• 91st International Peace Meditation “Bringing Peace Home: Religion for a New Day”

    “Bringing Peace Home: Religion for a New Day”

    July 4, 2004 — Bringing Peace Home is bringing our religious beliefs into our daily lives.

    We are a diverse world, yet we are all one human race. We have diversity of thought, religious practice, politics, culture, and daily activities. We are responsive to our environments, often choosing to make a living from the conditions around us. We market our products and services to areas that are receptive. We donate to areas in need. We choose our friends and partners based upon our values. All of us do these things, but we make varied choices based upon our heritage, and our environment. We are generally born into a religion. Some of us follow the religion of our heritage throughout life. Some do not. Some make other choices. Some choose to walk alone. But we all choose. Following a religious belief is a choice; following a religious heritage may not be a choice.

    The desire for religious freedom has been the cause of many wars. Some within governments which allow religious freedom do not choose to exercise this freedom. Spiritual freedom, for which so many have died, may not be a consideration for others. Religious causes are at times a source of oppression, and resulting fight for religious freedom. The desire for freedom of spiritual expression continues as strongly today as ever.

    We can all recognize the tension today between and among the great religions.

    A few who have more radical views are exercising those views with outrageous behaviors. Yet, all of the religions have in common a desire to be right, and a desire to be strong. Each practices a view that contains a grain, if you will, of intolerance for all of the others. Each has some practices that tend to be exclusive. Some religions hold a belief of being the chosen people, therefore believing others will be excluded in the next life. What we need to develop, if there is ever to be peace in our Home, in our lives, is a view that all religions are acceptable. It is not religion that is unacceptable; it is some human behaviors that are unacceptable. It is not believing in a religion that is wrong. It is believing that others are less in the sight of Love that causes deep division. We need to consider our view of God, Love, Allah, Peace, Knowledge, Higher Power, or by whatever name we refer to the great I Am.

    “I Am” means being. The great ” I Am” is. We don’t need to ask the question, “Is what?” We need to consider “Is.”

    As humans we have difficulty with this concept. We define this great Spirit in our own likeness because that is how we are able to define our world. But this Spirit is greater than human knowledge or human understanding. This great Spirit is all prevailing, all encompassing, all knowledge, All. It is Creator, and It has the capacity to change Its creations. It is greater than our understanding can comprehend because we define everything with the words that describe human experience. We may need to broaden our view of ourselves, our religions, and our world experience to begin to give this Love more spiritual power within our lives.

    Recently a young man with great understanding passed on to the next life. Mattie Stepanik passed away in June. He was a thirteen-year-old boy with Muscular Dystrophy, but more importantly he was a poet with an understanding of spirituality far beyond his years. In fact, far beyond most human understanding. Mattie was a peacemaker. He talked and wrote about peace. In his televised appearances one could appreciate his essence. He was peaceful. He understood. He was non-judgmental. He had an understanding of spirituality that he passed on to us, before he passed on. He brought peace to us through his spirit, as he had been able to accept Peace into his life. And he brought us a vision of world peace. The world is enriched because of his brief journey. It is not the length of his years, but his contribution to all of us, that made his life important. He was light in the darkness of confusion that grips the world now.

    How do we find our way out of confusion? We need to begin to broaden our worldview of our own religions. We need to accept each religion as a wonderful path we have been given to help us to find that peace within our own lives. We need to respect that each person has a spiritual path that has been given to us as a “track to run on”. A specific path on which, if we follow it with love in our hearts, we will find peace. However, we cannot find peace without first finding love.

    When I speak of love in this manner, I speak of acceptance. We cannot say we love all people as our religions teach, and then hate in the name of religion. We cannot say that Love accepts all people, and then be unaccepting of those who are different from ourselves.

    I recently went to a funeral for someone dear to me. It was difficult to sit in the midst of a family in so much pain due to lack of acceptance of one another. One woman was threatened of being escorted away if she attended the viewing held the day before the funeral. Even in the midst of great loss, the human emotions of hate or lack of acceptance prevailed. We had all lost. Our friend, daughter, mother, aunt, grandmother, had moved on. Our common experience of loss might have made us more understanding and caring, but the pain of division remained. We, as a human family, were unable to rise above our personal misunderstandings and join together in our common grief. We have so much yet to learn about peace.

    When we look at our world, we may feel much sadness. We may even feel righteous in choosing to end others’ lives because of their behaviors. Some feel righteous in ending lives because of seeing others as unworthy. When we cast other people into a view of being less that human, we then may try to excuse our own behavior toward them. But that is not excusable. It is not acceptable to see others as less than human and treat them as such. We must stop destructive behaviors such as terrorism, but even as we do, we must attempt to understand that one person’s attempt at freedom may be another’s experience of tyranny. Terrorism is not acceptable even for what one may view as serving one’s religious purpose. Terrorism is what it is. It kills and maims. It oppresses. It jeopardizes freedom of thought and expression. It kills the human spirit, if allowed. It is the opposite of freedom.

    All people deserve freedom. Oppression is wrong, regardless of whom is the oppressor. When we broaden our religious views toward acceptance of all people as part of our one humanity, we begin the peace process within our lives and within our world.

    Thank you, Mattie, that once again a little child leads us. We wish you joy, release from pain, and opportunity to take your loving spirit to a new level.

    We hope you will visit our web site at www.humanempowerment.org and participate in this important mission to bring empowering messages and beliefs to everyone.

    And, only if you are able, please consider contributing to the mission of the International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc. Please give so that others might more fully live.

    Sue Kidd Shipe
    Executive Director

    Please send contributions to:

    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
    P.O. Box 3920
    Albany, New York 12203 USA

    Please make checks or money orders out to:
    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.

    The International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc. is a 501 ( C )( 3 ) tax-exempt organization recognized by the United States Government. Your contribution within the USA is tax-exempt.
    Sue Kidd Shipe, Executive Director
    International Institute For Human Empowerment, Inc.
    P. O. Box 3920
    Albany, New York  12203   USA
    (518) 393-9491

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