War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: Reading and Meditation

September 18, 2020  • Brianna Curran

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War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy


As a general routine, I try to start the day in meditation. In the process of settling the mind, I find a deep nourishment of my heart and soul (though some days are more effective than others). A guided meditation that I find particularly soothing is called a Loving-Kindness meditation. During this process, you spend your time equally sending loving, kind thoughts to yourself and others, repeating the phrases, “May you be happy. May you be safe. May you be healthy. May you be at peace.” You begin first with yourself, flooding your body and mind with kind thoughts. Then you spend time sending this loving energy to someone who makes you smile. Third, you send those same kind thoughts to someone you have neutral feelings for, before shifting your attention to someone that you have particularly difficult feelings for. For many, the act of sending love, kindness, and well wishes to someone we have difficult feelings for is not an easy process. 

In Leo Tolstoy’s “War and Peace,” he writes of this power to overcome hatred and find divine love for those people in our lives whom we consider difficult, if not “an enemy.” “I knew that feeling of love which is the essence of the soul,” he writes. Do you believe that love is the essence of our shared humanity? To the best extent that you’re able, how can you lower barriers of hatred for the difficult people in your life and let love seep through? Can you feel the difference in human love and divine love in the act of doing so?

Brianna Curran, Washington, DC

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