In this tape Peace Pilgrim is speaking to a spiritual mobilization group at the Campbell House in San Jacinto, California in 1959.
In 1953, the teacher who became known as Peace Pilgrim began her travels across the United States. This is a copy being made in 1986. A real tape of a session that was held in Campbell House. I believe December 22, 1958 where she spoke at some length to all of us who were at that time still working for and with the spiritual mobilization. I believe this was the occasion of her first visit to San Jacinto following the correspondence she and I had before then and was the first of three or four subsequent visits over the years before we finally left San Jacinto in 1974. - Ann Rush
Now if you feel moved to share... in my student days I got the impression that one gets in this materialistic age that the way to get on well in the world was to get out there and make a lot of money and get ahead of the other fellow. And during the early years of my life I discovered that money making was easy but not satisfying. And then out of a feeling of deep seeking for a meaningful way of life I began to walk until I found what I was seeking. And after I had walked almost all night, I came out into a clearing where the moonlight was shining down. And something just motivated me to speak and I found myself speaking aloud. And I found myself saying, "If you can use me for anything, please use me." And I found myself feeling, "here I am, take all of me, use me as you will, I withhold nothing. And then of course I felt I had found what I was seeking. Because you see, that night I got over the first spiritual hump. I experienced the complete willingness, without any reservations what so ever to give my life to something beyond myself.
And from that time on my life became meaningful. Because I began to live to be of service. I began to live to give instead of to get. Now most people get over this hump very slowly. They give their lives in certain areas. They say "well, I'll give and hour a week to this good cause. I'll give five dollars to this good cause." And so they have this long hard path before the dedication is complete and the blessings really come. But since I made an overnight dedication the blessings came in the morning and the first blessing that I noticed was the blessing of perfect health. I have not had the slightest illness, not even a cold or headache since that night 22 years ago. Now 15 years before I began my pilgrimage for peace when I experienced the complete willingness to give my life to something beyond myself.
But then I discovered that there is a great difference between the willingness to give and that actual giving. In my life 15 years lay between. 15 years in which I experienced what seemed like a struggle between two selves which the psychologist would call ego and conscience, which the religious person would call self will and God's will, which I often call in my everyday words the lower self and the higher self.
This is the personal armageddon which each one of us must experience before we come into the life of harmony. The view points are completely different.
And in the midst of the struggle between these two viewpoints, I caught my first glimpse of the life of harmony, the life of inner peace. Now this is a very significant experience. Some religious groups call it "illumination." And than I could return again and again into the life of harmony and I could stay there for longer and longer periods of time. And then I really missed harmony when I slipped out of it. Until finally I was able to stay there all the time. Finally I had succeeded in giving my life. I had gotten over the second spiritual hump. And again this a point of no return. You have to go on from there.
And so I went into the life of inner peace and I have been in that life for seven years now. And of course after you have found inner peace no more instructions need be given. You will know your way from within. And if I try to describe inner peace to you in my every day words I would say it is a feeling of always being surrounded by all the good things. I feel primarily love and peace and joy as a protective surrounding and joy is very definitely a part of it. I don't know why some people seem to think that a proper religious face is a long face. I remember I met a man who had read my message on the way of peace and he said, "I'm surprised that you are the kind of person you are because I had read your very serious message and here I find you just bubbling over with joy." And I said to him, "who could know God and not be joyous?" Because knowing God is a part of inner peace. There is a constant awareness of the presence of God, constant communion.
Look what this does to your life. In the presence of God there can be no fear. Everything negative is gone. There is a constant unshakeableness within which takes you through any situation you may have to face. To the world you may seem to be facing tremendous obstacles, but always there are the inner resources to easily overcome the obstacles. Nothing seems difficult. There is a calmness and a serenity and an unhurriedness. Life is full and good but never overcrowded. This is a very important thing I have learned. If your life is overcrowded even with good things it requires simplification. There is a constant receiving from within of God's laws as far as you need to know them for your life, and a accordance with these things and live always of course to give rather than to get you discover that everything you need you receive. It is given. You attract it to you.
And so although on my pilgrimage I walk until given shelter and fast until given food and never ask for anything. I have received ample food. I have never skipped more than four meals in a row and of course I do not even think about food until it is offered. I have received ample shelter, not always a fine bed although about three quarters of the time I do have a good bed. But perhaps some all night place where I can sleep, or a parked car. It is only very occasionally that I walk all night to keep warm or sleep beside the road. And of course if you are really concerned about what you are doing you do not mind a little so called hardships, and I am very concerned about world peace.
I have received also a new item of clothing when needful. I have received also the wherewithal to publish my newsletter which goes free of charge to anyone who would like to have it. It always says "no Peace Pilgrim material is ever copyrighted." I feel it's given to me and I pass it on, and there is never any charge for it. I know that as long as it fulfills a useful purpose, the wherewithal will be given. And it has been given pressed down and overflowing without any kind of asking. I would not even permit anyone to take a collection for me where I speak.
And then the strength to walk these many miles has been given. I average about 25 miles a day, but I have walked as much as 50 miles in a day. And even the day I walked 50 miles I wasn't tired. Energy just seems to flow through me like electricity flows through a wire. There is no end to it. After you have found inner peace energy is just as endless as air. You never run out of it. There is a condition of course, you have to continued to give if you want to continue to receive. And I would say to those who want to begin to receive the really worthwhile things of life, "Let your concentration be on giving, giving, giving. You can't give too much. And then you will discover that just as you cannot receive without giving so you cannot give without receiving the most wonderful blessings. Everything needful has been given for the journey, even the words to speak. This is the life harmony, the like of inner peace.
And when this great blessing first cam to me I just felt that I wanted to reach out and give it to everybody. And then I discovered that you can't do this. You can't give it to anybody. but you might if you will share experiences with your fellow human beings inspire them to reach out and take it for themselves.
And so since then I have been sharing experiences with my fellow human beings, experiences which I have had in the 15 years before I found harmony and began my pilgrimage. I usually put these experiences into twelve steps, but there's nothing arbitrary about the number of steps. They could be expanded. They could be contracted. It's just a way of talking about this subject.
And the important thing to remember is that these steps are not taken in any certain order, and that the first step for one may be the last step for another.
I would like to mention first the four preparations which were required of me as I proceed toward the life of harmony. And the first preparation I would like to mention is a right attitude toward life. We are living in a world where there are millions of escapists. They try through any means, physical or psychological to escape from life. Of course they really can't but they certainly try. And there are millions of surface livers who are afraid to get down beneath the froth on the surface. Of course these people will never find anything worthwhile. You have to begin by facing life squarely and getting down beneath its surface where the real things lie, and that's what we will be doing for a few moments here together now. And you have to solve the problems which life sets before you. They are very important. They are set before you for your spiritual growth. They are really opportunities in disguise. There was a time when I was still rather immature, when in my love for people I wished for them a life without problems. But I would never now wish for anyone a life without problems, because that would be a barren life without any opportunity for spiritual growth. I would wish rather that you would assume a proper attitude toward your problems, that you would solve them in accordance with the highest laws, for thus you would grow.
Now we usually do something about our personal problems. They're so immediate. Where we fall short is in the field of the collective problems, the problems like world disarmament and world peace. We say, "oh, that's a controversial subject, I'm going to stay strictly away from that." But a right attitude would lead us to approach these problems prayerfully, and think them through and talk them through and collectively find solutions for them. All this is a part of a right attitude toward life.
The second preparation I would like to mention has to do with bringing our lives into harmony with the already well known and well believed laws of human conduct, although not so well practiced, which we often call God's laws. Now I remember just after I dedicated my life I realized that belief and practice were not in harmony in my life and I undertook to live all the good things I believed. I still remember how long it took the living to catch up with the believing, but of course it can. Now if I believe something I live it. It would be perfectly meaningless otherwise.
Now I'm talking here about something which is the same for all human beings, something which you can learn from your religious teachings, from your philosophies. But the third preparation has to do with something which is unique is unique for every human soul. Before a life can be in harmony it must be in harmony with its part in God's plan. You know everyone of us has a unique part in God's plan which we cannot learn from without, which we must learn from within. And therefore if you do not yet know clearly where you fit into God's plan seek it in receptive silence. I used to walk in a beautiful place and the most wonderful things would begin to come to me. And you begin to do your part in God's plan by all of the good things you are motivated toward, even though they are little good things at first, and giving those things first place in your life over all he superficial things which customarily clutter human lives.
There are those who know and do not do. This is a very sad thing. I remember a man stuck his head out of a car window one day and said to me, "How wonderful that you are following your calling." "Well," I said, "I certainly think everyone should be following his calling." And then he started telling me what he was called toward, and it was a good thing and needed doing, and I took it for granted he was doing it and I said, "How wonderful, and how are you getting on with that project?" "Oh," he said, "I'm not doing that, that kind of work doesn't pay anything." And he was a desperately unhappy man and will remain so of course until he is following his calling.
We have this false criterion by which to measure success in this materialistic age. We measure it in terms of dollars and cents, in terms of material things. But happiness and inner peace does not lie in that direction.
