Peace Within You

1092-relax-and-succeed-if-you-want-to-become-fullInvitations and violations. Invitations to love, to health, to compassion. Violations of love, of health, of compassion. That is the only two actions you take each day. Nonviolence, or violence. Embracing the soul or violating it.

Can you see that each exercise this week focused on a different aspect of reality? You see these as; how you speak to others, what you think of others, and what you think of yourself. But there are only others in the world of ego.

In the world of spirit reality is one continuous whole, as it is with a baby; where they can’t even recognise themselves in mirrors. They can’t think enough to draw ephemeral lines through reality; they can’t see themselves as separate. You need to think to be lonely. You need to think to be depressed. You need to think to suffer.

1092-relax-and-succeed-revolving-sun-moon-yin-yangAre you beginning to grasp the idea of yin and yang now? Your ego thinks it’s good and bad, but in reality it is nonviolence and violence, light and dark, this side and that side. It is necessary for reality to exist, and yet we are propelled by love and togetherness, which is why we feel unloved and alone when we’re in pain.

How can we create love unless there is space to create it in? And if this space can be filled with love, then it must begin with no love. If it is filled with violence, then it can become nonviolent. Nothing is wrong in this scenario. We are simply in motion. We are one. Your goodness is tied to badness. You cannot care for a loved one in pain unless the loved one is first in pain. You cannot fall in human love without also ensuring you experience the pain of love lost.

Yin and yang. Nothing is wrong. And yet you have a purpose. You get lost in the dark and you move toward the light.

1092-relax-and-succeed-extra-extraToday your meditation is to incorporate an appreciation for the reality of oneness into your daily life. You normally discuss the dark side. You complain, but you tell yourself you’re positive because you’re arguing to make you or the world better, but negativity is negativity. Love makes it better. Love doesn’t ask others to change. Love accepts and recognises the incredible value within each and every person.

The meditation looks like this; every time someone says something bad about the world your meditation is to find some way to not violate or deny their feelings, and yet convert the discussion to a more positive view. You also want to do this inside your own head, and you want to do it when you attack others and when you attack yourself, because in spiritual reality those are all one thing.

No matter how old you are the world has gotten massively better in your lifetime. The news and social media are products designed to sell you fear and loathing. They are violent forces in our society and both present a warped image of the world back to the viewer. There must be something wrong with you or your life if you need their product to improve or fix it.

1092-relax-and-succeed-the-world-is-full-of-good-peopleTo quote from a recent episode of Ideas on the subject of peace, the facts are quite different from your beliefs: The world has never been richer, healthier, better-connected, or safe. The number of conflicts around the world have dropped radically. 75 years ago it was 240 people per million who were killed in conflict, today only 11 people per million are killed in conflict.

At the turn of the previous century, 90% of the world was considered poor or very poor; today it’s 11%. 100 years ago 85% of the world was illiterate. Today 85% can read and write. Disease deaths are down or even eliminated. Even terrorism dropped by 15% last year. The news sells fear. The truth is that humans have done really well at caring for other humans.

You job today is to simply begin acting like you actually live in our current nonviolent reality, instead of the violent delusional world of ego and fear. If your eyes are truly open you will see evidence of this truth everywhere you look. Enjoy.

peace. s

Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.

Bombing for Peace

Can you explain to my brother that you can’t just bomb all the terrorists to death? It drives me crazy that his idea of making peace is to kill everyone that disagrees with him.

Frustrated Sister

Dear Brother of Frustrated,

If you’re actually reading this then let me start off by thanking you for being an open-minded person. It’s always baffled me how people could argue they were smart, and yet they were so closed-minded that they effectively prevented themselves from learning. Because to learn you need to realize that you were either ignorant, or that your current information has been 313 Relax and Succeed - If we have no peaceproven wrong. But that’s not a loss because the new idea expands our understanding. So thanks for even entertaining the idea that maybe your sister’s not just emotional, but that she might also be wise as well.

First off, let me say that I get why you can see violence as a solution. I started my life feeling like that. My mom was strict and I believed in her so I listened carefully. It made me a bit strident as a kid, and when people transgressed I felt harsh punishment was in order. I remember when I was about 10 saying that if we just killed all of the prisoners in jail once and for all, the world would be just fine. That idea seems insanely funny to me today because now I know that’s a ridiculously indefensible idea. I just didn’t know enough about people when I formed that view.

