As I look down at my “coexist” bracelet, I’m finding myself thinking why and how wearing this silly hippie bracelet makes any damn difference in the world. I know it’s there to remind me to accept others unconditionally, but other than that, what’s the purpose? If you’ve ever wondered what real, attainable peace is in the world we’re living in, join the club. It seems like we’re all seeking the trifecta: peace, love and truth. But how can it even be possible when so much of our existence is characterized by the heartbreak and misfortune that surrounds us?
And what even is peace? Is it just non-violence? No killing, no wars waged, no physical, literal negativity? I’m not sure. Because peacefulness is so much more than the lack of violence. It’s harmony. It’s contentment. It’s the merging and coexisting of a thousand different people without conflict. It looks pretty close to impossible.
We’re never going to be flawlessly peaceful human beings. We will always be wrought with the anxieties, depression, insecurity and pain that our ancestors have. It’s the human condition. But I suppose what we can do is learn to not take those difficulties and project them onto other people. We can’t tell other people how to live.
Even if it’s wrong. Even if we inherently disagree with it. Even if every fiber of our bodies and souls are screaming that we should just slap some sense into someone, we have to let them go through their own process. Because as adamantly as we believe that they’re wrong, they believe that they’re right.
I’ve said this a dozen times and I’ll say it again: peace for the world around us has to begin within us. Individual changes in consciousness are what will propel the world into peace, love and truth. Forcing other people to follow suit will not further your cause. You have to lead by example. Change your own level of consciousness and watch how others follow by their own volition.
What does changing your consciousness mean? It means opening yourself and accepting challenges as nothing more than mere turning points and lessons. Seeing negative criticism as someone’s failed attempt at possibly telling you something important: they just didn’t know how to say it kindly. It is listening to what’s negative, and being with it, not running from it. It’s reaching, and loving and knowing that there is more than where you are right now.
It’s understanding what matters, and knowing that those things are not what most people think. It’s not reaching a place where there is no pain, it’s just learning to love through it. It’s where we can have our differences but talk through them and find a solution that’s not violent or pain-staking. It’s acceptance of what isn’t meant for us. It’s learning to not resist the way life leads us, knowing and believing that there are greater plans intact. It’s you and me stepping down from lashing out just once, and letting that wave tide over us and recess.