Is the Way: Bringing War and Violence to an End
By Deepak Chopra
Published by Three Rivers Press
Chopra's latest work is prefaced by
endorsements from four Nobel Peace Laureates, Muhammad Ali and an impressive
array of other notables. Here, the Indian-born doctor and author of the
bestselling The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success and other popular
spiritual guides contends that the deeply ingrained human habit of resorting to
violence can be ended by raising the consciousness of individuals until there is
a global change in awareness, similar to the shift that took place when the age
of science took hold. Chopra, whose bestsellers and celebrity-friendliness have
saddled him with a reputation for being guru to the rich and comfortable, is
refreshingly honest about the way our comfort and security are ultimately the
fruits of war. "The satisfaction of waging war cannot be replaced by
philosophy or religion," he writes. In addition to analysis, he offers
daily practices of meditation, thought and actions on behalf of others as a way
to live the truth of A.J. Muste's famous quote: "There is no way to peace.
Peace is the way." Ultimately, however, the ego itself has to be disarmed
to live the way of peace, he says: "For me as an individual to be free, I
have to confront myself with questions about who I really am, and this is done
in large part by examining the layers of false identity that I mistakenly call
me." This is clearly harder to practice than it is to read. Still, Chopra's
affirmation that "our true identity is at the level of spirit and nowhere
else" has the ring of truth and so does the rest of this simple, practical,
inspiring book. [This link
provides a summary of what I highlighted during my read of this excellent book
-- I recommend it on my Top-ten List of Peace resources. My purpose in
providing them is to interest you, the reader, and hope that you will obtain and
read the complete work. To properly understand the highlights, you need to
read the book to put them in the proper context.]
the African tradition of ‘Ubuntu,’ we say a person is a person through
other people.” –Desmond Tutu
‘if we want to change the world, we have to begin by changing
ourselves.’” –His Holiness the Dalai Lama
depends on individual transformation.”—Oscar Aria
you think about and bring into consciousness expands…bring the vision of
peace to the forefront of our individual and collective consciousness, where
our thoughts will manifest into reality…”—Muhammad Ali
are creative solutions to the conflict in the world.”—Dr. Mário Soares
are as we mind.” –Ashok Gangadean
spite of everything we’ve been conditioned to believe, war isn’t
necessary!”—Rabbi Alan Lew
Chopra explains the development of peace consciousness as a practical
project of personal transformation.” –Hal Uplinger
Chapter 1: War Ends Today
is no way to peace. Peace is the way.” –A.J. Muste
is a good day for war to come to an end.
end war…what we have to end is the idea of war, which has turned into the
habit of war, and then into the numbing constancy of war.
way of peace has to become a new habit. To do that, it must offer a
substitute for every single thing that war provides.
provides an outlet for national vengeance.
It satisfies the demands of fear.
It brings power to the victor.
It provides security to the homeland.
It opens an avenue for getting what you want by force.
the way of peace really substitute for all that?
it asks for is something new: conscious evolution.
time has come for us to stop being passive, and to take control of our own
destiny, one person at a time.
way of peace is love in action.
are ready to follow the way of peace, if only they can learn what it is.
you demonstrate that peace is more satisfying than war, the collective
consciousness will shift.
time for society to take a direction that conforms to what the individual
more people who join us, the faster war will come to and end. Instead of
wishing that others would stop killing, you can become a force for peace,
and in so doing make the ultimate contribution.
Chapter 2: The way of Peace
will know you are living the way of peace when three things are present:
Seva: Your actions harm no one
and benefit everyone
Simran: You remember your true
nature and your purpose for being here.
Satsang: You belong in the
community of peace and wisdom.
describe the ideal life of any spiritual person.
rest of the human family is part of you.
secret strength of peace is precisely that it isn’t materialistic.
assured, consciousness is on the move.
major difference between the tow worlds I’ve pictured is consciousness.
Fear and greed emanate from a lower level of consciousness, a level we all
participate in. Love and sharing emanate from a higher level of
How to Birth A World
Building Blocks of Reality:
Thought and Belief
Turning points and Breakthroughs
some region of consciousness an old link had broken, and everything that war
offered to older generations—adventure, romance, a testing ground for
machismo, a stage for the drama of good versus evil—no longer mattered.
key words that will define the new hierarchy are:
real answer to why we don’t see a new world yet is that it isn’t ready
to be born. It won’t be ready until the building blocks become stronger.
