Monday, September 28, 2009

7 types of peace

I've been thinking a lot lately about finding my place here... both in terms of my psychological space here, feelings of belonging and community, the richness of participating in a society through employment and social action, etc... and then also literally, in buying a home.

Because I don't feel that I have found my place, I have been struggling with feeling ungrounded, adrift, lost, without purpose, unsettled... and definitely not at peace with myself. So, I was doing a little reading online today about finding peace and came across this interesting perspective on the various kinds of peace.

Believe me, I'm familiar with the different concepts of peace in the formal literature of Peace Studies... that is my so-called area of expertise after all... but this was somewhat new and surprising. Something in it is resonating, and I'm not entirely certain what it is, or why it makes me feel somehow more at peace with myself for having read it. But, it did... and so I post it here for you.

Thoughts? Feelings? Debate?

excerpted from :

The Aymara people, who for centuries have lived around Lake Titicaca in the Andes, defend the principle of seven different types of peace. The first is inner peace. Peace with yourself through the health of your body, the clarity of your mind, the pleasure of your work, the reciprocity of your loves. Without peace with yourself, you are not at peace.

The second is directed upward. Peace with the spirits of your ancestors, with the will of God. If you are not at peace with the supernatural, spiritual world, with the metaphysics of your existence, your peace is incomplete.

The third is directed forward: peace with your past. The arrogant Western culture puts the past behind it. The Aymara put the past in front of them because it is the known, the seen, the lived. If you are remorseful, have unpaid debts, guilt, regret, you are not totally at peace.

The fourth is directed backward: peace with your future. Anyone who is afraid of what is to come, is frightened of debts to pay, of uncertain employment, or is expecting bad news is not at peace.

The fifth is directed towards the left: peace with those nearby. Without peace in the family, there is nopeace. Domestic quarrels, discontent with family members and close friends, take away the feeling ofpeace.

The sixth is directed towards the right: peace with your neighbors. Peace at home serves no purpose if, on the other side of the street, there is menace, malediction, discontent.

The final peace is directed downward: peace with the earth that you tread upon, the source of your sustenance. If a tempest comes, if the soil dries out or trembles, there will be no complete peace.

I wish each reader these seven types of peace based upon the wisdom of the Aymara. But I also hope that, besides the seven forms of peace, you have plans to make them. Of the seven, five depend only upon you and your family, your introspection, your spirituality, your friendships.

But two of them, those directed to the right and downward, depend upon your sociopolitical action. They depend upon struggle.

In today's global word, all human beings are your neighbors, beginning with those of your own country.

The peace of each human being depends upon every other human being's wellbeing, peace without hunger or violence. If we want complete peace, therefore, we have to act to achieve it. Your right-side peace will not be complete until all human beings have the same chance in life.

It is likewise necessary to include in your plans the struggle to protect nature, the beginning of the revolution for sustainable development. Without this, you will not have the peace directed downward, with Mother Earth. Nor will you guarantee the same chance to all generations, leaving future human beings without access to the same legacy of nature.

These two plans of struggle are needed to achieve peace with the Earth and with humanity. Without them, you will not have the other five forms of peace either. It is impossible to have peace while there are children without schooling or while there is destruction of the Amazon.

How can you not feel remorse while knowing that we have already lost five centuries of history? How can you have peace with the future while knowing that we are tearing our country and the world to pieces? And how can you have peace with the family when your children and grandchildren are asking what you did to prevent the tragedy?

I wish you all the seven types of peace and hope that you will struggle for your right to them... Because peace does not just happen, peace is made.


  1. wow... simply wow.

    I love the idea of the past in front of you because it is known.

    thanks for sharing this.

  2. beautiful thoughts - I need to meditate on these as I've never had it presented this way. thank you.

  3. @ Mobius... i liked that too :)

    @ Char... that's kind of how i felt about it, like i needed to take it away and let it percolate for a while... it's still perking.

  4. Mouse, I needed this so bad you can't imagine. Thank you for sharing.