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What Does Peace Mean To You?

Updated on November 24, 2011

What is the meaning of peace to you?

This interesting question was posed by Hubber OutsideTheLines and to me it warranted more consideration than just a quick answer would provide.

When people try to describe the meaning of peace, they usually instead say what it is not: it’s when there is no war; it’s the absence of conflict, external or internal.

Even in my dictionary half the meanings listed define peace by what it isn’t. The first choice is: “the state existing during the absence of war”, followed by: “a treaty marking the end of war.” Only by its third attempt does my dictionary manage an attempt at describing what peace actually is: “a state of harmony between people or groups.” Next it tells us that peace is: “law and order within a state”. And just in case you are puzzling over that definition, here’s the suggested usage: a breach of the peace. It seems my poor old dictionary just can’t stay away from the negative. When it describes peace on an individual level it is: “absence of mental anxiety”. To give the dictionary its due, it does then come up with: “a state of stillness, silence or serenity.” Phew, we got there in the end!

At peace, on the other hand is:

(1)in a state of harmony or friendship

(2)in a state of serenity

(3)dead

Don’t you just love it?

Actually, having said all this, describing peace by what it isn’t is a perfectly valid thing to do. We live in a world where we understand things by their opposites. Only two days ago one of my daughters hurt her knee when ice-skating, and said she now felt more appreciation for her knees in their normal state. The same daughter years ago had a sickness virus that left her so weak she couldn’t walk for days; she still sometimes talks about how thrilled she felt the first time she managed to walk across the room to pat our cat.

Another way of looking at it is this: there’s a spider’s web outside my window – I know it is a web because of the space between the lines the spider has woven. If there were no spaces it would be a grey blob. Beyond the web I can see trees, and again I know that because the space around them allows me to see branches and leaves. (A very interesting exercise I learned last year from Sedona Method instructor, David Ellzey, is to focus on the space between objects – try it and you will probably be amazed at how your perception shifts. I find looking at trees in this way extremely calming, but any object or group of objects will do.)

But why is peace so hard to define? And do we have to be dead to be at it or in it? Or maybe on a mountain-top with our legs crossed and our eyes shut? Why for that matter did I choose to represent peace by that photo above? Couldn’t it just as easily look like this:

The seagulls look pretty peaceful don’t you think?
The seagulls look pretty peaceful don’t you think?

Daily peace quota

Every day, just after 11am, my computer pings to let me know an email has arrived with a Daily Peace Quote. Today’s quote is:

In spiritual practice, your best friend will be your sense of humor. - Cheri Huber

So perhaps peace could also look like this:

Source

According to Hale Dwoskin in The Sedona Method, peace is the emotional state in which we have most energy, and yet that energy is quiet and calm. He also says the mind is: “clear and empty, yet totally aware.”

What that means is that in a state of peace we don’t feel pulled about by memories of past hurts or by pictures of an imagined frightening future. (Yep, I’ve done it again: told you what peace is not.) In peace we are focused on the present, on what is actually here now. And contrary to what many of us believe, it’s possible to take action when we are peaceful; in fact peaceful action springs from a sense of ‘rightness’ – from a deep knowing that all is well. Again I’m going to resort to opposites to illustrate this – think of making a decision when you feel terrified that whatever you do will be wrong, and then imagine making the same decision knowing the either choice will work out just fine. In particular I think the action we take when disciplining children has very different outcomes depending on whether we are feeling peaceful or not. I remember a day years ago when my daughters had had a fight that resulted in a lot of milk flowing around our living room floor. Some days I would have felt angry because of the mess and would have demanded the culprit clean it up, almost certainly helping her to build resentment. But that day I was able to guide my distraught child to see that cleaning up the mess would actually allow her feel better than hiding in a cupboard would. Peace, therefore, is perhaps compassion in action, a sense of connection and oneness with others, with the world, and with all of life.

Here are some more words that Hale Dwoskin uses to describe peace:

Awareness, boundless, calm, centered, complete, eternal, free, fulfilled, glowing, imperturbable, light, oneness, space, still, tranquility, unlimited, whole.

Makes you feel peaceful just reading them doesn’t it?

