The United Nations has marked 21st of September as the International Day of Peace. It is observed in all the nations all over the world and the practice began in 1981 with the sole aim of promoting peace in the world. The UN Secretary General strikes the Peace Bell to signal the commencement of the celebrations. The Bell was cast using coins donated by delegates from 60 countries and collected by children and presented by Japan to the UN in 1954.
But we often wonder if all this is mere tokenism or is there a higher purpose to observing an exclusive day dedicated to peace. We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves is what the Dalai Lama says. We need to be at peace with ourselves only then we can reflect that in our actions. Today in the world we find people who are ready to retort and react at the drop of the hat. There is so much of anger within each one that it manifests in acts of violence against all those who are vulnerable. Peace does not mean absence of war alone. There should be no violence even in the minds of people only then can we say that there is real peace.
How do we attain the state of being at peace? We need to practice it meticulously. Thích Nhất Hạnh, the Vietnamese monk speaks of mindfulness as the key to finding peace. Every act should be done with a mindful consciousness. Even something as mundane as drinking tea. We need to concentrate on the act and not gulp it down as a chore. This mindfulness becomes a habit if we extend it to all our actions. Then we will think and speak only if there is an absolute need and that too after analyzing whether it will hurt other’s feelings or not. This is one way of developing the state of being at peace.