Beyond Brushstrokes


In the midst of successive storms and calamities, one tries to maintain a sense of calm and balance.

We are at the brink of what we all fear — a devastating war. The world is reeling from the effects of the pandemic, lockdowns, economic crises, and natural disasters.

Clear the cobwebs of the mind. Eliminate negative thoughts and stressors.

Focus on the positive, the blessings.

Strength and wisdom flow from the source of infinite power to enlighten and heal.

The Art of Peace by the great martial arts warrior Morihei Ueshiba (1893-1969) had inspiring thoughts. “The world will continue to change dramatically, by fighting and war can destroy us utterly. What we need now are techniques of harmony, not those of contention… The real Way of the Warrior is to prevent slaughter. It is the Art of Peace, the power of love.”

The soldier-instructor embarked on a spiritual quest that led to his gradual transformation into a man of peace and philosopher-poet. His teachings differ from the old-time warrior classics. The Art of War, for example, accepted the inevitability of war and emphasized cunning to achieve victory.

Morihei, in contrast, promoted the spiritual principles of reconciliation, harmony, cooperation, and empathy. These are essential in dealing with the challenge of personal relationships, society, work, and nature.

Here are some thoughts from his collection of timeless poems and calligraphy that are applicable to modern life:

• “Economy is the basis of society. When the economy is stable, society develops. The ideal economy combines the spiritual and material, and the best commodities to trade in are sincerity and love.”

“Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion.”

• “A true warrior is always armed with three things: the radiant sword of pacification; the mirror of bravery, wisdom and friendship; and the precious jewel of enlightenment.”

• “Each day of human life contains joy and anger, pain and pleasure, darkness and light, growth and decay. Each moment is etched with nature’s grand design — do not try to deny or oppose the cosmic order of things.”

• “Life itself is always a trial. In training, you must test and polish yourself in order to face the great challenges of life. Transcend the realm of life and death, and then you will be able to make your way calmly and safely through any crises that confronts you.”

• “Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”

“The essence of the Art of Peace is to cleanse yourself of maliciousness, to get in tune with your environment, and to clear your path of all obstacles and barriers.”

In the book Meditations from the Road by psychiatrist and contemporary author Scott M. Peck M.D., there are priceless thoughts on reconciliation and community building. He emphasized the importance of communication in promoting harmony. Passivity is an obstacle and action is necessary to achieve peace.

“Today the times demand of us that we take major risks for peace… of the thousands, maybe millions, of risks we can take in a lifetime, the greatest is the risk of growing up,” he wrote.

“When we cling, often forever, to our old patterns of thinking and behaving, we fail to negotiate any crisis, to truly grow up and to experience the joyful sense of rebirth that accompanies the successful transition into greater maturity.

“Peace-making ultimately begin at the grassroots level. It begins with you.”

It is time to make peace with ourselves, our families, our communities. The ripple effect will go around the world.

As the song by Burt Bacharach goes,

“What the world need now is love, sweet love. It’s the only thing that there’s too little of.”


Maria Victoria Rufino is an artist, writer and businesswoman. She is president and executive producer of Maverick Productions.