The Piece in Us All
Post by Tara Steinberg
This world is full of violence. Violence is in our homes, schools, streets, neighborhoods, and on our television. Violence is in our thoughts and our dreams. In any given moment, somewhere in the world, someone is committing a violent crime or dying from one. In some places, individuals are being forced to fight in violent wars – whether or not they really understand or agree with what they are fighting for. Yet everyday, they will pick up their weapon and they will carry it with the intention of doing harm to another human being. How can we stop this violence that swirls and perpetuates itself all around us?
One way we can end violence is by standing within it and recognizing the Peace that exists within everyone.
The Quakers refer to it as addressing “that of God in everyone”. Others may simply call it love. Some may refer to it as ‘worth’, ‘value’, ‘purpose’, or ‘sacredness’. Some may call it, ‘light.’ You can choose whatever word that you find the most comfortable with your beliefs; whatever word you find that best describes the inner core, the inner and equal piece of the universe that exists within every single human being. Recognizing the inner piece, the inner God, worth, sacredness, light, or Peace that exists in every person is the first step towards living and breathing a society that perpetuates Peace and non-violence: non-violence between our individual lives and therefore, non-violence as a means for social change. As all conflict starts between individuals, it is there, within individual understanding that the answer to a more peaceful world lies. So achieving peace and non-violence is a two-step process: once we achieve it in our individual lives, then social change will naturally follow.
Collective identities and former allegiances aside, human to human, we are in this world together. Harm to one is harm to all. We can acknowledge this by me recognizing the Peace in you, and you recognizing the Peace in me.
Recognizing the Peace of the universe that exists in everyone can be simple. Try it. Try it with your family. Try it with the person you buy your coffee or newspaper from every morning. Try it with your taxi driver. Try it with your boss. Try it with yourself. See how “seeing the peace of the universe in everyone” affects you.
If every person was able truly to look at every other person and recognize her as the individual she is, no different, worse, or better than herself – then how could one human voluntarily harm another? If every person was able to look at every other person and recognize that each is sacred and both are equally part of something greater – then how could there ever be war?
If a soldier looks across the battlefield he will see another soldier. If he is able to realize that the only thing standing between him and that other soldier is an equal sign, then he just might, in that moment, decide to drop his weapon.