Create Peace by Imagining a World Beyond It


“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.” ~Dalai Lama

What comes after peace? Have you ever stopped to think about this?

We spend so much of our time and energy working to attain both inner and global peace, but have we ever stopped to think about what this really means?

What is on the other side of peace?

Twice in my life, I have broken a board with my bare hand.

There is one simple rule to this technique. You must not focus on breaking the board but rather on breaking through the board. This means placing your attention not on breaking the board but on seeing your hand on the other side of the broken board.

Perhaps we need to apply this technique to our quest for peace.

Several years ago, when my son was eight years old, we were discussing the possibility of creating a video game that did not include war and violence.

As the discussion moved into the possibility of world peace, my son in his infinite wisdom said:

“People are not ready for that. Without conflict there would be no plot, and without a plot no one would know what to do.”

I was speechless.

My eight-year-old son had just summed up in one simple sentence why the world has continued this cycle of war and conflict since the beginning of time. I could not get this thought out of my head for weeks.

I realized that our children are being taught to live in the cycle of conflict—not only through propaganda, video games, and media. They are learning the importance of conflict in English class!

The foundation of every paper they write is that a plot must consist of an introduction, conflict, and resolution. In fact, every story that we read is based on this core principal. It is our collective story!

How do we write a new story?

I dedicated the last four years of my life to mastering a new story, not for the world but for myself. In fully dropping a storyline that clings to conflict, I free myself to imagine a world beyond peace.

As I dropped my attachment to conflict, I discovered that not only were my actions tied to the cycle of conflict and resolution, my desire for intimacy was woven into this same cycle.

Stop for a second and think about relationships.

Most intimate moments come from joining together around conflict. We have a problem; reach out to a friend for comfort. The friend either commiserates by sharing her/his own similar problems or helps us find a resolution. We are comforted by these moments of intimate bonding.

So how do we create intimacy beyond conflict?

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of being present at the Common Grounds of Peace Forum, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and several world peace advocates.

I smiled when the moderator, Katie Couric, read this question,

“We focus so much attention on attaining world peace. What comes after peace?”

After four years of contemplating this very question, I anxiously awaited the response from these notorious peace leaders.

One by one, each person attempted to answer. Yet, each answer simply reiterated the need for peace. Not one of these renowned peace advocates actually answered the question. Even more significant is that not one of them even seemed to realize that they were not answering the question.

Then His Holiness, The Dalai Lama, with his brilliant smile and light-hearted nature spoke. He shared that when you have peace at your core, you will be happy and you will have more friends.

“And,” he said, “everyone likes more friends.”

Simple and true.

Yes, after peace comes joy. We must start by finding this joy within ourselves.

As we release our attachment to storylines of conflict, we will discover a whole new way of connecting to others. We will discover a new way of seeing this world.

Begin by imagining a new world. See a world that is more vibrant and colorful than you have ever before imagined. This world has unlimited possibilities, and it's only plot is to explore and create beauty. In this world everything moves naturally into its most perfect form.

Meditating on this “Vibrant New Earth” immediately brings life into harmony. More than that, meditating on this Vibrant New Earth is the greatest gift we can offer our world in its quest for peace.

We are co-creators of this universe. We must be able to see a world of joy in order to move through peace and create the world we desire.

John Lennon understood this in the 70's when he planted the seed of intent with his song Imagine.

We have all heard the song. We have felt the vibration of peace it carries: But have we actually taken the time to imagine?

Take a moment to contemplate these lyrics. Really let the images of a joy filled world penetrate you. Let yourself feel the world you imagine.

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagination is the gateway to creation. Let’s join together and imagine a world beyond peace. Lets co-create in this moment a world filled with playful and creative joy.

Photo by Wonderlane

About Shelia Applegate

Sheila Applegate, MSW, As a clinical therapist, presenter, author and teacher, Sheila passion is to provide a forum for people to process emotion and integrate spiritual understanding into their daily lives.  Her book Enchanted One: The Portal to Love, was released in December

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  • minhazz

    great article ..a must read for everyone. the world is so full of hate right now and peace is needed like never before ..your article is an eye-opener in terms of how inner peace and non-judgemental behaviour is so important

  • Purple rose

    Thx. Going to use in a class I teach at Sheila’s alma mater.

  • I agree with minhazz; this IS a great article and represents just a snippet of the wisdom in Sheila’s new book, as seen on her web site.

  • Sheila Applegate

    Thank You~ Lori for having me as a guest writer on Tiny Buddha. Thank you Minhazz for the kind words. I believe we are NOW co-creating a world of peace and joy!

  • This is such a wonderful article, it brought tears to my eyes. Such wisdom from an 8 year old! Thank you Shelia

  • Sarah Woolley

    Thank you Shelia for this beautiful and timely writing!!! Thank you Lori Deschene for recognizing the importance of this writing! I am sharing this on Facebook and I am ecstatic to read such an uplifting and beautiful article. May we all be filled with joy and may the words to John Lennon’s song come to pass in our lifetime! ♥

  • Sheila Applegate

    Thank You Sarah~ I am happy that we are gathering together in co-creation of a joy filled world!

  • Sheila Applegate

    Ben~ Thank You~ Tears to Your eyes tell me that your heart is open. <3

  • Sheila Applegate

    Thank You Connie~ I am glad that you enjoyed Enchanted One: The Portal To Love

  • Sheila Applegate

    This is such an honor to hear. Would Love to know which alma mater you are referring to and what class you teach.

  • Wow – the wisdom of children is astounding. What an insightful and wise way of looking at the world! So true – without conflict there is no plot, and that’s boring. That really helps me to understand the need some people seem to have for creating drama around themselves – I’m so not a drama person, and I’ve never been able to understand it, but that totally makes sense!

  • Jason Holborn

    Good one Sheila; your kid rocks!