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Philosophy The Practical Peacemaker - How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible

Discussion in 'Book Reviews & Editorials' started by Astroboy, Apr 9, 2009.

  1. Astroboy

    Astroboy Malaysia
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    ਨਾਮ ਤੇਰੇ ਕੀ ਜੋਤਿ ਲਗਾਈ (Previously namjap)
    Writer SPNer Contributor

    Jul 14, 2007
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    Book Review

    By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat

    The Practical Peacemaker - How Simple Living Makes Peace Possible
    Kate Lawrence
    Lantern Books 03/09 Paperback $16.00
    ISBN: 9781590561409

    Those who believe that we can achieve a peaceful world are willing to stand up in protest demonstrations, participate in silent vigils, attend seminars and workshops, write letters, make donations to peace groups, and pray for peace. Kate Lawrence is a writer, a reference librarian, and an activist on environmental and vegetarian issues. A meditator for more than 30 years, exploring both Christian and Buddhist practices, she is currently a Zen student living on Denver, Colorado. She contends that practicing simple living is a way to bring about a more peaceful world.
    What does she mean by simple living? It is a conscious commitment to "using the least of the earth's resources we can" while still being comfortable and having enough. It is restricting our time commitments. And it is living fully in the present moment. Lawrence sums it by saying:
    "If we can reduce our consumption, pare down our schedules and pay attention to the present moment, we can enjoy greater peace ourselves, and make greater peace possible for people, other living creatures and the planet."
    In a section titled "Personal Obstacles to Peace," Lawrence covers careless eating and drinking, overcommitting our time, instant gratification, unexamined opinions and anger. In "Societal Obstacles to Peace," she examines advertising without accountability, media saturation, rudeness, prejudice, environmental degradation, overpopulation, and war, terrorism and crime.
    Lawrence sees rudeness as a result of our feelings of entitlement, busyness (achieving our goals quickly without reference to others), and selfishness. Courtesy is thinking of others and putting them first. She talks about cell phones and people who fail to RSVP for parties. Part of bringing peace into the world is acting courteously and restoring graciousness to our social relationships.
    In the last chapter, Lawrence salutes compassionate actions and notes their effects on the wider world: they can lead to stronger relationships and better health, save animals and the planet, help those who are discouraged or depressed, minimize the incidence of lawbreaking, show our gratitude, make us feel that our lives are worthwhile, and reduce other people's suffering.
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