Representing Multifaceted, Holistic Peace

[This is the first of what will become a weekly series of reflections from Dr. Michael Spath and/or guest writers. ICMEP is excited to expand our online offerings in this way, and invite you to check back each week! This week's post is from Michael.]

In this inaugural posting, allow me to introduce you to ICMEP’s PEACE WHEEL. A heartfelt “thank you” to my partners, Loren Woody, who masterfully constructed it, and Pam Etheridge, who painstakingly quilted all the panels. I first approached Loren and Pam more than a year ago with the concept and design of a wheel highlighting the things that make for peace, and the fifteen virtues that I intentionally chose – the project evolved from there.

Many groups have peace poles with “Peace” written in different languages, but we know that a just and lasting peace, a wholistic peace – psychologically, politically, morally, planetarily, spiritually – is interconnected with other mutually intersecting virtues. All are dependent upon each other. “Peace” is represented here in Arabic, “Salaam.” While we could have chosen other words, these we chose deliberately from diverse cultures and the world’s wisdom traditions. 

And of course, the Wheel reminds us of the Buddhist tradition of Turning the Wheel of Dharma, practicing the Noble Eightfold Path, the Journey to Emptiness, to Perfect Awareness. The hub is the “still point,” the full and free experience of fulfilment, enlightenment, salvation.  And instead of a hierarchy, a ladder of beliefs and practices, we know that human beings operate more holistically, the virtues mutually connected with each other. The Wheel is symbolic – to focus on any one of the virtues, committing yourself to perfecting that one, going deeply into its meaning and practice leads you through its spoke to the still point of the hub, the Center of your being, the Center of the universe, to Truth, to Beauty, to Enlightenment, to God.      

The wheel highlights the importance of the turning – the wheel revolves, each panel rotates, like planets around the sun that also turn on their own axes. An external as well as internal center. Just like us!

Timelessness within change. Eternity within time. The Circle. The Wheel. 

We too are an interplay of seeming duality, both Cosmos and Heart revolving around and within our center. What does your life revolve around? What is your external as well as internal center? Is it healthy? Is it life-enhancing, life-expanding? Does it set you free? 

We pray that both the Wheel and this brief introduction to it will enhance your own personal reflection.

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