And then there is a fourth preparation which is a simplification of life to bring inner and outer well being, spiritual and material well being into harmony in your life. Now this was made every easy for me, because you see right after I had dedicated my life I felt that I could no longer accept more than I needed in a world where so many people still have less than they need. And it was this that motivated me to begin to bring my life down to need level. I remember I felt so greedy, because money making had been so easy and I had so much more than I needed. But of course I thought this was going to be very difficult, that it was going to entail a great many hardships. In fact, when I dedicated my life I thought I was giving my life to hard work and privation. But of course I was so wrong. Now that I own just the clothes that I wear, do you think I feel deprived of anything? Wants and need have become exactly the same in my life. You couldn't give me anything I don't need - people try. And I have discovered this great truth, and this is true for all of us, that unnecessary possessions are just unnecessary burdens. There is great freedom in simplicity. And as soon as I began to experience the freedom of simplicity I began to experience a harmony in my life between inner and outer well being. And there is a great deal to be said about such harmony, not only for an individual life but also for the life of a group.
You see, it's because as a world we are so completely out of harmony that when we discover something like nuclear energy our first thought is to use it for destruction. This because our spiritual well being has so far behind our material well being. It isn't more material advancement we need in this nuclear age. It is more spiritual advancement we need and need desperately so that we will know how to use constructively the material advancement we already have.
Then, there were some purifications also required of me. And the first purification I would like to mention is purification of the bodily temple. The body is the temple of the spirit. We don't always treat it that way. Now this has to do with your physical living habits. Do you eat sensibly? Do you get to bed early and get plenty of hours of sleep? Do you get plenty fresh air and sunshine and exercise and contact with nature? You would think that this would be the first area that people would be willing to work in because its an area so easily understood, but this is not by any means true, because you see it might entail getting ride of some of our bad habits. And these we do cling to most tenaciously.
I would like to mention this. That when we cling to a bad habit merely through ignorance we will suffer, of course. But when we still cling to a bad habit after we know better we will suffer doubly because as soon as you know better you are obligated to do better.
Now, the second purification I would like to mention is a very important one. It is the purification of thought. Your thoughts are very powerful things. They can be a powerful influence for good when you get them on the positive side. They can make you physically ill when they're on the negative side. Oh, how many people I have met who were manifesting symptoms of physical illness, sometimes even called chronic physical illness which faded away as soon as the negative thought that were causing it were relinquished. If you are harboring the slightest bitterness against anyone, any unkind thought of any kind get rid of it. It isn't hurting anybody else but you. It isn't enough just to do right things and say right things. You have to think right things before your life can come into harmony.
The third purification is purification of desire. What are the things you are desiring? Are you desiring superficial things like new articles of wearing apparel or new articles of household furnishings or perhaps a new car. You can come to the point of oneness of desire, just to know and do God's will for you. And when you think about it, is there anything else really important to desire? Of course after you have found inner peace it is a knowing and doing rather than a desiring to know and do. So you can say that then you have reached the point of desirelessness. But until you reach that point at least reach the point of oneness of desire.
The fourth purification, a very important one is purification of motive. What is your motive for whatever you are doing? How of course if you are about to do something with the pure motive of greed of self seeking or the for self glorification I would say don't do that thing. Don't do anything you would do with such a motive. But usually we do things with very mixed motives - good and bad motives all mixed together. Here is a man for instance out in the business world. His motives there may not be the highest but mixed in with them are motives of caring for his family and perhaps doing some good in his community. Very mixed motives, you see.
And then I talk to groups that are studying the highest teachings. But they wonder why nothing is happening in their lives. Their motive is the attainment of inner peace for themselves. This a selfish motive. They will never find it that way. Your motive, if you are to find inner peace must be an outgoing motive of course. It must be of service always, it must be giving, not getting. I have met a few people who have had to change their jobs in order to change their lives, but I have met people who merely had to change their motive to service in order to change their lives.
Now I want to discuss with you last relinquishments which were required of me. And the first relinquishment, once you have made it you have found inner peace, for it is the relinquishment of self will. But you can work on it. You can work on it by refraining from doing any not good thing you may be motivated toward, never suppressing it, always transforming it. If you're motivated to do or say a mean thing you can always think of a good thing. Turn around and do or say a good thing instead.
The viewpoint of the life governed by self will is so different from the viewpoint of the life governed by God's will. From the lower viewpoint you see the material as the reality. If you say "I" you mean the body. From the higher viewpoint you see the spiritual as the reality. If you say "I" you mean that which activities the body. From the lower viewpoint you see yourself as the center of the universe and everything also only as it relates to you. Now when you mature intellectually you realize that this is not so. But you still tend to judge things that way until your life is governed by the higher viewpoint and then you see yourself as part of the whole.
