My question is this: is peace greater than love? Abdu’l-Bahá says, “No! Love is greater than peace, for peace is founded upon love.” I had expected such an answer from somewhere, and thankfully we have the free flow of information now, so that a person can discover or learn what in the recent past would have been quite an ordeal to search for. I do so love the idea of shared knowledge! Love—I should have known…
But I had the question in mind for some time now, which is greater, before I came across this response and my contention is still that peace is indeed greater than love. Love, as it is experienced in human terms, can be applied to nearly anything—love of war, love of hatred, love of evil, love of destruction. This parallels what Seth meant when he said, “There is a short-circuiting process in which even good intentions are distorted and turned to other purposes. That which is feared is feared so strongly and concentrated upon so intensely that it is attracted rather than repelled.”
Or in other words, “You get what you concentrate upon. There is no other answer.” To focus upon love however, in human terms it becomes all too easy to idealize “love”, to water-down the meaning of it so that it no longer seems like something real. Not only that, but love can be used as an excuse to act in ways that aren’t fulfilling or rewarding to the individual or the entire human race. Peace however seems to be a still-ripe field of possibility. It is very difficult to act in counter-productive ways, when experiencing a state of peace. Peace isn’t necessarily an emotion. It’s a state of awareness, a state of mind. To be peaceful, to feel “at peace”, seems to bring about very little further action. One simply experiences peace, and exists within that state.
Any action is, in a way, a “violence”. Even the gentle act to move the smallest finger of the hand disrupts what existed before-hand, and changes what did exist. It can be considered a violence, any action that changes what was. Peace doesn’t do this. Peace is merely a state where all is held still, motionless, calm. One experiences peace from within and doesn’t take action, for action isn’t required and to do so would disturb the acheived state of bliss. It’s why the image of Buddha is usually one of repose, and sitting calmly. Peace has been attained—why act further?
But love, now—love is action. Love is energy. Love creates. As Seth states, “All other emotions are based on love, and in one way or another they relate to it, and all are methods of returning to it and expanding its capabilities.” Also—“Love is a biological necessity, a force operating to one degree or another in all biological life. Without love there is no physical commitment to life—no psychic hold.” And finally—“Love is a biological as well as a spiritual characteristic. Basically, love and creativity are synonymous. Love exists without an object. It is the impetus by which all being becomes manifest.”
Perhaps in those terms it’s true, that love creates all things. But that’s love as it truely exists, not as it is experienced in practical terms. I know that I may be grasping at straws here, and making much out of nothing perhaps. I think however that there is something to the idea of peace being greater than love—“love” as it is experienced in this world right now. Obviously we haven’t had peace yet, not globally and not as a species. And love, as it is usually thought of, is something that everyone can recognize. I just think that peace remains the stronger of the two.
Peace is being. Peace is existing in the present moment, requiring no further action—to exist, to be, and that’s all. Love, with all the energy behind it, requires action. It cannot be contained. It must be expressed. And the actions in this world have been by and large mostly poor, destructive, and limiting. It’s far more difficult to be destructive when at peace, even if destruction is a poor attempt at expressing love—it’s practically impossible. To find peace, to be at peace, to acheive peace—there is nothing more to do then. How can someone act destructively, when action itself is impossible to do when in a state of peace? But love, now, when “in love”, when “searching for love”, when acting to express love—that opens the door for all types of activity and action, and not all will be, in the beginning, fulfilling or constructive actions.
Obsessions, selfishness, distortions, and delusions—these seem to be always nearby to the act of love or loving. Human limitations, and the ignorance of what love really is, may cause such things to take place automatically. Peace, on the other hand, removes most of everything out of the picture. Only bliss remains. Sure, there might be some boredom or stagnation as well, if everyone just sat in zazen or a lotus position contemplating peace, but at least there wouldn’t be destruction. Thus, for now, I say that peace is greater than love. If nothing else, it is more necessary in the present moment in time, so that one day we can perhaps find the real meaning of what love is and its finer purposes.