Realizing Our Power
about peace is a powerful means to make it happen if that thought comes from
a deep level.
feel the anguish of war and compassion for its victims is a force that wants
to create change.
intention clears the way for its own fulfillment.
must envision an entirely new order based on peace, and then unseen forces
will start to gestate that reality.
can’t bring about a peaceful world except by relating peacefully.
Relationships are the crucible of reality.
happen because the earlier building blocks have done their job.
principle to keep in mind is that consciousness wants to evolve.
peace movement must take a further step, not just hoping to engage ordinary
people but also knowing how that is done.
reins of change lie in our hands.
best thing you can do for peace today is encourage the evolutionary impulse
in yourself. Developing peace consciousness is a practical project, and the
more of us who engage in it every day, the more momentum we add to the
peace movement will succeed as long as people can grasp small achievements
every day. To that end, here is a program for peace you can implement here
program for peace asks you to become a peacemaker by following a specific
practice every day, each centered on the theme of making peace real, one
step at a time, in your personal life.
back your center.
you are asked to do is to go within and dedicate yourself to peace.
duty and mine is to bring about change by personal transformation.
Chapter 3: The Spectre of Them
way of peace teaches that no one is your enemy. Since this is such a radical
change from the way we were taught to feel, it must happen by degrees.
the other side isn’t a modern invention.
exploit fear is an act of cruelty.
way of peace calls for each person to abolish the logic of us-versus-them
and to end one’s allegiance to its rules. Each rule loses its grip on the
mind when it is seen as false and unnecessary.
you accept the way of peace, your goal is always to heal, never to oppose.
to attack instead of seeing the enemy within yourself.
are all in this together.
They believe in a false God
that God likes war enough to choose sides
violence, the way of peace doesn’t need God to justify it; it is justified
by its own merits as a way to improve life for every person.
They are crazy
you are killing people for their own good, the burden of irrationality may
be falling more on your side than theirs.
They hate us and probably always
only process that will end violence: looking inward to discover one’s own
if I am thoroughly honest, I get to the deepest level. If I catch myself
talking for the sake of my ego, I stop. This is more difficult, because the
only alternative to self-importance is humility. The ego hates humility.
There is softness in being humble. One feels unguarded, vulnerable.
it takes a lot of negotiation with the self for this stage to progress.
basic, undeniable fact that common life is pursued the same everywhere.
mentality of us versus them is always an expression of the root problem,
which is dualism. Dualism is the belief that there are no final of absolute
values, but only the play of opposites. In a dualistic world humans are
separate from the source of creation.
solution, as I understand it, is to find a practical way to escape the
divisions that duality imposes.
way of peace leads beyond duality. There is no other road to take for
someone who wants to end war and violence.
Chapter 4: Beyond Toxic Nationalism
double face of
as the world’s beast friend and worst enemy was starkly revealed to me.
road to the future will turn the
into a fortress, isolated…
other road to the future leads to globalization.
brand of nationalism would have to stop being toxic and begin to be healing.
the future is fortress
, peace has no real change. For once, the tangled hierarchy leads to a clear
choice. To keep going in the direction of toxic nationalism is a recipe for
must reach out and become part of the globe in a positive way.
the whole notion that a good country is one that turns to armed violence and
intimidation as an automatic reflex.
lack of awareness has caused good, loving people to believe in half-truths
country do you think poses the greatest danger in the world?
percent picked the
is a false way to view reality, and breaking through its illusions is
crucial to the way of peace.
Ending an Illusion
reality is that every nation struggles with inner conflicts.
has never expressed an opinion about any nation, and never will.
live in an open world where boundaries mean less and less.
out who you are requires self-searching and self-knowledge.
to grow by facing reality.
today is a form of oppression known as militarism. To live in a society
dominated by the military is the opposite of being free.
society emerges from war intact.
current peace movement is beginning to find a way to befriend all nations by
addressing the global need to end violence…
chief obstacle is that you believe you can’t.
someone can explain how the technology of world peace works, that too will
be allowed to exist as a reality. I think the impossibility of peace lies
only in our heads, and once we begin to accept the impossible, a rapid shift
Chapter 5: The myth of Security
have to adapt to a new way of being in the world if we expect to ever feel
with any monster, you must find its most vulnerable spot to defeat it. The
hierarchy of weapons depends on three core beliefs.
