Bear's Blog

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Make Love Not War

May 11, 2024

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When writing about current events, I avoid calling out particulars to focus on the bigger energetic dynamics in play. Not so in my last blog. I noted the similarities between the wave of anti-war student protests in the 60’s and now; I also emphasized the power of nonviolence, and that violence begets more violence. I’ve gotten many responses with a variety of positions on the Mideast war. In reply, I’d like to consider the ways we hold our own beliefs and relate to others with different views.

The war is a very heated subject with SO MANY opinions about why and what has happened, what is happening now and what should happen next. Since most of us are not physically involved we rely on secondhand reports; from politicians, journalists, and those related to the conflict in significant ways. We also hear first person stories from people actually in the midst of it, but even they are just a single thread of the big picture. With a limitless number of perspectives to be had, I believe what’s most important is not to indulge in a black and white narrative. It doesn’t do justice to the situation, or anyone involved.

The other factor in our ability to possibly understand and relate with kindness toward each other is the amount of “charge” around being right. Remember the old adage to never argue about politics or religion? It’s because those strong beliefs were usually held as “right” which makes everyone else wrong.

We have seen the result of not talking to each other about important things in American politics. It’s called group polarization when being in a group with the same views makes each member more extreme in those views. This is the result of isolating into our information and/or political silos. People go silent, or cut off relationships, or even invite conflict - sometimes with the intent to harm.

In Zen koan practice the student is asked to hold an inexplicable statement or question that brings forth multiple possibilities to ponder - all or none of which could be true. Possibly each analysis entertained might be part of the truth. Relative truth. As a teacher I ask my students to hold two statements in their mind that seem to contradict each other as both being true. So much of our understanding depends on context!

People have various sensory experiences; spicy food to one person might be considered bland to another. What is traumatic to some might have a minor impact on others. Even death can be seen as the culmination of a long rich life, a tragedy, or even a relief from suffering.

We all have a unique history and emotions - even vested interests - that carry forward and affect the interpretation of the world around us. Understanding that we each experience and view events differently - and that your viewpoint is one among many - helps us modulate the energetic charge in our interactions.

Beyond right and wrong, our hope for a more “civil” society depends on showing respect for others whatever our opinions and affiliations. Hopefully that respect is returned, but ultimately we are responsible only for our own conduct.

Peace, love and healing -

Bear

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