“The practice of peace and reconciliation
is one of the most vital and artistic
of human actions.”
-Thich Nhat Hanh
Each month of my date-book features a quote from Thich Nhat Hanh. I’ve made it my goal to meditate on these words each month in order to process them and as a writing exercise. These are just my thoughts and musing as I reflect. This is January’s quote.
I struggled with this quote, at first. It definitely took writing about it for me to unpack this one. As I wrote and thought through it, what really stuck out to me is Thich Nhat Hanh’s use of is rather are. He is not speaking of peace and reconciliation as two separate things but as one thing. Something that exists together.
To reconcile means to resolve something or to accept something unpleasant. To be as peace with something you first have to settle the issue or accept it as it is. Reconciliation can lead to peace, but peace isn’t possible without reconciliation.
The art in peace and reconciliation is in the symbiotic relationship between the two. The way it can manifest in any area of life, often in beautiful and surprising ways.
Peace and reconciliation is vital because without it I’m sure our inner turmoil created by the traumas of life would slowly tear us apart.
We practice peace and reconciliation often in our lives. With our friends, our co-workers. Our significant others. Family. The world that at times seems like it’s falling to pieces.But I think it’s important to make sure we practice peace and reconciliation with ourselves. As important as it is to forgive others, we have to forgive ourselves,too. In some ways it may be even more important because how can we be at peace with others, let alone the world at large, without being at peace with ourselves?
I forgive myself for taking a longer time than I thought it should to figure what I want to be when I grow up. For being lazy and unfocused when I was just starting out. For being lazy and unfocused now. For everything I’ve ever beaten myself up about. Because dwelling on the past won’t change anything.
Everyday I have to remind myself that it is my actions now in the present that matter because they are what will create the future.