And that brings me to my second relinquishment which is the relinquishment of the feeling of separateness. Why do we feel so separate one from another? In reality we are all cells in the body of humanity. We are not separate from our fellow human beings, more are we separate from God. The whole thing is a totality. It is only from this higher viewpoint that you can know what it is to love your neighbor as yourself. And from this higher viewpoint there becomes just one realistic way to work, and that is for the good of the whole. As long as you work for your selfish little self it is just one cell against all the other cells. You're way out of harmony. But just as soon as you begin working for the whole you find yourself in harmony with God's purpose and with all your fellow human beings. It's the easy harmoniously way to live.
The third relinquishment is the relinquishment is the relinquishment of all attachments. There will be those of us who will be guided to live with and work with material things. But material things must be put into their proper place. They are there for use. It's all right to use them, that's what they're there for. But when they have outlived their usefulness we must always stand ready to relinquish them, perhaps to pass them on to someone who does need them. Anything which you cannot relinquish when it has outlived it's usefulness possesses you and in this materialistic age a great many of us are more or less possesses by our possessions. We are not free.
I remember an elderly lady I was concerned about because she was working much too hard and I said to her "Do really have to work so hard? Why after all, you have only yourself to support." "A five-room house," I said to her. "Why you're alone in the world. Couldn't you happily in one room?" "Yes," she said sadly, "but you see I have furniture for a five-room house." Well, who possessed who. Did she possess the furniture or did the furniture possess her? Here she was, working her fingers to the bone to provide a proper home for the furniture. It's not unusual in this materialistic age. Just be sure you are not possessed by your possessions.
Then there is another kind of possessiveness I would like to mention. You do not possess any other human being, no matter how closely related that other human being may be. No husband owns his wife. No wife owns her husband. No parents own their children. When we think we possess them we tend to try to run their lives for them, and there is an extremely inharmonious situation. Only when we realize that we do not possess them, that they must live in accordance with their own inner guidance will we stop trying to run their lives for them and then we will be able to live in harmony with them.
The last of the relinquishments I will certainly not try to discuss fully, for it is the relinquishment of all negative feelings. And here again you can take them one by one and work on them.
I would like to mention just one negative feeling because it is negative feeling which the nicest people still experience, and that negative feeling is worry. Now worry is not concern which would motivate you to do everything possible in the situation. Worry is a useless mulling over of things you cannot change. It's a lack of faith, of course. If you are a in prayer person you should be able to take what you are worrying about to God in prayer. And say now it's in God's hands. His in the best possible hands and I'm going to leave it there and then leave it there and go about other things. And of course it's a spiritual law that anything you hold onto through worry remains in your little finite hands. And higher powers only take over when you have relinquished it.
We seldom worry about this present moment. But we often do spend our lives agonizing over the past which we should have forgotten long since or worrying over the future which hasn't even come yet. And we have such a tendency to skim right over this present moment. And since this present moment is the only moment that we have to live. Those who do not live in this present moment never get around to living at all. To me every moment is a new and wonderful opportunity.
Now there's one other thing about negative feelings I would like to mention because this is something which helped me very much at a time when my life was still quite out of harmony. It was the realization that no outward thing, nothing, nobody from without could hurt me inside, could hurt me spiritually. I realized that I could only be hurt spiritually by my own wrong actions which I have control over, or by my own wrong reaction. They're very tricky things but I have control over them also. When I realized this I just felt so free and I stopped hurting myself. Now someone could do the meanest thing to me, I would recognize that person as a sick person, an out of harmony person. I would put him in the same category as a mentally sick person or a physically sick person, all out of harmony people. I would feel great compassion for this sick person, who was capable of doing mean things. I would pray for that person. And I certainly would not hurt myself by a wrong reaction of bitterness or anger. You have complete control over whether you will be hurt inside, hurt spiritually or not. And any time you want to you can stop hurting yourself.
These are the steps toward inner peace that I wanted to share with you. I did not say anything to you which is new. I merely said these things which are universal truth of course to you in new words, so that perhaps coming upon them freshly spoken in new words in term of my own personal experience with them you might be freshly inspired to think upon them, to act upon them, to find that priceless which is there for all of us to reach out and take inner peace.
And now I would like to end by telling you one story, because it illustrates something I feel very strongly about, that if you love people and trust them, have faith in the good in them through your love and your faith you will reach the good in them. It's there no matter how deeply it may be buried.
I remember as I was starting out across the desert alone on my pilgrimage for world peace I was being interviewed on the radio and the man who was interviewing me said, "don't you carry some kind of a weapon as you cross the desert alone?" and I said to him, "Well, perhaps I do. My weapon is love, love and faith." And he wanted me to explain this to him intellectually. So I said "all right." Let's just take it person to person. Suppose I were to come to you, hating you, fearing you, distrusting you, armed against you, what would happen to you? It would arouse everything bad in you. You might even harm me. This is the way nations, nations of the world face one another today. You see they are extremely poor psychologists. But suppose I were to come to you kindly and lovingly and trustingly, ready to help you in any way possible. Then you would discover that you couldn't harm me because the good within you would prevent it. This is the way to get along with people. This is the way peace.
