Ramblings of an Old Flower Child: Stepping Up for Peace
Do you want peace in your world? Really? If so, what do you think it would take to achieve that? Does your answer revolve around the world ‘out there’ or something closer to home? What if peace everywhere begins with you?
I am a great advocate of context. That is to say, we understand things within a network of variables. We are in relationship with everything. Using a metaphor, living beings we are grains of sand, on a beach with a ‘gazillion’ other grains of sand. While we may feel separate and individual, we are also part of a synergistic whole. Within and without the whole, forces at work influence various outcomes. One grain of sand, alone, doesn’t seem to amount to much. Yet as part of an aggregate, there exists a dynamic of strength and presence in that little corner of the world. The beach works on a different level yet exists by virtue of the minuscule grains of sand. There is great strength and purpose in the collective. You get the idea.
This image of the microcosm within the macrocosm works with all sorts of things, including the nature of human society. As an aggregate, we are in the throes of evolving consciousness, experienced as two polarities. One pole resonates with light and peace while the other is rife with fear and violence. Along that continuum, we choose what to accept or reject as appropriate behavior. We choose our friends, work and hobbies. We choose who to vote for to make decisions on a larger scale. How many of those choices are peaceful and how many involve violence? By violence, I am referring to everything from a guy secretly posting inappropriate ‘pics’ of his girlfriend to watching someone being assaulted. It includes all mental, emotional and physical aggression against any living being.
Within the dark contingent, the prevalence of violence is broadcast daily in the news. The Klu Klux Clan are still advertising their meetings on the front page of a newspaper in Georgia and mass murders in the U.S. are on the rise. Violence is created not only on the global level but also in the common person’s thoughts and actions. Indeed, it is the individual guy (and gal) at the bottom of the food chain that engenders the substance of human things on every level.
In the meantime, individuals think, talk and act according to beliefs they have formulated from an array of influences, developed over a lifetime. So what sort of perspective do you suppose that an advocate of peace would have? I envision equal access to resources and loads of kindness. Are you on board with that or are you, like too many of the people in the world, driven by, ‘What have you done for me lately?’ I can say that since our world continues to be invested in warring factions, both on the battlefields and in the boardrooms, many people resonate with some manner of violence. It is our legacy of our animalistic roots. What will it take for human beings to evolve?
I recently attended a Haven Society seminar for professionals, on violence. The speaker, Jackson Katz, spoke eloquently about his ‘Bystander Approach.’ Essentially, his platform called for everyone, especially men, to become aware of the epidemic of violence in North America. Our society is rife with images and projections of violence, particularly around masculinity. The recipe has precipitated a shocking level of complacency and acceptance of violence in many arenas, including social media, sports, politics and in the streets. Katz’s message was as clear as it was simple—notice when it’s happening. Take responsibility. Take action. The bystander, that includes each and every person who witnesses violence, is called to action. The most challenging part of letting go of violence includes letting go of the imperatives of ego. Katz is calling for everyone, especially men, to evolve their awareness. (Perhaps his gender will help to rally the troupes.)
My generation has been taught (at least in North America) that we are quite powerless in the grand scheme of things. All I have to do is look around me to see evidence of that. Apathy has the majority of Canadians not even voting. Control over our lives seems to be slipping through our fingers as we watch helplessly. The environmentally destructive Enbridge atrocity is typical of our current government’s betrayal of the people and our environment.
As demand on our time and energy increase, there seems less and less left for us personally. At the end of the business day it’s, well… the end of the day. When do most people find the time for meditation, family time, time to regain a sense of balance and/or time to breathe? The good news is that the new generation has a different take on things. They seem to have a more empowered sense of themselves as citizens. They are increasingly saying, ‘No.’
So there is a current swelling in the ranks of those who subscribe to the ‘light’ camp. President Evo Morales of Bolivia in an address to the United Nations on September 26, 2012 said, ‘…according to the Mayan calendar, December 21, 2012 marks the end of non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of the Macha and the beginning of the Pacha. It is the end of selfishness and the beginning of brotherhood. It is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism… the end of hatred and the beginning of love. The end of lies and the beginning of truth. It is the end of sadness and the beginning of joy. It is the end of division and the beginning of unity…’
I personally feel the progression of collectivism becoming increasingly evident in many facets of community—a dimension of the individual grain of sand becoming aware of itself as the beach. That’s perfect since I believe it is a measure of our evolution in awareness. In a social vein, flash mobs spontaneously belt out a song and message in public places while young people date in groups. Politically, people march in solidarity, protesting global economic control by the elite. In science, free ground breaking information is shared on the web. We are birthing communication and organizational tools in making things happen on an aggregate scale.
Again the driving force still comes down to individual awareness. As an exercise, try on the following: if you were to categorize the content of what you think about on a daily basis, what percentage of time is spent on being present, versus reflecting/regretting the past or projecting/being anxious about the future? I don’t know about you, but I sincerely work on this ‘deepening awareness’ business and I confess that I still spend a lot of time in the future or in the past. I suppose that the human species, in their self awareness, is at once blessed with the potential to evolve at the same time as cursed with the propensity to negate the only thing that is real—the present. What sorts of things do you think about every day? What are the salient themes of your thoughts?
I have heard that it only takes something like 350,000 people to get ‘it’ in order to cause a cascade of change and evolution of our species. On that note, I wrote the following in January, 2000.
…Imagine …an orchestra, known to have so much potential that all would be transformed by hearing its perfect melody. This orchestra is made up of countless numbers of gifted protégés, working at honing their own skills. They realize that their challenge, firstly and lastly, is to realize their OWN potential. When that sweet melody and pitch is achieved, after eons of striving for excellence, they are infused with a grace that lifts them out of the mundane. Their sound and energy resonates with everyone around them, fusing together the sparks of genius with the tide of destiny. In this way, the entire company undergoes a metamorphosis. One and all have fulfilled their purpose….
The lyrics of a well known Unity song are, ‘Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.’ Will you be one of those leaders? Or will you continue on as you have, year after year, doing the same thing? That way you can point your finger and chat about what those people over there are doing, those ‘others.’ You know them, the ones who are destroying the world.
I’ve said it before. Awareness is a terrible thing. It makes you responsible. Beyond evolving in awareness, peace in the world requires action. For you and me, it means making different choices on our little patch of beach. Is it possible for you to try volunteering in your community? What about advocating for kids or anyone who is being bullied? Would you consider supporting organizations like PETA that are doing work for the ethical treatment of animals? Have you thought of voting for a political party that is focused more on human rights and the well-being of the planet, rather than on balancing the budget? In a peaceful world, what would be different in what you are doing, thinking and feeling right now? n
Helena Green is a Registered Professional Counsellor in Nanaimo specializing in relationships, grief & loss, personal growth & seniors.