Like most people, I mostly knew me. I hadn’t given a lot of thought yet to other people. My accident just caused me to study how they functioned. What software was running on their hardware was only incidental to me in the beginning. And yet now that fact is my ultimate point: what we call that person is really that software. Meaning it’s malleable. It’s changeable. We were originally programmed by others and we absolutely can and do become different people. We just have to start doing it consciously.

So what’s this got to do with why you shouldn’t bomb people? Because 99.7% of the world is overwhelmingly unconscious in their daily life. Meaning they’re going to act based on their Egos, not on their spiritual nature. So who are these egos that are getting bombed?

So let’s say you’re 100% “successful” and your $200,000 “smart bomb” hits just the right house at just the “right” time and you “only” kill three people—your target (who’s an actual member of a group with a cruel and controlling agenda), the school teacher who was walking past the 313 Relax and Succeed - Hurt people hurt peoplehouse at that moment, and her son who she was walking to class. Military spokespeople would describe this as a “successful strike” with a “high benefit ratio” because there was a “minimum of collateral damage sustained in obtaining an extremely valuable target.” But here’s what really happened:

As ugly as the actual terrorist inside that house might be, he is simultaneously a son, a dad, a friend, a neighbour, a brother, an uncle, and a mentor. He will certainly have done kind and compassionate things in his life just as the soldiers on our side have. And the same goes for the teacher and her child. And each of their friends, family and loved ones will look to the death of the little boy and they will see the pointlessness of the death. They will feel the stolen potential. The weddings that never happen, the grandchildren that will never come. And such an enormous theft makes the thieves into barbarians.

They very well may have been on your side just before that bomb hit. But now you’re the people who killed their loved one. And so your bomb sort-of splashes outward, soaking a circle of loved ones with hatred and bitterness. So each time you drop a bomb your enemy gets larger and stronger. You sister isn’t against it because it’s bombing, she’s against it because it doesn’t work. It’s illogical. If you’ll pardon me for being extremely direct, bombing for peace is like fucking for virginity. It doesn’t make sense.

I get that it’s frustrating and you just want it over. That’s a very compassionate compulsion. But it’s the same one the violent people on the other side of the argument are using. We must fight a principled battle lest we become what we are fighting against. We are not against other people. We’re against hateful ideas. If we can change the idea without killing the person, all the better. Because when we kill the person, we splash the idea.

The only way to win a battle is to change the hearts and minds of our enemies. We want to shift them away from divisive, hateful, judgmental thinking and toward where they can appreciate the similarities in our objectives and theirs. Everyone wants to live a good life and they want the world to operate well too. But we have different definitions of what defines 313 Relax and Succeed - You will bring more good fortunethose things, so rather than converting everyone to one idea with violence from either side, we instead must develop tolerance for each others ideas. Including those whose views we feel are crazy and dangerous. In fact, especially including those whose views we feel are crazy and dangerous.

You know your sister. She’s a good person or she wouldn’t have sent her question in. It’s of no benefit to her. She’s trying to help people she’s never even met. That kind of generosity can never be a bad thing. So just consider if what I said makes sense. Just think about how you would suddenly feel about China if they were actually lobbing bombs into your city and killing your friends? You would fight back, period. You wouldn’t do any deep philosophical questioning of yourself to see if maybe your side was wrong. You would just be hurt, angry and then attack. Just like them. That’s what wars are built on.

Meditate on that. I’ll bet you change your view and that you like the new one better than your old one. I know it felt a lot nicer in my own life when my reduced judgments because it also translated to fewer and fewer enemies and fewer and fewer frustrating experiences. I do hope you respect her enough to at least give it an earnest try.

Thanks again for considering another idea. I hope you have yourself a great day.

peace. s

Fight or Flight?

I don’t have a dad but my mom says you’re the smartest man and she would marry you for sure. [name removed] is picking on me at school but she said I should ignore him but
I can’t cause he waits for me. Should I learn MMA?

Potential Fighter

PS My mom is single

Dear Potential,

Thank you for coming up with your own sign-off name. I hope that you don’t mind that I changed it. Mostly those are my inventions and I pick them according to that day’s theme. And also, thank you for passing on the very nice compliment your mom gave me. It’s important to remember she’s speaking figuratively not literally. Literally means Actually, and I’m not actually the smartest man. Figuratively means Symbolically. So there is no such thing as a “smartest person” but your mom’s using colourful language to say that she finds that a lot of the things I write are valuable to her. I’m happy to be of comfort and use to her and I’ll do my best to help you too.

