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.
One comprehensive definition of the concept of peace was identified by Fischer, Nolte & Oeberg in their book “Winning Peace”:
“(…) all that aims to develop security and secure development of the whole human being, and all human beings, in a permanent process, taking its point of departure in a model of human and social needs based on an ethics of global care and allowing for unity in diversity.”
The phrase “an ethics of global care” is an important reminder that peace is measured not only by human-human relations, but by the quality of human-nature relationships too, namely humanity’s interactions with the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms. Humankind’s desire to dominate the environment with scant regard for the consequences has led to a growing scarcity of natural resources, pollution of the Earth’s waterways, sickness in animals necessitating mass killings, worrying changes in climatic conditions and devastating natural catastrophes, etc. To counteract this negative trend, human beings – at the macro and micro level – have the choice to assume their role as conscious and dedicated guardians of the animal, vegetable and mineral kingdoms; rather than to continue using violence and domination to master the Earth, jeopardising the world heritage of future generations.
Extract from my MA thesis entitled:
A Shared Human Identity – the Foundation of a Peace Culture
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.
Through numerous, relatively short-lived relationships with men, Joy had been forced to learn detachment and how to stand on her own two feet. She had discovered that relationships referred to something much more encompassing than mere intimate relations with members of the opposite sex. There was the relationship that existed between each man and woman and the rest of the human race, for example. And beyond that, Joy was learning to sense the relationship that existed between her self and the Soul – the human Soul; not her individual soul, which was another illusion created by the limitations of the rational mind. Even more encompassing was the relationship between humanity and the planetary entity, or greater still, the larger cosmos. When she looked up at the stars at night, Joy experienced a sense of revelation. How short-sighted it was of humans to go about their daily lives without due consideration for their place in the universe. This wider cosmic perspective on relationships was paralleled by her contemplation of the smallest aspect of her being – the cells in her body that were, in essence, nothing more or nothing less than energy. Continue reading →
I join the camp of those persons who have come to the conclusion that our sexuality is for much more than conceiving a child, although at a certain point in our lives that might be the major purpose. I believe sexual energy, when correctly understood and worked with, has the potential to be an important part of our spiritual learning on the physical plane, not least because the states of consciousness we’re capable of attaining during and after a sexual exchange are so much more subtle and significant than our ordinary state of awareness. By joining together at the level of heart, body and mind, lovers can access the Infinite. This is one of the goals of a tantric sexual union, which is something much more encompassing than the mere satisfaction of lust or the release of pent-up sexual energy. “Sex must not remain sex; that is the Tantra teaching. It must be transformed into love. And love also must not remain love. It must be transformed into light, into meditative experience, into the last, ultimate mystic peak.”
Andre van Lysebeth suggests that human beings have two sexual poles: the species pole located in the genitals, which is associated with the urge for procreation that’s visible in many life forms, not just humans; and, the individual pole located in the brain, which is specific to the human race.  By connecting at a heart-level with our lover, we can bridge the gap between the species (body) and individual (mind) poles: Continue reading →
There are many similarities between the various conceptualisations of the non-visible realms as put forward by thinkers past and present. For example, from my understanding, André van Lysebeth uses the term “overmind” to refer to the transpersonal plane. “In Tantra, the concept of the overmind is an essential one […] the overmind refers to an autonomous mental level that includes and is greater than several individual sub-minds.” This tantric concept of the overmind seems to equate also to the collective unconscious as it “is the repository of all mankind’s memories […] the totality of mankind’s experience and knowledge, the senses, thoughts and abilities of every man and woman who lives today, or has ever lived.” Furthermore, these definitions of the overmind are very similar to the idea of the Akashic Records, a concept described by Rudolf Steiner (anthroposophy), the theosophist movement and Edgar Cayce, amongst others: “More than just a reservoir of events, the Akashic Records contain every deed, word, feeling, thought, and intent that has ever occurred at any time in the history of the world. […] these Akashic Records are interactive in that they have a tremendous influence upon our everyday lives, our relationships, our feelings and belief systems, and the potential realities we draw toward us.Continue reading →
As mentioned in a previous post, only a very small component of the tantric path, if any, focuses on sexual practice. For this reason, I feel that some of the sacred sexuality courses available in the West put the cart before the horse. Yes, the sex, absolutely; I’m totally into exploring the sacred nature of my human sexuality. However, the first step is surely to acquire a significant depth of knowledge about oneself and others (including our lover) as physical-spiritual beings. I feel this is especially important because by integrating Tantra into our spiritual practice we have an opportunity to, in some way, heal the male/female and physical/spiritual fault lines within our individual selves, between our self and our lover, as well as at the more encompassing transpersonal level.
In his book “The Art of the Transpersonal Self”, Norbert Koppensteiner explains how the transpersonal refers to our “relationality with partial others within the aesthetic/energetic sphere”. He goes on to clarify that: “The human being is from the outset transpersonal and in part determined by others and co-determining towards them. Each action we take never only affects our self alone Continue reading →