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Peace Heroes of the World Unite!

by Joyce Johnson

PEACE is a big deal, timeless and has many levels of interpretation, doesn’t it? For a simple visual, I see the sweet image of a baby sleeping in trust and serenity with a teddy bear under his arm. All the way to the other extreme, of a Yogi seated in lotus position with crossed legs, eyes rolled up in incredible heights of conscious bliss obtained in hours of meditation, in a state of Oneness with the divine, or Nirvana. Though I have a few times experienced meditation’s gift, an indescribably peaceful state, I have a hard time getting to it. There it is. And many of you nod.

“Montana style group and solo meditation.” Yes?

Enter “Monkey Mind,”an ancient Asian term referring to the chattering mental state of us regular humans, the main obstacle to peace and health—is successful meditation. Hear and envision a tree full of noisy monkeys. Yet, this is the rub, we think the mental chatter is us—the thoughts, reactions and concerns we think about as we run through our day’s chores and obligations and encounters. Enter another visual, a squirrel running on its wheel in a cage. Get it? I do, in truth, keep trying to form the habit of a period of disciplined stillness daily. Easier said than done. A tree full of chattering monkeys is a comical vision of the truth, and everyone nods quietly, guilty?

But here’s my creative defense, I yam what I yam. I am one of the busy-brain types who has fun herding creative thoughts and imagination into an orderly thing like a mom happily herds her beloved little kids around the playground or the beach, like I herd words around in writing, or colors and lines around in art. We busy-brains are plotters of order and enjoy the workings of our observations and feelings about Life! Baby Boomers remember growing up with intelligent cartoons like, Bullwinkle, or Popeye the Sailor Man who would daily swallow a can of spinach and said bravely, “I yam what I yam!” and he didn’t mean sweet potatoes. But in a word, todays’ world needs to heal.

Conscious focus on breathing is a great simple beginner step to peace, and though it sounds a bit stiff and formal, if practiced, leads to self mastery­—becoming your own hero, in charge of self. The best working step of many is to light a candle and focus on the flame and ones breathing, and the mental waffle will withdraw, more or less. Takes practice—to put you in charge of your feelings and thoughts.

So powerful and important is a peaceful state of mind, that thoughts and feelings need to be on a leash so to speak. The result of making decisions from a calm and not over-reactive state, like anything of great value, needs to be practiced daily into habit. (Hear the “D” word—discipline yet?) But the potent reward is none other than Self Mastery—the very reason we are on all Paths. And should be taught in kindergarten. Add the Golden Rule and hey, what else is there?

We are the secret Peace Heroes. There are millions of people who meditate 4 or 5 hours a day. To those I bow. They affect the planet silently, many walk the talk of love and tolerance, compassion and forgiveness. All life on Earth is hungry for this. Our individual contribution to world peace is far greater than is taught or known by most, but begins here, in our little ol front yard, within each one of us. Peace within you will get all over everyone. Why would we want any other state? It is the Last Best Place. And the First.

PCCJournal welcomes your submissions of experience, story and contribution to community health and creativity. Write to the Editors at or me at,


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