- By Natalia Perera
“Peace is not the opposite of war. We can have peace in our heart even in the midst of our fiercest battles, because we are fighting for our dreams. When our friends have lost hope, the peace of the Good Fight helps us to carry on.”
– Paulo Coelho’s Like the Flowing River
In our current world affairs, and even in our personal lives, there is much violence. How does this reflect our consciousness as an individual as well as a collective? But let me also ask: how do we relate to others, or to ourselves and address the needs of our bodies and psyches? With neglect? Or do we push ourselves beyond our limits, not listening, not accepting, instead striving to gain maximum approval from our lover, our boss, our peers. An intention behind which, is a big statement in the world: “I am not enough, I am not loved therefore I need to get as much love as possible from outside of myself”, a behaviour of a poverty-conscious person.
What about the way we spend our money, our time, and our energy. Does it reflect whole heartedly our best interests, and those of our loved ones? Or are we always holding back, calculating how to maximize what we get back, or living on credit? Again, poverty consciousness that states “I am empty, and not empowered, therefore I need to get as much love/money/power as possible from outside of myself”.
As most of us are familiar with principles of spiritual psychology and the law of karma (every action has a consequence), we can see how the intentions behind such actions would end up creating the very rejection or feeling of disempowerment and lack that we were intending on avoiding in the first place.
Many of us have spent years chasing relationships and career options that look like they guarantee us with a sense of love or money or power. But in this new world, fear based behaviors won’t stand up anymore. The truth is the way we treat ourselves and others is what is going to create our reality. Violence breeds violence.
How does that then weave in with taking strong action in the face of unjust circumstances, especially for us Warriors of the Sacred who must remember that love is far from meek? Let’s see if Mother Bear, the epitome of female power, can answer that question for us. She is freely cuddly and playful with her cub in an open forest. She has not had to put up fences to feel safe. But if a threat comes close, what does she do? A big roar that amounts to a big “NO, you don’t mess with us” that is our equivalent of expressing healthy (yes healthy) rage and guarding our boundaries.
Rage is another area where we are not well mentored in our society, yet is vital to understanding love. Mother Bear does not chase the threat three blocks down the road yelling insults, nor does she plan revenge, nor does she take out her frustration on her cub, or beat herself up on what she should have said or could have done… it was a spontaneous NO response, appropriate to her circumstances. She is prepared to meet the force of the threat if need be, but does not initiate it. This is love talking.
So we come to this question: is violence always wrong? Andrew Harvey posed this very question to the Dalai Lama, to which the embodiment of love explained: “Only when one is trained in non-violence can one commit an act of violence”. An inspiration for all of us Warriors of the Sacred who seek the path of compassionate action, and a thought well worth reflecting on in the light of our own lives.
We began and ended our last article with a quote from Che Guevara, the great soul, physician and revolutionary, who continues to inspire millions of people still 46 years after his assassination. His image, now a symbol for resistance against repression is one of the most reproduced in the world. But as a guerrilla leader and military theorist, he lived his life in the midst of bloodshed in brutal battles, fighting for the rights of peasant farmers. His intention was clear: to create the consciousness of a “new man” driven by moral rather than material incentives. Just as he was going to be shot, he was asked “Is it true that you don’t believe in God?”, to which he simply answered: “I believe in humanity”. His words and his actions both point to a true Warrior of the Sacred, ready to meet the oppressive forces that were already in place, in service of the Divine Mother.
We also have our beloved hero Arjuna, in the Bhagavad Gita (“gita” meaning “song” and “bhagavan” meaning “God”) to enlighten us. The distressed warrior is standing on a battlefield, pondering aloud this very question about violence, and expressing his doubts to Krishna, the god of love, who is posing as his chariot driver. In the course of their conversation that results in this famous song and illuminating book of wisdom, Krishna relieves Arjuna’s anguish by explaining in exquisite detail God, the soul, and the relationship between the two, thus giving meaning and context to human life. We are left with a clear message: that perfection lies not in renouncing the world but rather in disciplined action performed without attachment to results but with a mind and heart surrendered to the divine in love and devotion.
Che and Arjuna share a common ‘dharma’ (means ‘duty’ but refers to their vocation): that they were trained to be warriors in the literal sense, and fight in battle. They were both also first and foremost disciplined in non-violence: Che was a medical physician with a strong sense of social duty and Arjuna was a great devotee through his spiritual practice. Both came from their heart. They did not initiate violence, yet realised that they needed to accept their nature, surrender to their destiny, face their fears and step up to face that was already present in the world and created lasting change.
So let me ask you dear Warrior: what is your dharma which you can offer the world? What would the power of Love change through you? How can you work with your boundaries and sit with rage? For every opportunity to transform yourself is an opportunity that will lead to transforming the world.