Questions on Peace and War
These questions come from various e-mails received over the last week.
“Do you think we will have peace in the world?'”
It is difficult for one to project a future in order to see what may happen. One can only sit with what is essentially the blood that pours through the veins.
The future, if seen as a projection of the past, as seeds of what has come before, holds little hope for peace. There may indeed be rest between various wars, but that is in no way peace, nor is it a reason to be hopeful.
Peace is not a rest between wars, but a stillness within the organism. All war begins and ends with you; with each of us. There can be no hope for peace as long as you continue to project war from within.
So forget the question about peace in the world, and ask about the peace within.
“I would never kill anyone, so how can I project war?“
And what about the person that cut you off on the freeway? The person that spilled coffee on your shirt? The person that is now dating your ex-wife? The drunks in the alley, the obese people, gay people, black/brown or otherwise “differently” shaded people? Have you ever had the thought that they should be different from what they are, or should do different things from what they have done? THAT is war, not just the blood spilled for stupid nationalistic reasons.
You want to end the war outwardly, but have not the courage to see the killing you do within your own mind. Can you see the violence that lives within you? Don’t say, “I am not violent,” or “I follow non-violence,” or some other nonsense. The self in operation is violence in operation. It separates, justifies, and defends its own limited position.
None of this is good or bad, just see it as it is. See the violence that lives in you already. Start with that. Forget the nicely painted “No Blood for Oil” signs and get to work on the only war that matters; the only war there truly is. It is the war of your own creation.
It all begins and ends with you, in every moment.
“How do I go about doing it?” (being peaceful)
Are you peaceful? Probably not. Otherwise, why ask the question? If you are not peaceful and are trying to suppress that in order to be peaceful, THAT IS WAR.
Peace is not about changing what you are. Can you see what you are without the desire to change it? Can you see that you are violent, sexist, greedy, racist, or whatever it may be? If that is what is there, that is what is. You stay with that movement, seeing it as it goes from place to place, as it arises in certain situations. Be there, in each moment. This observation of the movement, devoid of self-centered observation, brings it to an end.
I use the term observation, although it might not be quite accurate. It is not a seeing that is based on memory, justification, prejudice, or preference. In other words, it is not based on the self or the identity, as that is a part of the very same movement. The activity of the self is plain to see. It poses no great difficulty in finding it. But here is a question you may wish to meditate on: Is there activity beyond the self?
Usually, an event occurs, and one thinks, “This is happening to me.” But in the observation discussed above, an event occurs, and one realizes, “This is happening.” (Or you might even say, “This is happening to the self,” but be careful with it.) Eventually, “This is happening,” becomes less and less apparent, as you will discover there is no way to really identify with it anyway. I dissolves into, “Happening,” but in the end, even that is unnecessary.
Finally, it is simply…
“What about Byron Katie’s The Work, or the Sedona Method? Do these help?” (in bringing peace)
The Work and the Sedona Method are both forms of inquiry, and seem to work well for many people.
Takuin’s present situation would seem to have been induced by inquiry, although as the body sits here, it is impossible to say with certainty. In the end, one can’t really say it is attributed to anything. Having said that, inquiry can have a tremendously calming effect on the organism. Although I am not at all sure that one’s personal form of inquiry can bring another to a final realization.
I have said before, the world does not need Christians and Buddhists, it needs Christs and Buddhas. The same would seem to go for these forms of inquiry. I have heard of people coming to the end through inquiry, but I have never heard of someone coming to the end through another person’s form of inquiry. Do you know what I mean? But they are both tools that will certainly make you feel a hell of a lot better.
I am not at all saying there is anything wrong with either of them. They seem to bring clarity to millions of people. And I am not even sure that what I do within is really any different from what they teach. But eventually, you’ll have to face the predicament of Who is asking these questions? And that is something you will have to do on your own.
I love Byron Katie…she is so funny and loving. This is one of my favorite videos of her work.
Thanks for all the emails while I was away. I am slowly getting through them all. And thanks for all of the birthday wishes. I think I have finally digested all of that cake.
I have far more to say about war and peace, along with other writings on stillness that I penned in Toyama. They’ll all be posted here in due time.