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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Finding peace

Where’s the place where peace and happiness and freedom and beauty outweigh the hardship and pain and hatred and loss?

Because I can’t find it.

I’ve Googled it and asked around, I’ve hunted on globes and maps, but I fear if it exists, it is not on this Earth. Oh, it’s easy to watch the beautiful people on television with their red carpets and tailor made costume, and believe that all that money must buy them a piece of such a place. And it’s easy to overlook the antics of the politicians and our President; all globe-trotters and all busy on their pseudo-vacations paid for by the working public and believe that all their power must get them special entry into a place where life is good – and only good.

But it isn’t true.

Men and women of power and influence would say we should follow them. They will tell us that we can trust in their wits and self-interest. They of course are wrong.

Men and women of words and news try to push us into buying their product, and if we refuse, they would rather see us all burn. This is why people are often attacked continually in the media. It is because those in power simply love to see the failure of others. In their worship and feeding of the flames, they feel greater, and they feel vindicated when their actions continue to destroy more. They have learned to feed on misery and are happy to cause more of it.

Holy men would say that we can only find the place of happiness and freedom in the unreachable climbs of Heaven or Valhalla - or whatever name you wish to call the afterlife. And many would say that only through God can this be achieved. Perhaps they're right.

But I believe in us - as a people. I believe it is possible to create all of these things for each other. I believe we can build a world where truth and life have meaning and where the good only get stronger. I suppose the cost of creating this place, must come down to belief or faith, and subsequently come from a higher place. But in the past, madmen and despots and others seeking to find it or create it, have escalated and twisted the purchase price to a point where it is measured in thousands, hundreds of thousands – even millions of lives.

We seek paradise – whatever that means to us personally – and sometimes regardless of the cost. The misguided and insane, crash airplanes into buildings, become suicide bombers, sack cities, destroy civilizations, commit genocide, kill the young and innocent, crush liberty and violate human rights at every turn. Around the world, people still struggle to survive in horrific circumstances and against impossible odds. Their prayers entwine with others on the delicate winds of the universe. Are they heard and answered? Are they heard individually, or do they register as an incessant, aggregate moan, reaching across the empty places between worlds? These are lofty considerations for wiser people, perhaps.

But although this question may seem disconnected from our lives, I believe it may be central to them. Because if we can create a better world, it won’t be by covering every square inch with solar panels, smart grids and eco-friendly vehicles; nor will we create that place by dropping one country’s medical care into the hands of its’ government. It won’t be accomplished by curbing Co2 emissions or wiping out free trade, nor will it be solved by putting huge numbers of people on trial and killing those whom we can’t.

We won’t create a better world through “summits” or glad-handing or bowing to Kings and Queens and Emperors. And we won’t get there by creating more efficient weapons or attempting to build international relations with countries who don’t want them – and would rather have the weapons. Nor will we get there by eliminating the power of every politician, every lawyer and every dictator.

We won’t get there, because we can’t make the trip carrying old baggage. We have to strike out as pioneers – carrying only ourselves, on a new path – a different one to every road we have taken before. We need to be bold and we have got to believe enough in that vision of beauty, that we can make it real and that we can see the way. Technology won’t do it. Politics won’t do it. Money won’t do it. Fighting won’t do it.

It may seem trite, but I believe in the human heart – the real beating, living center of our extended lives, and the part which extends into other places, and can hear the whispered voice. I believe it can really get us all the way there. And when we get there and we walk in that perfect place of warmth and light, we will recognize each other, and smile. All our fears and all our anger - all the discord - all the pain and loss, will flow from us like rain, and filter through the soft fingers of clouds, and away.

And we will know completely and finally, that we have found our way home.

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