A Path To Peace
The root of discord and violence between people and nations comes from our tendency to forget our humanity. We "forget" our true nature.
Violence is a "learned" behavior. We "learn" it from our environment. When we are born, we do not possess the tendency to violence. As we grow, we become driven by "reactions." Our reactions are influenced by what we witness in our environment. We "copy" what we see. Therefore, violence and hatred are not natural to our essence.
As we grow older, we "buy" into the deception. We come to believe that violence is "OK" when "justified". It is "OK" to kill for our beliefs or defending our "territory." We have learned to "possess." We "live to possess". We like to possess things, people, land, animals, anything tangible and intangible. The more we possess, the more powerful over others we feel. Our society or community reinforces this "tendency". Our worth is largely "measured" by the amount of our possessions. We feel validated.
Thus, around the world we find ourselves fighting, killing each other "defending" what we "possess": our nationalism, religion, territory, and ideologies. We become slaves of our deception and desires. In the process, we lose ourselves, our humanity. We sacrifice our soul for lies! (How much better off we would be if we were to place as much zest pursuing wisdom, our self-growth or spiritual evolution as we place chasing our illusions and enhancing our bodies!)
Thus, driven by our illusions, we forget that those we attack blindly (other human beings of all ages) in the name of "a cause, belief or ideology" are as real as we are. They bleed, they grieve, and they have potential and dreams just like us. In sum, in many ways, they are extensions of our "selves" with their own uniqueness and role to play in this world. We deceive ourselves into thinking of them as our "enemy", faceless, without history and soul, different from us. We label them, "Jews," "Palestinians," "Blacks," "Whites," "Muslims," "Christians," "Infidels," and so on.
Some of the stupidity of it all is that we condemn one another mostly for traits beyond the individual's control. We choose to ignore that we are born into a specific religion, ethnicity, country, race, gender, social or economic status! I am white only because I was born into the white race. Or, I am black because I was born into the black race. The same goes for my gender, national origin, and even religion! (Although the latter has become "optional," another "power-driven" concept). However, before we are any of the above, we are human beings. Take all of the above away. What do you have? Human beings! That is what each and every one of us is first and foremost. That is the truth! Everything else is an illusion, a lie! What would happen if we were to eliminate the labels and see each other for what we really are: people?
I firmly believe that peace in the Middle East or nowhere else will never come as a result of political and religious "agreements" and strategies. Peace, I believe, can only be achieved from the "awakening to our humanity" by each and every individual, ordinary people, "caught in the middle" of the political and religious games and conflicts.
Peace can only be achieved by rejecting the illusion, the lie! By opponents getting together and taking off the blinders through sharing their humanity, their pain, their hopes and dreams, by learning from one another, comforting each other, crying and laughing together, forgiving one another, working together and making the decision to stop violence. Thus, honoring the memory of those who have died in the fight by deciding to relate and interact as human beings first and foremost, not "puppets" or "labels."
Some Israelis and Palestinians are doing just that. They are meeting each other, as human beings and sharing the pain each one has endured by the loss of loved ones in the conflict; forgiving each other. They have stopped seeing each other as enemies, as a "Palestinian" and a "Jew". Instead, they have broken free from the deception and have achieved wisdom and enlightenment realizing that first and foremost, they are human beings. Letting their humanity and compassion prevail! Your pain is not greater than my pain. Your loss is not greater than mine is. Your life is not more significant than mine and vice versa . . .
Violence only begets more violence just like hatred only breeds more hatred. It becomes a vicious cycle. It de-humanizes us. It causes us to lose our essence, corrupting our spirit, destroying our soul and everyone and everything around us! Violence and hatred, the deceptive "labeling and blindness" make us dead among the living. Every time we kill someone (or, condone violence) whether our target is a child or an adult, we kill ourselves, our humanity more and more. We bring pain and suffering to everyone who loved and cherished the life we took. Shame and despair to those who love and cherish us.
We become "disconnected" from our essence and blind to the fact that, whether we like it or not, we are all part of the whole, of a bigger picture. Just like each cell and organ in our body makes up our physical being, each one of us is an essential component of life. Just like each drop of water is part of the ocean, so are we part of the whole. As the great poet-philosopher John Donne once said, "No man is an island." No one is "dispensable" . . . We are all indispensable! We were not born to be killing each other but to bring forth more life and safeguard its sanctity. Everything else, all our "excuses" and so-called "justification" for killing are deception.
Until each and every human being on earth understands that by harming others we are betraying ourselves and purpose, slapping our Creator on the face, annihilating our own, destroying our "selves" and what makes us "special", "privileged" among other life forms, we will never have peace on earth.
