Are you discouraged by how much violence, group conflict, war, genocide, authoritarianism, and human rights abuses you see in the news lately? Even something as simple as wearing a mask to protect oneself and others against COVID has become a flashpoint for hostile rhetoric and even instances of outright violence.
We certainly are living in very grim times. It can seem as if peace is not only unnatural to human beings, but that it is a far flung dream with no basis in reality. In fact, in westernized societies, our education system has conditioned us to believe that hostility and violence are hardwired into our biology and are…inevitable.
I am here to tell you that this is a lie. I am here to give you a great and passionate hope.
The momentum towards peace has been building since time long past. This destiny line is more than just possible, it is probable. Why? Because every individual and group thought, word, action, prayer, meditation, ceremony, and effort to end violence and advocate for peace is not an isolated incident, but has been, over millenia, an accumulating and exponentially expanding energetic pathway that will undoubtedly turn the tide.
There is no doubt. This is what I know, not what I believe.
Why? First, because all around us, in the present day, there are more and more groups and organizations seeking to plant and grow peace through spiritual practice, teachings, activism, research, and other means. Do you know how many peacebuilding organizations there are in the world? Here just a few: Generations for Peace, PeaceWomen, Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative, Alliance for Peacebuilding, Beyond Conflict. Google and you will find more.
Second, more and more individuals from many spiritual traditions and religions are recognizing that it is time to step up to be part of this worldwide movement through their personal healing, spiritual practices, and service to others. Hundreds of activists, thought leaders, spiritual teachers, and ordinary people are speaking up, doing the good work of healng and peacemaking, and even marching for peace.
I am deeply encouraged and inspired.
But because I want you to really believe in the powerful force of our collective destiny line towards a peaceful planet, let’s go back in time. Even as human beings some 20,000 years ago (or so many indigenous teachers, such as Thomas Banyaca, as well as the Mayan calendar, among others have taught) stepped into a radical separation from unity consciousness, the fires of peacemaking have been kept burning in the hearts and minds of all people. Nothing has stamped out this momentum, though it has at times seemed to have stalled.
But, fire, by its nature, when it continues to be fueled, it continues to burn. So, even while the momentum towards peace may seem to gutter at times, think of each individual and group through time who have kept speaking about peace as the ones who made sure that precious, burning ember never went out. It continued—and continues—to be protected, nourished and fed in the hearts and minds of the people.
Peacemaking is too precious to let die. The desire, longing for peace ever lives in the consciusness of humanity and Mother Earth herself.
While Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. spearheaded our world into a greater global awareness of the negative effects of oppression and violence, and spoke to the ideal of peace, and gave us 20th century methods of nonviolence. Yet, in truth, from point of view of destiny lines, the seeds of this awakened consciousness in western history alone goes back to the 11th century when the Council of Charroux declared the Truce of God in response to violence against monasteries across the South of France.
Violence has a way of awakening people to the terrible harm it does and to the sacred idea that there must be another way. It is a great teacher about peace.
Moving forward in time to the 16th century after the Protestant Reformation, peace churches arose. In the 18th century, writers such as Immanuel Kant and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, among others, wrote whole books on peace. By the mid-19th century, motivated in response to war, the movement for peace began to expand and grow in influence in Europe and the United States. And, of course, in the mid-20th century, Mahatma Gandhi led a globally impactful and effective movement for ending colonial oppression in India using methods of nonviolent resistance.
Beyond western efforts by individuals and organizations, there are stories of mystery schools and whole cultures anchored into profound lifeways, spiritual teachings about, and individual and community practices and ceremonies for living in harmony and balance. Many of them existed hundreds, even thousands of years before recorded western history. Memories of them have been preserved and passed down through Native and indigenous oral histories, archeological structures and artifacts where this knowledge can be accessed through deep study, ceremony and meditation, and, increasingly, in the late 20th and early 21st centuries in books and writings published by visionary western and indigenous authors.
For instance, among the Cherokee, there were Peace Villages spread all over the continent. Tsalagi teacher and author, Dhyani Ywahoo, writes in her book, Voices of the Ancestors: Cherokee Teachings from the Wisdom Fire, “Traditionally, many of the priests and priestesses lived in what were called White Villages or Peace Villages where the hands were always clean of blood….In the days before the hoop of the nation was broken, there was no need for prisons or mental hospitals because the sacred precepts and principles of the care of extended family and nation maintained harmony in the lives of the people…. Even the most heinous of criminals could make their way to [this] place of sanctuary…. there they could pass a year in ceremony and spiritual practice to remove that negative pattern of thought, that illusion based on pride, so that they could come again to be accepted as whole by all the people.”
Venerable Dhyani continues to spread these ancestral teachings on peacekeeping to this day. There are other outspoken Native American spokespeople for peace, including Arvol Looking Horse. He established World Peace & Prayer Day in 1996 at Gray Horn Butte in Wyoming where it is said White Buffalo Calf Woman, who gave teachings and ceremonies for peacemaking appeared to the Lakota many generations in the past. Native and indigenous leaders, elders, and teachers, such as the Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers, have been gathering for several decades to brainstorm how to move the needle away from violence towards and enduring peace.
These are only a few examples of a tidal wave of peacemaking through time and space.
So, take heart. Peace is not just a hope, it is a reality as real as the sun rising everyday. As real and potent as all these voices through millenia.
I know that sooner rather than later, the whole body of humanity will rise up and not just demand—no—but bring an end to violence. They will exist once again in the transcendent consciousness of unity in diversity.
And so it will be.
Rachel Mann, PhD is a sacred activist, social scientist, healer, and spiritual mentor. Through her Institute for Sacred Peacemaking, she provides an intensive 1-1 Mentoring Program and offers courses and retreats supporting passionate individuals with a vision to integrate the wisdom gained through their own healing and spiritual study into creative service to others as a healer/therapist, spiritual teacher, writer, artist, and/or socially conscious and spiritually awake entrepreneur. Through consulting and programs, she also provides businesses, NGOs, and nonprofits wishing to expand and anchor into the sacred values of positive inclusion, compassion, and a renewed, spiritual ethics with consulting and programs. Find out more at rachelmannphd.com.