iPads over World Peace?


Imagine Peace on Scallop ShellWhen 1,200 Brits were asked what they wanted most for Christmas, iPads trumped world peace almost 2-to-1.

Ok. It was right before the holidays. And the survey sponsor is the Consumers Electronics Association. But really?!?

Perhaps the delighted iPad owners never used their devices to read about another annual survey of 1,200 people –– this one by the Center for Preventive Action. Only instead of cool tablets or sports cars, this ranking includes Syrian unrest, China-India border clashes, Jordanian turmoil, and a deadly terrorist attack on the U.S.  As The Atlantic modestly observed, “the findings are alarming.”

Granted, the Preventive Priorities Survey asks experts to rank global conflicts that might pose the greatest threat to the U.S., so I shouldn’t dis the Brits for missing it. (Although I can’t imagine that our once-motherland is immune from these potential crises.)

Yet this isn’t about who chose an iPad over world peace. I have relatives who’d do the same thing. It is, however, a stunning reminder that coverage of Sudanese atrocities or videos of Ukrainian unrest register in our inundated brains sort of like a streamed episode of House of CardsWe bemoan the dark side of human nature. Then we move onto something else.

You know. Cancer. Floods. Job loss. Heck, even diaper dilemmas or doggie tales. The “story” doesn’t matter. Only when we are directly affected, only when it is our story, do we really care.

That’s why I love Peace Pilgrim. She knew this better than anyone –– that peace is an inside job. She spent 28 years walking across the U.S. with only the clothes on her back meeting people face-to-face, making peace personal. How? By talking about inner peace, by helping people let go of hate, anger and judgment in their own lives. Because, she knew, world peace will only happen when enough of us find inner peace.

So, maybe the CEA can learn from this when they plan their next survey. World peace is a tall order for someone simply jonesing for a little holiday happiness. But I bet if they pit iPads against inner peace, the outcome might be different. What do you think?

Peace now, you idiot


Storm Cloud PhotoIt was the 1960’s and college students screamed “RIGHT ON” and “YEAH MAN” as silver-haired Peace Pilgrim stoked the anti-war energy at campuses across the country.

When she asked if they felt like shaking the congressmen who voted to send more soldiers to Vietnam, their cheers reached a deafening crescendo.

Peace let them shout for a while, then simply said, “Oh, you would act the same way as those who make you angry?”

Talk about a silencer!

It was then that she was able to bring home her message of inner peace; that when  enough of us truly feel peaceful within, the ripples will spread outward. Only then will our families, our communities and our countries naturally “operate on a philosophy of peace.” 

Whew. What a wake-up call – then and now. How many of us say we believe in peace, support peace efforts or even, like me, write a book in the hopes of promoting peace? Then, without thinking twice, we badmouth those we disagree with, mistrust those we don’t know, yell at our kids, curse out crazy drivers.

Human nature? Need for group allegiance? Maybe. But just look around: Congressional discord’s at fever pitch. FOX vs. MSNBC is a team sport. Taking sides is the new black.

So I think Peace Pilgrim’s words are more relevant than ever. Perhaps the only way to find a silver lining in these clouds of chronic conflict is to start within.

I’m trying to do that in my own life now. It isn’t always easy and it doesn’t always work. But I know that unless I attempt to walk my talk, I am a hypocrite with a capital “H!” So my new mantra reminder is, “Peace in = peace out.”

How about you? What can you do today to be kind to yourself and, in turn, share that kindness with others?

(For a free copy of Peace Pilgrim’s wonderful booklet, “Steps Toward Inner Peace,” available in 29 languages, visit PeacePilgrim.org)