Any historian will tell you that the world has always been a mess. War, disease, natural disasters—they’ve all been part of human history since it began. And before we showed up, there was plenty of upheaval to go around without our help.
Here’s the twenty-first-century twist on the story: a large portion of the world’s population now has access to international news and social media around the clock. The news cycle (real and fake) never ends, and tragedy and political intrigue make ratings. As a result, we’re bombarded by bad news, while too often good news goes by the wayside.
Some may scoff at the naiveté of the very idea of “world peace.” How on earth (literally!) could that ever happen? Never mind everyone getting along every moment of every day—let’s start with no one physically and emotionally seriously harming anyone else.
World peace is all of a piece, as it were. Getting to planetary concord would require that every single person lay down his or her national, political, tribal, ethnic, and personal grievances.
That’s a tall order. World peace, basically, starts from the inside out. If we are not at peace within ourselves—at peace with the events of our lives and with our own unique, perfectly imperfect natures—anything even close to world peace cannot happen. Inner unhappiness inevitably ends up projected onto other beings; most of us want desperately to find a pressure valve for our hurts and bitterness, but we don’t know how—and so we take out our anger, and blame our sadness and fear, on something concrete besides ourselves, when blame isn’t really the point anyway. War and other conflicts large and small swiftly follow.
Starting with our own inner world on the path to world peace can feel futile. “What difference does my well-being make to a planet so full of suffering?” you may ask. Well, the ripple effect is real. If you’re roiling with inner turmoil, chances are that your personal strife will seep into your daily encounters and negatively affect folks around you. If you are able to work through, be at peace with, and embrace your inner battles as meaningful and life-giving, your inner serenity will shine through in the ways you interact with others. That serenity begets kindness, patience, and empathy. In turn, your truthful, powerfully calm sweetness to other people tends to kindle in them the ability and desire to be kind. We teach one another peace or war, every moment of every day. Every little bit of inner peace we develop makes this world a lovelier place.
Chef/foodie/raconteur/world traveler Anthony Bourdain once said, “Barbecue may not be the road to world peace, but it's a start.” At Tazeka, we feel the same about aromatherapy. Essential oils are a tool in our workbox, along with other self-care tactics like yoga, meditation, exercise, beloved hobbies, religious or spiritual practices, therapy, or anything else that allows us to heal inside both physically and emotionally.
Different sorts of inner strife require different aromatherapeutic approaches. Try these essential oils in your favorite format (diffusion, diluted spray, massage oil, roll-on, etc.).
Feeling the weight of the world on your shoulders, or struggling to get a grip on all the moving parts in your life? Try Clary Sage oil, or consider burning a smudge stick of Sage to clear your surroundings—and your spirit—of negativity.
Down in the dumps? Sweet Orange or Lemon oil warms the heart and lifts the spirits.
Arguing with a loved one? Diffusing Rose, Vanilla, Patchouli, Cedarwood, or a blend of any of these can ease hurt and calm anger, giving you a chance to talk things through more gently.
Need a lift without the harsh buzz of chemical stimulants? Try any of the citrus oils, including Sweet Orange, Tangerine, Lemon, or Grapefruit. These oils blend well with Lavender (known for its soothing yet stimulating, cleansing scent), Rosemary (for perspective and clarity), and/or Ginger (stimulating and warming).
The following brief glossary will guide you if you’d like to make your own peace blends.
- Bergamot relaxes without sedating
- Geranium balances the emotions
- Jasmine aids sleep to refresh the body and mind
- Lavender reduces anxiety
- Lemon cleanses and uplifts
- Mandarin calms while maintaining alertness
- Melissa imparts confidence and balances emotions and thought processes
- Neroli lifts the spirits
- Palmarosa calms the mind
- Patchouli eases stress and anxiety
- Petitgrain steadies nerves
- Sandalwood aids sleep and calms
- Ylang Ylang calms and soothes
An essential-oils recipe for cultivating inner peace (feel free to adjust the proportions as you find appealing and effective, and always dilute with a carrier oil or in bath water):
- 3 drops Geranium (for peace and acceptance)
- 2 drops Myrrh (for blessing and healing)
- 2 drops Clove (for courage and strength)
- 2 drops Jasmine (to calm the spirit)
- 2 drops Grapefruit, Lemon, or Sweet Orange (to invigorate and inspire)
- 1 drop Anise (to balance the emotions)
Looking for ready-to-go blends for inner peace? Tazeka’s Meditation Guru, Tension Tonic, Balance, and Optimism roll-ons make great take-alongs to keep your inner compass steady while helping you respond lovingly to people and events.
Sadly, envisioning world peace takes tremendous imagination. But even if we can’t stretch our brains quite enough to contain that idea, we can move toward peace in our inward world. That harmony will inevitably move outward. Aromatherapy has an important place in that journey. Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with us.