Now this little incident I would like to relate, happened at the beginning of my pilgrimage. It happened in the middle of the night in the middle of the desert. I was walking that night to keep warm. I hadn't yet been offered a shelter. And as I walked along I noticed there was a car parked at the side of the road in this extremely lonely place and as I came up to the car I noticed there was a man in it. And as I passed he called to and he said come on, get into the car here and get warm. And it is very cold out on the desert at night as hot as it is in the daytime. But I said to him, "but I don't ride." And he said, "I'm not going anywhere, I'm just parked here." So I went on over and I got into the car and when I looked at the man I realized that he was what most people would call a rough looking individual. We talked for awhile and then he said, "say, wouldn't you like to get a few winks of sleep while you're sitting here where it's warm?" And I said, "oh yes, thank you, I certainly would." And of course I can sleep anywhere. I curled up right where I was and I went to sleep. Well now I have no idea how long I slept, but as soon as I woke I could sense a change of attitude on his part, he seemed to be very puzzled about something and we talked for a long time after that before he finally got around to admitting to me that when he had asked me to get into that car he had certainly meant me no good. But he added, "you know, when you curled up so trustingly and went to sleep I just couldn't touch you." Of course he couldn't, the good within him prevented it. Even though he was surprised to find that it was there. And as I walked away from that car I looked back and I saw that the man had gotten out. He was standing there and looking up at the stars. And I was wondering if he was thinking of God for the first time.
You can tell that I'm an optimist. You see I can't help being an optimist because I know that the higher laws, God's laws work for good just as soon as we obey them. And I know that the good in every human heart always gives us a possibility of obeying them. Now then we do have free will about all this and therefore how soon we obey and thereby come into harmony both within ourselves and within our world is up to us.
As far as the pilgrimage is concerned I should perhaps tell you in a nut shell that I started out in January of 1953, during a very dark world situation.
An unknown pilgrim, to do everything one little person might do through prayer, for my pilgrimage is a prayer. It is a prayer undertaken with complete self giving which multiplies the power of the prayer. And through having an opportunity to talk with a great many people and perhaps inspiring them to pray and work also for peace in the world. My pilgrimage is for world peace. So far I have walked and counted, although I haven't counted all the miles or even all the years I have walked 15,300 miles. I have walked in the 48 states, the 10 Canadian provinces and Mexico. I am on faith as well as on foot. I am penniless, I own the clothes I wear, I do not belong to any organization. I have vowed to remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until I am given shelter and fasting until I am given food. And without ever asking for anything I have been supplied.
The kernel of my message - this is the way of peace: overcome evil with good, falsehood with truth, and hatred with love, or in the words of my magic formula: there is a magic formula for resolving conflicts. It is this: have as your objective the resolving of the conflict, not the gaining of advantage. There is a magic formula for avoiding conflict; it is this: be concerned that you do not offend, not that you are not offended. That formula will work between men or between nations.
Now you will notice that there is nothing new about my message except the practice of it. And of course the key word for our times in practice. It isn't more light we need, but rather it's putting into practice the light we already have. As soon as we are willing to do that wonderful things will begin to happen, both within ourselves and within our world.
This is a crisis period in human history. Those of us who are living in the world today are faced with a momentous choice and we cannot avoid helping to make this choice. The tide ow world affairs drifts still in the direction of war and destruction, in spite of the bright spots. Those of us who do nothing in this crisis situation are choosing war and destruction. In this direction the tide is now drifting. It is only those of us who do something meaningful in this crisis situation who are choosing peace. For they become a part of the stirring and awakening which is beginning in the world today, which I have faith will accelerate sufficiently to turn the tide toward a golden age of peace which we cannot now even imagine when all of the resources of man will be used for constructive purposes instead of destructive purposes. This could be the kingdom of God on earth.
Now I would never ask to see results. I know that all right work and all right effort bears fruit. But since I am working at a period in human history when peace is an idea whose time has come, I have not been able to avoid seeing some results. I can measure them best perhaps in the wonderful letters, thousands of them that I have received from people who say something like since talking with you I have realized that I should be doing something about peace also. Sometimes they do something about world peace, sometimes about peace among groups, sometimes about peace among individuals, and sometimes about the inner peace. But the whole peace picture is a totality. Every time you have brought harmony into any unpeaceful situation you have done something for peace. You can work for peace right within yourself, within your own surroundings. In so far as you have peace your own heart you reflect it into your community, and into your world. Every once in a while I have seen the formation of a community peace committee as I went along. And this is most meaningful in this crisis situation.
