Peace in Our Time

elder999

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One of the biggest stumbling blocks to peace is the idea that it can be granted to us by politicians, religious leaders, or others who are in charge of things. Keep this in mind: politicians bring conflict, not peace. We, as people must let go of the idea that peace will be achieved by bringing Leftist, wacko coalitions together, strumming guitars, and singing Michael Row The Boat Ashore, Kumbaya, or We Shall Overcome. On the other hand, we must let go of the deluded Rightist belief that plastering flags all over everything, adopting a bellicose posture and demanding to rule the world will bring peace. As people we are caught between the material world drama of the Left vs. the Right, Democrats vs. Republicans, and (fill in the blank) vs. (fill in the blank). It is the illusion of material world power. When I say illusion, I dont mean that it isnt real. Oh, its quite real. The bombs, the blood and guts, the terror and pain are all quite real. Illusion, or as its referred to in Hinduism, maya, is real. It is, however, not permanent. It is constantly shifting and changing. Every time you try to grab onto something in this material world, it can change and slip through your fingers. This is one of the central themes of Bhagavad-Gita, which ironically enough, was spoken by Lord Krishna on a battlefield. It is also one of the central themes of the teaching of Jesus. He said over and over, that his kingdom was not of this world. He constantly reminded the people of his day, that his kingdom was one of spiritual power. They challenged him to go sit on the throne in the kings palace, or to take up residence in the temple, if he was sent from God. Jesus said, Look, dont be so impressed by the grandeur of the palace or temple, because the day is coming when not one of those stones will be left on top of another. They didnt understand the message of the Prince of Peace any more then, than they do now.

True peace can only be achieved through accepting the spiritual truth that our first responsibility is to love God and that our second responsibility is to love our neighbor.

Everything that is important revolves around these two responsibilities. Without God consciousness, there can be no true peace. There may be temporary lulls in the fighting, but not peace.(My answer to the Nuclear Weapons=50 years of world peace people) True peace is not of this material world, but rather it is a peace of spirit. All of the wonderful things we want, like freedom, abundance, friendship, or justice, are byproducts of true peace. Peace can manifest right this second, if we choose it. If we decide to accept the responsibility for peace, it can be here in an instant. If we are willing to give up the security blankets of our illusionary false idols, true peace will be instantaneous. Only when we allow our own hearts to be transformed, can we share that divine consciousness with others.

Having had several different spiritual teachers from varying traditions-including my own (ahem) memetic conditioning, as well as having access to the works of several prominent teachers from varying traditions as well, Id say that which God, really shouldnt matter.

Though Ill admit that they do.

As for peace itself, though, peace is a lifestyle.

Thats right, peace is a lifestyle. Peace is not solely the absence of conflict. Peace is not some lofty, seldom achieved ideal. Peace comes from being in the flow. It is a result of the establishment of harmony and balance. We have the power to create peace. Peace is not the gift of politicians or religious leaders. Peace comes about because of conscious choices we, as individuals make, from moment to moment. In the very next moment, that peace can be shattered if we choose violence, instead of peace. Therefore, it is crucial that we keep peace constantly in the most prominent position in our hierarchy of values. We must also realize that justice, freedom, material world abundance, health, and all the other good things we pursue, flow from the fountain of peace. It is not the other way around. We do not achieve peace when we win the lottery, get thin and cute, move up to a mansion on the mountain, and have everyone recognize us for the genius we are.

So many people get it backwards, dont they? They use spiritual tools like affirmations, meditation, and visualizations to get a new Mercedes, when they havent even figured out how to make their monthly payments on the Yugo. Similarly, well intentioned, but deluded people will march for peace on the Capitol, yet harbor hatred and violence in their hearts against those with whom they disagree. Humans are really something, arent we?

It can be challenging to establish peace in our own lives,but if we are to experience peace as a society, it must first be manifested in the individual members of a society. It is tempting to project our own inner violence onto others. One group tells us that if we can get rid of Saddam Hussein and Al Qaeda, then well eliminate terrorism and have a chance for peace. Then, another group tells us that if we can elect Obama and more Democrats, we can have justice and peace. They hate Republicans as much as the Republicans hate Saddam. Where is your loyalty? If you put your loyalty to a political party, a government, or any other human power structure, ahead of your loyalty to truth and to peace, then you can never experience peace on a personal level. That seems so plain to see to me; it seems so obvious. Why do so many people keep on stubbornly stumbling all around this truth? Why are they so afraid to stand in their own power and authority?

