Posts Tagged ‘peace’

The presence of peace

July 16, 2011

World peace is possible. Just do things my way.

Frequently, I make the mistake of listening to the news. I occasionally read the news magazines.

Neither is full of sunshine.

Both are overflowing with violence towards ourselves.

My limited scientific knowledge of how we are all interconnected speaks to the truth that we are One. When we attack and harm another, we are essentially waging war against ourselves. If I commit an act of violence against another person, it is my own internal angst that makes me lash out. Something has disturbed my sense of peace and well-being. Self-defense and sociopathy aside, it is the fundamental lack of peace within each one of us that is a prime motivator to violence against ourselves.

I test this constantly. Anytime I feel anger and a desire to lash out at another, I find it is rooted in fear, a disruption of my internal sense of peace. As I listen to the news and hear about the inability of people to resolve their problems without harming another, I feel scared, helpless, and alone.

I wonder: What if each person found their peace within themselves? If we stay centered in our peace, perhaps we would lose our fear. In its place would be trust in oneself and the greater One that we are all motivated from our sense of personal peace. Of course, that fantasy fills me with peace. The problem is that it relies upon the actions of others. It is dependent upon how others are in the world, not how I am in the world. The real test is whether I can maintain my peace even within the greatest of fears. My honest self-assessment acknowledges that I would commit violence to defend the lives of myself and those I love. That includes fighting for food, water, shelter, and safety (first and second in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs). And when I think about our world situation, I get the feeling that our violent behavior is born because we don’t feel safe. We want to assure ourselves that we will have enough food and water. There are people who will put up with atrocious acts committed against them just so they can maintain their food and water supply.

The reality is that there is enough food and water in the world to take care of everyone. That we misuse our water supply and grow food to capitalize wealth is our shame.

We created the games and rules of societal living. We created the system of money and wealth. We created the root of our fear.

Maybe it is time to create something else.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

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The presence of spiders

April 3, 2011

Arachnophobics beware. I am a big fan of spiders. I am, however, happy to love them and cheer them on from a distance.

Of all the insects, spiders are perhaps the most shy and prefer to have nothing to do with humans. If they venture into your house, they hide in dark, undisturbed places, spinning their tiny webs and nabbing other pesky insects. I once lived with what I will call a “fly spider.” He (or she, I never got close enough to check it out) lived on my ceilings and spun webs close to doorways trapping the flies who would zoom in as I came and went. Because the fly spider stayed on the ceiling and I stayed on the floor, we maintained an excellent relationship for over two years.

When I was about 10 years old, I invaded their world by creeping outdoors with my flashlight before dawn to explore what the world was like in the dark. Before you go freaking out imagining all sorts of dangers lurking in the shadows prepared to pounce upon me, know that I haven’t been 10 years old in at least 40 years and I lived on an army base. And I never went much further than my own back yard. I didn’t need to. I found the most spectacular spider webs carefully crafted between bushes and trees, with the creator nestled snugly in the center patiently waiting for that tremble signaling prey had landed. I would go back later in the day only to discover no traces of the web or the spider.

Knowing what I know about spiders, I was surprised when I saw one scuttling across the floor the other day during a yoga session. I was perfectly fine with allowing the spider to continue its way to its intended destination, but the man next to me was not. He screamed, jumped up, grabbed his shoe, and started pounding the spider, yelling the entire time, until it was nothing more than a pasty dark mass. Please understand we had the spider outnumbered. There were ten of us. It was the middle of the day with bright sunlight streaming through the windows. I think the spider was searching for some darkness (it found the ultimate darkness, that’s for sure). It certainly was not looking to attack any of us.

While that man was responding as many other people do when they see a spider, I now view him in a very different way than I did before I witnessed that event. I understand that people, when in the midst of their phobias, lose control of their responses. But, he could have chosen a different response. He could have moved away. Or, done nothing. The spider was going to bypass him. As he sat back down, he said “I hate spiders.” I want to say he acted out of his fear, but instead of acknowledging he was afraid, he could only acknowledge how his fear manifested – in the form of hate.

Some fears of getting bit by spiders are well-founded. The brown recluse and black widow are poisonous to humans. If a brown recluse or black widow take up residence in your home, feel free to escort them quickly outdoors or, in some cases, the next iteration of their existence. That is taking good care of you. Of course, if you really want to be magnanimous, you can leave the spider there and you can find a new home.

Just kidding.

This episode brought home to me how the world manifests its fear of others by telling ourselves we hate someone else and need to attack and kill them before they attack and kill us. Maybe the topic of fear should be the first thing discussed at peace negotiations.

©2011 by Barbara L. Kass

Walking gratitude

June 2, 2010

Gratitude is a tough walk to take at 3:00 a.m.

At 3:00 a.m., the ghosts of past decisions come to visit. Each and every one of those decisions brought me to this space in my life. I look at the coming day and realize that not everything that is going on in my life is the way I like it, but I am happier than I have ever been.

That I set it all in motion becomes acutely clear – so sharp in my vision that I have to sometimes look away. I am not ready to see all of me just yet.

I am willing to see that I make all of the choices and decisions to be working and living where I am. Every day, I choose this path for many different reasons, and some of those decisions are made unconsciously. As my unconscious self slowly wakes up, I am meeting the self I am who desires peace and happiness.

At 3:00 a.m., I am not quite sure where I will find peace and happiness. All of my lessons in being powerless have taught me that peace and happiness are not “out there” even if I perceive others in the world as having more than their fair share. Still others have so much pain and sorrow, I feel guilty for having any joy.

It is easier to talk gratitude than to walk gratitude. My unconscious self who gave up peace and happiness in favor of guilt and inadequacy knows all the reasons, and I do not need to resolve all of those issues before I walk this path of gratitude presence. The wisdom of my eternal presence reminds me that this walk I am taking, this time of waking up, is happening within me. Within me is the path to peace and happiness – within my thoughts, within my feelings, within my actions, within my responses. Who I am becoming is reflected for others to see and perceive however they choose.

It is time to be the word and today the word is gratitude.

©2010 Barbara L. Kass