Money brings happiness.
Technology brings well-being
Military Strength brings
Money and Happiness
way of peace has to face the current dominance of greed.
you live as though money brings only
happiness, clearly something has gone wrong. You have neglected the entire
world of spirit, with the implication that the surface of life is enough.
though we seem to have wandered far from the issue of war and violence, we
are actually at the crux, because when people settle for the surface of life
they miss the only level that can bring war to an end, which lies beneath
must accuse riches of being a terrible distraction.
real purpose on earth is very different, as every spiritual tradition
We are here to evolve and grow.
We are here to discover who we are.
We are here to transform our surroundings in keeping with who we really are.
spiritual teachers have said that we are ultimately here to transcend
matter, to worship our maker, to appreciate the infinite creation and learn
humility before it.
way of peace would be to use your money to further the real reason you are
here. Having provided for basic comforts and needs, apply your money to
serve the hierarchy of values to which you owe your allegiance. Peace
values, as we have seen, are love, evolution, personal growth, discovery,
wisdom, harmony, connectedness, and peace itself.
a peacemaker you will have more power than technology, however, and despair
is therefore false.
superpower, for all its armaments, is as vulnerable to these threats as any
nation. The truth is that the safest city in the world is the one where you
can walk down the street and need no police officer. The way of peace is our
only hope of security.
things have actually become clear:
The process of globalization isn’t
going to halt.
Other cultures will only accept change at their own pace.
Traditional cultures will change at the slowest pace.
Every nation has a right to self-determination, even if
disagrees with the direction it takes.
Americanism is not a replacement for human values.
The gifts of Americanization are not necessarily good just because they
can military power force anyone to be Western against their will? How can a
war force anyone to accept what someone else thinks is good for him or her?
sides are engaged in utter futility. The war on terror is just another
permutation of violence versus violence.
end result is blindness to reality. By setting your awareness against these
illusions, you are bringing change at the level where it has real power,
that level where your soul knows the truth and will do everything it can to
end blindness and unreality.
Chapter 6: Diabolical Creativity
makes modern suffering so sinister is that most people have passively
accepted living in an atmosphere of fear.
do we sit still and watch?
spiritual malaise we have fallen into is well known. It’s called
alienation, or separation from that which makes a person human. The way of
peace brings an end to alienation by restoring the responses that have been
lost to numbness. Most people, if they look closely at their lives know that
something has gone seriously wrong.
huge obstacle…nothing less than a change in world view.
fall short of your spiritual potential is the most basic sign of alienation.
You and I are walking around in a state that isn’t fully human. To be
fully human means being grounded in the infinite creative potential of life.
When you are ungrounded, you forget who you are. Outside forces toss you
around. You retreat into various distractions that feebly compensate for the
immense power and authority you have lost.
became pure consciousness, free of all human ties to family and friends,
free of emotion including love and compassion, free of all things but pure
awareness. In this way I was in complete peace.”
the degree of pure awareness…regain a bit of it. These steps aren’t
complicated. In fact there is only one. Going deeper every day into the
potential for change that underlies your life.
of awareness that move outward from a center.
we causing earth changes? The spiritual answer is, of course we are…
disasters are not a message from God but a message from ourselves.
create your own reality.”
are some of the accepted principles, all part of our current world view,
that block spiritual evolution
great enemy isn’t irrationality, its imbalance.
will be achieved when we mesh our minds with an outbreak of violence and
say, with total confidence, I can heal that.
laws of consciousness, and eventually they will be mastered. These include:
-the law that physical reality is a product of consciousness
-the law that power is greater as one gets closer to the ground state of
-the law that mass events are images in collective consciousness
-the law that physical reality offers up miracles only when consciousness
allows them to emerge
is the laboratory of spirit, and the hypothesis you are trying to prove is
your own soul.
Chapter 7: The Politics of the Soul
way of peace is a soul journey to acquire the ability to change reality.
Fundamentals of Consciousness
Awareness has depth
The deeper you go, the more reality will change
Reality is dependent upon your state of consciousness
As your awareness goes deeper, it acquires more power
This power can change the world, both inside and out.
There are no facts that cannot be influenced by awareness
Ultimately your awareness creates everything you experience.
attention to messages that came from some place deeper…
you pay attention to the impulses of the soul, you will be drawn deeper and
deeper into the heart of reality.
moment of existence is a point that contains everything.
