Peace

The following is based on a talk given by J. Krishnamurti to The United Nations on April 11, 1985 when he was presented with the United Nations Peace medal. The message is as important today as it was some 32 years ago.

We have lived on this earth for over fifty thousand years, and have not found peace. During this time we have lived with constant conflict: Conflict with our neighbour, with society, with our government, with other systems, and in our family. It seems as if we will never find peace on earth.Why is it that we kill in the name of god, country, for an ideology, even for the sake of humanity? We see this happening not only in Libya, and the Middle East today, but throughout history. It has been the scourge since the beginning of our time on earth. Who is to blame? So often we blame the other side; it never is us who is at fault.Will it be different this time around? Will we find peace in Libya, Yemen, Egypt, the Sudan? Are we naive enough to believe that America, the coalition forces, the United Nations will make ‘right’ the wrong doings in Libya? And if not, then who or what will do it for us? More than ever before in history, we are entwined in a global community. Shouldn’t we find a way to live peacefully in all our interactions with life? The United Nations, religions, political leaders, all organizations have previously failed, war and injustice still prevails. All these organizations will never succeed because human beings individually, collectively, nationally, are in conflict.Peace requires a great deal of intelligence. Demonstrations against a particular leader or ideology, or a passive resistance approach have not brought us peace. All these are movements of the mind, which is entrenched in nationalism, in some particular form of belief, dogma. Even in our present crisis where war for humanitarian reasons is the cry, surely it is obvious that applying weapons of war are unjustified reactions. We will solve the problems of conflict only when we ourselves become the challenge.In a cynical world, cynicism can never tolerate affection, love. We have lost that quality – the quality of compassion. We can display compassion, as I try to suggest in my Twitter account, but to find compassion, love, peace is a different matter. Love, peace is not within the limits of our intellectual brain, because our brain is limited: a sensory-response instrument, a storage mechanism, the centre of all reactions and actions. Yet we try to find peace through our thinking brain, which will never happen. Peace is not the denial of war. Peace is a state of being in which all conflicts have ceased; it is not a theory, an ideal to accomplish in the future. Peace, like love, is now, not in some future time. As long as we do not understand or are unaware of the activities of the mind, the mind will create further misery. By understanding and having awareness is the beginning of peace.So there can only be peace when mankind, you and I, have no conflict with ourselves. If one applies, looks, observes, with great attention, as we look with considerable attention when we are combing our hair, or shaving. With that quality of attention, we can observe our self—all the nuances, subtleties. And this mirror through which we observe is our relationship between human beings. In that mirror we can see our self exactly as we are.Our brain has been conditioned to war, to hate, conflict. It is conditioned through a long period of evolution. If what we have been doing has not worked in the past, why do we continue? Why not try something new? If you have been travelling north all the days of your life, as humanity has been going in a particular direction, which is conflict, and someone tells us, “That leads nowhere”. Why not then, go south, or any other direction but north? The new direction we must take is a self imposed state of conscious awareness. Through discovery of the self we will change who we are, we will become a student of compassion from within, and we will find the peaceful place where we all should reside.

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