I just want to share some of the realizations that I’ve come across in my own peace journey.
I think some of you know that I came from a Christian background. I grew up in a traditional and religious environment which then changed when I started studying in UP Diliman. In UP I started to experience different peoples and cultures. I really enjoyed this experience, even though there were times when it was painful and confusing. This is when I started to ask questions on my faith and beliefs. In connection to this was the longing to have a community which accepts diversity on personality, world perception, faith and yet actively participates on social issues. This is when I met Teach Peace Build Peace Movement. It was a taste of heaven on earth. A community that promotes peace inside and out.
Peace. I became very serious on understanding peace, I had to learn this by heart. Alongside this is the unconscious drawing away from my christian beliefs. I thought, I don’t need the dogma’s of Christianity to understand peace. But, again, it was a painful journey knowing that my whole life was a practice of this belief system. Yet, I know deep inside that I’m on the right track. I opened myself to possibilities, meeting people if I can, keeping an open mind and heart.
Peace must come from within. You cannot give what you don’t have.
This gave way to the realization that the first step to achieve a culture of peace is having peace within yourself. Just as we have to accept the diversity of people and cultures in the Philippines we also have to accept the diversity inside us. We have different “self’s”. There is a part of us that wants peace, a part that wants to be angry, a part that wants to be “conyo”, a part that wants a simple life, a part that wants to be this and that. By understanding this diversity inside us and accepting them we also get to understand other people that has the same quality. I realized that I must not ignore my anger but listen to it understand the angry Monique. Every part of us, whether good or bad, are important to understanding the peace that we want to achieve individually.
And so this leads to my last realization; peace cannot be separated from a person’s spiritual life. Whatever ones belief system is, his understanding of peace is always associated with his spiritual journey. I realized that peace is always a spiritual experience.
It is a lifelong journey, and I feel like I’ve just started my first steps. Let’s all work together to see a culture of peace.
MONIQUE PEREDA | Musician for Peace Ambassador 2015