8 Inspiring Quotes About the Practice of Peace, Inside and Out

These words from Martin Luther King, Jr., the Dalai Lama, and others are important reminders of how we can all strive for both internal and external peace

Peace isn’t simply the absence of fighting or war. Peace is both an internal and external practice, something you hold inside you and also a social pursuit.

There are times when that practice is disturbed by external events and we feel called to join with others to push for the creation of external peace. Peace can be acceptance as well as refusal, sometimes simultaneously.

Countless people have made statements about peace while working to increase it, often connecting peace to freedom, whether personal, interpersonal, or universal. Here are some gems:

“The only reason we don’t open our hearts and minds to other people is that they trigger confusion in us that we don’t feel brave enough or sane enough to deal with. To the degree that we look clearly and compassionately at ourselves, we feel confident and fearless about looking into someone else’s eyes.” – Pema Chödrön

“Where ignorance is our master, there is no possibility of real peace.” – Dalai Lama XIV

I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality … I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

“You can’t separate peace from freedom because no one can be at peace unless he has his freedom.” – Malcolm X

“Peace will not come out of a clash of arms but out of justice lived and done by unarmed nations in the face of odds.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.” – Edith Wharton

“I have learned through bitter experience the one supreme lesson: to conserve my anger, and as heat conserved is transmitted into energy, even so our anger controlled can be transmitted into a power that can move the world.” – Mohandas K. Gandhi

“You must not hate those who do wrong or harmful things; but with compassion, you must do what you can to stop them—for they are harming themselves, as well as those who suffer from their actions.” – Dalai Lama XIV

One of the best things about peace is that it is for all. Unfortunately, not all people enjoy it, and so working to increase peace—inside and out—is work that is as distinguished as it is difficult. But that’s why it’s a “practice.”