Sunday, July 24, 2011

Give Peace a Chance

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“It is no longer good enough to CRY peace, we must ACT peace, LIVE peace and LIVE IN peace.” - Unk, probably Dalai Lama

All throughout the Cold War, there were people saying things like, "Give peace a chance" and "make love, not war". These sayings continued and mutated until it became popular for people in movies making a wish to "wish for world peace".

Oddly enough, many of the people who say they want world peace make very little effort to attain it. Maybe they go to a demonstration or something, but often peace demonstrations turn violent. People protesting abortions have been known to threaten and kill those who perform them. Is this really living up to the ideal?

I'm not talking about complete and utter pacifism here. Even the Dalai Lama has no compunction about defending himself from harm if some beligerent fool should make it necessary, I'm talking about living up to the ideals you espouse.


I've watched a couple episodes of the new show, Alphas, and one of the characters is a psychologist. Often, he is put in a position where most of us would feel boxed in and forced to fight. In such situations, it seems perfectly natural to sling insults back, or to see that a fight is going to happen and you may as well get in the first shot, but this psychologist doesn't do that.

In a demonstration of non-judgmentalism FAR BEYOND any I've seen from even the most adept at the skill, he defuses the situation by first, not taking personally anything, and second, asking neutral questions which get at the heart of the matter.

He's not one of the super-powered "Alphas", and to look at his normal body language and listen to the meekness in his voice, you'd think he lived his life in fear of everything, but when the chips are down and you listen to what he says and how he says it, and the way people around him react to him, you see he's really sort of alpha himself. This being the "normal" type of alpha, as in the guy who's in charge and has our backs. Not many of those around.

It makes me wonder if the Dalai Lama isn't a lot like this. Someone who is SO AT PEACE within himself that we regular folk simply can't comprehend it. We're so wrapped up in what our co-workers are saying about us behind our backs and whether someone on the street thinks we're too fat or bald, or whether our friends are going to think we're asking too much of them, and so on that we take EVERYTHING personally.

99% of the anger that gets directed at you isn't about you at all, it's about something else in that angry person's life. If you stop taking it personally (even on the rare occasion it was meant to be taken personally) and let it slide, or better yet, take it as a compliment that that person felt the need to point out the one little thing keeping you from perfection in his/her eyes, you'd have a lot less stress. You'd make the world a better place. You'd actually be giving peace a chance.

Try it some time, and see what it feels like to LIVE a catch-phrase.

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