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The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

―    Black Elk

I am sure all of us have a short list of books on our shelves.  The list of 5-10 books that have made a significant impact on our lives and our view of the world.  One of mine is a spiritual classic called Black Elk Speaks.

It has been said that history is written by the victors.  Our perception and view is through the eyes of the conquering party.  Growing up in America, my view of Native American history had been drastically skewed from a white, protestant perspective in the school history books.  Life is about context.  What’s great about Black Elk Speaks is that it is a biography of a Native American man who experienced many significant historical events and the words are through the eyes of a Native American spiritual man.  Black Elk was present during the confrontation with General Custer at Little Bighorn, he was present when his cousin Crazy Horse was murdered and another relative Sitting Bull finally surrendered to the American troops.  He joined Wild Bill’s Circus and traveled to NY, London and Paris.  Through all of these experiences, Black Elk speaks to us in a simple message of connection to all living beings and to the Great Spirit.  His words and message are beautiful.

As a continual student of eastern philosophy, I am transfixed in how similar the words from Native Americans and eastern mystics blend into a harmonious message of love, and connection.  Similar to Black Elk, Buddha spoke of peace in stating “Peace comes from withinDo not seek it without.”  This mantra is clear across cultures and religion.  Christ speaks of seeking the kingdom of God within.  Gandhi tells us that each one of us must seek peace from within.

External circumstances do not bring our angst nor do they bring our happiness.  We must first take responsibility that our existence on this planet is strictly do to our state of being.  Nothing outside of ourself determines our existence.  How many of us have stated some of the following statements…..”I am in such a bad mood because of the weather.” Or, “that person makes me so angry.”  Life is a choice.  Every moment is a choice for your state of being.  If you are angry, or frustrated or lacking peace it is because you have chosen this state of existence.

Like Black Elk tells us, take responsibility for your peace and happiness in life.  Look within, there are no fingers to point, nowhere else to look.  You alone are responsible for your state of existence.  Choose peace….choose love.

Call to Action:

      • Get present to your state of being each moment throughout the day.  Get present that it is NOT created from external circumstances, it is created from within.
      • Choose your state of being.  Choose happiness….choose peace….choose love.
      • Truly get that peace comes from within and no other place.  This is the FIRST PEACE that we all must understand.

Thomas D. Craig

Author A Cup of Buddha

Writer. Seeker. Adventurer. Warrior