Working for peace has to start with oneself. It doesn’t ever END there; sometimes spiritual teachings lead us to think that all we have to do is take care of ourselves, which is not nearly enough.
You can’t help anyone else without taking care of yourself, that much is true, and usually we forget to take care of ourselves in ways that are downright comical, so it’s wonderful to remind ourselves that we have to do something that we often forget to do, even if it’s not all we have to do. We also have to work for peace in all of our relationships, and across society as well. But peace really can’t start any other way than with our own mind. How else could it? How would we ever know what we were looking for “out there?”
This feels especially true when we feel somewhat helpless about what is happening in the world. I was thinking about this when I read secretary of state John Kerry’s comments that planned attacks on Syria are “unbelievably small.” This is an oxymoron. There is no unbelievably small war, either out there in the world, or within our own mind. If we ourselves are internally aggressive towards whatever happens in our inner landscape, then it’s a big deal and we have to start working with it.