Waking up to Wisdom
In Stillness and Community

Unattainable Goal of Peace

--by Aung San Suu Kyi (Aug 06, 2012)

[Nobel Lecture, June 16, 2012]

The peace of our world is indivisible. As long as negative forces are getting the better of positive forces anywhere, we are all at risk. It may be questioned whether all negative forces could ever be removed. The simple answer is: ‘No!’ It is in human nature to contain both the positive and the negative. However, it is also within human capability to work to reinforce the positive and to minimize or neutralize the negative. Absolute peace in our world is an unattainable goal. But it is one towards which we must continue to journey, our eyes fixed on it as a traveler in a desert fixes his eyes on the one guiding star that will lead him to salvation. Even if we do not achieve perfect peace on earth, because perfect peace is not of this earth, common endeavors to gain peace will unite individuals and nations in trust and friendship and help to make our human community safer and kinder.
I used the word ‘kinder’ after careful deliberation; I might say the careful deliberation of many years. Of the sweets of adversity, and let me say that these are not numerous, I have found the sweetest, the most precious of all, is the lesson I learned on the value of kindness. Every kindness I received, small or big, convinced me that there could never be enough of it in our world. To be kind is to respond with sensitivity and human warmth to the hopes and needs of others. Even the briefest touch of kindness can lighten a heavy heart. Kindness can change the lives of people. [...]
Ultimately our aim should be to create a world free from the displaced, the homeless and the hopeless, a world of which each and every corner is a true sanctuary where the inhabitants will have the freedom and the capacity to live in peace. Every thought, every word, and every action that adds to the positive and the wholesome is a contribution to peace. Each and every one of us is capable of making such a contribution. Let us join hands to try to create a peaceful world where we can sleep in security and wake in happiness.
--Aung San Suu Kyi, on receiving the Nobel Peace Prize in 2012

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Previous Reflections:

On Aug 4, 2012 Chris W, wrote:
In my life experience, I have found deep peace after surrendering my fears.  I remember sitting in my mother-inlaw's funeral service and feeling peace cover me like a blanket.  The relief and joy that filled my soul was because I allowed myself to release her body, mind and spirit that had suffered for so long here on earth.  I recognized and remembered that she was returning to her essence and that I was grateful for her presence in my life and that she was as close as the mention of her name.  That soothed my egoic fear of being left behind and even though I continued to miss her, I am peaceful.  I often think of this experience when tough times appear and I calm my anxiety by trusting the process of surrender. 

On Aug 5, 2012 david doane wrote:
 I think of Gandhi's famous statements that there is not a way to peace -- peace is the way; and nonviolence requires more courage than violence; and peace must first be found within; and that we must be the change (the peace) we wish to see.  For me those are profound truths.  The challenge is to live them.  As they do sink into my being I do notice myself being sometimes a little more accepting, less judgmental, more compassionate, more peaceful.  And in the process I am more aware of my oneness with others.  For me, being kinder means growing in being compassionate and respectful toward the other, and showing it in behavior, often simple behavior such as a smile, a verbal greeting, an encouraging word, a compliment, and simply listening to the other.  I sustain my journey by reminding myself of words of wisdom such as the quotes with which I began this paragraph and by practicing the behaviors mentioned.  Interacting with others who are like minded is also valuable sustenance for me. 

On Aug 5, 2012 Conrad P Pritscher wrote:
Beautiful statement. Being kinder means everything to me.  There is nothing more important than being kind.  Accepting my not being kinder more frequently is being kinder to myself.   Kindness is so important that I am now a bit sad when I realize I could be so much more kind than I am. Accepting some sadness is a part of being kind.  Thanks so much for this great article.  Warm and kind regards to everyone.

On Aug 7, 2012 Sushmita wrote:
Being kinder is not always with relation to strangers, more often it is with those who are nearest and often dear to us. We forget to be kind to them, we seize to forgive - and that is one act of kindness denied. To be able to bear the failings of your close ones, in the little matters of everyday living and overlook them, is kindness practiced with self.

On Aug 7, 2012 Ken wrote:
 When humans all "surf" to and get entrained to The One Groove, by dancing drumming, praying, chanting, or.....?  we will have peace

On Aug 7, 2012 kwp wrote:
 Error in audio -- peaceAung San Suu Kyi said not that peace in our world is INVISIBLE -- she said it is INDIVISIBLE!!  -- quite a difference, folks.

On Aug 7, 2012 Narendra wrote:

Can you share a personal story where your endeavor to gain peace united you with others in bonds of friendship and trust? As a manager, when I worked on projects with end product as the goal, there was only an end product and no peace or people. When I shifted my attention from product to people, there was both peace and product. I was building not just products but a lifetime of trust and friendships.
What does being kinder mean to you? Since the process of life is dynamic, it implies a constant awareness and effort to be kinder and gentler to your environment as a way of life.  It means being open enough to include all of life as an extension of you. 
How do you sustain your journey toward absolute peace despite setbacks?
‘Setbacks’ are part of evolution and creation. They are challenges to learn from. Without ‘setbacks’ life can be very dull. Setbacks can be better managed, if our focus in life is on ‘best effort’ instead of  ‘best results’. In this path of ‘best effort’, failures and setbacks become opportunities to learn from and not disappointments. Life’s journey becomes an evolution toward higher consciousness. The material success that follows selfless effort will remain forever, a tool for service.

On Aug 8, 2012 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:
Hugging the Homeless. I was walking back to my room in Harlem from an afternoon of Free Hugs and there was a homeless woman sitting on the sidewalk. Her shopping cart filled with her possessions next to her, her shoes worn to nearly nothing. I approached her asking if she wanted a hug. She looked at me with disbelief. "You would hug me?" "If you want, yes, absolutely." She said yes. I kneeled down to hug her and she whispered to me that she had not been touched in almost 20 years. I hugged her tighter. Then I apologized, I had no money to give, as I was (and sometimes still am) a struggling Storyteller. She replied that the hug I gave was worth more than any money. Next time you see someone homeless, offer them a big of Peace for that moment, smile, and if your heart says to, offer a hug. Namaste. Kristin

On Aug 8, 2012 Kristin Pedemonti wrote:
 this should say offer a HUG of Peace... <3 smile. And if your heart says to, offer a hug. Namaste. Kristin

On Aug 8, 2012 Amy wrote:
 This morning, in returning home from the orthodontist with my 14 year old son, we passed a man walking his four dogs.  With a HUGE smile and wave "hello", two leashes in his "waving hand", he greeted us.  My son asked, "Mom, do you know that guy"?.  I replied, "no, but there are some people in the world who choose to "unite it" through their word and action . . . he's one of them!"  Every moment, we have a choice . . . light or darkness . . .though none of us perfect . . . kindness sweetest!   

On Sep 10, 2012 Jona Mae Geverola wrote:
We could achieve peace  because we are rational and moral being. We know what is right and what is wrong. Peace is the construction of unity. Raise Peace-:)