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
Joy remembered when she had moved out of the flat with Jim and found herself alone for the first time in many years. She had experienced a severe crisis. Although perhaps outwardly nobody noticed, at night she cried, imploring the Universe – or whatever It was – to show her the way forward, to end the stagnation into which she felt she had fallen. Ever since she had developed a spiritual orientation in life, rejecting the more materialistic approach, she seemed to have struggled. It was as if all her efforts had led to nothing; as if she were no longer in the flow of life; as if she were swimming upstream.
Joy knew that, despite that cry to the Universe all those years ago, she continued to experience only pockets of apparent success in her personal and professional life for a long time afterwards. Nevertheless, she recognised that during those years of difficulty and struggle she had built up her inner strength, and expanded her understanding of the physical plane and its relationship with the non-visible world. Continue reading →
Nature offered human beings a space where they could more easily align with what might best be referred to as the one Life. By this Joy meant the Life that animates all the kingdoms – mineral, plant, animal and human – making out of their component parts one whole. This Life energy remained a mystery to the human mind. It originated from the non-visible world and surrounded and imbued the four kingdoms. As such, nature offered human beings the opportunity to more easily reach beyond the limits and divisive tendencies of their conscious minds, and thereby gain an intuitive understanding that humanity is a part – although only one part – of a greater existence.
The destruction of the environment by human activity was to Joy an indication of just how far off the spiritual track human beings, controlled by their lower minds, had wandered. Nature was a gateway to an authentic awareness of humanity’s place in the greater scheme. The rational mind, fearing its own annihilation, was driving men and woman to destroy that gateway – the door to their liberation.
I’ve experienced on numerous occasions how nature can cast an enchanting and beautiful spell on me that leaves me feeling mesmerised, in an altered state, with an open heart and a deep sense of contentedness and trust. Some places in nature I know in advance have a huge likelihood to have this kind of impact on me.The seaside is one such place. When I feel in need of hope and inspiration, a walk along the sandy shore or a coffee at a beachside café can be all it takes for me to find a more positive state of mind.
In addition, the twilight zone between day and night holds a magical charm, which I experienced often as I sat alone, in the early evening, on the terrace of my home in East Jerusalem, overlooking the undulating olive groves. The dusky twilight seems to me to be a moment when the veil between the rational and the transrational (spiritual) realms is very thin, almost transparent. If there is any such thing as a parallel universe, I would wager that an access point is through the twilight seam. Continue reading →
We can never be truly self-empowered if we ignore the plight of others. Rooted firmly in our own inner strength, we recognise our interconnectedness with all other sentient and non-sentient beings via the energy of the one consciousness (Shakti) that breathes life through us all. Refusing to contract in the face of pain and anguish, we maintain a receptive attitude and find ways to use the power of our actions, words or thoughts (on the physical or transpersonal planes) to bring compassion, love and healing to those who suffer.
Philosophically, Tantra is thoroughly ecological. It recognizes the ultimate unity, even identity, of all beings and things. Otherness is a mental artefact. Translated into social action, Tantric practitioners must not erect intellectual or emotional walls between themselves and other beings or between themselves and inanimate things. Since everything participates in the ultimate Reality, which is pure Consciousness, there is nothing that is not Consciousness.
Upstairs has a definite sense of humour i.e. sometimes the Universe likes to play cosmic jokes on us, which can be very funny. A regular way these jokes show up is by way of synchronistic moments. For example, last Christmas, my partner indicated his intention to buy me a piece of jewellery as a present. Neither he nor I are persons to follow social conventions like buying gifts for Christmas, so I was a little surprised by this suggestion. All the same, I liked the idea of being spoilt (!) so I let him know I’d really like a ring or a bracelet. I love fashion jewellery – some stunningly beautiful pieces at much more affordable prices than the more traditional jewellery. So, one day when we were in the town centre, I tried to encourage my partner to keep his promise. However, no matter how many shops I endeavoured to take him to, where there were some wonderful pieces of jewellery, he showed no inclination to go through with his initial suggestion. I wasn’t too bothered about it, although I remember thinking it would have been nice.
That same evening, we pulled one of the Christmas crackers (a very English tradition) that my mother had sent us. (She never tires, year after year, to try to encourage me to get into the Christmas spirit.) Inside these crackers there’s always a small gift. Well, lo and behold, what fell out of the cracker? A ring, of course! Ok, it was plastic (!) as is the norm for such gifts, but it was an attractive blue colour and exactly the shape I would have wanted had my partner bought me a ring at one of the shops that day. Continue reading →