The images flow in one after the other: children viciously gunned down on an island in Norway, smoke rising over the burning streets of London, headlines screaming of yet more lying and stealing by society’s leaders, people’s trust being violated by those who know only their own self-interest, violent men daring to carry out greater and greater levels of brutality, anger bursting forth on all sides, fear and doubt showing on the faces of people everywhere. We are daunted by the challenges and perplexed as to where to turn. We ask, “Where is our refuge?”
But all the shouting and blaming we have seen for so long have only led us further down the road to despair. There are many traveling down that road, because no other one is seen, but there is a road less traveled by.
We as a human society truly stand at a crossroads, and it very much matters which path we choose. But to think that it is “human society” that chooses is putting the responsibility in the wrong place. It is we, the people of the world, who choose in every instant. In the moment that we hear that murder and mayhem are playing out and innocent people are being robbed and their homes destroyed, what is our response? Do we blame and hate and seek to take revenge on our enemies? Do we surrender to despair and seek to escape all engagement?
These are certainly choices that have been made, but it is becoming more and more clear to greater and greater numbers of people that there is another choice. Look at the people of Norway. When faced with a singularly violent act, they responded with love, tolerance, respect and grace. When the father in Birmingham, England whose two sons were murdered by a hit-and-run driver during the riots spoke to the community, he called for an end to hostility and bloodshed. Despite his enormous personal pain, he chose the road less traveled by.
People are reaching a turning point where they know that none of the tired solutions of the past are sufficient. Reacting to life from blind fear and ignorance-—has that worked for us so far?
There is something in the air, my friends, and it is not only the smoke of burning buildings. It is the as yet unsensed fragrance of love, hope and wisdom emerging from hiding. There is something moving in people all over the world. Why this marvelous era should be coming about now, at this time and in this way, I do not know, but I know that I want to be a part of it. My heart has been moved, and I know that so many other hearts have been moved.
When we see the evidence in our own lives and in the lives of others that peace is truly possible, then we can dare to hope that the whole world could be transformed. Filling the air, filling our hearts, this confidence grows until we are all swept up. Filling the air, filling our hearts, we allow the peace that knows no limit to manifest in each moment.