We can radiate peacefulness to the people we meet. We’re all part of an invisible emotional economy, a give-and-take of feelings that transpires no matter what else we do in an encounter.
-Daniel Goleman, shared by Pete in Colorado via Tricycle.org
If I ever find myself alone and feel a pang of fear that I have been cast aside and removed from the world, I can remember that it is not even possible for me to be completely alone. I am inextricably woven into an ever-changing web of connections.
-Lauren Krauze, shared by Debra in New York
Ripples is reaching your inbox a few days early because exactly twenty years ago today many of us were greeting a regular Tuesday morning, completely unaware of just how quickly and how radically our world was about to change. The fires were still burning at ground zero a few days later when I chose peace as the theme for the first post-9/11 Ripples. We’ve returned to peace several times in the 20 years since, often after other grim events in our shared history. I’m revisiting peace once again today: an invitation to remember, to reflect, and to recommit ourselves to the arduous process of finding and spreading peace.
Cultivating sustainable peace may seem impossible, and yet it is a worthy pursuit. Each time we’re able to find and return to our own peaceful center, we make it possible to more peacefully connect with others. And as we refine our capacity for peaceful engagement with those around us, they’re reminded to consider more peaceful alternatives as well. And the ripples continue on and on, ever outward.
I’m comforted by the fact that humanity has found a way through previous dark times, and that many of our advances have been achieved not in spite of significant difficulties but precisely because of them. And while I do believe evil really does exist in our world, I also think the term is overused and overestimated. As we grow through our fears and insecurities, and help those around us do the same, there are fewer places for evil to take root.
We also need to get back to remembering just how connected we are to each other, how intertwined our fates are. No matter how desperately we divide ourselves into “us versus them,” the “they” that we might battle in a particular moment is really a part of the larger “us.” Trying to vanquish them is ultimately a form of suicide.
Moments before this email reaches your inbox, I’m scheduled to depart for my first flights in eighteen months, off to help some of my longtime friends at Cal Poly fire up another batch of incoming college students. I trust there is more peace in the air than there was twenty years ago this morning, and I’m confident that I’m not alone in my quest to radiate peace.
How can I be so sure? Because you and a few thousand other ripply spirits are reading this right now. And as hard as life has been for you and me and so many others, we keep on piecing together scraps of hopefulness and helpfulness, eager to believe that whenever we come together we’re part of something larger than ourselves. And our togetherness radiates that peace ever outward, extending hopeful, helpful ripples much farther because we’re connected to each other and we’re doing this together.
P.S. I know this one is a little longer and a little earlier than usual. Thanks for letting me bend the rules occasionally.