peace

The greatest force

Jeff Kober's wet plate camera, Los Angeles

Jeff Kober's wet plate camera, Los Angeles

How do I feel love?

As we pass through the stages of infancy into adulthood, we lose the need to receive from others in order to survive. We have, to one degree or another, become self-sufficient. Our ego, ever the naysayer, insists that we must acquire more and more material wealth in order to be worthy. Worthy of what? The love of others, of ourselves, of our creator.

But our creator already loves us. He brought us into this world and gave us endless gifts that we often choose to ignore. We have difficulty loving ourselves because we don't wish to be judged as narcissistic or conceited. Yet we are encouraged to appear confident and assertive. No wonder we get confused. What is the path to true self love? The Veda states that there is only one thing. The difference between you and me is miniscule. The love of others and the love of self is an academic distinction at best.

This leaves loving others. It is a paradox that, according to the Vedic world view, we can only feel love if we give it. We must strive as yogis to do just this. In what circumstances? In every circumstance. When is such effort appropriate? Always. Every time we ask the question, the answer is yes.

When we do the research and check our deepest intuition, we know that we must love others always. To follow this path yields so much more inner wealth than the acquisition of material goods. 

So, for us, to give love is to experience love, with no exceptions.

We have never killed our way to peace. Our culture goes so far as to discount the very idea of peace and deems its study unworthy or unrealistic.

War is justified by adopting a twisted worldview in which the exact words of the Christian savior are ignored and discarded, or cherrypicked.

"Market forces" or the dangerous dictates of crony capitalism are sold to us as inevitable, or even morally superior to actions or ideas that are sustainable.

Orwell warned us about this linguistic pretzel logic. His prescient dystopian fiction seems to have become an accurate depiction of our daily lives.

Perhaps it is time to try love.

Boat passengers on the Ganges

Boat passengers on the Ganges

Inner peace

San Fernando Valley from Fryman Canyon trail, Los Angeles, California

San Fernando Valley from Fryman Canyon trail, Los Angeles, California

What do I bring to the party?

At times, we choose to react to world events by mirroring the turmoil we see around us. We think that reacting with anger, violence, and vengeance will keep us safe. We tend to feel that such emotions are justified, and in some way, appropriate and helpful. Nothing could be further from the truth. Taking on the angst of the moment, while an all too human and understandable response, helps no one, least of all, ourselves.

The carnage in Paris and elsewhere in the world is an expression of the world view that we can kill our way to peace. This tactic has never worked. Every angry reaction, no matter how justified, has always proven to pour gasoline on the fire of more anger and bloodshed. How can we, as peace-loving citizens, help?

The answer is simple and clear. We need to react out of our own fulfillment. We need to share our inner peace generously with others, not by proselytizing or converting others to our own habits, but by contributing to the collective calm by showing ourselves to be reliably peaceful and stable.

How can we share something we haven't got? We can't. We can only contribute to our own inner peace by meditating, filling ourselves with precious adaptation energy, twice a day for twenty minutes. The dominant culture tells us there is no time for such endeavors, but there is time.

There is this twenty minutes. Starting right now.

The way of the world would have us believe we share nothing in common with our "enemies." Power-brokers and world leaders have always used this concept to divide and conquer. The way of the spirit is very different. Intuition states and experience confirms that our humanity bonds us, bridges divisions, and makes us whole. We serve no one by reacting out of fear, anger, and ignorance.

Locus tree at dusk, Fryman Canyon

Locus tree at dusk, Fryman Canyon