Long ago, there lived a king who asked the artists in his kingdom to paint the best picture of peace. The king announced a handsome reward for the best painting. The royal court received many paintings and the king selected two of them.
The first painting was a picture of a calm lake. In its waters were the reflection of serene mountains and clear blue skies. It was the perfect picture of peace. The other painting too had mountains. But they were rugged and the sky above them was black with rain-bearing clouds. And on the side of the mountain was a roaring waterfall. The picture portrayed anything but peace. But something in the picture caught the king’s attention–a bird’s nest hung delicately on a bush behind the waterfall. A bird and her little ones resided in the midst of a raging waterfall! The king announced that this painting would be the winner.
All the courtiers wondered how dark clouds and rugged mountains could even remotely portray peace. “Because,” the king said, “peace does not refer to a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. Peace means being in the midst of all those things and still being calm.”
As the wise king in the story said, peace is not about being in a place where there is no noise, unrest or conflict. Like happiness, peace is a state of mind. The chaotic world around us should not be an impediment to finding that peace within. Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza once wrote: “Peace is not an absence of war, it is a virtue, a state of mind, a disposition for benevolence, confidence, justice.”
Given life’s challenges, peace might still seem elusive. But the moment we understand that all we need to do is look inwards, we take the first step on our path to find peace.