Practice of Peace in Sweden--A reflection on the Issue

Chris Corrigan chris.corrigan at
Mon Dec 13 14:56:36 PST 2004

Judy wrote::
> I wholeheartedly agree with Paul's thoughts at the end of his message.  I do
> not think peace is possible (realistically).  Whenver there are humans
> involved, there will be personality differences and when those differences
> become so vastly opposite, war breaks out.  I believe that with a deeper
> understanding of our personality differences and acknowledging that no
> 'personality type' is truly 'right' will move us towards peacefulness.  I
> completely agree with Paul's statement - "we'd best be focusing on raising
> our own individual consciousness, tolerance level and inner beingness and
> forget about peace as a target."  If/when everyone begins focusing on their
> own choices in life instead of looking to blame others, we might get
> somewhere........but unfortunately, I doubt that will ever happen.

I think peace is possible.  I know it because I see it.  I live in a
peaceful community, I am at peace in my family and in myself.  Do we
have squabbles and conflicts?  Of course.  Do these things create
vicious cycles of conflict and violence?  No.

I think perhaps that peace is not the absence of conflict, but the
presence of constructive ways of dealing with conflict.  In Canada for
example, we certainly have no shortage of potential causes for civil
war: the occasional separatist referendum in a province containing
30% of the population of the country, unresolved indigenous land
rights, ethnic and cultural diversity.  In many other places in the
world, these things trigger widespread violence, but not here.  I like
to think it is because we are blessed with an overabundance of space.
Somehow we exist peacefully together in a sparsely populated land with
a broad political spectrum and an open democracy that embraces
opposition rather than demonizing it.  Conflict, although it gets
nerve racking at times, never seems to escalate out of this mushy hug
of space.

And I agree with Alex.  Peace is an inner art.  To see the Dalai Lama
and many others who have sustained this art in oppressive conditions
tells me that's it's not only possible, but highly achievable.  But I
think that Harrison's point in the Practice of Peace is key: space and
time need to be opened if conflict is to dissipate.  Whatever that
means to you, it should be understood that it IS possible.  We can
choose to be opening or closing.  We can choose our systems and our
cultures.  Once in a while something like what is happening in the
Ukraine takes place.  What is emerging on the streets of Kiev is not
peace (in fact it might result in more conflict in the country, I
don't know) but it IS an opening.  It is hundreds of thousands of
people calling for opening.  And in that space, the tolerance for
conflict wanes and peace grows.  Not tonight or even next year, but in
the long term, on the scale of human change.

Holding space is having peace.  Not easy, but possible.


Consultation - Facilitation
Open Space Technology


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