December is the time when we are reminded to envision â€œPeace on Earth; Good Will Towards All.â€ Actually, this bookâ€™s title, Peace is the Way, comes from Mahatma Gandhiâ€™s teaching: â€œThere is no way to peace. Peace is the way.â€ Peace is not an anti-war movement, but rather a way of being that has its own agenda for bringing about peace on our warring planet. As Chopra notes in his first chapter, â€œWar Ends Today,â€ in 2003 there were an estimated 30 million military conflicts being fought around the world. Unbelievable!
The bookâ€™s organization makes a contrast between what the author calls a tangled hierarchy of fear, greed, and unsustainabilityâ€”our current normâ€”with a tangled hierarchy of love, sharing, compassion/sustainability, and peace consciousness. Throughout the chapters, he uses this negative and positive tangled hierarchy-concept to explain how we can move from what he calls “Toxic Nationalism” (Chapter 4) and the “Myth of Security” (Chapter 5) to “The Body at Peace” (Chapter 11) and “Our Last Hope” (Chapter 12).
Deepak Chopra has taken on a giant to tame. War seems to be the norm and peace seems to be the exception, and the author weaves his way through the chapters so that we can flip-flop these concepts to make peace the norm and war the exception. The book is idealistic, but then, where would we be without ideals? Here are a few of Chopraâ€™s quotes that hopefully will demonstrate what I call his practical idealism for creating peace, something we need to work on not just at holiday times, but every day of the year.
â€œâ€¦the way of peace isnâ€™t based on religion or moralityâ€¦what it asks for is something new: conscious evolution.â€ (p. 4)
â€œThose emblems of the old order [military stockpiles and multinational corporations] are nothing more than frozen consciousnessâ€¦â€¦Anyone who knows how to move consciousness in an evolutionary direction is part of the peace movement.â€ (p. 23)
â€œThe process of integrating material life, with all the good it has to offer, and spiritual life, with all the good it has to offer, is a lifelong challenge.â€ (p. 75)
â€œThe way of peace is a soul journey to acquire the ability to change reality.â€ (p. 116)
â€œContrary to what we hear, the real enemy of peace isnâ€™t evil but chaos. In a state of chaos such as terrorism wants to create, society breaks down.â€ (p. 174)
â€œLove is stronger than terror because ultimately every impulse can be traced back to out deep need for love.â€ (p. 185)
Peace starts within, and at the end of his book, Chopra writes a list of items under the topic: “Putting the Body at Peace” (p. 206), which includes putting fear in perspective and finding an outlet for your anger and anxiety.
In the final chapter Chopra talks about healing our own emotional apathy in order to bring about peace. Or as Chopra states so succinctly: â€œA change in consciousness happens one person at a time.â€ (p. 234)
Finally, the saying at the end of my review came to me as a recalled George Burns in two movies in which he played the part of God. In the second movie, he appoints a little girl to bring awareness about God to the world and she and her friend come up with a very simple slogan: â€œThink God.â€ So I ask you, the reader, to start the New Year with a similar request: â€œThink Peace.â€
NOTE: Peace is the Way is available at bookstores or online. It is published by Harmony Books, New York and was released in 2005.
Deepak Chopra is a certified medical doctor from India who is trained in the eastern philosophy of Ayurvedic medicine and seems to have combined Eastern and Western medical philosophies successfully. I have heard him speak and he is mesmerizing. Chopra has written many books, most of which are spiritual in nature, but always have some medical stories to add emphasis to his ideas.
This would be a great book to give to anyone or a group studying conflict resolution, especially those who believe war is inevitable in our society, because after reading this, there may be a change of hearts and minds.