I was talking with some friends a few days back and the subject of the recent beheadings of Western hostages came up. Several of them mentioned that the only answer was a severe and immediate military strike against the perpetrators. I didn’t say much at the time, but the conversation stayed with me and the more I thought about it, the more troubled I was by the “few alternatives other than more violence” stance that seems to be the shared belief from the highest levels in our government down to the man and woman on the street.
I’m a US military veteran. I willingly served my country and at one time I believed that nothing short of a strong defense was necessary to preserve the peace in our land. As a lifelong student of history and with the advantage of some years behind me, I no longer hold the same views that I did when I was on active duty. I cannot find any lasting value derived from the deaths of the almost 60,000 Americans lost in Vietnam, nor in any of the subsequent and on-going conflicts. We may have looked strong, and tough – and killed 3, 10 or 25 times more “of them” than they killed of ours, but in terms of resolving anything that rises to the value of the lives lost, I just can’t see it.
My thoughts about the military, meeting violence with violence, and war came full circle in this past week as I returned to the place I lived when serving in the military, and then came home to the report in ArmyTimes about the possibility of attacks on military families here in the United States.
How did we get here?
WWI was billed as the “war to end all wars” but in truth, the ceasefire that was enacted at “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” that led to the signing of an armistice, set in motion the perfect stage for the next world war. A large factor in the rise of the Third Reich in Germany and the subsequent global war was the implementation of severe punitive actions set forth in the Versailles Treaty. Although not an excuse for anything done in the name of Nazi Germany, many have wondered with the advantage of hindsight, if the Allies’ treatment of a defeated Germany in the aftermath of WWI set the ground work for the atrocities that followed in WWII.
Violence begets violence, and hate begets hate. This lesson seems to evade even the most intelligent leaders on this planet for generation after generation continues to sacrifice its young to causes that pit one side of humanity against another.
Politically-speaking, it appears to be next-to-impossible to have rational and reasonable conversations about the futility of war since your opponents will immediately brand you as weak and unfit for service to the country.
As I sat on that faraway beach where I once served, contemplating my life; my oneness with Spirit and the Universe, this planet and everyone on it,… the seed of an idea began to form in my mind.
Science tells us that the universe that we see and inhabit was formed when a sudden expansion blew the infinitesimally-small singularity into an expanding universe that we now call “home”. In New Thought parlance when we say that we are One with everything, science seems to back this up with some pretty intense mathematical calculations.
It’s pretty easy to think of ourselves as one with flowers, sunshine, apple trees and the rhythmic waves of the ocean. It’s harder to reconcile that we are also one with our enemies – even the ones that mean to do us great harm. When we accept and acknowledge that Oneness, how then can we support violent responses to threats of violence? For me, it’s counter-intuitive.
What is the answer?
The only answer to any of life’s challenges is love, so I’m proposing that we need to LOVE people who are perhaps very difficult to love right now. As spiritual pioneers and leaders in transformative living I am suggesting a full-scale love launch on the challenges we are experiencing in the Middle East. We can dedicate a portion of each Sunday service to a peaceful and loving meditation for all people in the countries that seem to spawn the most terrorists; we can sponsor talks that include peace-loving members of your communities from the Muslim faith; we can talk about the concepts of unity among all peoples and make sure that we’re modeling this in our congregations, our Spiritual Organizations, our communities at work and in our homes.
We can treat for peace and love in the hearts of generals, soldiers and citizens on all sides of this issue; we can know that all people are beloved creations of Divine Law, and we can remember that true abundance means living in peace and harmony with our neighbors in local communities and across the globe.
We can write Op-Ed articles and submit them to our local papers, and we can counter hate talk when we hear it among our friends, neighbors and family members.
I have had the great fortune of knowing a number of people from countries in the Gulf Arab states and the Middle East. They love, laugh, cry, hope, dream and grieve like we do. We are more alike than we are different, and the sooner we know this the sooner the violence can end, for all of us.
Join me in taking the next step toward peace with our fellow travelers in the Middle East; share your stories of sowing seeds of peace and check back here for updates on how others are sowing seeds of peace in their communities and the world.
And so It is.
A Meditation for Peace
There is One God; one infinite Spirit known by many names to many people. I Am one with this Spirit who expresses in me and through me as I make my unique contributions to this world. I know that what truly blesses me, blesses everyone and that my highest Good aligns with the highest Good for all. Right here and right now I hold together in my heart, the people of this country and of the Middle East. As sisters and brothers of our shared Divine family, I know that as we seek God in our own unique and individual way, we are striving for the highest and best for our lives, our families and our communities. I celebrate the many varieties of our divine expression and know that we all live harmoniously on this planet we call home, in peace, in love and in respect for each other. I feel a great sense of well-being fall over my heart, the hearts in this country and across the globe as people everywhere look anew at each other through the eyes of shared humanity and love. I Am grateful for the healing power of love, and for the Good that exists on this planet in the hearts of us all. I give thanks for the expression of this Good in us, and through us; the concrete evidence of Spirit’s presence reflected in our individual contributions to all that is the highest and best across our human family. We are One in life, love, light, power, peace, beauty, and joy. And so It is.