The initiatory way to Peace

The International Sufi School has taken interest in the life and works of Emir AbdelKader, Koffi Annan, Baha’U’llah/Abdul’ Baha, Sheikh Ahmadou Bamba, the Dalaï Lama, Shirin Ebadi, Sister Emmanuel, Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Wangari Maathai, Nelson Mandela, William Penn, Eleanor Roosevelt, Mother Teresa and Jody Williams.

Our school has carried out a detailed study on the lives of those fifteen peacemakers who have had such beneficial impact on society that they have become enduring symbols.

Most of them are long dead but they are still esteemed as before. They forever embody the hope for a better society for each one of us.

Indeed, these people were similar to us in all aspects. They were neither distinguished nor exceptional beings. One day, there has been a shock in their lives which has brought about a consciousness of Responsibility.

Despite the fact that they are in no way linked to each other (era, culture, religion, race…) in appearance, they had a common ideal which united them all. It is the ideal of peace. They had to go through the same stages of evolution to achieve this ideal. 12 steps have been identified and summed into a 'Peace Commandment' entitled ''The Initiatory Way to Peace''.

  • The first two comprise of a diagnosis process necessary to pinpoint the interior conditioning instilled in us since childhood.
  • The following 7 are stages of therapy which help in getting rid of this conditioning so as to become a free and fully conscious being.
  • The remaining 3 steps are the means by which peace beings transformed their violent society into a more peaceful one.

1. The diagnosis of our inner self, made up of our specific historical and family legacies

Historical legacy

In this approach, history is considered as an essential basis in the relationship between nations. This relationship has nevertheless been established with wars in most cases. Take Europe for example: it is the result of many confrontations. It has been established in violence and consequently generated a deep suffering. This is the case for the majority of modern countries.

The historical memory shapes the identity of the society of each country thus established. It moulds individuals on diverse and confl ictual values.  The reason is, as Pierre Vidal Naquet explains, that ''in times of war, nations narrate their history from one perspective only, theirs. It is the only one considered true. The heroes of some are the monsters of the others. The history, the rights and the culture of the enemy are denied."

We have here the cause of many relational problems which generate from the historical legacy.

Family legacy

Childhood is the initiation period to interpersonal relationships. A child is initiated to values and ideas in his family, either by observing his parents or through the education he received from them. However, these values and concepts are not necessarily universal but rather linked to the family’s culture. This is in fact the first conditioning.

The child expects everything from his parents. If his expectations are satisfied, he is happy and has a pleasant feeling. He thinks ‘’Mum (or Dad) is kind.’’ If his expectations are not met, it is unpleasant and he is immersed into a flow of emotions: anger, sorrow, jealousy, impatience… His parents are then ‘’bad’’… What happened? The child has learnt to judge and condemn! The basis of our judgments lies primarily on our emotions. It is from these emotions that we determine Good and Bad, i.e in total subjectivity.

2. The second step in the Way to Peace is the answer proposed to all conflictual situations

This key is nonviolent action instead of violent reaction related to common sense. Nonviolent action is put forward by an awakened consciousness which forms the basis of inner peace.

Consider the Haiti disaster for example. All sorts of help were heaped up to contain the scale of the catastrophe. This is reaction: an aftermath answer, an answer after a disaster. Action, free and responsible, would have proposed to equip this high-risk country with appropriate and secure infrastructure in prevention to such a situation.

One cannot put forward a nonviolent action without getting off the beaten tracks of conditioning. It is a difficult endeavour. This is why the Initiatory Way to Peace details the traps of conditioning in 6 steps and shows the solutions to achieve it: use the intelligence of the real, the power of our thoughts, elude emotions such as sorrow, anger and fear, complexes of superiority and inferiority, prefer cooperation to competition, and finally, forgive. Forgiveness corresponds to another reality in the way to nonviolence, different to that undertaken in the way of common sense.

3. Once inner peace is established, we can put forward lasting peace, a token of prosperity and evolution for our generation and generations to come

This is simply because people having inner peace form a peaceful society. They generate it on foundations favourable to all, without neglecting anyone. These foundations are mainly economic and political. The prophetic dimension of service to humanity is inherent, that is integration of all differences without exclusion.

Economy by means of Peace

It aims at

  • developing the consciousness of the right of everyone to economic dignity
  • enabling everyone to fulfil their development by exercising their potential and know-how
  • preventing human potentials from declining under the pretext they are not immediately profitable or marketable.

This economy puts the human being and not profit or gain at the centre of its preoccupations.

Democracy by means of Peace

This is a political regime which commits itself to ensuring the wellbeing of one and all. There can be no clan spirit since true democracy, brought about by peacemakers accepts and encompasses all divergences of opinion.  The model of society proposed by figures of nonviolence rests on the quest of wellbeing without any exclusion.  Peacemakers have indeed a global vision of humanity perceived as one big family. Such a vision is at the very basis of a flexible democracy, based on justice, and is necessarily, peaceful.

Service to humanity

Man faces a choice of existence and prophets of all religions have regularly come to awaken his consciousness so that he remembers. By updating this individual power, the prophet gives the means of dismantling the established order into a better world for all. They are then persecuted, beaten, and often killed; not because they pray too much, but because they disturbed institutions by reminding the choice and liberty offered to each human being.

Peacemakers having trod on prophetic paths have had to go through, and are still going through persecutions: Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Gandhi and today, the Dalai Lama, Wangari Maathai, Shirrin Ebadi, Aung San Suu Kyi…

Man has a different perception of reality depending on his inner self.

The man of common sense, of conventions is centered on himself. The path he chooses will be the only, exclusive one leading to salvation in his eyes. His relationship with others is marked by egocentricity.  A society thus formed develops an economic regime focused on the race to profit making, a more or less totalitarian political regime and a necessarily proselyte and competitive religion. In this relationship, all carry the germs of ideological wars. We are therefore in a violent society.

As for the deconditioned man, he is centered on the Whole. He perceives every path as truths and accepts the particularities of each one of them. He appreciates difference with benevolence. In his eyes, it complements him by enriching his thoughts and his life. He shall therefore treat the other as a brother and shall avoid any obstacle which could erect barriers between individuals. He has no need to determine ‘’what is mine and what is yours.’’ This initiative brings about the unity of humanity. These are the characteristics of a peaceful society.

In this logic, the peacemaker shall make people understand that each of them has the vocation of being a blessing for humanity. Similar to prophets and peacemakers like Gandhi, Mother Teresa, the Dalaï Lama, William Penn, Eleanor Roosevelt and others, he commits his life to service to mankind. He has understood that the path to happiness and the meaning of life resides in service to humanity through love for mankind.