Chapter 8: (Still) Mad as Hell
issue of long-held grievances is crucial to most wars.
The Chemistry of Anger
stubbornness, self-pity, and loss of control
feelings…losses, unwanted change, forced decisions, regrets, unfulfilled
way of peace offers the mind a new picture that will satisfy it. Its key
love of self
logic can’t last forever.
majority of Americans cannot form a picture of war in their minds and live
comfortably with it. This is one of the symptoms of a major shift in
we understand more about such basic operations as memory, will,
intelligence, and intention, world peace will be closer at hand.
The Chemistry of Change
difference between a haunting memory and one that loses its charge over time
is this: if a memory becomes part of your identity, forgetting it is
extremely difficult. However, if a memory doesn’t shape your sense of who
you are, you can forget it fairly easily.
Finding new ways to be Happy
directly at what hurts you
your desire to be free of this hurt
for inner guidance to show you what to do
to what you feel, but don’t give in to it
for certain that you can remove old hurts
patient, since you will have to return to your old hurts many times
process I’ve just described works for angry nations and for angry people.
Learning to forgive
can forgive anyone who has hurt you by taking the following actions:
the intent to forgive, even though your feelings are still hurt
the intention to let new feelings come in
even the slightest hints of new feeling
the old hurt and anger, but always say, This isn’t me. This is now what I
challenging the old hurt with reasons why it should be replaced
patient and let yourself experience both the old and the new feelings until
the old one begins to fade.
way of peace asks you to make a fine distinction. Be aware of your hurt and
pay attention to it. But do not fixate on it.
you have a healing intention, two things will happen: you will feel more
peaceful after your anger has been released, and you will feel like an old,
fixated belief in enemies and injustice has started to move.
No longer depending on others
first law of healing, which is that it must occur within yourself.
your vision keeps you on the move, then it’s a true vision. For me, the
way of peace is true because I find my self with change every day.
vision that makes you choose fixed sides isn’t a vision.
not the truth of what you look at, it’s the truth of how you look. The
secret lies in the act of perceiving.
habits of the old self must give way to the habits of the new
most natural and painless way of transformation.
let you be who you are
didn’t burden you with projecting prematurely into the future
didn’t hold you back in the past
gave you new desires
new desires led you in the right direction
way of peace isn’t so demanding. Its discipline
simply means constancy, patience, and renewed trust in what is real as
opposed to self-delusion.
reality is that you can be a beacon of consciousness.
prevailing problem for each person is separation and nothing else. So any
path that wants you to change yourself must keep in mind that there is no
self to change. There are only masks that we wear for a moment and then
discard. If you can cherish yourself even as you discard your current
favorite mask, you are living perfectly in the way of peace.
Chapter 9: Why does God want War?
what religion has done to every person liker her. It has convinced her that
authority is always right, that a common person’s duty is to fall into
line without questions or doubts. It has taught her that people who protest
authority are bad and wrong.
has taught her that God is on the side of a good war…
what didn’t it teach her? Religion didn’t teach her about how to
confront the darkest side of human nature so that it can be transformed. It
didn’t teach her to think for herself in spiritual matters. It didn’t
teach her to forgive and tolerate potential enemies. Most of all, it
didn’t teach her the true nature of God, for religion grossly betrays the
truth when it portrays God as a rigid authority with military instincts and
a liking for bloodshed.
me to solve my personal anguish over war, I must transform my consciousness
until violence is no longer an option.
must place the responsibility for violence squarely where it belongs, in the
mind of every person.
must stop judging others outside the faith as sinners condemned by God.
must stop defending war in any way.
must stop claiming to be the one and only path to God.
must give up its arrogance and claim to authority.
must renounce its covert greed and desire for power.
must discover how to return love to its true place of primacy.
views that dominate our current understanding of human nature have rendered
adult who leaves morality to a parental God has abdicated his responsibility
to be an active agent for good.
religion to evolve so that it gains the kind of relevance that science
is only sustainable, however, if your awareness has shifted to support it.
