-enhancing perspectives of the heart and soul: that we are one humanity connected to a web of Spirit in which each person, drawing sustenance from this web, is fed by an unlimited abundance that supplies more than enough to satisfy us all?
Some 44 percent of all Americans are waiting for a messiah to save us from ourselves, when all we need to do is awaken to the divine life force within us and grow into the peaceful, loving and awakened beings that we are meant to be, as Jesus and other enlightened masters have taught us.
Do you feel this inner impulse? Just listen quietly to see. If an inner light urges you toward peacemaking, then perhaps it is time to act: if not to support the non-partisan Department of Peace campaign (dopcampaign.org), then to express your need and desire for peace in another way, so that peace can make your valleys green and you can raise the torch of peace in our world.
Each of us is an instrument of the peace awakening on Earth right now. May we experience it deep within and stir it in others, so that our springtime of peace blossoms and lifts us into the Perfection that pours life into every being.