Of Peace, Love and Joy

Live Peac Love
Live Peace Love

Of Peace, Love and Joy

Kevin W. Tharp                                     December 2014 

We

You

Me

As I grow older I am given the opportunity to reflect on many of the mysteries of life.  I walk a path that often changes my perspective on the world.  Many times in my life I have found myself with thoughts that are completely contradictory to the thoughts of the younger me.

I once was an active poet, writing many poems of which I now have no recollection.  But there is one poem that I wrote over 30 years ago that holds truer today than I could have ever imagined.

I used to laugh at people like me

Look at me now

I used to laugh at people like me

It was an early realization of the nature of my own human existence.  A recognition that even as a teen I had changed my perspective on some of the big questions of life, and a glimpse into the ever evolving nature of me.

I no longer profess to have the answers, or even a clue about the answers to some of the questions that life presents us.  The answers to questions of spirituality and existence elude me.

Why are we here?

What are we supposed to do in this life?

What happens when we die?

But these are the questions my mind finds its way back to again, and again, and again.

Now, as winter sets in, things slow down a little and nature hunkers down until it awakens again in spring. It is a time to think and plan for the coming seasons.  My mind settles on the deeper things in life, like Peace, Love, Joy and of course my garden.

Let’s talk about those deeper things that have become a focus of my thoughts. They are not easy to explain, but we’ll keep it simple.

Peace

A lot of different meanings here.
Quiet and Tranquility.
Freedom from civil disturbance.

Peace on Earth, Goodwill towards humankind.

On an individual level, I can be at peace with a decision, or at peace with the world.  In this way it is an acceptance of the world the way it is.  But generally when we talk about peace, we are talking about something belonging to a community or collective.

It is easier to explain what it is not than what it is.

On the collective level, peace is the absence of violence, strife, … tension.  I think of Peace as the collective decision to not violate “the others”.

Just because there isn’t war doesn’t mean there is peace.  When I am violating or even threatening the tranquility of a community,
I am disturbing the peace.

Peace is illusive because it depends upon groups to get along.
Peace is a gift that we give to each other.

Peace is about We.

Love

An intense feeling of deep affection.  I think that love is the strongest, the deepest and the most profound aspect of our spiritual being.  At least it is for me.

I was recently asked to define what I meant by love.

If I have to define love for you, this is a sad state of affairs indeed.

But as I thought about it, the closest I could come to defining love in my words was the bonding of two spirits.

There is the love of God, the love of another human, and the love for other creatures.   The reality is that love doesn’t have to be reciprocated.  I can love you and you not love me.

Under my definition you cannot love chocolate,  ((but I love chocolate ))
though you may use that word to describe a deep affection.  ((I love chocolate ))
And in my definition you cannot love yourself.  ((that is Narcissism))

Or, self-love is the state of self-respect and caring for oneself.
Self-love is your spirit embracing and respecting itself.

I love you.  You love me.
Ideally we both love each other.  I give my love to you.  Love is a thing that I give to you.
Love is about you.

Joy

A feeling of great pleasure and happiness.  Joy is the most transient, the most changeable and the quickest of the states we have discussed. Joy is a perspective, it is a conscious decision about how I am going to interpret and react to my circumstances.

The pure and simple delight in life and the world I live in.

Each day I make decisions about how I am going to proceed through the day.

Joy is a gift I give myself.
Joy is a gift you give yourself.

In that way, it is like a garden.

Plant kindness and understanding and Joy grows.  Fertilize with Love and Peace, and Joy thrives.  But you have got to pull the weeds.

Weeds take the energy that Joy needs to grow.

Dig out the hate to make room for joy.

Pull up jealousy and anger by the roots.

Don’t allow prejudice to invade the garden,
it is invasive and will choke out the joy
and may even spread to your neighbors.

Joy is a gift that I give myself
and it makes the world around me more beautiful.

Joy is about me.

We wish you all the joy of life,
but that of course is a decision that you have to make for yourself.

PEACE!

We – Ploughshares to Swords

I’m not sure when it began

I think it was when We beat Them in the revolution
We mourned and celebrated our dead
We created a new society based on freedom and liberty and justice
We recognized and glorified the value of You and Me
And realized that our strength came from We

Doc

After We had beaten Them it was agreed that We would never be Them
We thought great thoughts and wrote them down as rules and laws
We built a great society
We valued You and Me
And We acted out of freedom and equality, for these are the things that We valued

I’m not sure when it began

I think it had been there all along
We slowly began to lose the way We valued You and Me
We forgot that our society was built on You and Me
We became We and They
And they acted a lot like Them.

For They there was no concern for We, only a focus on Me
They slowly took down the things that made the We society
They gathered great wealth and shut We out
They twisted the words that We used to speak
And here are some of the things that They did

They took away the ability to unite.
Because We can only prosper when it combines You and Me.

They sent the jobs overseas.
Because if I don’t have to pay You there is much more for Me

They found ways to buy representatives, officials and judges.
Because Now Government answers only to Me

They found ways to limit the Voting of We.
Because They didn’t want to hear the voice of We

They squandered our national resources and ran up great debt.
Because that allowed for collecting from We and giving to Me

They ignored the philosophies of freedom, liberty and justice.
Because They thought that those were not good for We, only for Me

They vilified ideas that were different from Me.
Because They thoughts are right thoughts so We thoughts can’t be

They attacked education.
Because We should not think.

And They got what they wanted
Because We did not speak

Along the way You and Me forgot that We could disagree
They grew angry and formed separate camps
They must think this way and They must think that
They are the left and They are the right
And stuck in the middle sit You and Me

I’m not sure when it began

I think it happened pretty quick
We remembered that We only exists with You and Me
We cried out to They, and They ignored We
We tried to restore the great society
And They fought it with every stride

They didn’t realize how much they had to lose
Because They didn’t know how much They had

They didn’t realize We had gotten so strong
Because for so long They focused only on Me

They seemed to think, that We were an inconvenience
Because focusing on We takes focus from Me

On the day the revolution began,
They grew angry, for
We didn’t have a permit for a revolution and
They felt We would interfere with their ability to enjoy the park
And They didn’t know that We had become Them!

And so the revolution began.

Kevin W. Tharp

Originally written Oct. 8, 2011 and posted to FaceBook.  This version changes one line to make it clearer:
edited Version: “Because They thought that those were not good for We, only for Me”
original version: “Because those were not good for We, only for Me”

Back from Hiatus

I am back.  I have had a long period when I did not post, August until now.  No excuses, I just didn’t write.  But now I am back.  I have some new projects going, and maybe along the way I will have some thoughts that are worth posting.

I’ll be back real soon, probably my next post will be about my adventure into building the systems to roast a whole hog.