This is one of the laws that govern spirituality. As you evolve, so will the
divine. The way of peace depends on bringing that truth to life, step by
most people confronting their inner demons isn’t peaceful.
subtle body is wisdom itself, and when a person begins to access it, a flow
of insight begins to emerge.
becomes much more workable in stage four because for the first time you are
willing to let life run itself. The desperate craving to be in control has
loosened its grip. Because you are a witness, you no longer have a mortal
stake in everyday affairs. Gain and loss are not opposed; they play their
part in a larger design.
Chapter 10: The Metaphysics of Terror
way of peace tells us that the physical evidence is misleading. Power can be
found at deeper levels than the physical.
light is a healing light; its work is to bring every person into a more
does a good mind warp? Oppression by the existing powers plays a part.
Sympathy for a creed that the state wants to repress, and for the poor
people who mostly comprise fundamentalist followers, is also a key
ingredient. Poverty and politics are an explosive combination.
real enemy of peace isn’t evil but chaos. In a state of chaos such as
terrorism wants to create, society breaks down.
chaos, then, the next greatest enemy of peace is ideology, because in its
grip even civilized people argue themselves out of their humanity.
is especially treacherous because it offers the opposite of what it
precise attitude that pairs Christian and Islamic fundamentalism: both see
the current war on terrorism as otherworldly, a battle for souls.
undercurrent of ideology is particularly disturbing because fanaticism has
learned to wear a business suit and hire smooth speech writers. However, the
underlying intolerance is just as bald.
is its own reward. If you can see yourself in the same context as those who
threaten you, you will open a way for reason, and the steady decrease of
one man’s life exemplifies many of the forces we’ve talked about:
economic and social chaos disrupted his life. An ideology attracted his
allegiance and blinded him to reality. He fell under the sway of
otherworldly apocalyptic thinking that promised a utopia through violence.
Other potent factors also contributed (and are prevalent today), such as the
rise of a charismatic leader, hatred of a common enemy, the appeal to racial
unity, and the humiliation of a masculine pride.
line between a normal person and a monster is thinner than we imagine.
not that we put bad apples in a good barrel. We put good apples in a bad
barrel. The barrel corrupts anything it touches.” Consciousness is
undoubtedly malleable. It can be made to conform to unreality, untruth, and
to every variety of inhumane conditions.
is still a cause for hope, however, because the forces that turn a person
into a terrorist are not mundane. If you want someone to cross the line from
normal to monster, you must supply the following conditions:
Give him permission to disregard morality.
Put an authority close by to reinforce the cruelty, making it a duty.
Arrange a hierarchy so that lower ranks must obey upper ranks.
Create an atmosphere of fear.
Apply group pressure by showing that everyone else is going along.
Release the evil deed from any threat of being punished.
Do everything behind closed doors.
are specific conditions that can be reversed before great evil arises.
is stronger than terror because ultimately every impulse can be traced back
to our deep need for love.
conditions that turn consciousness toward love are simple:
Giving love to others and receiving it back.
Sitting alone in your own silence
Immersing yourself in naturally beauty.
Making art and appreciating art in all its forms.
Telling the truth, whatever the consequences.
Laughing, dancing, playing with a child.
Having any outlet for joy.
Communing with deep emotions.
Acting out of kindness and compassion.
Bonding, feeling at one with a group whose goals are positive.
Offering yourself in service.
force of love will work patiently but irresistibly to create change.
certain that we are all attracted to feeling safe, worthy, at peace with
ourselves, sexually gratified, and loved.
Chapter 11: The Body at Peace
way of peace needs to replace the current style of negotiation, which has
obviously proved futile
is just lying gracefully.”
two warring nations get together to talk peace, their diplomats have to lie
about what is actually going on. What is actually going on is irrational,
confused, brutal, and full of anger, because that is the nature of war.
cannot pretend to be friends across the table and remain enemies in our
is an extension of war.
has powerful means to bring people out of their distorted sense that
violence is their only choice.
