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Complementary Corner

Being a Peaceful Presence

Renee Lehman

(7/2013) "Let there be peace on earth, and let it begin with me."

The lyrics to the song Let There be Peace on Earth, were written in 1955 by songwriters, Sy Miller and Jill Jackson. This song has been sung in many languages, by many people all over the world since then. In Sy Miller’s words: "This simple thought, 'Let There Be Peace on Earth, and Let It Begin With Me' travels heart to heart – gathering in people everywhere who wish to become a note in a song of understanding and peace – peace for all mankind."(

Look at the world today, it may seem as though there is less peace on earth. The 24/7 news programming certainly gives the impression that the world is in a constant state of unrest and turmoil. However, I doubt this to be true. There is plenty of evidence of peace, love, compassion, and understanding that is occurring all around the globe. It just does not produce the type of "drama" that generates ratings and revenue for the networks.

The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu (570-490 B.C.), wrote:

If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.
If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.
If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.
If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.
If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

This is basically saying that for there to be peace in the world, you must have peace in your heart. It all starts with you! Each one of us as individuals is responsible for the peace in our hearts, and therefore, the world. How can this be? You may ask, "How can I be responsible for peace outside of myself?" "How can I be responsible for peace in another part of the world?"

The answer is in the following concepts of ONENESS, and the concept of Macrocosm and Microcosm. ONENESS, the idea that everything is connected to everything else in the Universe, is a basic principle of Traditional Chinese Medicine that has been discussed in many articles over the past few years. Within the body, there is no disease that does not affect other systems within the body. For example, when someone gets nervous, this person may have to urinate more frequently or suddenly get hives on their skin. Everything about you is related on a body/mind/spirit level.

Macrocosm means Universe, whereas, Microcosm means a community that is an epitome of the Universe, ( They are two aspects of a theory developed by ancient Greek philosophers to describe human beings and their place in the universe. These early thinkers viewed the individual human being as a little world (microcosmos) whose composition and structure correspond to that of the universe, or great world (macrocosmos). There was no concept of an isolated individual self. However, in our current culture, there is an undercurrent of thinking that is based on a belief that we are separate from each other – that you are you, separate from me and the rest of the universe.

In the 17th century, René Descartes suggested a spirit/matter (material) dualism philosophy, which has continued to be the foundation of much Western thought. He suggested that mind and matter (material) were two separate and independent realms. This included that the body works like a machine and it has material properties. The spirit, on the other hand, was described as a nonmaterial. His famous saying, "I think, therefore I exist," has led us to equate our identity with our mind instead of our whole body/mind/spirit. Paraphrasing Fritjof Capra, author of The Tao of Physics (2000):

"As a consequence, this separation of our body/mind/spirit influenced how we see the "outside" world. We extended this separation to society which is split into different nations, races, religious groups, political groups, etc. The belief that there are many fragments – in ourselves, our environment, and our society has alienated us from nature and from our fellow human beings. It can be seen as the reason for the present series of social, ecological and cultural crises. It has alienated us from nature and from our fellow human beings."

So how do we get back to the ONENESS concept? We must realize that the world is organic, it is constantly changing. Nothing is static. Realize that all things are interrelated and connected. That what is happening inside of you (microcosm) is affecting everything outside of you (macrocosm), and vice versa. For there to be peace in the world, there must be peace in your heart.

How do you have peace in your heart? There are so many paths toward creating a peaceful heart. There is no ONE path for everyone. You need to find the path that resonates for you. Yet, I do believe that the following steps are important to consider while creating peace in your life.

  1. Seek to be understanding – with yourself and others. Listen to what is truly being said. Can you listen without judgment? Realize that people come from all walks of life and have different life experiences that influence their beliefs.
  2. Have compassion – for yourself and others. Be empathic to another person’s situation in life. "There, but for the grace of God, go I."
  3. Be forgiving – to yourself and others. Holding onto grudges, anger, and other negative emotions just ends up creating disease within ourselves. Let go and move on.
  4. Be grateful. Realize that life is full of impermanence. Be thankful and appreciate what you do have. When we focus on the abundance in our lives, we discover a greater capacity for generosity, cheerfulness, and contentment.
  5. Spend time in nature.
  6. Smile. It opens the heart.
  7. Have faith.
  8. Accept what is. Why worry about something that all the worrying in the world will not change? Focus on what YOU CAN DO and what YOU CAN CONTROL.
  9. Be loving. This begins with you! How can you love someone else if you do not first love yourself? What does this involve? Incorporating the above practices into your daily life.

If there is light in the soul,
There will be beauty in the person.
If there is beauty in the person,
There will be harmony in the house.
If there is harmony in the house,
There will be order in the nation.
If there is order in the nation,
There will be peace in the world.

- Chinese proverb

Renee Lehman is a licensed acupuncturist, physical therapist, and Reiki Master with over 20 years of health care experience. Her office is located at 249B York Street in Gettysburg, PA.  She can be reached at 717-752-5728.

Read other article on well being by Renee Lehman