And now excuse me while I go yell at my husband for talking loudly in the next room while I am trying to write about peace.

The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-Being
The Sedona Method: Your Key to Lasting Happiness, Success, Peace and Emotional Well-Being

The best selling book that introduces the The Sedona Method’s path to peace

 

More Recommended Reading: The Comments on this Hub.

If you’ve found this hub useful, then please keep reading as the comments section as I am sure you will benefit from the wonderful wisdom of others.

Comments

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    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      5 years ago from UK

      Thanks, if you write a hub I'll link to it here.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Bee 

      5 years ago from Illinois

      I haven't yet but if I do I'll send you a little note. Thanks.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      5 years ago from UK

      Hi HoneyBB, your experience of complete and utter peace for 3 days sounds awesome. For me it comes and goes.

      Have you written about that experience? I'd like to read it!

      Thanks for your comment.

    • HoneyBB profile image

      H Bee 

      5 years ago from Illinois

      I was attracted to read this article because I had one experience in my life that lasted for three days where I felt complete and utter peace. It didn't feel like any earthly feeling I'd ever had. It was amazing! I think you did well in your description of it!

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      5 years ago from UK

      Born2care2001, what you say is so wonderful. I love it. If we could all be aware of this at all times there would be no fighting, nothing but peace. With awareness of I AM as you describe, of the spaciousness and of being more than we appear, action peaceful action naturally occurs. Thank YOU for the reminder!

    • Born2care2001 profile image

      Rev Bruce S Noll HMN 

      5 years ago from Asheville NC

      Fabulous Hub Melovy!

      Peace, for me, is knowing I AM. Recently, I discovered a freeing moment from author Robert Bly. He said, (paraphrasing) I am more than I appear, the worlds strength and power reside within me.

      I do focus on the spaces in between and I know the universe is as infinite within as it is without and yet, there is space in between which is so incredibly beautiful I can only be in awe! Therefore I AM.

      Thank you for this lovely reminder that peace is possible!

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RLJcT_bXEvY&fea...

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      5 years ago from UK

      smfay, thank you for reading my hub and for your beautiful thoughts! Peace to you also.

    • smfay profile image

      smfay 

      5 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      Enjoyed reading your hub, would like to share mine with these lines...

      “When one is at peace, he is safe for he is in a state of grace that he willed to be in a situation where no illusions exist” “Altogether I see that all creatures are living in peace and before me is a blessed life.” Peace be with you.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      K9keystrokes, I like to challenge preconceptions - including my own, and I had a lot of fun with those photos. Thanks for your comment!

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Jools,

      Thank you and glad you enjoyed it.

    • K9keystrokes profile image

      India Arnold 

      6 years ago from Northern, California

      I completely enjoyed this hub. The photo choices are enlightening; expected and then, unexpected. I learned plenty here. Thank you.

      Cheers~

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 

      6 years ago from North-East UK

      Interesting, thought provoking hub, really enjoyed reading it. Voted up etc.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi ShalahChayilJOY,

      I am really pleased you enjoyed this. I love to write this kind of hub best of all. Thanks for your comment.

    • ShalahChayilJOY profile image

      Shalah Chayil 

      6 years ago from Billings, Montana

      often things are described best by what they are not! Nice read.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi arb,

      You’ve got an interesting take on this subject - peace is what you get when sucessfully hiding from everything that promises to bring it - I like that! Brought me a smile. I also had a quick peek at your profile and I like your humour so will be returning for a closer look. Thanks for your comment and good wishes to you and your wife!

    • arb profile image

      arb 

      6 years ago from oregon

      Delightful disection of a contentious subject. I am not yet, however, at peace. I was while napping, but, dream invaded my sanctuary and stole it from me. I gave myself to marriage thinking that the absense of loneliness would be surplanted by bliss, but, I have simply learned that wedded bliss must be different than just plain bliss. I have concluded that peace is what you get when sucessfully hiding from everything that promises to bring it. Sorry, gotta run; my wife is calling and I have to hide!

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      HI Tammy, and thanks for your lovely comment. I like your definition of peace. I find that the more peaceful I am the more it spreads to others and when I’m irritated that tends to spread too. It definitely starts with ourselves!

