In the previous article, we tackled the destructive impacts of wars on societies and people, as well as the need of man and his environment for peace for life. History highlights the value of peace at the level of civilizations and individuals, for peace achieves the continuity of diverse cultures, while many cultures have perished and been forgotten due to the conflicts and wars their peoples have suffered: like the Ancestral Puebloans, the Anasazo people who disappeared, reportedly, because of violent internal conflicts. Therefore, we will not be able to live if we struggle, nor will we be able to survive and be creative if we fight.
This is what urged the world to think of the importance of peace; the international peace prizes have emerged with urgent importance attached in the life of individuals, societies and peoples: among these prizes is the annual Nobel Peace Prize recommended by Alfred Nobel and awarded for the first time in 1901, and Gandhi Peace Prize granted by the Indian government since 1995 in honor of Mahatma Gandhi, who led his country towards freedom without shooting a single bullet, in the Arab world we find Imam Hassan Bin Ali International Peace Prize, and other awards in a large number of the world countries.
Regarding the establishment of peace, it is well known that it cannot be kept through raising slogans or formulating words to be declared in meetings, conferences and books. Rather, it flows from a true faith within every soul, realizing the dire need to have peace. Yes, peace begins from inside man, then spreads to all who are around him. Thus, the world shall realize that restoring the once lost peace is a responsibility borne by every individual, and it desperately needs keeping honesty with one’s self and bearing the responsibility to establish it. Thus, peace sets off from the depths of people first and foremost. The English poet and author Ralph Waldo Emerson expressed this, saying: “Nothing can bring you peace save yourself. Nothing can bring you peace save the overcome of principles.” Besides, it was said about peace: “It begins from within each one of us. When we have inner peace, we will be able to keep peace with those around us.” He who attempts to spread peace while missing it inwardly will eventually fail.
The first step of peace is man’s ability to explore his depths and to realize the need for peace, in other words: understanding the need to create some kind of inner harmony and calmness in order to lead a constructive and purposeful life throughout which one can utilize his capabilities and potentials which God granted to him and became distinguished with them.
As scientists and researchers acknowledge, human mind has tremendous potentials that have not all been discovered yet. Such potentials have to move away from crises, wars and intense pressures in order to sparkle, for the way towards weakness and dispersion is paved with fears and annoyances. When man enjoys inner peace, he experiences a sort of comfort that enables him to calm his mind and so can think logically and positively, utilizing his creative energies that make him inwardly strong and unshakeable. The inwardly strong person is the most capable of finding successful solutions to the problems, obstacles and challenges he faces from the outside world, acting steadfastly like the rocks standing stable in front of the mighty waves, breaking them. As for those who lack peace, they are swept away by waves of turmoil.
Inner peace is the journey man walks through towards the depths of his soul, where he explore its hidden sides, its adopted thoughts and acts towards God, his own self and others. As previously mentioned, the source of real peace is God; thus, the relationship between man and his Creator is essential. Whenever man does evil, he moves away from God, and hence loses peace, continuing his life as a sea of wild waves, submerged in anxiety and worries which are reflected on others. And … Stories in beautiful Egypt never end!
The General Bishop
Head of the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center9 December 2020