(Photo by Jim Burton)
Peace Pilgrim, Cologne, N. J.
TWO KINDS OF PEACE
Ultimate peace begins within - when we find peace within there is the peace you seek, purify your body by sensible living habits, purify your mind by expelling all negative thoughts, purify your motives by casting out any ideas of greed or self-striving and by seeking to serve your fellow human beings, purify your desires by eliminating all wishes for material possessions or self-glorification and by desiring to know and do God's will for you. Inspire others to do likewise. Some will prefer to work on an interim peace - a setting up of mechanisms to resolve conflicts in a world where conflicts still exist - so that although there will still be psychological violence there will no longer be physical violence. If this is the peace you seek, work on a world scale for world disarmament and reconstruction, for a world government which will include all people, for world thinking - placing the welfare of the human family above the welfare of any nation. Work on a national scale for a Peace Department to do research on peaceful ways of resolving conflicts, for changing the function of the so-called Defense Department from destruction to construction - so much constructive work is needed among the less fortunate peoples in the world, for the adjustment of our economy to a peacetime situation - lots of problems to solve here. Get others to work with you. Of course it is perfectly possible to work on both kinds of peace at the same time.
YOU CAN KNOW GOD
There is a power greater than ourselves which manifests itself within us as well as everywhere else in the universe. This I call God. Do you know what it is to know God - to have God's constant guidance - a constant awareness of God's presence? To know God is to reflect love toward all people and all creations. To know God is to feel peace within - a calmness, a serenity, an unshakeableness which enables you to face any situation. To know God is to be so filled with joy that it bubbles over and goes forth to bless the world. I have only one desire now - to do God's will for me - there is no conflict. When God guides me to walk a pilgrimage I do it gladly. When God guides me to do other things I do them just as gladly. If what I do brings criticism upon me I take it with head unbowed. If what I do brings me praise I pass it immediately along to God, for I am the little instrument through which God does the work. When God guides me to do something I am given strength, I am given supply, I am shown the way, I am given the words to speak. Whether the path is easy or hard I walk in the light of God's love and peace and joy, and I turn to God with psalms of thanksgiving and praise. This it is to know God. And knowing God is not reserved for the great ones. It is for little folks like you and me. God is always seeking you - every one of you. You can find God if you will only seek - by obeying divine laws, by loving people, by relinquishing self-will, attachments, negative thoughts and feelings - and when you find God it will be in the stillness, you will find God within.
A TRUE STORY
It happened in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert. The traffic had just about stopped, and there wasn't a human habitation within many miles. I saw a car parked at the side of the road. The driver called to me saying, "Come on, get in and get warm." I got in. I looked at the man. He was a big, burly man - what most people would call a rough-looking individual. After we had talked awhile he said, "Say, wouldn't you like to get a few winks of sleep?" and I said, "Oh, yes, I certainly would!" and I curled up and went to sleep. When I awoke I could see that the man was very puzzled about something, and after we had talked for quite some time he admitted that when he had asked me to get into the car he had certainly meant me no good, adding, "When you curled up so trustingly and went to sleep, I just couldn't touch you!" You never walk so safely as when you walk humbly and harmlessly, but with great love and great faith. For then you get through to the good in people - and there is good within everyone - and they cannot harm you. This works between individuals, it works between groups, and it would work between nations if nations had the courage to try it.
A DOZEN RANDOM THOUGHTS
There is a criterion by which you can judge whether the thoughts you are thinking and the things you are doing right are for you. That criterion is - have they brought you inner peace. If they have not, there is something wrong with them - so keep seeking.
You cannot change anyone except yourself. After you have become an example you can inspire others to change themselves.
If you love people enough they will respond lovingly. If I offend people I blame myself, for I know that if my conduct had been correct they would not have been offended even though they did not agree with me. "Before the tongue can speak, it must have lost the power to wound."
When you become a channel through which God works there are no more limitations, because God does the work through you - you are merely the instrument - and what God can do is unlimited. When you are working for God you do not find yourself striving and straining - you find yourself calm, serene and unhurried.
Live this day! "Yesterday is but a dream and tomorrow is only a vision, but today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope." Never agonize over the past or worry over the future. Live this day and live it well.
Many have asked about my living habits. I eat no flesh, having extended my love to include all my fellow creatures as well as my fellow human beings. I use no alcohol, nicotine, caffeine, drugs. I avoid white flour, white sugar, processed foods, high seasonings. I eat mostly fruits, nuts, vegetables, whole grains - preferably organically grown. Each day I get as much fresh air and sunshine and contact with nature as I can. When possible I go to bed at dusk and get eight hours sleep. Most important of all - I think no negative thoughts.
We are cells in the body of humanity. Each has a specific purpose and function. It is because most cells have not found their purpose and function that they experience painful disharmony within and the body of humanity is headed for chaos.
Most of us fall short much more by omission than by commission. "While the world perishes we go our way - purposeless, passionless, day after day."
People try to make up for their spiritual impoverishment by accumulating material things. When spiritual blessings come material things seem unimportant. But spiritual blessings do not come until we desire them and relinquish desire for material things. As long as we desire material things this is all receive, and we remain spiritually impoverished.
The most important part of prayer is what we feel, not what we say. We spend a great deal of time telling God what we think God should be doing, and not enough time waiting in the stillness for God to tell us what we should be doing.
We need not reach out to tear down that which is evil. By doing so we only give it validity and strength. If we will just bring sufficient good influences to bear upon it, not only will the evil fade away of its own accord, but the evil-doer will be transformed.
A great spiritual awakening is taking place in the world today - "I saw an ocean of darkness and death, but and infinite ocean of light and love which flowed over the ocean of darkness." Let us become a part of the ocean of light and love!
When God fills your life God's gifts overflow to bless all you touch.