Peace Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman Ryder

Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman Ryder

American Peace Activist, Pacifist, Vegetarian and first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail

Author Quotes

It is my mission as a pilgrim to act as a messenger expressing spiritual truths. It is a task which I accept joyfully, and I desire nothing in return, neither praise or glory, nor the glitter of silver and gold. I simply rejoice to be able to follow the whisperings of a Higher Will.

My appointed work is to awaken the divine nature that is within.

Only those who are attached to God alone are truly free.

The price of peace is to abandon fear and replace it with faith - faith that if we obey God's laws we will receive God's blessings. The price of peace is to abandon hate and allow love to reign supreme in our hearts - love for all our fellow human beings over the world. The price of peace is to abandon arrogance and replace it with repentance and humility, remembering that the way of peace is the way of love. The price of peace is to abandon greed and replace it with giving, so that none will be spiritually injured by having more than they need while others in the world still have less than they need.

There is great freedom in simplicity of living, and after I began to feel this, I found harmony in my life between inner and outer well-being. There is a great deal to be said about such harmony, not only for an individual life but also for the life of a society. It's because as a world we have gotten ourselves so far out of harmony, so way off on the material side, that when we discover something like nuclear energy we are still capable of putting it into a bomb and using it to kill people! This is because our inner well-being lags so far behind our outer well-being.

We can only change through example. Therefore, if I had the power to do so in this country I would set a very gentle, good example. I would establish a Peace Department in our government. It would have very useful work to do. It would research peaceful ways of resolving conflicts, war prevention measures and economic adjustments to peace. It would be established with some fanfare and we would ask every other nation to establish similar departments and come and work with us for peace. I think many nations would be willing to do so. Communications among the Peace Departments would be a step toward peace in our world.

Death is a beautiful liberation into a freer life. The limiting clay garment, the body, is put aside. The self-centered nature goes with you to learn and grow on the disembodied side of life, and then returns here into a suitable clay garment and suitable circumstances to learn the lessons we need to learn. Could we but see a bit deeper into life, we would grieve at birth and rejoice at death. If we but knew how short is the earth life in comparison with the whole, we would be less troubled with the difficulties of the earth life than we are troubled now with the difficulties of one of our days.

I always have a feeling of awe and wonder at what God can do - using me as an instrument. I believe that anyone who is fully surrendered to God's will can be used gloriously - and will really know some things - and will probably be called self-righteous. You're called self-righteous if you are self-centered enough to think you know everything - but you may also be called self-righteous by the immature if you are God-centered enough to really know some things.

I would like to emphasize again that right prayer leads to right action, that faith without works is dead. An excellent way to put thoughts into action is to write a letter for peace.

If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a defeatist or negative thought. Since we create through thought, we need to concentrate very strongly on positive thoughts. If you think you can't do something, you can't. But if you think you can, you may be surprised to discover that you can. It is important that our thoughts be constantly for the best that could happen in a situation -- for the good things we would like to see happen.

It is through solving problems correctly that we grow spiritually. We are never given a burden unless we have the capacity to overcome it. If a great problem is set before you, this merely indicates that you have the great inner strength to solve a great problem. There is never really anything to be discouraged about, because difficulties are opportunities for inner growth, and the greater the difficulty the greater the opportunity for growth.

My appointed work is to awaken the divine nature that is within. This is my calling, to open doors of truth and make people think, to arouse others from their apathetic and lethargic state, and get them to seek out for themselves the inner peace which dwells within. This is the extent of my undertaking, I can do no more. The rest I leave to a higher power.

Peace and freedom! These things shall be! How soon these things shall be - whether now or whether after great destruction and new beginnings and eons of time - is up to us!

The purpose of problems is to push you toward obedience to God?s laws, which are exact and cannot be changed. We have the free will to obey them or disobey them. Obedience will bring harmony, disobedience will bring you more problems.

There is no glimpse of the light without walking the path. You can't get it from anyone else, nor can you give it to anyone. Just take whatever steps seem easiest for you, and as you take a few steps it will be easier for you to take a few more.

We limit ourselves by thinking things can't be done. Many think peace in the world is impossible - many think that inner peace cannot be attained. It is the one who doesn't know it can't be done who does it!

There is within the hearts of people deep desire for peace on earth, and they would speak for peace if they were not bound by apathy, by ignorance, by fear. It is the job of peacemakers to inspire them from their apathy, to dispel their ignorance with truth, to allay their fear with faith that God's laws work - and work for good....My simple peace message is adequate - really just the message that the way of peace is the way of love. Love is the greatest power on earth. It conquers all things.

We must walk according to the highest light we have, encountering lovingly those who are out of harmony, and trying to inspire them to a better way. Whenever you bring harmony into any unpeaceful situation, you contribute to the cause of peace. When you do something for world peace, peace among groups, peace among individuals, or your own inner peace, you improve the total peace picture. No action is fruitless.

Some people think that my life dedicated to simplicity and service is austere and joyless, but they do not know the freedom of simplicity. I am thankful to God every moment of my life for the great riches that have been showered upon me.

Hate injures the hater, not the hated. Prayer is a concentration of positive thoughts. Problems that help us grow are really opportunities in disguise. In all things be thankful. Never be impatient, all good things take time. Be not concerned that you are offended, but that you do not offend. A calling means what you like to do.

No one walks so safely as one who walks humbly and harmlessly with great love and great faith. For such a person gets through to the good in others (and there is good in everyone), and therefore cannot be harmed. This works between individuals, it works between groups and it would work between nations if nations had the courage to try it.

These are laws governing human conduct, which apply as rigidly as the law of gravity. When we disregard these laws in any walk of life chaos results. Through obedience to these laws this world of ours could enter into a period of peace and richness beyond our fondest dreams.

The world situation is grave. Humanity, with fearful, faltering steps, walks a knife-edge between abysmal chaos and a new renaissance, while strong forces push toward chaos. Yet there is hope. I see hope in the tireless work for peace of a few devoted souls. I see hope in the real desire for peace in the heart of humanity, even though the human family gropes toward peace blindly, not knowing the way...I think that those of us who have found the way to peace, should be shouting it from the housetops.

I realized in 1952 that was the proper time for a pilgrimage to step forth. The war in Korea was raging and the McCarthy era was at its height. There was great fear at that time and it was safest to be apathetic. Yes, it was most certainly a time for a pilgrim to step forward, because a pilgrim's job is to rouse people from apathy and make them think.

I then saw in my mind's eye, myself walking along and wearing the garb of my mission...I saw a map of the United States with the large cities marked - and it was as though someone had taken a colored crayon and marked a zigzag line across, coast to coast and border to border, from Los Angeles to New York City. I knew what I was to do. I will talk to everyone who will listen to me about the way to peace. I'm even planning to wear a sign, the back of which will read, "Walking Coast to Coast for Peace" and the front, "Peace Pilgrim." And that was the vision of my first year's pilgrimage in 1953.

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Pilgrim, born Mildred Lisette Norman Ryder
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American Peace Activist, Pacifist, Vegetarian and first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail