“Do we just sit here and do nothing?”
Sometimes people make snide remarks about how meditation and prayer are not going to help, and that is okay. Those people really don’t bother me.
They may know more than I do.
In this blog, I’d like to invite you to come along with me and explore three ideas;
1) There is a Pete Seeger meme going around that says, “It is very important to learn to talk with people who you disagree with.” My question in response would be, “What if they don’t want to talk?”
2) What about defending myself? Is there ever a time when violence is the only answer?
3) Last but certainly not least, I’d like to talk about the idea of “dualism.” We know that everything in the Universe has its opposite. We know that without one, you cannot have the other. Such as the idea that if there was no “evil,” then there would be no, “good.” Lao Tzu said that each relies upon the other. Some teachers have told us that in the extreme, the two aren’t as far apart as we might like to think. In order to be a “good guy,” there must be a “bad guy.”
1 and 2 sort of fit together. While it is very important to us to learn “Compassionate Communication,”(I highly recommend reading “How God Changes Your Brain” by Andrew Newborn and Mark Robert Waldman) there are times when this is impossible, because the other side is unwilling to talk, negotiate, or compromise.
What to do then? What do you do when someone means to bring you harm and you know it, and there is unwillingness on the other side to try come up with a peaceful solution?
In her book, Peace in Times of War,” (I highly recommend this one too) the Buddhist teacher Pema Chodrin tells us that in society, we must have laws. She also tells us that there may be times when we may need to incarcerate someone, for the protection of citizens.
Chodrin makes a major point in her book about “keeping an open heart.” She says, “You may have to incarcerate them, but you do not have to close your heart to them.”
I have to say that it is certainly just to protect ourselves. And ideally, we could do that with an open heart.
If we take a current issue such as ISIS into consideration, we see a group of people who is intending on hurting us. They will not talk or seek a peaceful solution. They seek to terrorize us when and where we least expect it, and have commenced to doing so.
So then they must be exterminated. This becomes obvious pretty quickly when we see situations such as the incidents in Paris, Kenya, Beirut, and now on American soil in California.
They present a further problem because we don’t know which Muslim’s are the “good guy,” and which are the “bad guy.” Certainly there are many of the Muslim faith that openly mourn with us at each incident.
When a “good Christian man” decides to bomb an abortion clinic, we don’t go on a crusade against all Christians.
When a white kid commits an atrocity such as the one in Charleston this year, we don’t kill all white kids.
But the difference is that the Muslims are from that “other” place. They are a different color, usually from a different country of origin, and so they all become, “This could be one of them!”
Thus, do we agree that we should seek out ISIS and exterminate them? Can you kill a man or a group of men, meanwhile keeping an open heart? Is this what has to be done in order to protect innocent citizens? Is there a time when violence is the only answer?
Number 3 is a common idea about the dualistic nature of the Universe. We are taught that each has its opposite, and that one could not exist without the other.
This totally wipes out any idea of a Utopian Society or of world peace. It says that there cannot be world peace, because if there were no “evil,” then there would be no way to gage “good.” Or in other words, you cannot have one team, without the other team.
This is something that I would really like to see some dialogue about because in the New Thought world, we are taught that we do not recognize sin, or sickness, or any such thing. We see only God everywhere in every situation.
I get that, but what if God has a gun pointed at your head and is fixing to pull the trigger? What if God is in Times Square with an AK-47 and an explosive vest on? I have digressed back to 1 and 2 but am sure that you are following me here.
In a nutshell:
A) Is it okay to protect ourselves from people who will not bend to seek a peaceful solution?
B) If not, then why? If so, then how?
C) What are your thoughts on the possibility of obtaining world peace, as opposed to the idea of duality?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama recently told us, “God didn’t create terrorism, so stop praying to Him and asking Him to stop it.”
So what do we do?
I thank you in advance for your comments and dialogue. Perhaps we should start a Facebook group? These issues need to be addressed and I know that each of you are as deeply saddened by these senseless acts of violence as I am.
And a big thanks to my friend Reverend Kelly Isola for her blog that got me going on all this.
Much love and many blessings,