And every once in a while there is an interesting little incident. I was walking along a highway one day and a nice car stopped and a well dressed couple began talking with me. So I started to explain to them what I was doing, and suddenly to my complete amazement the man burst into tears. I was simply astounded, and he said, "Because I have done nothing for peace you have to do so much."
The pilgrimage tends to arouse people from their lethargy a bit and this is most needful. We are in a state of deep apathy. We have never seen war face to face and so we're very apathetic about this whole situation. Our sins in this situation are not so much sins of commission. They are sins of omission. We realize that something is required of us yet we tend to just let things drift. We tend to do nothing. In any age where there is extreme apathy in the face of a crisis situation as there is today someone is apt to be motivated to leave a quiet life as I did and make sine unusual witness, to arouse people to activity. And thus my pilgrimage for world peace.
I talk to people in three ways. I talk to them individually. The purpose of this tunic which I wear with PEACE PILGRIM on the front and walking 25,000 miles for world peace on the back. I know ahead to 25,000 miles. Although of course that is not my goal. My goal is world peace. My I will continued walking until the tide of world affairs is drifting as strongly toward world peace as it is now drifting toward war. The purpose of this tunic is to bring people to me as I walk along the highways, through the cities. It does it's job well. I never have to approach anyone. They approach me. It gives me an opportunity to talk to them about peace. Then I talk to groups in the cities, thousands of them in groups, of course the church/student groups, the student groups in colleges or high schools, and then through the medium of all the news services. Also I have an opportunity to talk to millions of people through the medium of the news services. And so I have had unique opportunity to talk to people and to inspire them to do something for peace in their own way.
Perhaps I should tell you about the prayer group that I visited this past summer. And they said to me, we started off with such high hopes. And now we're just stagnating, nothing seems to be happening. We wonder what's the matter. And I said "well, I can tell you one thing that's the matter. There's no outgoingness. It's all waiting to receive something for yourself. There's no outgoingness, and you cannot receive without giving." "Now," I said, "you have expressed a real interest in the world's number one problem. In peace. So since you have this interest, why don't you make it a peace prayer group and work on the world's number one problem through your prayers. Start with the inner peace, pray about it, think it through, talk it through until you realize some block that you have in the attainment of peace within yourself. And then the next week (they met every week) the next week get out there and remove that black. Do something about it. The second week talk about peace among individuals, and when you discover that there is any unpeaceful situation of the slightest kind between yourself and any other human being get out there that next week and bring harmony into that unpeaceful situation. Do something about it.
The next week go out into you community, and you'll have to do this as a group. Look around you see if there are any unpeaceful situations is your community. Are there any groups that are any that are having a difficult time in your community. And if you find such a situation, then you as a group get out there the next week and do something about it.
The fourth week take peace in the world. Now this will undoubtedly entail writing letters to you congressman, to your president, to your United Nations representative, to your newspapers. This is very important, to your local newspaper about things that you feel strongly about. For instance you may believe as I believe that the time has come when the world should be speaking a common tongue. So you might write to your United Nations representative about the establishment of a world language to be taught as a second language in all schools in the world. Biggest single step toward world understanding, and a long stride toward world peace.
You might feel there should be a peace department in our government as I do. And so you would write to your representatives about the establishment of a peace department to do real research on peaceful ways of resolving conflict. Research for the nuclear age in which we now live. After we have established such a department of course we would be in a position to ask every other nation to establish a similar department. You can only change by example you know. You can only change one person, yourself. After you have become an example you might be able to inspire others to want to change themselves. So it is in the world. You can only help to change one nation, and that is your own. After your own nation has become a shining example it might be able to inspire the world toward change. But as it is now, I know we have very kind hearts in this country. I have walked throughout this land on faith and I have been provided for. But when people look across the seas at us they can't see our kind hearts. They see our stock piles of bombs. And so they tend to fear us and what you fear you tend to hate. And so they come to hate and fear us. It's a very unfortunate situation. I would like to see us taking some constructive steps for the nuclear age in which we live. Then we would be in a position to ask other nations to take the same constructive steps. Well so you would do something about the world situation the next week.
The interesting part of this is that I got a letter from this group recently and they said, "we have adopted you plan. Our prayer group has become so meaningful. It has tripled in size and it is so vital that nobody wants to miss a meeting. And on the fifth Tuesday (they met on a Tuesday) when there is a fifth Tuesday we are inviting in our neighbors and friends and telling them about our project and trying to inspire them to undertake a similar project.
