Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration

The BeZine folks always have some great content. How could I not pass along a whole issue about Waging Peace (LOVE that phrase!)?

THE POET BY DAY


Later today I’ll post the responses from readers to last Wednesday’s writing prompt, which is usual every Tuesday. Meanwhile . . . 

In December 2015 world events led to a spontaneous eleventh hour special section – Waging the Peace –  in The BeZine, which I edit. This seems a propitious moment to bring to the fore once again those ideas, ideals and experiences shared with us by Rabbi Gershon Steinberg-Caudill, Rev. Ben Meyers, Father Daniel Sormani, C.S. Sp., Sophia Ali-Khan, Israeli-American poet Michael Dickel, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi. Thanks to all of them and to Carla Prater, the assistant director of Buddhist Global Relief for their contributions to this collection and their assistance. I’ve included links to each of the features in table of contents for Waging the Peace that is below the following introductory remarks.

Rabbi SteinBerg-Caudill (the Interfaith Rabbi) is a teacher who espouses a Jewish Spirituality and Universalist teaching for the…

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We are the World, April version

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the S...

Mahatma Gandhi and Sarojini Naidu during the Salt Satyagraha of 1930 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I realized today I completely spaced out yesterday about posting for We are the World Blogfest, but I still wanted to add a piece.  Since I’m all about peaceful activism and finding new ways to accomplish change with love and compassion, I was pleased to read this piece in Positive News about a movement for Gentle Protest: https://www.positive.news/2017/society/26751/the-art-of-gentle-protest/

If you’d like to join in with your own post about something positive, add your link here

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J2P Monday: Every breath I take

Facebook tells me I posted this two years ago. I think the message, “BREATHE” can never be offered too much 🙂

Not Just Sassy on the Inside

Instructor de Kundalini yoga practicando Pranayama Pranayama (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Since the big healing experience, I’ve been really aware of my breath and how much more full and complete it feels.  Also want to remind you this is the last week to put up a post about women and/or the Divine Feminine as it relates to peace in the world.

Early in the this journey, the amazing vision therapist Dr. Harry Sirota, noted that I kept holding my breath.  During each of our long, careful appointments he’d keep reminding me to breathe, over and over.  I’d never realized how regularly I caught my breath and held it–all day every day.

Fortunately I was already taking yoga and completed pranayama class not that long before so I started a more regular and expanded pranayama practice.  Alternate nostril breathing was the centerpiece of my practice, but I also stayed conscious of taking full breaths during yoga practice…

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Choosing happiness

Someone posted a clip of Mo Gawdat on Facebook (I have a habit of opening stuff like that in another tab and not viewing until later; then I don’t remember who pointed me there 🙂 ) and his message about happiness turned out to be so in line with things I’ve been thinking.

I particularly love the distinction he makes between fun and happiness — much like my thoughts about over-stimulation often being mistaken for joy.  Though there are longer videos in which he discusses this in greater depth, I purposely chose to use this short clip to make it easier for you to get the gist:

Being Positive, Discovering Issues and the Fine Line Between

Many times over the years I’ve circled around to a contemplation of whether I need to dig around in my past and discover old issues or it would be better to hold positive thoughts.  I’ve wound up after landing for periods of time on both sides, concluding that most of us need a combo.  And maybe there’s a time more for one and a time for the other.

I started off in the “You Create Your Own Reality”, positive-thinking and affirmations mode.  Initially, when I was in total excitement with discovering this whole new way of thinking and being, it worked magically well for me (which certainly fits the theory of the Law of Attraction).  But — at least as I see it — I eventually hit the wall of negative beliefs which permeated my being and it seemed like my spiritual progression ground to a halt.

Still clinging to a belief that this spiritual path offered a better way forward, I kept plugging and wound up being guided to Ellen Margron’s marvelous version of the Fisher-Hoffman Process (Ellen has since died and as far as I’m aware no one else had similarly developed or taken on the longer and more comprehensive process she created).  Massive amounts of digging around in my belief system and releasing (“processing”) beliefs that no longer served me transformed many aspects of my life and I became a firm believer in the need to do some excavating.

Over the years I’ve periodically run into teachers who feel it’s more important to hold positive thoughts and not necessary to examine the past.  Initially I couldn’t even compute what they were trying to say.  I now get it if I think of neural nets.  Creating new positive thoughts and beliefs can build new neural nets and your unconscious will often start taking down the old thinking patterns as it recognizes how much better the new pattern feels– or at least guide you to behave/respond from the newer nets.

