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.
For young people, it’s easy to project hopes into the future because time is on youth’s side. However, as we get older, the future has less appeal, perhaps, because it also means aging with the health concerns and psychological challenges that might entail. For this reason, it’s more important than ever to find a way of feeling hope in the present, even if we have a need that’s unmet, maybe one that’s been unmet for a long time already. So how can we feel hope and fulfilment in such circumstances?
One technique – from what I label the way of the warrior because it requires copious amounts of courage – is to walk on the fire of the emptiness of your unmet need i.e. to look your need square in the face. A pitfall to be aware of is the unconscious act of projecting your needs onto a person or thing as a way of finding relief when a need is being unmet. Projection oftentimes sooner or later brings suffering, when/if the person or thing identified as filling the need does not in fact do so, and this truth eventually becomes undeniable and has to be acknowledged. Continue reading →