Perhaps I should also tell you about a very wonderful experience I had one night the first year of my pilgrimage. You know every time I thought I had gotten over some spiritual hump I was tested. I though I could no longer feel anger. Within a few days I was sitting across the table from a man who had destroyed something I considered very valuable. And sure enough I couldn't feel anger, only compassion that he had so hurt himself spiritually, as to do this unworthy act. And then I knew that indeed I could not feel anger anymore. I thought when I started out on my pilgrimage that I had absolute faith that everything needful would be supplied. I thought that I had no more fear of any kind. And this night I feel I was tested.
I was walking that day in a woodsy mountainous place and it was snowing. And toward evening the cars stopped running on the road because they were getting stuck in the snow. Right after that it got dark, and I have never seen such a black night. The snow was blowing in my face. It was getting bitter cold. No lights from any houses because there were no houses. No lights from any cars because there were no cars. I couldn't see if I was walking along the highway or out into a field. In that situation if I ever was going to loose faith and feel fear, and feel fear I certainly should have lost faith and felt fear then. But instead of that, and extra feeling of calmness and assurance came over me. An extra knowing that everything would be all right. Although I admit I did not know whether that meant that I would continue to serve in the earth life or whether I would go on to serve in a higher life. But I did know that everything would be all right.
I kept on walking. My feet in my low canvas shoes were like lumps of ice. They felt so heavy as I plodded along. Then my whole body became numb with cold. And then a wonderful thing happened. I was suddenly aware of both sides of life. Not only the embodies side where it was black, dark, and bleak and cold, but of the unembodied side where there was light and warmth and great through color more than earthly color, and great beauty though tone more than earthly music. And where at a great distance there were radiant beings. And then one of the radiant beings began to walk toward me. And when she got close enough I recognized her, although she looked much younger than she had looked when she passed on. And knowing that at the time of change called death those nearest and dearest come to welcome us, I greeted her and I either thought or said, I don't know which, "you have come for me?" But she shook her head and motioned for me to go back. And just at that point I ran into the railing of a bridge. And the vision faded.
And I groped my way down the snowy embankment. And under the bridge I found a large cardboard packing box. And it was full of wrapping paper. And I crawled inside and I pulled the wrapping paper around me and there under the bridge during the snowstorm I slept. Even there, shelter had been provided.
But I shall never forget this wonderful vision. I know that someday at the time of change called death I shall see that bright land again. And again those radiant figures will come toward me. Only this time they will beacon me.
The nuclear bomb says to us, "make peace or perish." So I think this is what is going to happen. That all nations will give up one right to the United Nations which will be the right to make war. Just as all states once gave up that one right to the United States, the right to make war. I don't even believe they should give up other rights because I think human beings have the most control over their affairs at a local level and that everything that can be fairly and efficiently handled at a local level should be thus handled, only delegated to a higher authority if necessary so that when you got as far as the United Nations their job would be to maintain a peaceful situation in the world. In our immaturity of course it is inevitable that in the beginning there will be a police department, to act against individual offenders against the peace of the world, not against whole populations. But I would be more interested in and this has been talked about, a peace force, a peace force which would be unarmed and which would go into any trouble spot and would attempt to remove the cause of the difficulty. If the people are not getting enough to eat, if they are living under miserable circumstances, whatever the difficulty is, this peace force would attempt to remove the cause of the difficulty. So that of course war would not come about in that situation.
"That's what moral re-armament seems to do. It seems to be a peace force. And undoubtedly is accomplishing sometimes."
I believe eventually a peace force will be established. I'm very grateful for what every group is doing. I think the social plays of Moral Re-armament are doing an excellent job. I think their four principles are excellent principles. Principles against which you could judge any action you wished to take. I'm not so sold on their confession sessions, but this is another story. Though you see confessions is good for the soul. That doesn't mean you should confess them again and again, you see. It means you confess it once and then feel genuinely resolve to do differently in the future, do differently in the future and forget it.
But there have been situations in which the way of love was used. For instance, William Penn, the Quaker in his dealings with the Indians had very much been mistreated. There were wars going on between the Indians and the white man, but William Penn, the Quaker who was a pacifist came into this unpeaceful situation with his little band of Quakers completely unarmed. He immediately began to treat the Indians fairly, to do what he could to help the Indians, etc. And it's on the record that while the influence of the early Quakers lasted in Pennsylvania not one white man was ever killed by an Indian. Of course this works when it's used by groups.
