“Every year on November 11, Canadians pause in a silent moment of remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace. We honour those who fought for Canada in the First World War (1914-1918), the Second World War (1939-1945), and the Korean War (1950-1953), as well as those who have served since then. More than 1,500,000 Canadians have served our country in this way, and more than 100,000 have died. They gave their lives and their futures so that we may live in peace.” –Veteran Affairs Canada website
A day of remembrance? We must not forget history in order to ignore what has gone before or to hide actions we are ashamed of, but what if history were learned as a lesson; not to be remembered to pass a test, not for right or wrong, but for what was, without any judgment?
What if instead of remembering the lives lost, the lives sacrificed, the war, the pain, the anger, the destruction and everything negative, what if instead of teaching past wars, we taught only what we DO WANT?
We do not want a lack of war. For wanting an absence of war continues to attract war. Anti-war rallies may seem important but instead they only remind the viewers and participants of what currently is: war!
We cannot focus upon what we don’t want and expect to attract its opposite. We have to focus our attention and energies instead upon that which we actually do want: Peace.
What if we focused only on Peace? On harmony? On coming to the table without focus on the ‘cost’ in negative terms? What if we gave up ego and in places of war today, instead of picking up arms to resist, to retaliate, to continue the struggle against the ‘oppressor’ or enemy, we instead laid our arms and machinery of war to rest, said, ‘Thank-you’ to the universe, God, ourselves, Mohamed, for what we currently have and allowed ourselves to leave the fight?
What power then would the ‘other side’ have? At first, the other side may claim victory. There may still be violence and lives lost. Soon after this initiation towards peace for one of the two sides, the other side may well become confused, for they will no longer have that which qualified their ‘warring re-actions’. They will no longer have an ‘enemy’, for that so-called enemy no longer fights back.
What if instead of creating submission, forcing your will upon others, you simply walked away – not to ignore the other side. No – for if you ignore the other side, that is yet another form of resistance; literally not acknowledging their existence.
If after having walked away, after having left everything behind – all of your possessions, all that is external to who you are and has nothing to do with your defining ‘self’ – if the so-called ‘enemy’ calls out to you, in whatever tone or words of challenge, what if you said, “I forgive you.”
What if you said, ‘I will no longer fight you. Like a relationship of two long-term lovers that comes to its natural conclusion, I suggest we spend some time apart. When sufficient time has past, I would like to start over. I would then like to start a new conversation with you, without any expectation, without any focus upon what has gone before us, only a focus on how we can move forward together.’
What if instead of creating an economy based on war, war machines, the manufacture of war machinery and the dependence upon the world’s fossil fuels to feed these war actions, what if we approached conflict from a non-violent perspective? Yes, this has been done before and the results have been astounding. This is not meant for us to be passive. Remember that ignoring the other ‘still-angry’ side is a form of resistance.
How would the other side respond if an entire county, government, group of people, a fraction, a ‘tribe’ laid down its arms – not metaphorically, but publicly, cameras running, live in front of the entire world to see, and said to the other side,
‘Come and see what we do here and now. We are not ‘giving up’. No, we are instead choosing non-violence. We are choosing to take the very first step in a new direction. We will not respond to demands, but we will respond to fresh, new talks, and we will start small. We will start with small gestures. We both know the big stuff is too big, too emotional. Together we will work on the really small stuff first to create a win-win for both of our tribes. We want to offer you the same satisfaction that we want, the same joy, respect and peace. Let us start upon that which we can agree.’
‘Let us start knowing that the other members within our tribes may not follow our example and that is only the fault of each respective side. These will be lessons in the short term of how we have wronged our own peoples. We will work together to re-educate.’
‘If one of our people catches one of your tribe taking violent action – that which we no longer choose – we will only return him or her to you, for we choose to no longer have ownership over your people. If you wish we can work on these behavioural modifications together. In this way we can share the work 50-50 and help those in our tribes who are not ready for a newer truth of peace to see and observe our example. With time they will choose to think for themselves and choose peace and good will towards themselves, releasing anger and reaction. They will then be able to choose positively-motivated action towards all that is, towards life, peace, happiness and communion with all of our peoples.’
Knowing that we are all one, that this idea of separation was only manifestation of the ego and of ego-group think, what if?
What if this scenario were our world?
What if you took a single action to start down this very path?
What if you made one choice today that, in the spirit of non-violence, created more positive energy that would influence universal energy, the energy which binds us all?
‘What if’ is not a dream, unless you take no action. ‘What if’ can be reality by your choices and actions. It is not so far away, these wars and conflicts: Israel and Afghanistan to only name two. It is not so far away that you cannot start today to change the world. There is a wonderful saying, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world.’ One person alone can inspire others to take similar action. Your positive, loving, compassionate, non-violent actions, your response instead of reaction, your listening instead of judgment – all of these actions add to the positive vibrations of the universe.
Choose peace. Not the lack of war. Choose loving kindness. Not the lack of hatred. Do not focus upon the lack of what you have or what you do not see in the world. Choose wellness. Not the lack of sickness and illness.
© Darren Stehle, 2006. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without the expressed permission of the author.