Excerpts featured in OTB Magazine.
King of Peace
The latest essay in the ongoing project called “Peace Pieces” by actor/writer Caz Harleaux.
Collectively, they are a series of thought pieces focused on peace – its function, the different
factors that contribute to it and our role in maintaining it.
What is king?
What does the face of a king look like? Someone real or imagined? Yours? Someone else’s? I write this open letter to you, who might call themselves king. Whatever the definition. It’s watered down, over-hyped, diminished if without agreement. But like all agreements, this one must ultimately be made with self. Are you king? If so, the following is for you.
Be clear in the governance of self.
Whence does your royalty derive?
It is said in the Sufi tradition that the human is not so much a sinful creature, but a forgetful one. Is your kingdom real or imagined? Genetic? Spiritual? Metaphorical? Did a monarch have to die or abdicate the throne for you to ascend? None are king without great sacrifice. And the peaceful transfer of power is… powerful. Is you king? If so, the following is for you.
Remember who you are.
What is peace?
There is a letter believed to be written in the year 62. In it, there is mention of “the peace of God, which transcends all understanding.” Over the years, occasionally, I try to understand it anyway. What might that peace feel like? Who else would be with me? My rational mind thinks, “No one.” And then my rational mind thinks that after that some time, this peace thing comes with a side of loneliness. These though are just my thinks on a notion that has been deemed beyond thought.
I was reminded recently that humans are inherently social creatures. Yet research suggests that despite there being more people than ever on the planet, we might be lonelier than we’ve ever been. Peace, at least in part, was meant to be shared. With self and thereby with others. For whom among us can truly have peace with another while being at odds with self? Who’s king, you? If so, the following is for you.
Be more willing to share your peace than your anger.
What might they look like together?
With the king enrobed in peace, its value spans the entirety of the kingdom. And the worth of peace grows as wide as the mind can consider. When the king radiates peace, there’s a natural inclination to join. And the wise king knows to keep peacekeepers closer than warmongers. Is the king among us? If so, the following is for you.
Guard your spirit.
Who can reign in peace?
Even despotic kings choose peace, at times. The king overflowing in sincere appreciation of this existence and their place within can reign in peace, at all times. The one willing to drink from the cup of unconditional gratitude. The one who develops an appetite for thankfulness that cannot be satiated. This king can bring about the understanding that even in war, with self or others, peace is king. If you are king or are in line to be, the following is for you.
Start with gratitude.
The difference between violence and peace is in the margins and starts within. Here are three small choices you can make towards peace:
1. Say less. Despite how loud the world can be, there is still power in silence. Sometimes saying nothing at all is the straightest distance between oneself and peace.
2. Extend grace and mercy to self and others. If grace is getting something you don’t deserve and mercy is not getting what you do deserve, what might come of a world where we extend grace and mercy to one another in a more mindful way? More locally, what might come of your world?
3. Scale the magnitude of issues appropriately. And make the scale easy. Is it worth my peace? That scale ranges from no to yes. Issues arise, big ones, small ones. Handling them with peace makes issues, whatever their magnitude, more manageable in the long run.