Why peace work rarely gets anywhere

My ego asks, ‘What is the point in living if I can not control the world?’, ‘What is the point in life if I cannot leave some kind of indelible mark which says clearly to all who live after me – Trevor lived, Trevor was great, Trevor made the world greater, He is immortal! Worship him!’

That is what my ego asks.

In truth, trying to control the world in any way can only create suffering because it is illusory. A greater understanding of life and a greater impact for good of all can only come through admitting to myself that these things are impossible if I try to make them real. If it try to make the good of all, I will fail. If I try to understand the meaning of life, I will fail. If I do not try, I am more likely to succeed.

We are angry with the military control paradigm – full of people having a certain determination to impose their own control mechanisms on the world. But we do not see so clearly that peace work is quite often a diametric opposite of this. Peace makers still want to have a determination on the world, and this comes from ego. Grabbing, wanting, demanding a different reality to what is – even if the motive is pure in wanting military people to desist, or wanting less innocent civilians killed by armed UAV’s.

An endless cycle of wanting to control the controllers ensues. We end up chasing our own tails like mad dogs.

It’s illusory. There is not peace making, only peace being.

There are no training courses, no seminars, no field work, no political uprisings, and no books or blogs that can grasp this reality about peace.

Peace is as simple as being a whole person, being just what I am, doing what I do mindfully. Mindfulness is very hard, but it is also very simple; and the most natural thing in the world.

We will never know peace as a species unless we can overcome our egos. Without ego, there is no peace work to do.

IN the end, peace work is just another way of wanting to control the world, and peace being manifests an apparently different reality. It seems otherworldly, miraculous. But really being peace is nothing more than life without illusion. The kingdom of heaven is always near, just like this.

Try to make peace, and you will make temporary gains. But you will not cure the cause of conflict, which starts as a dis-ease of the human psyche; a sickness of the heart. Sooner or later there will be another despot, another secret cabinet, another piece of warfare technology.

We can pamphleteer, campaign, march, lobby, rise up, revolt. These things must go hand in hand with living out a different way.

Being the very peace we want in the world is the best way to bring more peace into the world. That is not ‘peace as I see it’, so much as life without illusion, and without ego.

Discipline and persistence are needed. Overcoming ego is extremely difficult to do. But possible.

I have a shaman friend who said one night that our species is probably still a thousand years away from evolving out of our sensed need for conflict with each other. He may be right.


Our minds are pre-wired for self-deception

The title of this blog is a paraphrase of something Michael Dowd said last week in a telecast for intergralenlightenment.com (series: the way of the evolutionary man).

To prove this point, he referred to online resources such as this one, which map out scientifically the different ways we create self illusion for very good evolutionary reasons.

No more messiahs

Indeed, I have noticed that it is often when we don’t have real conviction in the possibility of evolutionary change that we start reaching for revolutionary messianic movements. It may be the global promise of 2012, or the Harmonic Convergence, or some sort of “Earth Change” or massive one-time universal “shift” that will pave the way to the future, but it will definitely be something. In that respect, I see many Besants in our own time, individuals who have a deep desire for change, and a passion to see things truly improve on this delicate third rock from the sun. These are often the same people who have worked hard for noble causes that are slow to take root in our culture. Read more>

Atoning for evil karma

“The river laughed. Yes, that was how it was. Everything that was not suffered to the end and finally concluded, recurred, and the same sorrows were undergone.”
Hermann Hesse, ‘Siddhartha’ (1922)

“It’s a long, long Way,
‘Cause I’ve been there before,
And I ain’t goin’ back there no more”
Seasick Steve, ‘Long Long Way’ (2011)

Atoning for past karma, in Buddhism, is for me at least a process of having to be awake to the grim process of the desires of old karma, while also being awake to what these desires result in, and being awake to a better way.

Old formulations are easy and automatic no matter how dysfunctional they are. Wanting to live in anxiety of the presumed expectations of others (‘never good enough’), in earnest of myself (‘is this right’), in low self-esteem (‘of course not good enough’), in expecting punishment for the sake of punishment (‘hell is where I belong’). These are all automatic patterns. But they are all also harmful, and dysfunctional.

There is no other way to a better way, than to go through this process of change. And ‘going through it’ is the same thing as atoning. Having distance from the old dysfunctional patterns, recognising them when they arise, being aware of a different response, learning to take that new response.

I misunderstood ‘to atone’ before because that is a word used in Christianity; often to mean saying sorry to God. Truly atoning is not saying sorry to anybody or anything, but simply committing to the process of change from negative karma. Saying sorry makes no difference at all, whether it is to God, or to an ant!

Buddha confirms that attaining Enlightenment is a very difficult thing to achieve. Persistence is required, and it is easy to lose nerve. He is also very clear. When we lose nerve and go back to the automatic and comfortable ways, they do not stay comfortable. So it is that we trap ourselves in a karmic cycle. Ever repeating itself because we are afraid to move on.

There is much less pain, and much more freedom, to be had with just a little persistance. Not persistance at doing ‘right’, but persistance through the grim challenge of re-living our own karmic causes and effects whilst also being awake to them and realizing a different manner altogether.

But I’ve read many people say this, and not understood it until now. Only now is this a lived reality. And that’s the funny thing about the Way.

Just so many words on a blog. There’s a sunset outside, and small birds are singing.