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Peace is a scarce commodity in our tumultuous world today. Almost every single day you hear people being killed for no apparent reasons! Mass shootings frequently happen in schools, theaters, concerts, malls, etc. What is going on? What causes some people to murder other innocent people for no good reasons? What can every one of us do to stop this madness and create a peaceful world? We can achieve peace on Earth by starting with ourselves first. Peace is attainable by resolving conflicts. Being open-minded and learning others’ cultural differences, such as their beliefs and backgrounds would also be helpful. Living in harmony is like living in Heaven, and that can be achieved as long as we start making peace within ourselves, our families, our community, our country and our world.

Happiness and peacefulness need to start with ourselves first. However, many people are too preoccupied searching for happiness outside of themselves. They have these misconceptions that joy equals making lots of money, living in big houses, driving brand-name cars, traveling around the world, being famous, etc. Indeed, living and enjoying material stuff might make you happy, but the ultimate happiness is feeling love and peace within yourself, your loved ones, your friends, your neighbors, and your community. Thich Nhat Hanh, the famous Buddhist monk, once said, “The first step is to come home to ourselves. You don’t need to become a Buddha; you need to become yourself.” If you want a peaceful world, you have to start off as being a peacemaker. Be mindful of your thoughts and actions through regular meditation and self-reflection. Giving yourself time to be alone for a few minutes each day to reflect on all your blessings and frequently saying gratitude prayers would make you a happier person. Love yourself first and make peace with yourself before you can love and make peace with others. If everyone practices this, the whole world would once again be peaceful.

Although you might not have control to avoid conflicts, which randomly pop up in your lives, you have the power to you to resolve them. Learn to understand people, situations, and circumstances of why conflicts occur. Start by making peace within yourself. Let go of the past. Forgive yourself and others. Learn to understand your counterparts. Maybe they cause conflicts because they are not at peace within themselves. Have compassion for them. Stay calm at heated moments. Take deep breaths and walk away for a few minutes to cool off yourself before you do or say anything. Talk less and listen more would help you learn about problems. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr once said, “We have before us the glorious opportunity to inject a new dimension of love in the veins of our civilization.” Indeed, the human being is the only species who have the brain to resolve problems. Conflicts are inevitable, but they can be fixed through forgiving and understandings. A peaceful self would reflect on friendly relationships with others.

To live in a peaceful world, we have to learn to understand and tolerate others’ differences. To do that, we have to educate ourselves and our offspring to love and not to hate, to have compassion, to have empathy, to care for others without asking anything in return. Never tell them that one race is superior to others. Never instill in them that the only way to Heaven is to devote their entire lives to your religion and your religion only because when they grow up, they would only believe that their religion is the only correct path to Heaven. Teach them to respect others’ religions and explain to them that there are many different religions in the world and many different paths to Heaven, just like many different directions that lead to the top of the mountain. Over hundreds of years, countless lives have been killed in the name of religion. It’s very upsetting today to see that the whole world is on edge because many Islamist extremist groups and individuals around the world have been terrorizing non-believers’ lives through violent attacks such as beheadings, kidnappings, and mass suicides. Their actions are despicable! Unfortunately, they have been brainwashed by their leaders to attack Westerners who have different beliefs than theirs. The world would be a happier place to live when everyone is taught to live in harmony by caring and loving one another regardless of their differences.

Peace is only a five-letter word, but it has a tremendous, profound meaning. It is not easily obtained unless we all put forth a significant effort. To achieve peace, first, we need to start within ourselves, then to our community and the world. As humans, no matter what our social status is, regardless of our skin colors or our religious backgrounds, we all want to love and to be loved. We all want to live in peace and enjoy the company of our loved ones. Peace will once again be restored if every one of us makes a great effort to achieve it. May Peace be on Earth from now on!

December 15, 2015

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