I challenge you to experience your humanity for one day. Relate to everyone you encounter without any labels! See each individual as a human being only. Can you do it? Come back and tell us about your experience and how it felt for you.
The Seasons Of Life, Part 5 of 5
This week is Part Five of our five part series on The Seasons of Life.
About Self Love
1. How do I love myself?
How To Deal With Rejection
Rejection! Who hasn't experienced the horrible feeling of being rejected? Unfortunately we are often judged on what we do or say, which leads to either being accepted or rejected, valued or discarded.
Direct Answers - Column for the week of May 26, 2003
Have You Lost Focus?
"How are you doing?" you ask. There's a pause before the reply. "You don't really want to know." The eyes look down. The body language says, "If you turn and walk away, I won't blame you."
The Bright Side of Loneliness
Recently a romantic relationship came to an end and I found myself alone again. The minutes, the hours now felt empty. For three weeks I sat beside a silent phone, rehashing the past and coming to terms with my loss. After the warmth and intimacy of love, my loneliness felt like a great abyss that I could not escape.
Once in a Lifetime
A subscriber recently wrote to me and asked me to consider this common phrase ? Once in a lifetime.
When Failure is a Gift
I wanted, for many many years, to be a mystery writer. Finally I wrote a mystery novel. I got a best-selling novelist to be my mentor and help me with the rewrite. I got an agent. They sent the book out. And sent it out. And sent it out. And it went nowhere.
The Memorable First Days!
The first few hours in this world, when we as babies drop out to mingle with the natural beauty and wonders, the first day in our life is the most important day of our life.
Shame and Guilt: A World of Difference
Learning to distinguish between two powerful emotions - superficially very similar but in practice, very different - is essential not only for healthy self-esteem but for fulfilling interpersonal relationships.
Change Your Landscape by Seeing with New Eyes
A Story (Source Unknown) ? One day a very wealthy father took his son on a trip to the country for the sole purpose of showing his son how it was to be poor. They spent a few days and nights on the farm of what would be considered a very poor family. Upon return from their trip, the father asked his son how he liked the trip. "It was great, Dad," the son replied. "Did you see how poor people can be?" the father asked. "Oh, yeah," said the son. "So what did you learn from the trip?" continued the father. The son answered, "I saw that we have one dog and they had four. We have a pool that reaches to the middle of our garden and they have a creek that has no end. We have imported lanterns in our garden and they have the stars at night. Our patio reaches to the front yard and they have the whole horizon. We have a small piece of land to leave on and they have fields that go beyond our sight. We have servants who serve us, but they serve others. We buy our food, but they grow theirs. We have walls around our property to protect us, they have friends to protect them." The boy's father was speechless. Then the son added this last remark: "It showed me how poor we truly are."
Two Choices That can Make Next Year The Best Year of Your Life
What if there were just two choices you could make to insure that next year would be wonderful? There actually are, and these choices are quite simple in concept, yet not easy to do. They are not things you do on the outside, such as exercising your body (which is always a good thing to do!) but ways of thinking and being on the inside. These have to do with your attitude and your intent.
Good Morning... Please...Thank-you!!
When I was a child, I remember that my parents instilled these words into my brain. At first, it seemed difficult to remember these 3 little phrases and I had to be constantly reminded of them. But soon they became an ingrained part of me, and my parents no longer had to remind me of when to use these words. They still remain a very large part of who I am. Some people say I am an extrovert, yet at times I know I am shy and can be an introvert (although my friends will find this hard to believe-ha!). So, if you are a shy person and you make these 3 phrases a constant part of your vocabulary---you will fool people into thinking you are an extrovert.
Weapons of Mass Distraction
Anything that draws one away from the business of living and being worthy ? such as drugs, alcohol, distractions of all descriptions, and sleep when the intent is oblivion, not to mention the idea of killing oneself ? is a means of escaping, a little death, and death itself is the ultimate escape.
A Teller Of Tales
Direct Answers - Column for the week of June 10, 2002
The Priceless Gift of a Knee-High Smile
She was just over knee-high standing next to me in the checkout line. I first saw her eyeing a display of candy as she followed her mother and brothers through the store.
The Power of Gratitude
When my older son was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, my first reaction was relief ? I finally knew the reason for his behavior. However, I was also overwhelmed with sadness, fear and anger. I felt sorry for my son and for myself. Like many others in similar circumstances, my question to God was "Why me?"
Lifestyle Changes ? A Conscious Choice!
Healing The Abandonment Wounds
I have counseled individuals, couples, families and business partners for the past 35 years and authored eight published books. Every individual I've worked with has had some abandonment wound to heal, and most relationship problems stem from abandonment wounds.
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