It’s time to find out what Rebbe Nachman sees as the precise nature of peace!
Rebbe Nachman teaches: There are two types of peace. There is an inner peace, the peace in one’s bones. And there is universal peace, the peace which prevails when the world is illuminated with God’s glory (Likutey Moharan I, 14:2,8).
It’s time to find out what Rebbe Nachman sees as the precise nature of peace.
Rebbe Nachman teaches: The entire world is full of conflict. There are wars between nations; battles between states and regions. There are quarrels between families; conflicts between neighbors. There are arguments between husband and wife; strife between father and child; discord within the home. No one pays attention to life’s goals. A person dies a little each day. For that day, once it passes, will be no more. Once lost, it is gone forever and will never return. Thus each new day brings us a little closer to death…
Know! All is one. Man is a microcosm, a miniature world. His personality, with its complex structure of traits, encompasses all the different nations, all the variant factions. Because of this, all the wars, conflicts and arguments that take place in the macrocosm are mirrored in his daily life – and indeed, in his very being. Just as there are nations who desire neutrality but are anyway drawn into the conflict, there are times when man tries to still the conflict within himself but to no avail (Rebbe Nachman’s Wisdom #77).
No one pays attention to life’s goals. A person dies a little each day. For that day, once it passes, will be no more. Once lost, it is gone forever!
We can understand the positive from the negative. From the Rebbe’s analysis of the absence of peace, we can understand the nature of peace when it does exist – the nature of peace we are to strive for. Rebbe Nachman tells us, the nature of peace is one. Peace in the world – universal peace – is inextricably bound up with the individual’s peace – inner peace. A man without peace is a world at war; a world in harmony is a man with peace.
Inner peace. Rebbe Nachman tells us that inner peace is the peace you know in your bones. “Bones,” on the literal level, refers to the body. Inner peace implies health, a proper balance between the building blocks of corporeality known as the Four Elements (fire, air, water, earth). Illness, on the other hand, is a symptom of internal conflict and imbalance The body’s “ingredients” are at war and disease prevails. “Body” also applies to the health of the mind. Lack of inner peace indicates an absence of peace of mind. Thoughts and counsel are forever split, decisions are uncertain and divided. The mind is at war. Dis-ease prevails (see Likutey Moharan I, 4:8, 14:8).
Another meaning of “bones” is essence: inner peace is the peace you know in your essence. It is the peace between your soul’s desire to serve God and our body’s desire to serve itself. If the body rules the soul, there can be no peace, for the body always wants, it always desires; be it a desire for money, immorality, food, honor, etc. The soul, on the other hand, is spiritual. It desires only the spiritual. A person steeped in earthly wants and lusts is not at peace and never can be. He is forever looking to satiate that which cannot be satisfied. If there is to be inner peace – peace in the “bones” of one’s essence – the soul must rule the body (Likutey Moharan I, 14:9).
Inner peace is a quiet sense of confidence within the self. No anxiety, no excess worries, rather a self-assurance in being able to face whatever comes. This stems from a peace between the soul and the body. The body is in tune with the soul and obeys it (Parparaot LeChokhmah, Likutey Moharan I, 14).
Universal Peace. Every person must say, “The world was created for me!” (Sanhedrin 37a). And since the world was created for me, as Rebbe Nachman tells us, I am responsible for the world. I must always look for ways to improve the world and make it a better place in which to live (Likutey Moharan I, 5:1). What better way is there to rectify the world than to fill it with the blessing which brings blessing: peace. That is, Universal Peace, the peace which prevails when the world is illuminated with God’s glory.
Rebbe Nachman teaches: As peace spreads in the world, the whole world can be drawn to serve God with one accord. When men are at peace with each other they can freely engage in an open and honest dialogue. Together they can think about the purpose of the world and all its vanities. In talking to each other about the realities of life… they will abandon their illusions and their idols of silver, and aspire only to God and His Torah. Their only aim will be to serve God and seek out the truth (see Likutey Moharan I, 27:1; Advice, Peace 4).
Reb Noson writes: The essential reason for all of creation was for the sake of God’s glory. What is His glory? It is the fulfillment of His will by all that He created. And in particular, it is when man, with his own free will, does God’s will… God created the world with an infinite amount of differences and distinctions. Man has to unite them and make them one. His task is to create harmony and peace in time: between day and night, between seasons, years, decades and lifetimes; harmony and peace in places: between warm climates and old climates, between highlands and valleys, lands blessed with produce and lands which are barren and bare. And man has to create harmony and peace in all forms of creation: between man and animal, animal and plant life, and so on; and especially between all the differences and distinctions that are mankind. Only with peace, only with harmony and a purpose of unity, can these differences be overcome. Seeking the truth the One God, and fulfilling His will, illuminates the world with God’s glory. When this illumination is complete, all he different parts of Creation will compliment each other (Likutey Halakhot, Birkhot HaR’iyah 4:2-4). Then, universal peace shall reign.
(Taken from the book Crossing the Narrow Bridge: A Practical Guide to Rebbe Nachman’s Teachings – chapter 10 – Peace)