The road to peace has been mapped out for humanity by some of its forerunners. For example, historically, the Buddha indicated one possible road to peace through the eight-fold path of right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right diligence, right mindfulness and right concentration. These principals have stood the test of time and are as valid today as they were 2000 years ago.
Active individual participation in the promotion of social justice and political decision-making, without the use of violence, in a spirit of tolerance and goodwill, was strongly advocated by Gandhi in the 1900s. He promoted such important concepts as:
Ahimsa – non-injury through the renunciation of physical and mental violence against one’s self, others, animals and nature;
Advaita – the interconnectivity of all life forms;
Tapasya – the willingness to suffer rather than inflict pain on others;
Sarvodaya – everyone’s basis needs must be met even if that means that some people must give something up so that others are not left out;
Satyagraha – the pursuit of Truth through non-violent action.
In response to Brad’s #PeaceChallenge, I will make a series of 4 posts. Hope you find them of value. Blessings, Sam 🙂
Microcosmic and Macrocosmic Aspects of Peace – Part I
In the midst of the innumerable, intractable global conflicts of today and the existence of nuclear weapons capable of destroying the world many times over, it is arguable that world governance can no longer be left solely to political decision-makers. At a microcosmic level, each and every aware individual can begin to assume greater responsibility for the state of the world by taking up the challenge of embodying the peace (microcosm) that he/she hopes to see mirrored in the world community (macrocosm). In order to embrace peace, it is helpful to understand some of the underlying reasons for the manifestation of its antithesis i.e. violence. Why do individuals resort to violence?
Individual acts of physical violence can be considered a response to physical, emotional, mental and/or spiritual disharmony. For example: a difficult childhood can lead to feelings of frustration and aggression in an adult human being, who then uses violence as a mental-emotional outlet; the resort to violence could also be an action taken to protect physical basic needs such as safety and access to food; or on a spiritual level, historical antecedents such as the fact that a distant past has been characterised by war could hold violence in the collective subconscious, making it the line of least resistance. Moreover, direct aggression can have its cause in more than one instigating factor. Continue reading →
Joy’s physical support system had crumbled again, and the way ahead in her life remained blocked. Gino, who shared Joy’s need for a subtle balance between movement and stability, recognised her struggle. “Remember that you can find strength from spiritual sources,” he said to her compassionately in one of her moments of deep disorientation. “You yourself have told me that the physical is transitory. When your exoteric support structures have disappeared, you can access your power from the esoteric.”
Although Gino’s words revealed no new perspective to Joy, they greatly aided her to find a point of balance. Gino was aware of the subtle dimensions of life. His support was crucial to her because he was able to advise and encourage her without dragging her back under the veil of illusion.
Joy found her breakdown hard to accept because she had believed that she’d learned to hold the high ground over her emotions in any situation. Instead, she discovered that the vicissitudes of life were still able to provoke bitterness and depression in her. Maybe breakdowns are always a part of life? Perhaps what’s important is how we respond to them? Joy was aware that even in the depths of this current crisis a feeling of purpose lay just below the surface of her gloom. She recognised that her faith was growing stronger, enabling her to reorient herself more quickly after a breakdown than in her younger years. Continue reading →
Her experiment to discover the spiritual reality behind physical-plane existence had brought with it a growing capacity to love without expectations or neediness. In all her interactions, not only in her intimate relations, Joy endeavoured to radiate positivity and a loving disposition. She felt it was her duty to interact with others in this way. She had learnt to let go. She knew she had no control over what the other person did, said or felt. The only guarantee she had was the relationship she was building with her Self. This was the only constant. It gave meaning to her life.
Joy brought her developing capacity to love without expectations into her relationship with Gino. She knew they would be together for as long as was right. That might be until the end of their lives. It might be sooner. One of them might decide to end the relationship. She no longer feared that and didn’t feel the need to grasp. Joy loved Gino deeply. She smiled whenever she thought of him. They slept lying intertwined. Whenever their relationship ended – through death or separation – the beauty of what they had at that moment would live on as an echo in the “ether”. Only the recourse to hatred, intolerance or grief, which was the reaction of so many divided couples, could take that beauty away.
My life experiences and contemplations have brought me to the conclusion that without suffering it would be all too easy to remain in mind-dom i.e. in the clutches of the emotional mind. The latter can always keep us entertained with never-ending, theatrical representations of past events or fantasies of potential future happenings. When everything in our lives is going as planned (by the personality), the emotional mind can be a very comfortable place to take refuge. The risk, however, is that we remain stuck there, which means living in the illusion that our rational mind and emotions are our sole identity. Thanks to suffering, we get the gentle push, or even dramatic shove, to move out of contracted mind-dom and discover the fullness of our (divine) identity and consciousness.
Georg Feuerstein provides a Tantric – and I guess also Buddhist – perspective on suffering when he writes: “Many people […] are not in the least aware of their self-perpetuated state of incarceration. But those in whom wisdom has dawned can see that the world, or rather how they experience it, is confining. They also are sensitive to the fact that worldly existence is suffused with suffering (duhkha).” Continue reading →
I’ve heard the term “goddess” used in various circles, suggesting there are different understandings of what this concept implies. I’ll present 3 separate posts that cover some of the results of my research into the tantric definitions of “the goddess”, starting with the overarching concept of Shakti. I’d be very interested to hear what your definitions of a goddess are. Joyful greetings, Sam 🙂
Shakti and Goddess Power (Part 1 of 3)
In relation to the feminine, Tantra places a huge focus on the goddess. But, what is a goddess? “She is the manifest deity in each of us.” The sense here is that the goddess is immanent i.e. the energy that underlies our physical bodies. In addition, the goddess encompasses all sentient and non-sentient forms: “The Goddess is not separate from the world, but is the world and all things in it.”
Van Lysebeth suggests that for a more tantric understanding of the concept of the goddess, the word goddess can be replaced with the term Shakti. Shakti is “the manifest universe and the power inherent in it”. Continue reading →
In our CVs, we should be encouraged to include some of the life lessons we have experienced and learnt from. In the same way that a qualification in biology, for example, indicates a given level of knowledge and practical ability, the experience of regaining balance and joie de vivre after a distressing relationship breakup, or finding a creative outlet and alternative life focus after a serious illness or the loss of a job, are noteworthy indicators of personal achievement.