Striving for peace

Sometimes ... no, often ... inner peace evaporates. No matter how hard we strive for it, it feels like we are chasing a rainbow. That isn't peace. that's work.

So the question is posed: How hard do we work for it, and does the striving itself negate the experience of peace?

There are many answers to that question. I can only give my own. For me, inner peace occurs when it is least expected. It is a moment of grace. It comes not from striving, but frequently from resting or reflection. Sometimes it comes from my giving up a passion, from letting go.

And this is difficult for us, for we have been steeped in competition, trained to strive from our first day of school, pitted against one another at work, forced to struggle with rents, mortgages, or loans in order to have home or car, and we enter into marriages with a fifty percent chance of success. Small wonder that we feel a need to strive for peace.

Thankfully, I'm in retirement and most of these struggles are past, but now, with time, I look up and around at the world and muse on this:

Minds spin in group-think

treading paths well rutted.

Positions gel, seeking

ill in the other.

Politicians buy their seats, and

work for their handlers, while

talking heads babble trivia

— and no one listens.

Jobs move to Asia or

are swallowed by the net, and

weather worsens — heat, fire, flood — while

we, in our private worlds,

raise our heads and,

overwhelmed ... retreat.

And still ...

the sun turns leaves that

mind-gasping red in their dying,

while it sprinkles

diamonds on snow.

A baby is born and shatters

a cold heart with love.

That difficult child, with time,

became a lovely adult, and

we rise, each day,

with hope.

Dorothy Vogel lives in Talent. She is the author of a new mystery that takes place in Southern Oregon, "The Timber Mill Action," available on Formerly, she was a technical writer for AT&T; a news and information writer for the National Council of Churches in Manhattan, and a news reporter in New Jersey.

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