How to negotiate conflicts
respect for your opponent
at the emotional level
in belligerent actions
values that are opposed to yours
pass judgment and make your opponent wrong
talk in terms of ideology
the underlying factor of fear
do we need to be told to respect our enemies? Because we feel insulted when
they don’t respect us. No one can negotiate with an opponent who is
disdainful and contemptuous.
mistake here is to replace respect with force. The warrior’s argument is
always that a country wins respect by pummeling the enemy and beating
respect into him.
insurmountable obstacles melt away once each opponent really believes that
his side is being treated equally. This is a basic tenet in the way of
mistake here is to believe that only you have been injured. Every dispute
revolves around that perception. Both parties always perceive that they are
owed something. If you feel that injustice has been done to you, however,
you must concede the same feelings to the other side.
way of peace cannot proceed until each side acknowledges what it has done.
it is genuine, forgiveness has tremendous power to heal.
truth is, they deserve an apology as well. The simple human act of giving
one hasn’t occurred to either side. The way of peace says that it must.
can be frustrating to realize that wars begin because people don’t like
are directly linked to a subverbal part of the old brain. When we feel
that we can trust someone, that counts much more than if we merely think we can.
way of peace tells us that emotional bonding—the feeling that trust and
friendship are possible—must be present.
conventional negotiations a country only wins when it holds a position of
main reason we still believe that fighting brings the other side to the
peace table is that wars almost always end with one side being crushed. Real
peace talks would be those that began with the cessation of attack.
gesture speaks more sincerely to the desire for peace than if one side ends
wisdom has it that when two parties negotiate, they try to find common
ground and reasons to compromise. In reality his rarely works…the outcome
is a compromise, but it isn’t peaceful.
must begin with a recognition that your opponent has values very different
compromise is futile.
only we had known the enemy.” …almost no knowledge of the beliefs and
grievances…knew little about why they were fighting or how much resolve
they actually had. This ignorance played a huge part in war’s folly and
its tragic outcome. The way of peace tells us that we have to know the
values of our opponents, because otherwise we will never know what is
negotiable and what isn’t.
wars are started because both sides think they are in the right.
weight of judgment against them didn’t cause beneficial change. Instead it
forced a defensive posture and a refusal to negotiate. The way of peace
tells us that we can not hope to end any conflict as long as one side forces
the other into defending its values.
grow much worse when they turn into a battle of belief systems.
are the way we justify our whole way of life.
makes mere facts irrelevant. Fundamentalists…live in a world of
self-justified beliefs. Their fervent hope is that reality will conform to
their ideology…and when it doesn’t, they fight back.
ideal slowly turned into a lie. The way of peace is wise enough to tell us
that all ideology must be removed from negotiations if they are to reach a
realistic basis for going forward.
seem to be about anger but they are actually about fear. This is a hard fact
for combatants to face. In the name of toughness and invulnerability,
warring countries never admit how afraid they are of each other. It would
help if they did, because mutual fear can be addressed. You only have to
stop doing what frightens the other side.
sides have known forever that fear can be ratcheted up. Somehow we ignore
that knowledge. The way of peace brings it to the forefront. To live in fear
has no justification.
facing the factor of fear, nations could return to the real reason for life
itself, which is to pursue happiness and spiritual truth. If promoting fear
became inexcusable, wars would dissolve. All of them are in the service of
fear, whatever ideology or morality might say to the contrary.
the way of peace offers such clear solutions to conflict, why have we moved
in the opposite direction for so long?
we go deeper into the biology of war and peace, we find that it is just as
innate in us to be the opposite of aggressive over sexuality and territory.
is crucial in a balanced ecosystem.
broke through biology, therefore it’s not possible to claim that biology
way of peace doesn’t deny biology. It is unarguable that violence is part
of our nature.
pollutes the emotional body…
body at peace is not the same as the body at war. When we operate from our
war bodies, the world is not the same as when we operate from a body at
peace. In the former case we find there is danger and threat everywhere.
body at war is most damaged whenever three conditions are in force:
-The surrounding violence is inescapable.
-Bursts of violence come at random.
-One has no control over violence.
that can be used indiscriminately by the power-hungry.
body at peace is stronger than the body at war. When you can free yourself
of the random, uncontrollable stress that is always present, your body will
start to be at peace.
the power to change our bodies as much as violence, but in a positive
direction. People who feel loved live longer; have fewer colds, lower blood
pressure, and lower cancer rates; and have fewer heart attacks.
