A thread about “peace” and “justice”
I used to be a Christian pacifist. I believed that Jesus taught peace and love, and this peace and love should always be enacted nonviolently.
Eventually, I saw that the idea of a world of external peace (the lion literally lying with the lamb) is impractical, at best, and perhaps even sinister. What, after all, happens to the lion and the lamb when neither of them participate in the natural food chain anymore?
Life is conflict. Every time you eat, you are killing something (vegans too). Life is inherently violent because life is inherently change. It is not possible to have change without disruption.
The peace that is a “fruit of the spirit”; the “peace that passes understanding” is something that we experience internally, not externally. The world will never be at peace because the world will always be changing. But you can experience peace inside of yourself.
Peace is not the absence of a storm. Peace is the stillness under the storm. Peace is not the absence of loud voices—it is the silence beneath the screaming. Peace is not something you acquire; it is who you most fundamentally are.
Justice is, in a way, the opposite. Justice is about how we want the external world to be—fair, nonviolent, kind...etc.
Peace, which we all long for, is not something we can make happen externally. Justice is. So while the world burns around us, it is tempting to look to others for peace, but perhaps we would be more fruitful to work for justice...from the place of internal peace.
When we approach justice from the inner state of peace, we can use the full power of our minds to imagine, plan, and enact those plans to make this world a more beautiful, loving, and just place.
On the other hand, if we try to make the external world “peaceful” out of a tumultuous inner state that we confuse with “justice”, we are m, in a way, operating with our physical, emotional, and spiritual tanks on empty, and we will not be nearly as effective.
To say it again, peace is something we experience inside. Justice is something we want outside. And when we mix those things up, suffering increases dramatically.
This is not a thread, by the way, for anyone “else”. This is a not a thread to apply to “those” protestors; or “those” police or politicians or anyone else. That would simply be another way of trying to create peace externally.
This is simply an invitation for you to find peace right here and right now in yourself so that you can begin to more effectively make this world a more just place. A world where black men are not murdered on our streets. A world where resources are more fairly distributed...etc
This breath. This heartbeat. What if you stopped trying to fix anything “out there” for a moment and just allowed yourself to be whole inside before you try to expand (or vomit) your tumultuous inner world onto everyone else?
There are reasons that we are all still quoting people like Jesus and Martin Luther King Jr...
The most powerful agents of change in history have been people who knew how to approach justice from the place of inner peace, love, and stability as opposed to trying to make the world peaceful out of fear.