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"The Top Skills of a Peacemaker, Part 1: Envisioning Peace"

#33 in A Course in Love & Healing
By Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck
Co-Founders, TheLoveCenter

Forward: This column is written to support the 2003 Season for Nonviolence from January 30 - April 4th, a national 64-day educational campaign dedicated to demonstrating that nonviolence is a powerful way to heal, transform, and empower our lives and our communities. The opening and closing dates mark the 50th and 30th memorial anniversaries of Mahatma Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. For more information, visit http://www.TheLoveCenter.com

Think of all the individual people who live in conflict, tension, and fear. Think of the multitude of nations in turmoil or on the brink of even greater conflict. Our world - and so many of our individual lives - are in desperate need of peace.

What can we possibly do?

We can begin by envisioning peace. This is the first skill of a peacemaker and has enormous beneficial effects.

Envisioning peace is not as easy as it might sound. The first vision of peace that often comes to mind is that "peace is the absence of war or conflict." To think of the absence of conflict or war certainly comforts the heart, but is peace simply the absence of something? Or is peace the presence of something else?

This is where it is so important as peacemakers to visualize true peace. We need to envision what truly is the opposite of conflict. The opposite of conflict is not neutrality, the harboring of disgust, or refusing to speaking to each other. The opposite of conflict is the honoring of another person, culture, or nation. It is finding and acknowledging what is good within another individual or nation. It is seeing past our differences in gender, culture, history, or positions and uniting in dignity as human beings. In such honoring, we not only feel safe, but we feel valued and respected.

For example, think of the thousands of people right now living with physical or emotional conflict or abuse. All our hearts flood naturally with caring & a desire for them to experience peace. But genuine peace does not mean enduring another day in the hope of no violence. Genuine peace means that each of these individuals is highly valued, treated with dignity, and dependably loved. Can you envision this as possible? None of us are powerless as peacemakers. In fact, we have enormous influence on two key sectors of life that affect peace in the world. One, being at peace within ourselves. Two, bringing peace to those we know. The words of the popular "Peace Song" sung at many spiritual gatherings these days says it perfectly: "Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me."

Our first step as world peacemakers begins with our individual lives. Who do we hate or dislike? Who lives in the "neutral zone" of our heart? Who do we exclude from our love? How many people truly feel honored in our presence? Who feels at peace in our presence? These questions motivate us to open our hearts more inclusively with genuine acceptance and reverence - even for those whose actions or words show the anguish and depth of their own love deprivation. Being a peacemaker does not open us to abuse. Our internal stand for peace protects us with its own clear sense of justice as it simultaneously creates the conditions for closed hearts to open.

Envision peace! Let's plunge even deeper now, as peacemakers, into the picture of peace so our hearts are crystal clear. As you look at what a peacemaker does to establish peace, quietly reflect on each peace skill below. See & feel yourself as a peacemaker. Bring each idea into your heart and let your heart embrace those you know as well as the entire world you know in Spirit.

A Peacemaker (you) opens to all the possibilities of peace in the present moment:
* Aligns himself/herself with the spiritual power of Peace vs. living hopelessness & anguish.
* Honors, values, & cherishes everyone vs. degrading or attacking anyone.
* Calms fears & thought vs. creating or escalating anxiety.
* Listens with an open heart vs. condemning.
* Seeks to understand vs. prejudging & assuming.
* Includes everyone vs. excluding anyone.
* Unifies vs. dividing & separating.
* Celebrates diversity & individuality vs. intolerance & prejudice.
* Creates equality vs. domination.
* Supports justice & fairness vs. favoritism & inequality
* Forgives vs. condemning & holding resentment & hate.
* Responds with compassionate action vs. failing to care or act.
* Holds the space for healing vs. giving up on anyone.

Doesn't this vision of peace open your heart to the possibilities of peace?

There are thousands of peacemakers right now in this world who are living these peacemaking skills. Let us unite our peacemaking hearts in acknowledgment & gratitude for all the peacemaking taking place right now in our world. It is not too late. Peace is always a present choice & possibility. Peace is inevitable as our true home, nature, & final destination. Our hearts know this to be true - even in the midst of conflict. We are on the way to peace and nothing can stop us. Why? Because peace is too strong an idea to let us go. We cherish every thought and every act you express today as a peacemaker. Welcome to the heart of Love!

© Copyright 2003 Scott & Shannon Peck

The goal of the Course in Love & Healing is to raise universal consciousness to what is possible in Love. The Course consists of a continuing series of short, illuminating articles shared with those who wish to receive them and is a gift from TheLoveCenter, a non-profit educational organization dedicated to bringing all humanity into the heart of Love. This course goes to people in more than 39 countries. Previous lessons in this Course in Love & Healing are available at our website http://www.TheLoveCenter.com. Feel free to share this lesson with others, but please do so in its entirety. We also invite you to enjoy the many other Love treasures at our website.

Dr. Scott Peck & Shannon Peck are love teachers & spiritual healers & Co-founders of TheLoveCenter, a non-profit educational organization bringing all humanity into the heart of Love. They are authors of "The Love You Deserve: A Spiritual Guide to Genuine Love," "Liberating Your Magnificence," & 6-tape audio course, "All the Love You Could Ever Want!" Shannon's new book, "Love Heals: How to Heal Everything with Love" will be available September, 2003. Scott holds a Doctorate in divinity & Masters in Education. Shannon has her degree in Religious Studies & is a full-time spiritual healer & teacher of healers. For lots more love, visit http://www.TheLoveCenter.com, call TheLoveCenter at 1-800-266-1525, or email TheLoveCenter@aol.com.