      I’m glad you found this tiny taster of the Sedona Method appealing as it’s been a godsend to me and helped me cope with some challenging times. I will get round to a hub about it soon!

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thank you Jacy, and you are so right peace is within us. I am so pleased to hear that this helped you feel peaceful.

      As far not begin able to meditate goes - I suggest not to worry too much about it and try David Ellzey’s exercise of looking for the space between objects, particularly trees. It’s very calming. I do very little formal meditation, though I have in the past - I find that the more I simply welcome whatever is here now, the calmer I feel. (Not always easy but the Sedona Method is a huge help, as is another process that I have half-written a hub about, but can’t seem to get finished. I will soon!

    • tammyswallow profile image

      Tammy 

      6 years ago from North Carolina

      What a beautiful and thoughtful hub. For me, peace is harmony for me AND my loved ones. I have yet to explore new age thoughts and techniques, but they look quite appealing. I must look into the Sedona Method. Well done!

    • albertsj profile image

      jacy albertson 

      6 years ago from Lake Mary, Fl

      Oh, do I love this one. Peace is with in us. A feeling we have/get from certain things. It makes me want to practive Yoga, and attempt to meditate. ( I say "attempt" because I've never been able to) Thank upi for writing this Yvonne, I feel peaceful just from reading it. (and me, being real neurotic, that's hard to come by) ; )

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Thanks so much Maria. You brought me a smile.

      Bizarrely we have had 4 similar floods in this house, all with different causes, but all involving that bathroom! (And not in any other home we’ve lived in.) The first time was most extensive and needed a massive repair but we were insured and I didn’t like the way the previous owners had decorated so it worked out well in the end. This time the damage isn’t too bad.

      I haven't’ seen that Seinfeld episode. Sounds a good idea. 'Serenity now.’ I shall remember that.

      Sending hugs back to you.

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Oh my sweet Yvonne,

      What a nightmare as this happened (right before Christmas) in our new home, first married, only it was the dining room ceiling... my thoughts and love are with you, dear friend.

      Have you watched the Seinfeld episode... is it George who just repeats... 'Serenity Now!' I find myself saying that at some of life's twists and turns (preferably to myself)...LOL.

      Many cyber-hugs sent to you, Maria

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Maria,

      I am so glad my hub was a peaceful bedtime hub for you. What a good idea of yours to find peaceful hubs at bedtime. I could have done with it myself last night as our house was in chaos after a bath overflowed and water came pouring through the living room ceiling!

      Thank you for your lovely and loving comment. (And all the feedback.)

    • marcoujor profile image

      Maria Jordan 

      6 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

      Yvonne,

      As I 'shop' around for peaceful, serene hubs at bedtime, I have hit the jackpot! Oh, I don't know how I missed this one but it is a lovely essay and what I strive for every day.

      I perfectly agree that I am unable to make an effective decision or do anything purposeful until I have a clarity and peacefulness of mind.

      Thanks for pointing us back to the gleeful man's description. We all need to laugh at ourselves a whole lot more!

      Love this and love you! Voted UP & UABI, mar.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi TK’s view.

      Rambings are welcome. I’m a great believer in rambling when writing - at least in first drafts, which I then edit heavily. I was once told to think of them as ‘scaffolding’ - not the prettiest part of the building process, but necessary nonetheless.

      And it seems that rambling in comments can bring forth the wisdom tucked inside. What you wrote is very interesting.

      And poetic, I liked the image of words as carrier-pigeons of our soul. It’s also apt I think.

      Regarding the old man, if you click on the source link you will see the photographer left a little information about him, it’s worth reading and was partly why I chose the photo. You’re right about him being within self. Definitely peaceful in that moment.

      Thanks for the conversation.

    • TKs view profile image

      TKs view 

      6 years ago from The Middle Path

      Hope you don't mind if I peruse a little deeper while writing my reply. Often that's how I get answers to my pondering.

      ". . . words can only point to the truth,they can never BE the truth."

      I agree with that, yet I hear a faint snort of dismay coming from somewhere deep in the recesses of my being.

      In the days of olde, a man's word was his bond. His word was simpler, but carried truth.

