If You Yourself Have Peace

Last month, the Supreme Court reversed Roe v Wade. People of child-bearing potential across the country — especially in States that have draconian, anti-human, theocratic goals — are feeling the debasement of returning to second-class citizenship. 

This is a catastrophe, and I don’t know if it will stop at abortion. Will gay rights be next? Will other forms of necessary medical care be next? I don’t know enough about law to discern if that is on the table, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.  The future is uncertain. 

I find myself returning to a quote from the great Trappist monk Thomas Merton: “If you yourself have peace, then there is at least some peace in the world.”

Many people are rightfully frightened for their bodies and futures, and the very best thing those of us who have less proximity to this issue can do is to be a solid rock of peace. Anxiety and despair run through social networks like a contagion, and it’s easy to believe that solidarity means being subsumed in horror. I can doom scroll for hours and find myself carried away on a swell of toxic empathy. Meanwhile, all of my own practices that enable me to be an effective support fall to the wayside: my meditation practice, my sleep, exercise, and time away from digital media. 

Now is not the time for me to get washed away and let my habits of well-being get destroyed. It’s the time to double down on peace, because if I have peace, then at least there is some peace in the world. I do no good to my friends who are suffering — who have greater proximity to this nightmare than I do — if I am collapsing on my fainting couch. 

If you are capable of cultivating peace, now is the time to do so. If you can double down on your habits of well-being you will be more effective to those who need you the most. 

2 thoughts on “If You Yourself Have Peace

  1. Thanks for the reminder. Can’t help anyone else, much less myself, if I’m a tight little ball of anxiety.


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