2. Peace is More than an End to War

“Your task…is to build a better world,” God said. I answered “How? This world is such a large, vast place, so complicated, and I so small and useless am, there’s nothing I can do.” But God in all His wisdom said, “Just build a better you.”

The real problem is in the hearts and minds of humankind. It is not a problem of physics but of ethics. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man. _Albert Einstein

The mere removal of obstacles does not in itself purify and fuse the hearts of humanity. Unity cannot last unless it evolves into oneness, unless it receives support from a supreme power, unless the individual is strengthened through a transcendent spiritual source.

Bahá’u’lláh’s plan is twofold: individual and global. One without the other cannot cover the whole range of the required change, cannot activate or sustain a full cycle of renewal. To maintain lasting peace and global unity, it is essential to transform the individual so that he will not only tolerate others, but treasure them and love them; not only abandon prejudice, promote peace, uphold the necessity of global unity, advocate equality of men and women, support universal education and justice for the poor, but become so inspired and elevated by his beliefs that he sees himself as one with the world; be so dominated by love for humankind as to fuse his identity with theirs and theirs with his own.

The kingdom of heaven cannot come to the earth unless it takes roots in the hearts. To establish peace without, we must first discover it within.

Only God can transform our souls from hating our enemies to hailing them as friends:

…if you have an enemy, consider him not as an enemy. Do not simply be long- suffering; nay, rather, love him. Your treatment of him should be that which is becoming to lovers…Be mindful that you do not consider him as an enemy and simply tolerate him, for that is but stratagem and hypocrisy…This is not becoming of any soul. You must behold him as a friend.95 _ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

The mere absence of war, poverty, or prejudice does not generate compassion and kindness, or true peace and lasting happiness. The gap between tolerance and love, between justice and service, cannot be filled by a change in the law or a mere reshaping of the mind. It needs a power so transcendent and pervasive as to touch and stir the very depths of the human heart, a divine force capable of transforming and remolding the whole self.

True religion is like the sap of a healthy tree that reaches and nourishes the most distant leaves.

A man wanted to piece a big jigsaw puzzle together. It was a picture of the world. The more he tried, the more he failed. A little girl who was watching him said: “Let me do it for you.” In a few minutes she had all the pieces together. She made the world. “How could you do it?” asked the man. “There was a picture of a man on the back of the puzzle,” said the little girl. “I only tried to join him together. When he is put together, the world is put together.”

Ultimately all the battle of life is within the individual.96 _Shoghi Effendi

Yes, when man is put together, the world is put together, when the hearts are at peace the world is at peace.

…mere plans are not sufficient; ideas and principles are helpless without a divine power to put them into effect…We must become attracted to God. The breaths of the Holy Spirit must take effect.97 _ ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

It is the spiritual always which determines the material. _Thomas Carlyle

Spiritual force is stronger than material force; thoughts rule the world. _Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bahá’u’lláh introduces not only a pattern for a new society, but a plan for renewing and reshaping the individual. He portrays a new profile of being human and offers a new vision of human nature and destiny. He sanctifies our identity, He liberates us from ignorance and apathy, and then He binds us to our Creator eternally. Recognition of our spiritual mission will allow us to view ourselves as essential and inseparable links in the ever-unfolding chain of the divine Purpose.

What most people want—young or old—is not merely security, or comfort, or luxury, although they are glad enough to have these. Most of all, they want meaning in their lives. If our era and our culture and our leaders do not, or cannot, offer great meanings, great objectives, great convictions, then people will settle for shallow and trivial substitutes. This is a deficiency for which we all bear a responsibility…This is the challenge of our times. _ Rockefeller Report on Education

With God’s love as our hope, and with trust in His wisdom as our standing, the impossible becomes possible.

Give me a firm place to stand, and I will move the earth. _Archimedes

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