Oh, wow, life’s little serendipities! Yesterday a friend introduced me to something that has really caught my attention: a group of people who want to inspire, connect and bring peace to the world through music, and the approach they have used brings the concept of “a connected world” alive in a really remarkable way.
What this group does is to have various musicians from around the world play the same song without actually coming together physically. So, for instance there are musicians in California, New Orleans, Paris, Italy, Senegal, Mali, South Africa, India, the Netherlands or wherever else being recorded singing or playing this one song, and then their parts, either vocal or instrumental, are woven together on a soundtrack and video. First you see one singer, then you see another and then another, but all the while the music that all of them are playing together is going on. As the scene shifts from country to country, one is always hearing this unified sound, so beautifully mixed together with all their contributions, totally connecting with the listener/viewer all the way through.
The blazing metaphor is unavoidable: people all contributing their talents, coming together to produce something that thrills millions of people. There are women, men, blacks, whites, Muslims, Jews, Christians, Rastafarians, long-hairs, short-hairs, old and young—and none of those categories matter in the least bit. It is the coming together that matters. Music is so totally a universal language, and it extremely powerful in the way that it can unite us regardless of our political, ethnic, geographical or ideological diversity.
It so happens that the most popular song from this group, with over two million hits on YouTube, is “Stand By Me,” a song that I have known since I was very young and which I have enjoyed over and over throughout my life. The basic lyrics go like this:
“When the night has come, And the land is dark, And the moon is the only light we’ll see, No, I won’t be afraid, no, I won't be afraid.
Just as long as you stand, stand by me.
If the sky that we look upon, Should tumble and fall, And the mountains should crumble to the sea, I won’t cry, I won’t cry, no I won’t shed a tear. Just as long as you stand, stand by me.”
So many of us want to come together and find a way to dwell with one another in unity—to stand by one another. This song project is just one example of this longing, and there are so many others. I do know one thing though: the peace we are seeking will not come from nations or leaders or peace conferences or even from beautiful songs; it will come from us, the people of the world, discovering our own inherent peace. True world peace is not going to come about in any other way. How could there be world peace with a world full of unpeaceful people?
First we find peace within ourselves, and then we live a life that responds to the world from that place of peace. As more and more people discover that place of peace, automatically a grassroots movement of peace-recognizers will form without anyone really trying to do so. People will be choosing peace for themselves, one moment at a time, and others will be inspired by this example. They will recognize the benefits, want those benefits for themselves, and the candle flame will continue to pass from one peace pilgrim to another.
What is beginning in small ways amongst scattered groups of people will build relentlessly in momentum, and at some point it will be unstoppable. “Stand By Me” indeed! Slowing but surely, more and more peaceful people will stand together and will choose peace for themselves. It begins with each of us, one moment at a time.