Excerpts from a morning conversation with Lynne about our participation in recent global events – January, 2007
At times like this email petitions start going out all over the country, all over the planet probably, asking people to tell President Bush that they are against escalating the war in Iraq. I don’t want to put my name to these petitions, not because I agree with Bush, but because I don’t have a good feeling about the wording in the petitions. They are often as warlike as Bush’s actions. Where will we go if we continue to try to stop the fighting by fighting? It would seem from the debates I hear pro and against the warring, that humanity has only two options: to fight or not to fight. Is there another option? There is. There is another option! We know in our hearts that there is another way to be in situations of profound differences and disagreement. Differing countries and differing religious orders are not unlike differing people. What is happening between Iraq and the US is not unlike what happens between mothers and daughters, fathers and sons, or among siblings, or friends. How are disagreements among friends or family members resolved? By killing each other? Of course not. Neither are they solved by passivity or ignorance.
How then, are they resolved? Most of the time they are resolved when there is some kind of dawning understanding that the ‘other side’ is human too and has human feelings like one’s own – that most of their feelings are arising from some kind of hurt or fear that becomes so intense that they turn to anger; then fighting seems the only way through. One party or the other could find the courage to stop fighting, look the other squarely in the eye and say:
“Let’s not do this; we are hurting one another and everyone around us. Can we be quiet together and recognize that we’ve been caught up in something neither of us want, and that it is wholly in our power to stop. We are not powerless.”
Individual people can do this and are learning to communicate more effectively and in a way that demonstrates a more advanced level of intelligence. Why has this advanced intelligence not reached the leaders of our countries?
Possibly, it has not reached the leaders because we ‘ordinary people’ have not really caught on that we, ourselves, are the leader. The ideals behind what we call ‘democracy’ speak of government ‘of the people and by the people’ – but who believes it? Who takes on responsibility to truly search for a way beyond the ‘fight or flight’ level of thinking and acting. When will ‘the people’ offer to their leaders an option that transcends all that has gone before and begin to send petitions that are not ‘against’ anything, but that offer new questions, new avenues of possibility, potentially new ways of interacting with the other members of our global society. What if the petitions to Bush or the new US Senate, or to Harper, or whoever were not just ‘for’ or ‘against’, but communicated the truth of every sane human heart: No person in his or her right mind, in touch with their deepest truth, believes that killing each other or ignoring the pain of each other feels right. Can we trust our intuition, our knowledge of what is truly helpful to the future of humanity – and speak it? Can we say to our leaders that they have permission from us to listen for a while to the ‘other side’ and find out why they are hurting so much that they are hitting out at us?
Life on the global scale places humanity’s challenges and opportunities right out where we can all see them; global technology makes us visible to ourselves. By staying stuck in ‘for or against’ patterns of behaviour we could obscure this ripening opportunity to search for new avenues for the evolution of our race. Do we dare to dream of a future that is about neither warfare nor passivity, a future where we can discover the power of listening to one another, dreaming together, working together, creating? What prevents us?