Another month has passed, and to me our world feels very different. I have noticed—as I imagine others have—that I feel unsettled and somewhat depressed since we have gone to war. When trying to isolate the reason for these feelings, I found a great deal of frustration at all of the energy that is being put into debating peace versus war. The world has been putting untold dollars and man-hours into peace rallies and into keeping the peace during these rallies. I see and hear more groups being designated solely as peace-loving or pro-war. Even friends and families are being torn apart—or are feeling uncomfortable—because of their differing beliefs about peace versus war.
I am a firm believer in the right of every person to hold their own beliefs, and that there is little in this world which is purely black or white, or definitively right or wrong. All of this “side-taking” seems so counterproductive. It may be my cynicism with politics, but I found it so openly honest when Thomas Friedman, a New York Times reporter, recently said on TV, “Wars are fought for political ends.” At this point, I cannot in my wildest imagination think of anything anyone here on Earth could do to cause the U.S. to pull out of this war. The course—good or bad—has been set—we are at war. To pull out now would mean to “lose face”—and like most people, politicians have a huge need to save face.
Having said all this, I find it interesting that I received a particular e-mail just as I was starting to write this column. I would like to share a portion of it with you:
Last weekend 600 people gathered on the Big Island of Hawaii to listen to the messages of peace from several [gifted] children we have been working with over the past year. I believe it was one of the most profound experiences any of us have ever had . . . In fact, during a panel discussion on Sunday, [the children] presented their idea of a worldwide prayer vigil that they believe would have a profound effect on the current crisis in Iraq. Its simplicity and wisdom is overwhelming, and the fact that the idea comes from children makes it irresistible.
They want to call this: A Prayer Vigil for George Bush. They explained that there is so much energy against President Bush . . . The more we focus on what we don’t like, the more it increases. They suggest we see him as God would, and focus on the Light [God spark] in the President, thereby amplifying the Light . . . He doesn’t need to be attacked for what he is doing, but loved, not for his actions, but for the Truth within him. We call this: “Seeing as God Sees and Loving as God Loves.”
This was the first thing I have heard lately that truly made sense to me. Obviously, it may be easier said than done, for it is always difficult to see the good in someone with whom we disagree. This type of action, however, allows me to not impose my will on someone else—to not judge them and to allow them their beliefs—and yet to actively do something that resonates with my beliefs. I can act without discounting others’ actions.
In fact, this concept of seeing people as God does could be taken even further. Why stop with George W. Bush—why not add ALL people fighting this war and feeling its effects, as well as Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden and all of those who wish to dominate others? A huge undertaking—but we could at least try.
I also resonated with the line that says, “The more we focus on what we don’t like, the more it increases.” Frequently I find myself falling into this trap. When I was first diagnosed with Meniere’s, all I could see was a big black hole where my life had once been. And that is how it felt, until the fighter portion of my being said, no, this was not how I was going to live. When I changed my focus to finding a different way to be, I found a different way—my focus changed and life became brighter again.
Now that we are in this war, perhaps it is time to move our focus away from not wanting to be there to something positive. This doesn’t mean we have to change our beliefs about war or peace. But we can change our focus to doing something positive—volunteering at a shelter for the homeless; sending supportive letters to our troops and their families (www.marinemoms.us/usmc/deploy-support.asp); and/or sending money to the relief organizations trying to help the citizens of Iraq. If you are not in a position to send money, organize a fund drive, garage or bake sale on your own or with your church, scout troop, civic organization, etc., and send the proceeds to a helping organization (e.g. American Red Cross AFES — Iraq Response, P.O. Box 91820, Washington, D.C. 20090; 1-800-help-now; www.redcross.org/donate/donate.html). Just do something positive.
I have to constantly remind myself that our time on Earth is not what life is really about and that Earth is just a school for growing our soul. It is what we choose to believe—and more importantly, how we act on those beliefs—which will stay with our soul when our physical body departs this Earth. Praying for someone with whom I disagree—in a nonjudgmental way—allows me to hold true to my beliefs while letting others have theirs. After all, just because I believe something does not make my way the only—or right—way. I need to always remember I am not God—I cannot always see the bigger picture, especially when I am emotionally involved. I can, however, try to emulate God, try to see as God would.
I don’t need to tell God what I want or what I think God should be doing. Instead I need to acknowledge the God spark within each being, to feel that connection and strength, and to send unconditional love to those whose beliefs make me uncomfortable. In this way, perhaps they will feel that love and they too will connect with their internal God spark. Then we can all turn it over, let go and let God.
I have a card I keep in my bedroom that says, “Good Morning. This is GOD! I will be handling all your problems today. I will not need your help. So, have a good day!” During this time, I think I may need to duplicate that card and post it around my home and office as a constant reminder. Perhaps if I can actively see as God sees and love as God loves, I won’t feel so unsettled and I will have a good day. I just need to remember it doesn’t matter who sits in the White House or rules Iraq, it is God who is truly the One in control and God will ultimately handle all of our problems.