DAILY NEWS COVERAGE OF THE WAR IN IRAQ, or the instances of bombings in places such as England or Spain, as well as vehement debates among our political leaders about the best way to respond to terrorism, can all leave us feeling like helpless bystanders to a tragic world drama. We can also be drawn into heated arguments with colleagues over political choices. Or, feeling overwhelmed by what we think we can do nothing about, we just ignore what's happening.
But we're not helpless. Everyone can participate in ending terriorism, wherever it appears. How? If our thoughts and actions are love-based and not fear-based, we can contribute to reducing the impact of terror and terrorism on our own lives. In this way we can be a positive, spiritual force for ending terrorism in the world, regardless of the kind of response our political leaders choose.
As a former correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and now as an academic researcher of peaceful resistance and international human rights, I have come to appreciate the universal nature of the quest for peace. In preparing to write this article, I read some of the thoughts on the topic by a range of people, including Nobel Peace Prize winner Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the man Dr. King nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, Thich Nhat Hanh, of Vietnam. I also referred to some of the writing of Mahatma Gandhi, and his grandson Arun Gandhi. And I revisited what John Lennon had to say about peace, aware that his musical calls to imagine peace and to give peace a chance struck a deep inner chord in millions of people around the world.