The Prelude I (Excerpt) by William Wordsworth
Dust as we are, the immortal spirit grows
Like harmony in music; there is a dark
Inscrutable workmanship that reconciles
Discordant elements, makes them cling together
In one society. How strange that all
The terrors, pains and early miseries,
Regrets, vexations, lassitudes interfused
Within my mind, should e-er have borne a part,
And that needful part, in making up
The calm existence that is mine when I
Am worthy of myself! Praise to the end!
Thanks to the means which Nature deigned to employ;
Whether her fearless visitings, or those
That came with soft alarm, like hurtles light
Opening the peaceful clouds; or she may use
Severer interventions, ministry
More palpable, as best might suit her aim.
For so long my desire was to have work that involved changing the world, my realisation now is that there is a need for peace in our world. For me that means it has to come from within before it can spread further. Prof Hans Kuñg has said,
Until there is peace between religions, there can be no peace in the world.
People kill and are killed because they cannot let go, they cling too tightly to their own beliefs and ideologies. Yet people fear difference and a Buddhist might feel unable to take part in a Christian Eucharist and yet that should not be the case. One of the things that I loved whilst living in Sri Lanka was that the Singhalese felt what was important was faith and it didn’t matter what faith. Christians would visit Hindu temples and Hindus would go to churches and cathedrals and follow their faith in these places. I remember thinking how said it was when I went to live in Nepal and found that there were sacred spaces there that you were not allowed to enter if you were not of Hindu faith. This was often based on your outward appearance. I feel that when we believe that ours is the only faith, violence and suffering are the result.We need to have courage and let go of our views as knowledge is ever changing and there is no absolute truth instead it is more like a crystal with many facets with people having their own perspectives on what they see as truth. If we can avoid being narrow-minded and bound to our culture so that we can be open and able to recieve others viewpoints. Tich Nhat Hanh tells of his time during the war in Vietnam he saw both sides killing and destroying each other because each side believed they had the monopoly on truth. People of different faiths were fighting each other instead of trying to stop the war. What is needed is dialogue as without it there can be no reconciliation. Dialogue is truly the key to peace. When people of different traditions are willing to learn from each other, dialogue takes place just by being together. In a true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.
This most basic principle of interfaith dialogue is that dialogue must begin, first with oneself. Our capacity to make peace with another person and with the world depends on our ability to make peace with ourselves. If we are in conflict with our parents, our family, our community or the wider society, there is probably a ware going on inside as well, so the most basic work for peace is to look to ourselves and create an inner harmony within – our feelings, our perceptions and our mental wellbeing. We must recognise and accept the conflicting elements within ourselves and reflect on the underlying causes. When we have peace within, real dialogue with others is possible. If we can look to the future with a spirit of mutual understanding and acceptance; to be able to love ourselves and those around us, things will change for the better for our children and our children’s children.
Aggression and conflict,
The raven flies.
Red burnt gold.
Honesty and truth;
Death and new birth
The cycle begins again
Until peace prevails.