I, in Canada met two Danish couples who were in Denmark when the Germans came in and this is an interesting situation. Both of these couples told me this. They said that when Hitler's troops marched in no shot was fired. And never did we try to kill any of the German soldiers that were patrolling as they did in France, for instance and then the Germans would just wipe out the whole block in retaliation. We didn't cooperate with them. We said to them, "well now actually as representatives of the Nazi Government you have no right here just as we would have no right in your land." But we went farther than that. We also said to them, "But if you as a fellow human being would like to come in and share our evening meal with us we would be glad to have you." And here was the German soldier far from home, perhaps home sick. Any number of them would take off their gun belts and go in, eat with the Danish people, make friends with the Danish people. And then of course these two Danish couple said, many of the German soldiers did desert. And we don't know what happened to them when they got back to Germany. But we do know this that the Germans were sending in their best indoctrinated Nazi youth and were changing the army of occupation every couple of weeks. You couldn't keep them in there. This is using the way of love, this is using love force, this is using love to overcome hate, good to overcome evil, you see. And this is the only way it will ever be overcome. And is the lesson which our generation needs to learn, that evil can only be overcome by good. You cannot overcome evil by making yourself ten times as evil as the evil you are trying to overcome. You can only overcome evil by becoming so spiritually strengthened yourself, by using such good influences yourself that you will transform the evil doer. This must always be your object.
Now it can be done. The evil doer can be transformed. Let me tell you and individual case, because I have used this method always, naturally. I have always used God's laws. I have worked somewhat with the psychologically disturbed. I began to work with a psychologically disturbed young man. I always began by finding out some good thing that the person wants to do, even though it was a good thing that would be good just for them. And then I would help them do this good thing. I talked with this boy and I discovered that the thing he wanted to do was to take a hiking trip into the mountains. He was afraid to go alone. He was afraid he would break a leg and left lying there. And he couldn't find anyone who would go with him because he was known to be violent at times. He had beaten his mother so that she had to spend two weeks in the hospital. And everybody was afraid to go with him. He was a big fellow, he was six foot three and he looked like a football player.
So I offered to go with him. And he was so grateful. And we started out on a very good note. And we got up onto the first mountain top and for the first time I saw him off the beam. A thundershower came along. It was a terrific thundershower. He was terrified. Off the beam he went and the first thing I knew he was coming for me, his eyes had changed and he was hitting meas he came toward me. Well, I didn't run away, I could have, he had a heavy pack on his back. I didn't hit back, again I could have picked up a stick of a stone and hit him over the head. He was very clumsy in this condition. But I stood their looked at him kindly and lovingly and prayed for him while he hit me. He did hit me, especially along the arms. I was quite bruised, I remember, especially along the arms. But I kept seeing the good in him, having faith in the good in him. And praying for him, and the hitting stopped very quickly. And delayed reaction - it reached the good in him. Delayed reaction because of his disturbance. And he at first was completely bewildered. He said, "You didn't hit back, mother always hits back. You didn't hit back." Yes, his mother had felt she could cope with her own son. She was a large woman. It had become a free for all fight and she had ended up in the hospital and he had felt he was defending himself. But he couldn't feel he was defending himself against me.
And so it reached the good in him and he was just struck down with remorse. Complete self condemnation. I have never seen such a severe case of remorse. It lasted a long time. And when he could speak again he was just limp. The fight was all out of him. And he said, "Well, I guess you're going home now and I don't blame you." And I said, "No, I'm not going home. But the next time you will think before you harm anyone."
Well now if you look at this immediate situation you might say, "Aha, your method failed. He hit you." But looking back over a period of more than 10 years no I can say did my method fail? What are a few bruises on the human body in comparison with the transformation of a human life. He never was violent again. And he said to me a number of years later when he had come back into what you would call normal living. He said, "Every time I was motivated toward violence I would see your face looking at me kindly while I was hitting you and I would remember your words and I would think and I wouldn't be violent.
God's laws work infallibly in so far as we use them. If they do not work it is because we have not used them. We have not felt the love. We have not felt the faith, we have felt perhaps fear. And you know it says, "that which I fear came upon me." You attract to you the very things which you fear. It is because I fear nothing and expect only good that only good comes. And so I have had many wonderful experiences on my journey, but never a had experience.
I'm merely saying that it would work if they would use it. But recognizing that they do not have the spiritual maturity to use it I can only say that the outer peace will come first. You see what we need to learn in this age is the non killing of man by man. Whether or not such killing is justified by the State and called war. This is the lesson we need to learn in this age. I think what is actually going to happen will be that mechanisms will be set up to avoid physical violence in the world while psychological violence still exists. Just as in our own nation a hundred years ago when two men had a falling out the fought a duel. This was the honorable way to settle a dispute between men. They don't do that anymore. There's a mechanism set up to avoid the physical violence. The psychological violence still exists. There is psychological violence in the very suing of man by man. It's still there. I think that is far as you will get right now. Now the physical I expect to see the end of, at least in dealings among nations, in my lifetime. But I recognize that the end of the psychological violence is far in the future. This means of course the attainment of inner peace.
It's been wonderful...
Index || Peace Pilgrim Home