Putting the Body at Peace
dwell on stressful events
becoming addicted to bad news
fear in perspective (There is nothing to fear but fear itself—BS)
that positive outcomes are possible
how you feel with others; work together to change the stress
in control where you can. Don’t let chaos dominate
centered, and whenever you are thrown off center, take time to return there
an outlet for your anger and anxiety
a time of crisis, putting your body at peace can seem like a full-time job.
anyone else I have to fight the darkness.
only advantage over most people is that I know that I can’t let darkness
win, and my spiritual vision tells me that it wont.”
life is all about finding a center and holding on to it. Negativity can fell
like your center.
sucked into war hysteria reversed the process…no value in keeping up with
daily negative developments…went back to asking how he really wanted to
feel…stopped participating in the war mentally.
have to put your own body at peace, and then, in the absence of turmoil, you
can find out what you want to hold on to. Spirituality without a core of
peace is very limited.
body at peace…can serve as the vehicle for bringing the world back to
sanity. The bedrock argument here is that the body at peace is normal.
Whereas the body at war is not.
Chapter 12: Our Best Hope
do you do in a hopeless situation? How can hope come to your aid once again?
The way of peace has to answer these questions. Hope is emotionally
necessary in a crisis. It’s one of the chief ways our minds protect us.
emotions, including those opposed to hope, such as despair, fear, anger, and
a spiritual force.
person is without fear
is belief in an extraordinary outcome.
rekindle hope, one must find a path to the extraordinary. This requires a
shift in oneself…
to hope that (violence) will get better, we now know, is a way of enabling
especially needs to be treated with hope because at bottom a violent person
hopeless among us belong to a subculture, and the behavior of that
subculture has a life on its own.
trick here is not to despair…
going deeper into the spiritual value of hope… “The only prerequisite
for enlightenment is complete disillusion.” Illusion keeps us in the grip
of denial…spirit doesn’t need hope once it can have reality instead.
Hope is a false friend
it is a mask for denial
it is the same as apathy
it papers over conflicts
it coerces people to suffer in silence
it enables victimhood
it prevents realization
with real hope, the kind founded on self-knowledge.
best hope in any situation follows certain principles.
The best hope
an end to apathy
up to conflict
an end to silent suffering
the situation of victims
is the general belief that things will improve if one does nothing.
denial to say that your side of the dispute is always right and the other
side always wrong
denial to pretend that you are fearless
denial to claim that you are willing to pay any price…to get what you want
denial to act as if the other side doesn’t exist and has no right to speak
denial to say that you have nothing in common with your enemy
persists because nations hide behind these denials
have to feel for each other and see if our differences can be settled.
truism in therapy is that what you don’t acknowledge can’t be
understood, and what you don’t understand can’t be healed.
argument that violence must be met every step of the way with more violence
has proved disastrous throughout history.
you resist persists; what you feel, you can heal.
Inspiring an end to apathy
has been seen as a moral failing of a refusal to do your duty
often…apathy is a symptom of being overwhelmed.
in the form of emotional numbness, must be healed…
is present in everyone.
violence in this world isn’t committed by bad people. It is committed by
people who are expressing what’s inside themselves, and if what is inside
is rage and fear, the very effort to keep these feelings down will
eventually be the cause of their eruption. I’ve said that all wars are
eruptions from the unconscious. The conflict that gets all the headlines is
international war, but the inner war inside each individual is actually more
important. It is the seed from which all other conflicts grow.
course, our leaders refuse to admit any of this.
Bringing an end to silent
violence for what it is: a form of suffering. This is a difficult shift for
it take a saint to make the shift from moral outrage to compassion?
points arrive when we can make a choice not to suffer in silence. We then
strike a soul bargain that is fearful but necessary. The bargain is that
redemption is possible through love. The absence of love is absolutely the
problem, and love is absolutely the solution.
work is much more like working on clogged plumbing than it is like imitating
our souls each of us harbors the knowledge that only love is going to bring
violence to an end…our spiritual lives must remain devoted to that vision.
Changing the situation of
is the result of the conviction of injustice.
walk around every day harboring a set of beliefs that keep them stuck in
their status as victims:
What you have to face before you
completely innocent, I don’t deserve this.
was nothing I cold do about it
else is to blame
are just cruel sometimes
want to get back in control, but its hard
have to be on guard all the time now
could happen again, but I won’t let it
almost nothing I can do about this fear
must live every day as if death is stalking us constantly, for in fact that
simplest definition of a victim is this: someone who can’t stop being
truth life is neither fair nor unfair. The world is a reflection of who we
you can stop relating to the world through your trauma, there is hope that
you can begin to relate through your soul. Here is how the process needs to
wound is the problem
always takes time to recover from
you are not vigilant, it turns into part your identity, and then the danger
of relating to the world through this wound becomes sharper.
you are innocent. The attack against your sense of self has no
justification. But only a stronger sense of self is going to rescue you.
that reality is tangled serves you in your healing, because you can stop
yourself from pursuing the false hope that everything will one day be
revealed and straightened out.
is a deeper truth, which is that the soul has a clear vision of the way out.
