Is Peace Possible?
Lokaha samasta sukhino bhavanthu. May all beings, everywhere, be peaceful and free. This simple mantra is repeated daily by many a yogi, it is used to invoke vibrations of peace. Is it wishful thinking on the part of the person who repeats this chant that sending a certain vibration out into the atmosphere could actually have an effect? Is world peace possible? Is it something that humanity actually desires, to live among people of different origins and beliefs and not let these differences bother you? Does the human race tend to accept people who are "not in the group"?
At a glance, war has been part of human history since time immemorial. In general the best predictor of the future is the past, so one would conclude peace is not possible. You don't need to be an incredibly educated scholar to see the majority of humanity thinks and acts with a team mentality, excluding a person or group and setting themselves against the others. Inevitably arguments erupt within the groups, further segregating and ostracizing people seen as different. We have been walking the Earth for many years, you'd think we would be a little further along in the patience and acceptance departments.
The larger question at hand - "Is Peace Desired by Humanity?"
It isn't necessary to plumb the depths of history to come to the conclusion that conflict seems to be the desired outcome and here we are..... War, Genocide, Revolution on the world scale... divorce, pub brawls, and suicide on a small scale.
We, as a society, talk a good game. Meaning we speak of World Peace, donate money, participate in the yogic practices hoping to bring about peace and then, not 5 minutes off of our mats we are criticizing something or someone for being unacceptable or different.
If we look at current events we gravitate towards the extreme. It seems we have become immune to the scenes of horror that are flashed on the nightly news as the commentators pontificate about their version of what is right and wrong. The level of violence and bad behavior we are willing to accept is quite high. We don't recognize the damage done when we speak negatively about someone, when we team build against someone that we consider different. This somehow makes being in the middle of a conflict okay.
World Peace begins with Your Thoughts and Actions.
If there were a "Fear-ometer" attached to every single person, we would be more closely familiar with the bully who demeans and criticizes because his level of Fear is so high it is impossible for him to have a decent thought, a positive thought unless someone else is being demeaned. This is where we begin, the rule is simple… if you are having a negative thought, change the thought. If you have a negative thought and you have voiced this opinion to someone, you are team building and your thought is not based in reality. If you find yourself defending your negative thoughts and actions as though you were defending your child or best mate, now you are in trouble. It is necessary to divorce your self from this thought process. These little things that seem harmless have a huge effect on the energy we put out.
One person or a small group can cause huge change in society at large. When one person gives blood, it makes a difference to the whole, when one family recycles paper and plastics, it makes a difference, when one person decides to stay quiet when a negative thought comes to mind, it contributes to world peace. We have examples in history of people who have vigilantly stuck to their positive ideals and morals… they are the men and women who changed the world.
A closer look at world history reveals these "Guardians of Peace" who have devoted their lives to non-violence in an effort to uphold ideals of mutual respect and human rights. These great souls are found in every generation and are from every continent. In general the Peacemakers are not accepted in society at large. It would seem that militaristic, warring leaders are more within our comfort zone.
Wayne Dyer says "We honor our living conformists and our dead trouble makers." This statement hits home when we consider the lives of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Jr, Mahatma Gandhi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Rosa Parks, Henry David Thoreau and Jesus Christ, to name only a few. All of them were either beaten, jailed or put to death because of their ideals. Most of them have lost their lives due to their unyielding allegiance to non-violent ways.
The effectiveness of non-violent protests has been tested through the centuries and proven to be successful. In general, as the peace warrior begins to make headway among the masses, the resistance against peace becomes greater and then tragedy strikes and the peaceful leader is gone. The untimely deaths of these peaceful leaders seems to propel their efforts forward and over time the change occurs. This is not the outcome that was desired by the oppressor. But considering most of these guardians had millions of people following them, it makes sense.
The conclusion is that a good brain enema is quite necessary if we are going to become positive forces in society rather than the television caricatures we have settled into. Every popular book at the moment deals with the same material… as you think, so shall you be. You think it, you become it. If you ponder having positive and fun relationships with your neighbors and friends, the situation will appear. When you spend time thinking about the way a television character puts her husband in his place and how cool she is because she is so cheeky, you become it, the problem is that the situation does not work in real life.
The 14th Dalai Lama outlines a path to peace in his millennium message:
"It is my belief that the lack of understanding of the true cause of happiness is the principal reason why people inflict suffering on others. Some people think that causing pain to others may lead to their own happiness or their own happiness is of such importance that the pain of others is of no importance."
The Dali Lama goes on to say that
"There is a Paradox of our age:
We have more conveniences and less time
More degrees and less sense
More knowledge and less judgment
We have been to the moon and back but can't cross the street to meet our neighbor
These are times of fast food and slow digestion
Tall men and short character
Steep profits and shallow relationships
It is a time where there is much in the window and nothing in the room."
The Dalai Lama has assured the continuation of his teachings by empowering individuals with information and stressing education as a remedy for our current global situation.
We have quickly and happily moved to a world acceptance view when it comes to spending money. We happily purchase goods from all over the world and the color, religion, and beliefs of the seller don't even cross our minds. We brag about an E-bay purchase that came from the other side of the world, while at the same time holding many grudges against the prevailing religious beliefs of the region. But when it comes to actually living alongside someone of a different race, color or creed, there is a problem. When we can see the differences, our minds run amok with fear and hatred and a desire to eradicate the other human, with no knowledge whatsoever of the true nature of the person.
To strive towards peace in the world, strive towards peace in your life. Think before you speak, keep your mind free of negativity. Practice being silent and listening to others. Really hearing what they have to say. Relinquish control of situations, let them play out as naturally as possible. The outcome of your life is designed in your mind, keep steady with your goals and think of them often. Your goal can be big or small…. world peace or lose ½ a stone… the size of the goal doesn't matter. Plant the seed in your mind, visualize it, keep your thoughts clean and shiny, do your practice with a good intention, eat healthy food and all good things are coming your way.
Lokaha samasta sukhino bavanthu
Born in an orphanage in the US to an Italian mother, Cassandra was adopted two years later by an American family. She currently teaches in France, where she and her daughter live.
Reprinted with permission from Namaskar.