Peace be with you, friends. This is the appropriate way to greet people here in Morocco. The response is “alaikum salaam” meaning “and also with you. I find it to be a beautiful way to begin an interaction with others. And since today (September 21st) is World Peace Day, I thought I would share it with you!
I recently read that the world has become 2.44% less peaceful since 2008. If you read the news, you are likely not surprised. Using multiple metrics to measure peace, the US came in 103rd place, and Morocco came in 91st. Iceland is the most peaceful, and Syria is the least peaceful (from the 2016 Global Peace Index).
It is an interesting perspective reading American news from here in North Africa. From our high towers in America we tout the virtues of democracy, but are we really practicing democracy? Having previously lived in Charlotte, North Carolina, stories like this one hit close to home.
If I could pray only one prayer it would be for peace. Peace for every individual soul. Peace within family dynamics. Peace within communities in transition. Peace for those who experience violence because of their social class, their sexuality, their expression of their religion, their race. Peace for the mothers around the world whose only wish is that their children will be nourished and safe. Peace in conflict zones.
An oft forgotten definition of the word “jihad” is “the spiritual struggle within oneself.” I can’t help but wondering if the strife we see in the world around us has to do with the fact that individuals are at odds with themselves and their spirituality.
We feel threatened when others hold ideals that oppose our own and we respond with anger, maybe violence. It seems that this is a problem within our own selves, not a problem with the other. Maybe it causes us to question our own ideals? Shouldn’t we be making a regular habit of examining our ideals anyway?
I hope that you will find peace today, and plant it, and let it grow, and let it go to seed and spread.
Peace like a river and love like an ocean to you, my friends.