Monday, November 11, 2013

Part 1: Peace in Times of War

Years ago, sometime after the Bosnian war which lasted almost four years, my parents and I visited an area of Croatia (part of the former Bosnia and Herzegovina region. And, if I understand correctly, now known as Serbia.)

This country known for its mild Mediterranean weather was too hot and dry for me. The somewhat barren landscape, sparsely populated with vegetation (grasses) matched the desolate buildings of which there were many, at least what remained of them.

Remnants of (what I presume were residential) brick buildings with shattered windows dotted the road and countryside. It was not a pretty sight. (I still have photos that portray the aftereffects of that stark landscape, though I have them just as clearly etched in my mind.)

Was I as shocked and horrified as those buildings were (metaphorically speaking of course)? Were people living there during the bombings/explosions?

There are many civilians who question war, people like you and me. What is the purpose? Do we need it? Is it just an excuse for atrocities such as genocide and rape?

I have come to see and understand that what we experience as (so-called) reality is actually a reflection of our being. That is, what we think and feel is projected outside of us. Thus, the outer world, our outer world is a reflection of our inner world. This is experienced both individually and collectively.

If you dislike and/or disagree with these words, I totally understand. I used to! However, I have come to learn that this is indeed the case, whether we like it or not. In fact, I learned (the beginnings of) this phenomenon during a course on counselling skills.

There is a term known in the counselling and psychotherapy field as “transference.” This occurs when a client projects (i.e., transfers) their feelings and desires onto their counsellor or psychotherapist. It occurs at an unconscious level and can display in various ways, whether through feelings of love, fear, hate, or anything in between.

Thus, the state(s) of our being in our thoughts and feelings are important as it is the beginning of the ripple effect. Can you imagine the effect positively or negatively rippling in relation to that of a group of people whether in a family/home, at work, in meetings, in a village, town, city, or country? Use your imagination here or think of instances in your world.

Instead of judging others with eyes – and words – of anger or hate, we can choose to focus our thoughts and speech with compassionate and empathic tones. We can choose peace/love/joy/happiness or conflict/tension/hatred/anger in this moment, and this one, and the next, and so on. Hopefully peace, love, and joy will reign over conflict, tension, hatred, and even war.

It has been declared by an international spiritual teacher and author that peace will reign in our time. It is hard to imagine with all the wars and conflicts we have taking place in our everyday lives. Regardless, why not focus on peace...within ourselves first? Then let the ripples spread out...

Let's start today with Remembrance Day in Canada, and Veterans Day in the States: a moment of silence, of peace, of stillness - one (1) minute on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month.

How can we avoid conflict and tension in the world? How can we cultivate peace and keep it in our hearts and minds? To be continued ...

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