Wishing each and every one of you a wonderful 2016. Living in a world in which the media is constantly within our gaze and grasp, it can be easy to see the world we live in as only being full of bad news. It is only in very recent times that we even received news from afar, all of our news was local.
We can often wonder what it will take to change the world and to make the message of peace, charity and love of Christmas become a reality for the new year. It is very easy for us to want the other to stop what they’re doing- be that the government, another nation, another group of people. However, in reality, just as it is said that ‘charity begins at home’ so do peace and love. The more we are at peace with ourselves the more we are peace with the world. When we’re not at peace with ourselves we’re often against what was and what is – both of which simply lead to more suffering and probably blame.
The endless cycle of war must be broken with the individual. We can never get ‘them’ to stop – we can however get ourselves to stop. We can stop the self-violence that we inflict on ourselves with the constant comparison to others: their bodies, their looks, their income, their way of live – either making them or ourselves better. Within spiritual and socially minded communities there is a great deal of self-violence as there is a strong tendency to chase ideal of how an open liberal and spiritual person should think, behave, eat, pray, dress and love. If we could only have the courage to stop this self-violence, we will then have the courage to drop any temptation to dictate to the world our version of peace and love and cease acts of ideological violence upon others. Yes, clearly there are atrocities committed in this world, but it is those who are at peace with themselves who have peace with the world – the more of us to have the courage to face the deeper questions of existence and face what we have feared most about ourselves, then the more that humanity will cease creating wars based on belief systems that only serve to separate.
When we drop the word ‘should’ from our vocabulary our entire body relaxes, which in turn gives our immune system the energy to do its work of maintaining radiant health. Our thoughts of the ‘other should’ are generally equalled in measure by the list of ‘I should’ – It behoves us to look the images of good and bad we are carrying and to challenge the violence we are inflicting upon ourselves.
World Peace begins with the Self.
From a systemic point of view, it is true to say that the unresolved conflict of our forefathers become the wars of today – literally one war begets another. Through our loyalties, both spoken and unspoken, we can continue and age old battle without even knowing how. Each of us is born into a story already being told and at times we can simply hate another group of people without reason, ‘just because’. All of the inherited conflicts and loyalties contribute to our lack of peace and they are invariably passed on without question. When we have the courage to acknowledge ‘what is’ – to really look at what is rather than what should be – then peace has a chance. ‘Should be’ is just another form of violence – either to the self or to the other through ideological bashing around the notion of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ thoughts and attitude.