Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Saturday, August 24, 2013

It's Not Always About World Peace

I discovered Rick Hanson through reading another blog on A Round of Words in 80 Days.

"Just One Thing," this blogger wrote, is all that Rick asks us to think about. Since my life and my writing life seemed pretty frenetic at the time (and still is), I signed up for the newsletter.

His first newsletter arrived August 8, and I haven't been able to read any others yet.


Rick identifies four levels of peace which we can appreciate.

Peace of ease - that moment when you look out the window, you step back from the current crisis, or you've just finished a task, and you know everything's OK.

Peace of tranquility - a deeper kind of peace, feeling at one with mind and body, perhaps just when you wake up or when you are out walking. No sense of frenzy, rushing, hurry, but simply being here, being in the now or as Rick Hanson says, "deep quiet in mind and body"

Peace of awareness - Here is why I like to read K. M. Huber's blog, for I get a sense of 'peace of awareness' from her writing. No matter what else is going on, there's an essential part of yourself that's a little separate, that observes, that's disconnected and that continues. Now, to me, this sounds a little schizophrenic, but somehow K.M. Huber (and Rick Hanson) write about this meditative state as a way of disconnecting from "becoming" and "doing" to simply "being."

Is this level of awareness a paradox? For when we do meditate, we are at peace with ourselves, at one with who and what we are, setting aside the everyday rattle of constant thought to breathe and simply be aware. And in the same moment, we breathe, we can be distracted. We balance action (becoming) with reflection (being).  Even our breathing through meditation is both becoming and being.

Peace of what's unchanging -  What are those constants that surround us that remain the same, no matter what? Rick Hanson says, "While waves come and go, the ocean is always ocean." For some, spirituality means this kind of deep connectedness. For me, I accept that each moment simply changes. My life will end. But the sun rises in the east every day. For now, I embrace this gift of life. Underneath the daily frisson of change, I rely on the constant of the love that surrounds me from husband, family, and friends; my commitment to writing, my appreciation of each day.

Water Lily, Nymphaea Pamela,
Edinburgh Botannical Garden (Camp 2009)
I wanted to respond to Rick's article to explore, perhaps, how these four concepts of peace might relate to a writer's life.

For Rick Hanson is not writing about world peace, or peace through action. He has focused the concept of peace down to inner peace, that sense of tranquility that makes us calm, perhaps happier, perhaps more accepting of who and what we are.

While writing can be a form of meditation on many levels, I come away from writing this post with a sense of peace and renewed commitment. Just one thing. Cherish each day!

In what ways do you cherish your own sense of peace?

Read a little more:
Rick Hanson: Just One Thing: What's Your Sense of Peace?
K. M. Huber's Blog -- this week: The Mirror That Is All of Us
A Round of Words in 80 Days


  1. Beautiful post, Beth, and thank you for the kind words about my blog. Yes, I am blushing.... Thanks for making me aware of Rick Hanson.

    If we each will find our own peace from within, the world will change markedly but as your post indicates, it is up to each one of us. Thanks for such a thoughtful post.

  2. As kind and wise as ever, Beth.

  3. Thank you both for stopping by. As much as I'd like to believe it is sufficient, as Voltaire says, to cultivate our own garden, the morning news turns me away with stories of greed and violence. But if we can't heal ourselves first, how can we help others?

  4. There's a saying in Nichiren Buddhism that world peace begins one individual at a time.

    As I've cultivated my own inner garden, it's a way of being in the world without the world impacting me at my core. It's as if I've created me own "force field." :-)

  5. Your words set my mind at ease. I so agree with all these different facets of peace, understand them fully, and practice them daily. But a recent problem has driven peace away--hopefully for this moment in time. And yet, as you say, this moment is all there is. I have to ballance my awareness with my husband's needs.