Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pacem in Terris

Apart from the necessities of nature (food, clothing and shelter essentially), when all is said and done it’s about peace of mind. Peace of mind is however not something easily won. Being a bleeding heart liberal isn’t a realistic prescription either: “…and world peace”. Rather it is a matter of accommodation, adjusting to the aspirations, strengths, weaknesses, successes and short-comings of both one’s self and others within one’s orbit. Peace of mind is as at times as illusory as perpetual happiness. No one is above the struggle to achieve peace of mind, no amount of prosperity or social advantage can ensure it and there is no one recipe which suits everyone.
On a personal level peace of mind is about knowing one’s own nature, one that is endowed with intelligence and free will. We must give the benefit of individuality to others as well. On the larger scale it is about relationships between individuals, between individuals and the State and between the world-wide community of nations. The ultimate goal is harmony.

One cannot equate peace of mind with satisfaction. The course of our development both as individuals and of mankind generally is marked by evolution and change. To be complacent is not the object or desired state of mind. The achievement of inner peace is the absence of mental stress or anxiety but it must not be at the expense of enhancement. While on the one hand it is desirable to accept what cannot be changed, we must continue to be alive to the opportunity for new directions. Sometimes it is necessary to remove the candy-coating on the events of life; some people and some things are evil and undesirable. That too must be accepted.

Rising above competition, jealousy and grudges are safely guaranteed to improve one’s life. It is calculated to remove needless depression.

Some of us are consumed by worry. It may prompt improvement but more often than not it is detraction. Learning to circumscribe one’s obligations is a useful tool. Fulfillment of our duties is bound by our capacity, something each of us knows instinctively. To over-reach our aptitude is a disservice.

Being a thinking person is fundamental to peace of mind. We must learn to inhibit knee-jerk reactions to the circumstances of life and instead opt for a reasoned consideration of what transpires. In our heart each of us knows the essentials of life: it is short; death is certain; and we must do what we can to improve it for both ourselves and others.

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