If each person, of their own free will, chooses to let go of violence, and to burn their personal weapons (in thought, word and deed, whatever they may be) and turn them into plowshares or peaceful gestures, the world will transform in an eyeblink. No one can make another person choose to be peaceful. Each must come to this choice in their own time and in their own way. That the vast majority of people in the world must choose this soon is a dire necessity — lest we kill ourselves, one way or another, and the planet as well.
Love is God and God is Love. That love can best be described as acceptance. It is in universal acceptance of the good and the bad, the horribly ugly and the sublimely beautiful, and the knowledge that all we can ever be is flawed, that there is release. Love that goes beyond all understanding requires that we not meet deed with deed in kind, but that we see what is and let it go, for our own sakes, if not for that of others. For our own sakes, we give and forgive, and in this, we become love itself.
This simple truth lies underneath the dogma of all religions and many philosophies. It is deceptively easy and frightfully hard, both to understand and to live. Each of us carries within us the entire world, all of what there is to experience. This reality is beyond what most people understand. It is nevertheless so that what we perceive builds our view of reality and effects how we act on a day by day, hour by hour basis. We may not choose what happens to us but we can choose how we react to it.
Throughout the day, each person must make choices and accept responsibility for who they are, how they operate and what their actions produce in the world. While we might not know ahead of time what those consequences will be, we must accept responsibility for them when they occur. Whenever we act with love, with compassion, with acceptance, with tolerance, with forgiveness, we are helping to liberate human kind from bondage that is as old as the history of our own origins. Transformation comes when each person realizes that, moment by moment, behaving in the most loving way possible is all there is to do.
Each of us has in our own small universe things that need to be liberated and transformed. We all have places within us that are small, ugly, nasty, sour, selfish and repellant. Those who refuse to look at themselves in an honest way will avoid those places, thinking they can “expunge” them through various means, or worse, that they are perfect, with no such flaws. Others perhaps follow the opposite path, dwelling on their human failings so much they are overtaken by them, and in so doing, lose their way and their will. The rest of us struggle to go past our own foibles and to strive with open hearts to be trusting, willing, vulnerable, fallible, joyous, grateful and loving. This takes both courage and perseverance and yet it is all there is to do.
As artists, as singers and teachers of singing, we strive to allow art to be our pathway, our way to be in the world as creative souls, uplifting our world through the gift of song. We offer what we do and what we know to the world as a vehicle for inspiration, for joy, for healing and ultimately, for peace. We may not ever see the actual fruits of our labors played out on a grand scale, but we toil on, against obstacles both personal and global, remembering that each adds to the whole, plus or minus.
The kingdom of God is within each of us. It isn’t “out there somewhere”, not even in “heaven”. At the end of this year, 2012, will you commit in your heart to the intention of creating “peace on earth”? The only person who can make that pledge is you.