But many neural patterns are so intertwined and complex and well-established, I decided somewhere along the way that just saying affirmations and “thinking positive” is kind of like aiming a drip of water at the top of Mt. Everest and waiting for the mountain to erode….  And I also noticed how often people’s determined positivity seemed more like denial than a true shift.

During “The Process” Ellen taught us about layers of being.  The divine essence or true heart is in the center, then the next circle is the negative thoughts and beliefs we develop as we’re taught that we’re not divine and perfect and then around that we circle the mask of the personality we choose to present.  The most fascinating piece for me was the news that meditating or affirming, etc. while determinedly avoiding the roiling circle of negativity in the middle CREATES ANOTHER LAYER AROUND THE OUTSIDE instead of taking you into the heart.

This really describes the sense of denial I sometimes feel from some peoples’ “positive outlooks” — like a big layer of plastic is covering something they’re avoiding.  In pursuit of spirituality or calm or peacefulness they’ve thickened the layers hiding the true heart instead of illuminating it.

That said, after years of digging and excavating I’ve come to see you can also get kind of caught up in the other direction and turn life into a constant process of finding what you need to fix.  For those of us who already suspect something is deeply “wrong” with us, it’s an easy trap in which to land.

Having cleared a great deal, I’ve come to a place where I feel a lot of benefit from holding to positive thoughts.  I keep watch for negative belief patterns but instead of feeling I need to pursue and “process” them, I work at staying mindful enough to turn around the thought to a statement that carries the belief I’d rather hold.  I’ve written before about some of the other ways I submerge myself in affirmative thinking so here I’ll just say I can feel the neural nets changing from all the steps toward thinking more positively.

In the end I’d have to say I feel it’s both.  If you hold a huge amount of negative thought patterns — especially if they’re ancestral patterns of thought that have been passed down for generations — I think some excavating out of the past is the only way you’re going to step beyond it.  And I really think if you feel absolutely determined never to examine your life there’s a big issue just in that to explore.  Why are you unwilling to look into whatever may be holding on and hindering you?

It’s kind of a juggling act I’d say between exploring issues as you become aware of them and creating a new structure of thinking.  And I’d guess in the early stages of the journey most of us need a bit more on the digging around side and as we clear issues it becomes more fruitful to work on building new neural nets with positive thoughts and beliefs.  I’d love to hear some chiming in from some of you deep thinkers out there!  What’s been your experience?

Note:  Zoe at HopeDreamWait has nominated me for a Cramm Blog award.  I quit participating in these blog awards some time ago, but I am so grateful to Zoe for nominating me — thanks!.  Her blog is fun, so check her out!

 

Politics, religion and judgment: Part 1

Okay, Ivan from Teacher as Transformer has me trolling through my own ancient posts and I thought this one seemed pretty timely again… or still???

Not Just Sassy on the Inside

Watching the political maelstrom of late,  my reflections on opinions and judgment have been swirling.   I can see when it comes to politics and religion lots of folks have some underlying belief not only that they’re right but the world (or life as we know it) is somehow threatened by the wrongness of those who disagree.  And the fear leads to hate and condemnation.

It’s one place where I can see pretty clearly I can disagree with someone else’s opinion but there’s no reason I need to judge that person as bad or evil.  The same for those who hold different religious views.  I also see that for most people anyone who disagrees with their opinions–whether it’s Democratic or Republican views, abortion for or against, reincarnation or none, Protestant or Catholic, etc.– is an enemy.

It seems since the dawn of time people have duked it out over deep seated…

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What’s a life worth?

Ivan from Teacher As Transformer found another very old post (I think this one goes back to a time of maybe 3 followers). When I saw the like I decided to take a look at it; though it was about news at the time, in an eery way it seems very appropriate now…

Not Just Sassy on the Inside

I’ve been a little shocked lately at the news about Bin Laden and the people rejoicing in the streets over a man’s death.  I don’t like what he did and I’m not questioning whether there should have been a mission or even that they felt there was no choice as to the outcome once the mission started, but he was a living person and I find it ghoulish to be jubilant that he was killed.  I chanted the lovingkindness chant for him for hours long ago and eventually I softened and felt the divine nature beneath the angry mask.  Doesn’t mean I liked him or approved of him, but I recognized him as another member of the web of life.

We stormed Iraq, a country that had no known relationship to 9/11 and no nuclear weapons and caused the deaths of tens of thousands of innocent civilians and left thousands…

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