Can a Smile Achieve World Peace?
“We, people from 17 countries, speaking more than 10 languages and holding different beliefs, achieved peace at that island, so why can’t we achieve peace in one country speaking the same language, having the same religion and nationality?”
The pursuit of happiness is everyone’s quest. But does everyone know there is no need to look for happiness anywhere, because it exists in their centre? Mankind has tried to establish peace through impressive speeches, international treaties, and peacebuilding operations. However, to make world peace a reality, I believe that we should start within our own minds and behaviour. Recently I travelled to Thailand and was introduced to a brightness of wisdom and a redefinition of life, happiness, and peace. I walked away from the experience with the simple equation that if you calm the mind you can access deep strength, love, and wisdom within yourself.
I travelled across the Mediterranean from Tunisia to Thailand in order to meditate … yes, to meditate. A lot of my friends laughed and said: “You are crazy to go by yourself!” “Do you trust these people?” “Are you going to convert to Buddhism?”
Some of them were supportive instead and said “You’re a brave young lady”… “Proud of you, and enjoy every moment for yourself.” In fact, the driving force for me to go into the experience and trust people whom I’d never met was meditation. Meditation is the moment for everyone’s self-discovering … discovering our inner peace, our strength, our positivity, and appreciating ourselves more. Buddha said: “There are only two mistakes one can make along the road to truth: not going all the way and not starting.” I started and I wanted to go all the way to Thailand to learn more, to discover more, and most importantly to be happy and peaceful from inside out.
I arrived in Bangkok and the following day I went to the Mooktawan Island. The place was a perfect one for inspiration and relaxation with the sounds of nature. It offered an inner security. The training provided an in-depth introduction to meditation and its applications to nonviolence, peacemaking, and social change. I lived some of the best moments of my entire life at the retreat site. I knew the true meaning of the word “thank you” and the deep meaning of a smile. I knew the importance of one’s smile when one of the fellows, with whom I made friends, gave me a sheet of paper saying “ When I found your smile was lost for about eight hours, I felt like a part of my happiness was gone … but today I saw your particular smile and it enlightened my day. Just keep your smile everyday.”
I found myself a global citizen with those unique people and started asking myself: We, people from 17 countries, speaking more than 10 languages and holding different beliefs, achieved peace at that island, so why can’t we achieve peace in one country speaking the same language, having the same religion and nationality? We overcame our differences and found power in our similarities while living together for some days, so why can’t we find this positivity with people with whom we share the same history and the same background and with whom we have lived for a lifetime? Based on the answers I found, I came back to my country with a lot of love and kindness to share, because I found a solution for our peaceful coexistence: simply that we should always think about others because we can’t live without being in a community, and that we should live simply. The simple life clarified my mind and helped me make the right decisions. We usually complicate our lives and forget about the real mission of our existence. I believe that everyone has a mission to accomplish before leaving this world. It could be a small thing but would have a great impact.
The most important thing I learned in Thailand is that life is a continuous journey of self-discovery. This experience gave me, a young Arab-Muslim woman living in North Africa in a post-revolution environment, a driving force to keep my true colours shining and to get involved in my country’s peacebuilding. I challenge you to try this new way of establishing peace. It’s a new way that can be used regardless of religion, culture, language, or background. Everyone needs a smile every morning to embark on a long day. I recommend that you start meditating this morning. Meditation will give you the power to believe in your powers as a human being with a body and mind that can be used wisely. You’re the only one who knows yourself well and you can let people see your inner beauty and positivity as you try to see people’s inner beauty and positivity. No one is perfect, we all have bad habits, but, as the teaching monks say, we just have to draw the line between “good & bad,” “right & wrong,” “should & should not,” and it will lead us to behave well.
In this new year I hope for freedom for the oppressed, equality for the discriminated against, shelter and food for the homeless, health for the sick, education for the illiterate, and peace for every human being. I wish for prosperity, development, and peace for my country Tunisia, for the neighbouring countries, for Africa, and for the entire universe. And finally, for me, I wish to continue what I’m doing with passion and commitment. Now I’m living more fully in the present and discovering my unique contribution to life. What about you?
The views and opinions expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Peace X Peace.