First off, I’m sorry that you have to deal with this boy. If it’s very serious and the violence is dangerous then you have to discuss this with your school principal. If it’s scary but not super-dangerous then it is unfortunately an example of how this world can sometimes be. But handled well, these can be valuable lessons in how to lead an enjoyable, successful life.

295 Relax and Succeed - If you want to have friendsFirst off I want to ensure you understand that you have my empathy. I too had a childhood bully who for a very random reason chose me as his victim for a few years. It doesn’t feel good to be ganged up on, especially by people who’ve said they were your friends. And I can understand how that frustration can end up being channelled into anger that wants to realize itself physically. That’s an entirely natural reaction that any animal would have and it’s a healthy thing to stay in touch with the fact that we never stop being animals just because we’re also people.

So it makes sense that you feel cornered, and I’m not surprised to see you having a very naturally defensive reaction. And learning a martial art may in fact be a very disciplined and physically strenuous way to manifest the energy you’re feeling. The very best instructors will prepare you for a fight all while teaching you how to never have one. The very best fighter is always the one who disarms his opponent before the battle even begins. So in short: if you feel a strong urge to use this bully as a motivator to develop a healthy disciplined physical routine then that’s perfectly fine as long as you’re not going to use what you learn to just become like the bully. Because if you just want to beat someone up then learning any sort of fighting style will be dishonourable to the art and it will undermine your character.

Anger has a lot of energy behind it so you want to avoid it when you can. Its speed and intensity can cause you to make decisions that aren’t in your best interests so, whenever possible, make your decisions when you’re calm. This will be hard sometimes because there are periods in your life where you will naturally be getting heavy doses of certain body chemistry just as a natural part of ageing and maturing. This goes for your Mom too, so if her moods seem out of character sometimes then give her some space just like you want some when the pains of a growth spurt make you highly agitated.

295 Relax and Succeed - When we seek to discoverNow to deal with any situation it’s important to understand as much of what is going on as possible. Statistically and logically your bully almost certainly gets bullied himself, most likely at home. Just because a kid has a dad doesn’t mean that he’s happy about that. So as a general rule, you want to avoid violence because as you can appreciate, then the boy is getting beat up at home, and then he would come to school all defensive and get beat up again. That clearly won’t make his life one that he can enjoy and if he’s always scared then he will stay violent his whole life. So if you can avoid fighting you’ve helped to make his life better and you’ve made the world a better place. If everyone just did that as much as possible the world would look amazingly different. So I’m glad to have you join me in trying to change things for the better.

Now even if you avoid violence you still have your bully issue. But you seem like a bright fellow so you likely have an advantage. And it might actually even be fun to see how you might outsmart your bully. Right now your fear has you paralysed. You’re mostly imagining what will happen if he finds you and catches you. Those are unproductive thoughts. You need to shift to figuring out how he’s finding you, and then use a new, more focuses strategy about how to move around your school or neighbourhood. Most people’s strengths come from them facing some adversity so this bully is like your first Sensei. He is your first Martial Arts Instructor and he is teaching you to think clearly and cleverly.

The most important part of your strategy will be your offence. Most people would attack him head on, where he can see it coming. So they would get their own gang, or they would hide or escalate the fight to one with weapons. But those aren’t wise ideas because they can easily escalate and you can’t predict where that will end. You’re better to attack from so far behind him that he doesn’t even recognize it as an attack. You have to support him.

295 Relax and Succeed - Respect is not a commodityI know, it might seem weird at first. But it’ll help. If he’s got a scary home life and his insecurity there plays out as bullying at school, then your best bet is to make him your friend. Friends don’t wait for friends and beat them up. And he’s already teaching you how to make friends with him. He doesn’t feel safe. His life lacks security. He probably doesn’t think too much of himself, so rescuing him from other people’s taunts or teasing would he helpful. Not saying anything nasty yourself will help. If he’s got a weakness in a subject or something that you’re good at, consider helping him. People are fundamentally decent and almost no one will attack people who are consistently nice to them. It’s simply not our nature because we’ve historically needed to work in groups.

So get rid of your enemy by making him your friend. It might take some time and it might not even work. But it’s the route that has the best chance to lead to the best outcome for the most people and that’s always a good place to start. I wish you good fortune with it. Drop me a line and let me know how it all works out.

peace. s