      In looking at how both these can be correct. I see it used to be, a decree was given, then a person would do everything they could to follow through on it, for themselves.

      Now, it seems, we have become embedded in the luxury of our mentality. Words come so easy, society uses them to make decrees for others, wherein, they lose value.

      Can you imagine, if there was only a set number of words we could say a day, how much more we would depend on them to be expressions of our truths about our condition?

      Okay, so I see words are only the vehicles of our intent, the carrier-pigeons of our soul, perhaps.

      Also, they can be labeled as truth in retrospection but only when backed up by action.

      Something for me to consider.

      Please forgive my ramblings. I didn't mean to muddy the waters of your well-written hub.

      By the way, I like the picture of the old man laughing in your hub. What he is laughing at, we don't know. Nor do we know why it is funny to him, only he does and that's why he is at peace.

      He is within self.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi TK’s view,

      Thanks very much reading and for your very useful comment.

      I hadn’t actually noticed the connection between thinking peace comes from outside and only being able to describe it by what it’s not, but now that you’ve pointed it out I totally agree! All the examples from my dictionary fit with this.

      I also love that you wrote: "In other words, peace can not be described, only demonstrated.”

      Again, I totally agree. What you are saying is similar to the wisdom that I’ve read many times: that words can only ever point to the truth, they can never BE the truth.

      Another thing Hale Dwoskin often says that I love is: Every time I open my mouth I’m lying. He regularly suggests people don’t believe a word he says, but 'take it for checking’ - test it for themselves.

      The Sedona Method is very much a practical process that helps create inner peace by welcoming and releasing whatever is inside. One day soon I will write a hub about it. (It’s on my list.)

      Thanks also for following me.

    • TKs view profile image

      TKs view 

      6 years ago from The Middle Path

      Excellent hub, Melovy.

      I feel, one of the reasons peace is hard to describe(as is happiness and other positive feelings) is due to the fact the answers change with the mood or emotional state we're in. Whenever we get caught up thinking that our peace is based on something outside of ourselves, we can only describe it by what it isn't. For us to truly express answers that are honest and lasting, it can only be done from being present within the state we're trying to describe.

      In other words, peace can not be described, only demonstrated.

      I'm going to have to ponder that one.

      Thanks for writing a hub, requiring me to look at myself deeper.

      I'm unfamiliar with the Sedona Method. The wisdom sounds solid. I did live in Sedona for a couple years so maybe I got lucky and inhaled some of it.

      Voting up and will be following to see what other gems you choose to share.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Joanspahr,

      Thank you for your comment. I think you are right, it is possible to use the best method and get little from it if you are only doing it from your head and not your heart. The deeper you go the more you get.

    • joanspahr profile image

      joanspahr 

      6 years ago from Rhode Island

      I too have experienced The Sedona Method. There are many methods, but effective only if they are incorporated into one's inner spirit.

    • Melovy profile imageAUTHOR

      Yvonne Spence 

      6 years ago from UK

      Hi Happyboomernurse,

      Glad you enjoyed the hub and that it gave you a smile and a chuckle. I really enjoy writing this sort of thing; I think it has a positive effect on me.

      Regarding the photos - the second was not my initial choice: I tried to upload a photo of a mother (me) and baby on a beach, but the photo was on its side and no matter how often I rotated it, it went back. Something seemed to be telling me to look for something less cliched and those happy seagulls stood out. It’s worth checking out the source of the Flickr photo as the photographer has included an interesting little story about it.

      And I agree with you that the Sedona Method is simple and effective.

      Thanks for your comment. It’s always good to hear from you.

    • Happyboomernurse profile image

      Gail Sobotkin 

      6 years ago from South Carolina

      I loved this thought-provoking hub about peace and thought your personal definition was the best one: "Peace, therefore, is perhaps compassion in action, a sense of connection and oneness with others, with the world, and with all of life."

      The photos were interesting choices. Sunset was the expected choice, the other two made me smile as they were surprising yet fitting.

      And then there was the ending that packed a punch and made me chuckle!

      Voted up across the board.

      BTW: I like to use the Sedona Method of letting go. Simple but effective.

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