We, as Homo Sapiens, are the end result of hundreds of thousands of years of evolution. We are the progeny of the biggest and baddest of the big and bad. In our ancestral past, we helped drive the wooly mammoth and sabretooth tiger into extinction, and only the fiercest, most violent humans lived to mate. If you couldnt compete, you couldnt eat. Therefore, the most cunning, aggressive warriors passed on their genes. Genetically, we are wired for war.

Thankfully, however, thats not the end of the story. Today, we have the luxury of transforming those aggressive energies into a spiritual awakening. Great spiritual masters like Jesus, Ramana Maharshi, Caitanya Mahaprabhu, Gandhi and others have taught us a different way to live. Still, there are those in power, who believe that the only way to achieve peace is to intimidate everyone with superior weapons. They believe that we should trust them with weapons of mass destruction, but that others cannot be trusted with the same technology. Isnt this dangerously insane? The old way of thinking that were the good guys and theyre the bad guys is bringing us to the brink.

Every time were presented with choices, peace is an option. Every time we choose peace, we experience a miracle. When we forego revenge, we choose peace. When we opt for kindness instead of meanness, we choose peace. Every time we choose truth over allegiance to a cherished political party or philosophy, we choose peace. From seemingly insignificant choices to obviously significant choices, peace is a lifestyle we choose to affirm from moment to moment, in thought, word and deed.
 

rocksham

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Politics really is a poison, some might agree religious dogma is as well, as opposed to actual faith. Good post.
 

CoryKS

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Peace is easy - you just have to get 6.7 BILLION people to agree that nothing is worth killing people over.

Good luck with that.
 

Jenna

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Having had several different spiritual teachers from varying traditions-including my own (ahem) memetic conditioning, as well as having access to the works of several prominent teachers from varying traditions as well, Id say that which God, really shouldnt matter.
And how well you know my friend that peace might be so much more easily achieved were it not for the proselytising nature of most (with notable exceptions) of the world's foremost religions. If each faith espoused their faith in the manner in which their holy texts were originally written we should (as the limit tends to infinity) move into a universal peace. Yet the prevalence of proselytising can only ever engender the kind of individual and cultish fundamentalism that leaves peace as a distant aspiration on holy parchments.

I am cynical about peace. Not peace per se, and but the mechanisms of its realisation. I think there are no Mohandas Ghandis left. I think those involved in negotiating peace in the myriad areas of conflict, are themselves not acting out of altruism and but rather are manning a position; seeking self-gratification; chasing Nobels. I think the key that would turn the lock on the gilted box of peace is altruism. True altruism.

You alluded to the desire for material wealth as being a baffle to peace and I agree completely. I think though we can have sloughed that desire completely from us and STILL be seeking self-gratification. As humans we are hardwired to be ultimately selfish. We are coded to ensure our own survival primarily before we turn our spare capacity onto others. Of course this hardwiring can be circumvented and thus there is hope for peace. There is always hope for peace.

Maybe I am wrong though. Maybe there ARE others with a mind for altruism - the true kind and not the kind that finds a pious quickening in putting change into the vagrant's polystyrene cup. With a mind tuned to altruism, we begin to chip off the ego; we turn our minds and our hearts outwards; we begin to see the bigger issues and paradoxically comprehend our individual roles within them :)

I hope I have not spoken out of place and that this does not sound like a terrible rant of some kind :)

I like your writing. It is a pleasure to read and but also has a facility for embedding itself. You are a rare gem :)
Yr most obdt hmble srvt,
Jenna
 

Empty Hands

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First, what about the faithless? You won't have any difficulty convincing me to embrace peace as a lifestyle, but you will have a hell of a time doing it by convincing me to love God. For that matter, if I can embrace peace without embracing God, doesn't that undercut your thesis?

Also, I think you underestimate the impact of institutions, be they governmental or not. As Cory says, not everyone is going to agree. If nothing else, there will be the sociopaths to deal with. Institutions can be important in forming peace and even understanding. Look at the history of integration in the South. It was accomplished by Federal government fiat backed up by the National Guard. Look what it led to though - no one would argue that racism is gone, but the South is a much more integrated and harmonious place than it was. Other examples come to mind.
 
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