It's time to fight for personal peace. We begin 2010 as far from world peace as ever in history. Celebrating the Prince of Peace at the end of 2009 fades as we recover from last night's welcome to the new year. We are a resolution-making people, who laugh and cry when at every year's end we admit resolution breaking.
A man named Clemens Kirchner defines "peace" this way: "a short pause between wars for enemy identification." It's too late to pause. Let's compare this to natural childbirth without pain medication, without coaching, the kind where hard labor allows no break for "breathing correctly." It's too late to backtrack; we must go forward.
Nationally and internationally, we have not identified the enemy. Homeland Security's possible terrorists' list, a ludicrous, unpurged lumping of guilty and innocent, did not save the lives of hundreds on-board and below Flight 253 on Christmas Day. That was God's mercy and God's heads-up.
America should be proud that President Barack Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. Instead, many engaged in partisan debate, arguing before the world about why he did or did not deserve it. Have we forgotten that we are in this together and that vilifying everything about Obama undermines us all? There is no dichotomy in, as the headlines put it, "man of peace defends war." As he noted in his acceptance speech: "To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism; it is a recognition of history."
History always boils down to individuals who illustrate what the Pogo cartoonist, Walt Kelly, said: "We have met the enemy, and it is us." That's tough to admit.
Until personal peace is attained, there is no let-up from misery, no break to peg outside attackers. In 2007 the American Institute of Stress gave its seal of approval to the StressEraser, a quick-selling, handheld gadget to alert the individual to practice breathing and mental focus techniques. Would it have kept David Kellermann, the 41-year-old CFO of Freddie Mac, from hanging himself in April 2009?
Psychologist Sheldon Cohen says stress is "the perception that you are facing demands that exceed your ability to cope." Unfortunately, we too often look outward for answers. Only in May 2009 Susan Crandell wrote "The Worry Cure" for Good Housekeeping. Her coping advice? "Emulate Tiger Woods."
The world's peace depends on us first looking at ourselves Jan. 1, 2010, without excuses. Gray hair? Science now says its heredity, not worry. Love it or dye it. Depression from a broken heart? The medical world verifies it can lead to cardiac arrest, but cardiac death is more closely linked to antidepressant use than depression symptoms. Now what? Researcher Constanze Leineweber's advice doesn't help: "The best thing might be to not have any conflict." That would mean we're dead.
We're alive. Resolving to battle for personal peace ultimately leads to the one place unity of body, mind, and spirit exists: "In the beginning God..." (Genesis 1:1). Only that acknowledgement will end conflict, within and without, and take us forward.
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.