20 October, 2000

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Stop the Violence

We've all seen the terrible images of tragic violence in Israel and Palestine over the past few weeks. The terrorist attack on the USS Cole brought the violence a little closer to home for Americans. When you read the news, you can't avoid the bloodshed and hatred in the Middle East, the Balkans, Africa, and so many other places throughout the world.

Contrast this with the writings of numerous authors of the "New Age" movement who maintain we are on the cusp of an evolutionary change in humankind to higher consciousness. This idea is roughly analogous to the Christian concept of an approaching millennium. Only the emphasis is on mankind changing from within, not God enforcing an external change.

New Age authors come from diverse backgrounds: Buddhist monks, Jewish rabbis, Christian priests, psychiatrists, psychics, physicists, educators, etc., all share this idea of an evolution of consciousness. Are humans really evolving to a higher state of consciousness?? If so, then why are people still fighting over tombs and sacred rocks? When will we finally overcome our medieval mind-set?

I have a message to the leaders of the militant ethnic groups, the over-zealous Israeli policemen, the terrorists: Renounce Violence! Your violent acts will only attract more violence. More violence to yourselves and the people you claim to be fighting for. To the Israeli and Palestinian so-called religious and political leaders: teach peace!

What kind of religious leader would incite violence in the hearts of their followers? If you are guilty of inciting others to violent actions, you will be held accountable for their actions, as well as your own. You abuse the name of God, you abuse the name of Allah, when you advocate or condone violence in their name.

To achieve a higher state of world consciousness, we must learn to forgive the unfortunate incidents in the past. Let it go. Nothing can be gained from focusing your hate-dominated thoughts and emotions on the negative past. By doing so, you're doomed to perpetuate the cycle of violence. The negative energy generated from your thoughts and feelings spawn more negative emotions in the world around you. From your thoughts, more violent acts are created.

I understand how much it must hurt to watch either your young policemen, soldiers or students killed before they reach their prime. It may be your brother, your father, your son. I understand the almost primal desire for revenge. The burning anger that blinds rational thought and leads to animal-like responses - like beating a dead body beyond recognition. I've experienced those same emotions, and it frightened me. I was no longer in control of my actions. Think! Don't give into the anger.

Not only are you creating more violence in this world now, but you're condemning yourself to more violence in future incarnations. Are you a rock-throwing student? Great, next time around you'll be one of the Israeli cops shooting at the rock-throwing student. Are you an Albanian burning the house of a Serb family living in Kosovo? Wonderful, in your next incarnation you'll be a Serb, and be chased from your home by a vengeful Croatian.

We all need to make the conscious effort to stop the violence now...or it will continue to spiral on, out of control. Look back through history, nearly all of the uprisings or revolutions that were brought about violently, even to fight for some "social good" only resulted in failed systems and even more violence. Look at the horrible consequences of the October Revolution in Russia. Tens of millions killed, and the people still suffer more than 80 years later.

If you really want to change the world, do not fight, love! Only by loving those around us, unselfishly, will we truly make a difference. I realize the people who need to understand these words are too busy killing each other to read them. However, this message still applies to the "civilized" people who are reading it.

Maybe our actions aren't as violent, but are we spreading hate and dissension in our own community? Do we treat people poorly because their skin color is different, or they speak with an accent? Do we ignore our neighbors because they don't worship at the same church we do? Do we make fun of homosexuals or lesbians or straight people?

We need to change our pattern of thought, our pattern of speech, and our actions to reduce and finally eliminate our ignorance and prejudice. We need to teach our children to do the same. Parents and teachers have a great responsibility to teach tolerance and respect. How? By words, but mostly through actions. You've heard that actions speak louder than words? I think our actions speak so loudly, others around us can't even hear our words. Young people observe the way adults interact with others and mimic their actions, that's how prejudice and hatred are perpetuated.

Wherever we live, first we first need to change our own hearts. Then we need to be an example of love to those around us. Only through our collective individual efforts, will the evolution of humanity take place. Only then will we create a world beyond fear, hatred, prejudice, violence and war.


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