What is the purpose of life? Spiritual teachers tell us it is being peace. But, is peace possible? My body is a violent machine. Every minute it devours fresh oxygen and rids the planet of this life-preserving gas. Is it really life-preserving? Did not rise in the percentage of oxygen in the air in geological time kill a whole range of species which were oxygen intolerant? I devour water, a dwindling resource on Earth to sustain my body. I devour food that is grown in fields that were planted after clearing the habitat of thousands of other species that have died out as a result. I wear clothes which are produced and transported at the expense of the environment; their production causes an increase in pollution. My waste products get drained in Ravi without being treated at a water treatment plant. I drive to work in a vehicle that runs on non-renewable hydrocarbon fuel and which runs on a tarred road laid out where once serene forests were. I spend the day in an air-conditioned room which uses electricity that is produced by damming rivers. My air conditioning has caused the destruction of the natural habitat of thousands of fish species. I have made the blind dolphin extinct. I spend my day conditioning young minds by feeding them information which will make them slaves of a system that will continue to exploit them for the rest of their lives. I spend the whole day away from my son for a little bit of extra money; the money which I claim I am earning for him, even though he doesn’t ask for money but for me. I have caused so much violence since the day I was born that the most peaceful action I can carry might be killing myself, but even that would be violence against myself. No, peace is not possible. Even the most peaceful man must lift the sword to protect the weak, the innocent. For even the tiniest ant bites, depositing all the formic acid its little body can produce, to protect the colony. For when the wolves threaten the sheep, the shepherd must protect. When there is darkness, light must shine to compensate for it. Nature desires equilibrium. But to each man his share. Not all men can become shepherds. Each man’s struggles are unique and his own to deal with. Each man’s demons are unique and his own to fight. Each man’s desires are unique and his own to fulfill or pacify. Each man’s weaknesses are unique and his own to eliminate. Each man’s strengths are unique and his own to utilize. Each man’s sins are unique and his own to rectify. Each man’s birth is unique and its circumstances unique and his own to understand and accept. Each man’s death is unique and his own to accept and make peace with. To make peace with. Yes, that is a good phrase. There can be no peace but there can certainly be a peace that can be made with this fact. Man is a wretched creature. With each passing day, I feel sorrier for him. Each passing day, I pity him more. Some time ago, a teacher of mine told me that if I wanted to succeed in life I must never pity myself. Now, I feel he was wrong. I must pity myself, as I must pity every other man that walks on the face of this earth. I must pity him. My pity for him grows and so does my love for him. I have achieved everything I desired in life. I have also lost everything I ever achieved. And here I stand. All alone. As I was the day I was born. How can I not pity such a man? Every man’s war is unique, legitimate and his own to fight. No one can judge another person. This does not mean that there should not be punishment for crime. It means that crime should be judged, punished and detested, not the criminal, for the criminal is a wretched helpless creature enslaved by his crimes. How can you pity a man who is being pressed under such heavy yoke? Just punishment for crime helps lighten this load a little; helps vindicate the wretched creature. There cannot be peace on this Earth. Because the lion will always devour the gazelle. Strong winds will always uproot the weak tree. The disease will always take the infirm child. The tongue will always wound the heart. Sword will always puncture the skin. There will always be death, as long as there is life. Yes. Death. The biggest violence on the face of this Earth will remain as long as there is birth. We cannot be in peace. But we can make peace. We can make peace with our situation, our reality. We can make peace with our history, our skin, our color, our gender, our bodies, our sexuality, our moods, our desires, our fears, our shortcomings, our sins, our loss, our temporality, our own wretchedness. We can make peace with ourselves and as a result, we will receive four gifts: honesty, humility, compassion and courage. Honesty from looking at our faults. Humility from knowing our own shortcomings. Compassion from knowing to suffer, that is life. Courage from knowing that nothing lasts. May you have the strength to make peace with what is.