First published on LinkedIn on September 18, 2017

World Peace. Every beauty contestant pledges to work towards it. Every politician swears that’s their goal. All world leaders come together and announce a day to celebrate it. But meetings, pledges, announcements are not what is going to achieve it.

Any time you are looking outside of yourself to accomplish something, without first doing the work in your own life, there is really no chance that we will ever reach such a lofty goal as world peace.

Yes, we have to work together. Of course we need to stop discriminating. Sure, we need to love and respect one another. But even as leaders, and places of worship and community organizations hold up their signs and have their moment of silence, the real work begins with an absolutely laser like focus on our own inner sense of well-being.

Does that sound selfish? Every flight attendant on every airline will tell you that you cannot help the person next to you unless you put on your own oxygen mask first. We all nod and agree, and then go about our business trying to fix everyone else. We point at politicians that disagree with us. We point to certain racial groups and religious groups that need acceptance, while at the same time blaming other nations or races for why that’s not happening. As long as there is blaming and division and hatred in our own hearts, there will never be world peace. You can’t shame anyone into world peace. By it’s own definition, shame is devoid of peace.

As long as we continue to make crude jokes about people that we disagree with; as long as it’s considered common place or justifiable to spend an entire awards ceremony targeting one politician or one political party; as long as we focus on what’s wrong with others without putting ourselves in their shoes; as long as we refuse to see the good because it’s not politically expedient; as long as we are so insecure that we are more worried about what others think than what’s right; as long as we are so blinded by hatred or fear or anger that we can’t see straight to find clarity, we will remain stuck in our factions, refusing to cross the line to see things from a different perspective. Until we can move beyond these blind spots, we cannot make headway with world peace.

We need to see that we are connected to the creator of us all, connecting us to each other. We are made of the same stuff, having different world experiences, having been taught different things, having suffered different traumas and experienced different joys. We see things differently and we all need some kind of healing, yet we all come from the same source of love.

If we could each spend some of the time that we spend judging and condemning and pointing fingers in a quiet connection to the one that created us, we could tap into our own true value. That value is the exact same as the person next to us, the one who drives us nuts, the one who scares us, the one we disagree with. If we spent that time connecting to our true nature, we would tap into that love, joy, peace, wisdom and creativity that is already inside each of us. That inner wisdom is blocked by unconscious and unexamined belief systems that categorize us according to the way we have been taught. Those belief systems cause us to explode with emotion, blinding us to truth and causing us to attack in order to defend those belief systems. We are obsessed with being right rather than allowing ourselves to see a larger truth.

Our desires for world peace are noble and well intended. The way to achieve that world peace is seen differently from person to person, country to country, nation to nation. But the only way to begin is to connect with the one who created each of us for the good of all. When we can connect with that universal force for good inside of us, and know our true identity, we will be able to respect ourselves so that we can respect others and stop judging them, practice gratitude, communicate effectively and release resentments and grudges that are drawn from our unexamined beliefs. Once we learn to work from the inside outward instead of depending on performance based, politically correct, external measures that appear good but are based on an unsteady foundation, world peace will be a reality.

But not until we stop judging others and examine our own hearts first, looking at what triggers us and why. An examined life is a powerfully effective life and it can give us the freedom and confidence to collaborate our way to world peace, peacefully.

So this week, while you are praying for peace, look inside yourself for anything that might be holding you back from your own experience of this elusive goal.

For more thoughts on how to achieve this, check out Zentivity: How to Eliminate Chaos, Stress, and Discontent in your Workplace, and join my tribe at Together we can really make a difference.

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