Songs of Peace


I was driving the other day, flipping through radio channels a bit randomly, and the next song up was one I hadn’t heard for a long time:  Peace Train by Cat Stevens. Even though this song was written in 1971, it seemed very relevant to our current world situation. Consider the words in this verse:

Now I've been crying lately, 
Thinkin' about the world as it is
Why must we go on hating,
Why can't we live in bliss

It got me thinking about other popular songs about world peace. Here’s one that immediately came to mind: Imagine by John Lennon, also written in 1971.

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace, you
You may say I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one.

But, distressingly, here we are, almost 50 years after these songs were big hits, and things don’t seem much different in the world now than they were back then. Popular songs can bring the goal of world peace to our collective consciousness as we listen on the radio, but world peace is an awfully big thing to actually do something about.

To be honest, I don’t even know where to begin with world peace. I live in a fairly typical United States suburb, and I have a rather ordinary job. As one person, I feel I have no discernible influence on government politics or other international decisions that can steer the world in one direction or another. 

Yet, inside myself, I feel a responsibility to do something and not just simply abandon the issue and live a self-satisfied life, being inward-looking and small.

So, what can I do? What actions can I take on a daily basis, even if only small ones, that will contribute to world peace?

Well, I think that one thing I can do is cultivate a spirit of inner peace that includes kindness and love toward myself. When we are peaceful within ourselves, it then becomes easier to extend that peace to others by treating them with similar kindness and respect, rather than taking offense or getting angry in our day-to-day lives. 

It’s been well-researched that teaching inner peace in the form of meditation and mindfulness helps us all to be calmer and and kinder and more peaceful, and reduces conflicts with others.

And, it turns out that there are plenty of songs that can help us cultivate inner peace. We can listen to those songs of inner peace, as well as listening to popular songs on the radio that bring the idea of world peace to our awareness.

How about these calming, uplifting, inner-peace-generating words from Long Time Sun by Snatam Kaur?

May the Long Time Sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light
within you
Guide your way on
Guide your way on
May the Long Time Sun
Shine upon you
All love surround you
And the pure light
within you
Guide your way on
Guide your way on

Breathe in these words, and you can just feel the love and peace flow through you!

So, let us listen to songs of peace: songs that remind us of our collective desire for world peace, and songs that encourage and embrace our inner peace, which we can spread to the world, one small kindness at a time.

There is much truth and wisdom in the first line from the oft-performed Christmas song: Let there be peace on earth…. and let it begin with ME.

-- Ann Pillman

Check out these songs of peace:

Peace Train by Cat Stevens:

Imagine by John Lennon:

Long Time Sun by Snatam Kaur:

10 Best Peace Songs:

One Tin Soldier by Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter: