Throughout time, there have been groups and individuals who have advocated for peace through non-violence. The peace that they sued for was not the peace of the well armed or the peace brought by eliminating enemies, but peace gained through enlightenment, love, and determination. Many times, this march towards peace was abruptly brought to an end. What they stood for however continues on today, as each person builds upon the foundation of the past.
While the goals of many of these groups or individuals was social change on a community level, their greatest accomplishment that can be seen is the changed perceptions of one individual, the one act of kindness that leads to two which leads to four and so on. By stretching out a hand to their brothers and sisters, they created a bond that would last well beyond their own death. By showing that it was possible to stand strong while not exercising violent might, leaders such as Dr. King or Gandhi were able to set the stage for those who would come after. Through faith, compassion, peace, and love, a little bit of light was brought to a world that is too often shaded by greed, violence, and hate.
Each path of enlightenment is a personal one, taking one lifetime or many to accomplish winding through a unique and singular journey. A single act of peace or unconditional love, while it may not wipe away a lifetime of hate and fear, is the single root that begins to crack the hard stone. Love, much as nature is a patient creator, winding its way through the hard earth to find nourishment and grow.