You have to know this in advance to take advantage of it.
something is absolute consciousness, the pure state of being. Its essence is
your essence. Its intelligence is your intelligence. Its clarity and ability
to organize life are yours, also.
is the assurance that your connection to pure Being can never be lost; the
worst trauma in the world can’t harm Being by a single scratch.
Bringing about realization
know that you are the author of
your own life
realization is very much like control by the host. At some level we all know
everything, because we are nothing except pure consciousness.
know that there is equality among human beings, that there is a reality
beyond the physical, that nothing happens by chance. Those shining moments
that get labeled as epiphanies happen when we permit ourselves to know what
we already know.
the blazing Aha! of realization life becomes more real, not so much because
it changed but because we decided to relate to it differently.
powers are only unveiled when you give yourself permission to tap into them.
means…looking beyond goodness.
will make it a reality?
that only spiritual solutions will work
solutions only come about with a change in consciousness
change in consciousness happens one person at a time
is a spiritual law which states that we must celebrate our losses, for only
the unreal can be lost, and once it is gone, the real remains
way to enlightenment is through total disillusion.
will no longer be an ego driven personality.
won’t end from any other cure.
real work for peace is proceeding one person at a time and eventually
tipping the balance in the world.
is the time to use the secret hidden inside. You and I are nothing compared
to the huge machinery of mechanized death that has overwhelmed us. But we
know that our hidden secret is real, and we should celebrate: ours is the
one weapon that will surely blow up the monster.
to end war one person at a time
new idea is to bring peace one person at a time until the world reaches a
critical mass of peacemakers instead of warmakers.
Why ending war hasn’t worked
movements have tried three ways for bringing war to an end:
the approach of putting political pressure on governments that wage war.
Activism involves protests and public demonstrations, lobbying and political
commitment. Almost every war creates some kind of peace movement opposed to
has it failed?
the protesters are not heard.
they are worn down by frustration and resistance.
they are far outnumbered by the war interests in society.
their idealism turns to anger and violence.
has left us with the ironic picture of outraged peacemakers who wind up
contributing to the total sum of violence in the world.
second approach is humanitarianism,
the approach of helping the victims of war. Bringing relief to victims is an
act of kindness and compassion
effort is ongoing and attracts thousands of volunteers worldwide. Every
nation on earth approves of humanitarianism.
has it failed?
the humanitarians are wildly outnumbered by soldiers and warmakers
of finances…a tiny fractions of military budgets around the world.
the same countries that wage war also conduct humanitarian efforts, keeping
the two activities separate
humanitarians show up on the scene after the war has already begun.
third approach is personal
transformation, the approach of ending war one person at a time. The
prevailing idea is that war begins in each human heart and can only end
people have actually never heard of this approach.
has it failed?
nobody has really tried it
the change that you wish to se in the world.”—Mahatma Gandhi
Why war ends with you
approach of personal transformation is the idea of the future for ending
war. It depends on the only advantage that people of peace have over
warmakers: sheer numbers. If enough people in the world transformed
themselves into peacemakers, war could end. The leading idea here is critical
the time is right and enough people participate, critical mass can change
a person is established in nonviolence, those in his vicinity cease to feel
hostility.”—Patanjali, ancient Indian sage
The best reason to become a
you transform yourself into a peacemaker, you won’t become an activist
marching in the streets. You will not be anti anything. No money is
required. All you are asked to do is to go within and dedicate yourself to
now there are 21.3 million soldiers serving in armies around the world.
Can’t we recruit a peace brigade ten times larger?
hundred times larger?
effort begins now, with you.
way of peace is about more than deep reflection. Yet the path begins
What can I do?
your consciousness with other people.
a global community of peace cells.
whole point of a peace movement is to participate according to your ideal.
Peace is a vision, and visions must grow on their own, following one’s
inner desires. Right now the vision is a spark, but somewhere, sometime, the
spark will catch flame. I can’t say when that moment will be—it
could be with you. I hope so, because I know with certainty that there
is no stronger community than the invisible one created by people inspired
by their own higher purpose.