Finding a place together
Mar 14, 2018-
When someone asks you about peace, what do you think of? For me, it is not the silence rather, it’s the sound of the raindrops against my window, it’s the beat of my favourite song, it’s the warmth of Oreo’s fur against my skin, it’s the comfort of food when I am hungry and tired… It’s in the little things that I find peace. Peace is not really something definite. It’s an abstraction for which each human has her own definition. Right now, as I am writing this, it is raining outside, a light continuous drizzle since yesterday, which is giving me peace. But this very rain has been causing havoc elsewhere—disrupting the peace. My notion of peace might be your notion of noise and that is alright.
To be writing about peace when my life feels like a chaotic mess seems like a strange thing to do. But, the rain helps and right now, I don’t have any complaints.
To attain peace is not a mission to be accomplished, rather it is a continuous process with no end goal. It is the process of training oneself to accept and understand and live life in lieu of gauging it according to what one thinks it should be. This process involves a lot of changing of opinions, breaking of barriers and the construction of new ones. Building and breaking. Breaking and building.
Generally, when people speak of peace, they think of non-violence. But is peace just related to non-violence? No, not really. There is so much more to it. Even if wars were to disappear from the world, it does not mean that all in the world is calm and peaceful. And just because two parties are locked in a state of war does not mean that peace should remain a velleity. After all, what do we fight for? With that said, the hope for a lasting peace that transcends rhetoric and transcends fate itself if need be can also lead people to conflict. The desire for peace can impel war—what a drag. Either way, peace is about harmony, coexistence and contentment but these are also what wars are about—in a roundabout way—it all comes full circle.
Speaking of wars, it is also necessary to speak of the individual battles, the battles everyone is fighting within themselves. These battles are tricky, all battles probably are. And at times, inner battles build up to become full scale wars that can consume a person. I spoke of a chaotic life earlier. And by that, I didn’t mean the humdrum at home. Neither was I speaking of all the noise at college anytime anyone utters a word. I was not speaking about the drilling and digging. I was speaking of my inner battles, of my fears and troubles. As people, I don’t think we can all ever be completely at peace. Some way or the other we are bound to wrangle our souls with anxieties, depression, insecurity, dashed expectations and pain. It is almost like this is a never ending cycle and it seems as if we are always just moving in circles—praying to god that we do not fall off this dizzying carousel ride.
But there is more to it. Just as you are fighting your battles, it is necessary to acknowledge that the people around you are fighting their own wars, healing their own scars and broken hearts. In a situation like this, it is really wrong of you to go around imposing your difficulties and your battle strategies on everyone else. We all have our own way of fighting and getting back up.
What works for you might really end up hurting someone else. We can’t tell anyone how to live, can we? Even if we think what they are doing for themselves is something really absurd, we don’t have the right to go and stop them. Everyone has the right to go through their own process at their own pace.
When you are in pain—not the kind when you are stressed or get a wound or when your body aches—the kind of pain that wakes you up at 2am, strikes your soul and rips your heart into shreds, the kind that makes you feel the fear of oblivion and makes you want to surrender yourself to whoever or whatever lies beyond… When you experience the kind of pain which makes you want to turn a blind eye to everything around you and within you, it’s not easy to bring yourself out of it and get back into the world with your heart on your sleeve. But a lot of us are brave. We have picked up ourselves from that gooey mess, haven’t we? I have. I learnt to find my peace in the silence of the night, in the slow, silent stream of tears, in the little flickering light on the ceiling, in the cocoon of the warm blanket. I fought my battles, I have won and lost. And here I am, just as you are.
Finding peace within oneself is not about always being happy. It is not about never getting hurt or being in pain. Rather, it is about being able to see the light behind the black clouds; it is about learning to love and live through it all. It is also not about running away from troubles and differences. It is about having the courage to sit down and talk it through. It is not about complaining about the things we have and don’t have in life, rather it is accepting life as it is and believing that there are always better things, better plans, better people and better places than where we are right now. Furthermore, accepting life as it is, and with it, accepting everything that life throws at us and acknowledging reality for what it is and expectations for what they are is a feat in itself.
“Peace in the world begins from the peace within you.” While saying this, it is also essential for you to know that it is okay. It is okay that you fail at times. It is okay that you miss the bus or the plane. It is okay if you break a few bones, scratch a little skin. It is okay if you lose love and scar your heart. It is okay if a loved one dies. It is okay. It is okay because you are a survivor. And, there is so much left for you to see and learn before you actually give up. When you know that it is okay, you will know how to find peace within yourself, and when you do, the world itself will become a little more peaceful than it was before.
Come with me. Let’s stand together and remember the hurtful, painful, disastrous things that life has led us through. Let’s go through them one by one steadily and let it grow in our hearts that we survived.
For once, let’s let it be. I won’t speak a word with you and you won’t utter a sound either, and yet, in that silence, I will tell you a thousand stories and listen to yours. The stories of our battles will weave together and build a beautiful book of peace.
Shrestha is a BSc student at St Xavier’s College
Published: 14-03-2018 08:59