Saturday, September 09, 2006

Be Peace

Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
– Martin Luther King

All of us can play an important part in the conquest of violence. We can do this by throwing our full weight behind peaceful, effective programs for eliminating the situations from which violence arises. But just as importantly, we need to do everything we can to remove every trace of hostility in ourselves.

The violence that is flaring up on our streets and in many corners of the world is the inevitable expression of the hostility in our hearts. Hostility is like an infectious disease. Whenever we indulge in a violent act or even in hostile words, we are passing this disease on to those around us. When we quarrel at home, it is not just a domestic problem; we are contributing to turmoil everywhere.

A teacher of meditation in ancient India, Patanjali, wrote that in the presence of a man or woman in whom all hostility has died, others cannot be hostile. In the presence of a man or woman in whom all fear has died, no one can be afraid. This is the power released in true nonviolence, as we can see in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Because all hostility had died in his heart, he was a profound force for peace.
--Eknath Easwaran

It's easy to find contempt, hostility, and hatred almost everywhere, including here in cyberspace. They are like a raging pandemic that infects our hearts and minds and whose outward symptoms of violence destroy our world, our quality of life, and our lives themselves. It isn't nearly as easy to find compassion, lovingkindness, respect, and resulting peace within and without. But if there is an ultimate antidote to hatred and violence in the world, it is surely not more hatred and more violence--which act, at best, as temporary palliatives and, at worst, destroy everyone affected--it is King's "method of love" that first sweeps through, fills, and vitalizes our individual hearts and minds and then innoculates those with whom we come in contact at home, in our communities, at work, and on the Internet.

As Thich Nhat Hanh says, if we want peace, we must BE peace.

29 comments:

A. Foole said...

Right on! I love bin Laden!

Nagarjuna said...

Good for you, my friend! You realize that hating bin Laden won't stop him (or his supporters) from hating and acting hatefully toward us and won't augment our happiness, that we can know the peace and joy of loving bin Laden's divinely human essence while still deploring the way pathology has perverted his humanity into fanaticism and murderous violence, and that we can still endeavor to bring him to justice for the crimes resulting from that perversion. In biblical terms, we can love the sinner but still hold him accountable for his sin.

A. Bigger Foole said...

Hey, it worked for the Dalai Lama.

Nagarjuna said...

WHAT "worked for the Dalai Lama," my friend?

a. nujragan said...

You know, loving the evil Chinese communists. That's how he got his country back. Didn't you hear?

Nagarjuna said...

What would good would he do himself or anyone else by hating the Chinese?

amal ialad said...

Exactly. It wouldn't make any difference, any more than loving them would make a difference, because morality involves actions, not feelings. Solipsistic talk about loving evil people is just selfish and immoral in the absence of moral action.

Nagarjuna said...

If hating the Chinese wouldn't make any difference, why not love them and, at the very least, know the inner peace and joy of love rather than the soul-destroying turmoil of hatred? And if enough people 'loved and did what they willed,' is it possible that there might not be so much temptation to hate?

amal ialad said...

There is nothing soul-destroying about hating evil. God requires it. What is most definitely soul-destroying is divorcing love from truth, goodness and beauty, for loving what is evil is as dysfunctional as "knowing falsehood" or "venerating ugliness." It is a hideously backward metaphysic that could only be hatched by spiritually bereft souls in the end times of the Kali yuga.

Enjoy your narcoleptic inner peace. For those of us in the real world, spiritual growth is a battle of unseen warfare against powers and principalites who may range freely so long as the weak willed and empty headed only love them.

Nagarjuna said...

Must one hate the person who does evil to hate the evil that he does? Must one hate the evil that he does to defend against it with maximum efficacy? Do you honestly believe that if we only increase our hatred of those who do evil against us and the ferocity of our violence against them, we will somehow wipe them out and stamp out evil, or will our hateful violence against them only spawn more of the same from more of them against us and destroy us from without as well as from within?

amal ialad said...

You are missing the point entirely. Again, your feelings are of no consequence whatsover, so long as you recognize evil and fight it. If you wish to love evil, that is your business. Just don't be like the Dalai Lama, and act on your feelings, for that is how evil flourishes.

Nagarjuna said...

Am I missing the point, or are YOU the one who's missing it, my friend? Would you rather feel hatred or love? Which do you think is better for your psychological and physical health and well-being? If neither hating nor loving your enemy will make him do good to you, why not love him and at least do good to yourself?

On the other hand, if someone hates you enough to want to do evil to you, and the way you feel about him DOES have an effect on how he feels about and acts toward you, are you more likely to dispel someone's hatred and evil intentions with hatred of your own, or with love?

amal ialad said...

It is not about what I would rather feel, it's what God wants. You can continue to worry about your feelings and whether or not they are hurting your mental and physical health, but that's hardly the point of religion. I believe your approach will be metaphysically fruitless, but I have no desire to try to change someone who is at peace with God. Good day.

Nagarjuna said...

Where, my friend, do you have it on good authority that "God wants" and that the "point of religion" is for us to hate people? Even if you say that God wants us to fight evil, does this necessarily mean that we should also hate the actual or would-be evildoer or, for that matter, the evil that he does, especially if, as you say, it makes "no difference" how we feel about him or it in terms of whether he commits it or not?

Counter Mag said...

Is it possible to love someone and still put a bullet in their head?

Counter Mag said...

If we choose to follow this teaching of pacifism, we too can be overrun by an aggressive military power that will then outlaw the teaching of all pacifistic religions.

Counter Mag said...

My friend.... what EXACTLY do you mean when you call someone that!

Jess said...

Agreed!

Shirley said...

Would you please stop with all the insincere "my friend" b.s.? It's wearing a bit thin.

Finding Fair Hope said...

Shirley, you hit on a style point that bothers me on this blog too. I am very interested in nagarjuna -- he approaches every comment with fairness and an open mind, but occasionally he goes (in my opinion) too far by commenting on his own ability to be "fair and balanced" by adding that unnecessary "My friend." I can do without the frequent "Namaste" too, but that's Steve, and it's his blog.

Let's say we're all seeking facets of the truth, Steve most of all, and this is a place where we see him take slings and arrows from lesser souls sometimes.

shirley said...

I believe the motivation behind Steves usage of "my friend" was succinctly described by the first countermag comment in the "Replies to comments on yesterdays post" entry.

Nagarjuna said...

No, Shirley, it wasn't. My motivation is what I explained it to be.

shirley said...

It's obvious to everyone but you.

Nagarjuna said...

It must be wonderful to know other people better than they know themselves.

counter mag said...

Steve is not a pacifist. He's a passive aggressivist. That's why he prefaces everything with the "my friend" nonsense, so he can deny the aggressive vibe that everyine picks up except for him. So yes, in that sense, any remotely sensitive person knows Steve better than Steve does.

Nagarjuna said...

Maybe those who think they see aggression in my words are really seeing more of it in themselves and projecting it onto me than they're seeing in me.

counger mag said...

Yes, what you say might have a modicum of plausibility if you hadn't written many times of how your aggressiveness has caused problems in your life. We, on the other hand, have never had such problems, so it would be a remarkable conincidence if we were to suddenly begin projecting our aggression into you, of all people.

Yes, my friend, calling everyone "my friend" in order to paper over internal reality is about as effective as closing your eyes to make external reality go away. Good luck with it.

Nagarjuna said...

Of what "problems with aggressiveness" have I written "many times" that have "never" plagued you and your fellow mind-readers?

Counter Mag said...

My friend, the countermaggers are pure, and psychic. :0
And it is easier to "see" others than to "see" ourselves.