Saturday, June 26, 2021

Cultivating Peace

A key component of author and activist Marianne Williamson’s 2020 presidential campaign was her plan for a U.S. Department of Peace. In her latest Newsweek column, Marianne once again highlights the important issue of – and need for – “cultivating peace.” Following is an excerpt.

America’s problem with violence is growing. And it will continue to grow until we face it for what it is: not just a problem that landed from out of nowhere, but rather a character flaw that’s been part of America’s psyche from our very beginning. Our enlightened ideals have always been accompanied by a violent streak, like an unholy double helix that is part of America’s DNA.

From slavery to genocide of Native Americans to what is now widely recognized as imperialistic military interventions abroad, Americans looking in the mirror recognize a thread of violence that is laced throughout our history. This recognition need not condemn us; rather, it can heal us. Groups have shadow sides just as individuals do, and when a character defect is on full display it’s an opportunity to face it, deal with it, heal it and evolve beyond it.

. . . We’re not going to be able to just "get rid of violence" until we proactively choose peace. And cultivating peace is different than a mere effort to eradicate violence. America’s orientation both culturally and politically would look radically different if we as a society choose peace. We’re going to be a violent society until we choose to be non-violent. And non-violence is more than the absence of violent behavior. It is a proactively cultivated state of being, both in terms of personal behavior as well public policy. It is the positive presence of something out of which violence is unlikely to emerge. We cannot end violence by simply trying to suppress violence, for of itself it is a symptom and not a cause. To truly eradicate the violence that plagues us, we must be willing to wage peace.

Non-violence is not just a set of policies, or a political philosophy; it’s a commitment to a new way of life among citizens as well as a new kind of problem solving among lawmakers. It means all of us taking responsibility for our words and actions – whether in our personal relationships, the business or governmental policies we support and advocate for, even how we express ourselves on the internet. Every interaction, every circumstance, carries within it the seeds of either harmony or chaos.

Every word and every action, on anyone’s part, contribute to either the violence or the healing of the times in which we live; everything we do is infused with the consciousness with which we do it. The only way we will root out violence is if we spend as much time addressing it within ourselves as we spend addressing it in the public realm. One without the other is an incomplete model of societal transformation.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Cultivating Stillness
Marianne Williamson and Cornel West: “Two of the Most Dedicated and Enlightened Heroes of Present Day America”
Inauguration Eve Musings
Marianne Williamson on the Movement for a People’s Party
Eight Leading Progressive Voices on Why They’re Voting for Biden
“We Have an Emergency On Our Hands”: Marianne Williamson On the “Freefall” of American Democracy
Marianne Williamson: Quote of the Day – June 2, 2020
Deep Gratitude
“A Beautiful Message, So Full of Greatness”
Marianne Williamson: “Anything That Will Help People Thrive, I’m Interested In”
“A Lefty With Soul”: Why Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson Deserves Some Serious Attention
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson

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