Reflections on Life Thus Far

My life. My story: Exploring mental health, spirituality, meditation & random thoughts I have


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B4 Peace Monthly Challenge

Let’s visualize what a peaceful world will look like. For this month’s peace challenge, I challenge you to publish what your dream of peace looks like. Here are a few prompts. Feel free to use one or create your own.

  • With as much detail as possible, describe a day in a world full of peace.
  • What would the radio, internet, television sound/look like in a peaceful world?
  • Pick a spot in the world today that has conflict and re-vision this area as peaceful.
  • What would all the people who are in active duty to conflict do if we had world peace? How would we alter our spending, resources, and brain power if we didn’t have to worry about war?
  • Describe the world you want your children to live in. How would they feel? What would they be doing and with whom?
  • Pretend you are the only one living who remembers a world without peace. How would you describe how grateful you are to be living in a peaceful world?

Don’t forget to link to at least one other B4Peace post and add your post to the Linkz collection. 

 

I realize I haven’t done a B4 Peace monthly challenge in a while; yes, I feel guilty for that so when I checked October’s challenge and saw what it was I had to do it. What would a world look like at peace? Now there’s a challenge I can attempt!

In my view a peaceful world would entail one where we are all self aware and able to meditate on a regular basis. We would

meditation

meditation (Photo credit: HaPe_Gera)

all have a reasonable grasp on ethics and possess a moral and ethical compass inside us that never failed us. Our minds would not be full of a million meaningless things but mindfully aware of the moment we’re alive in. Distractions would be unnecessary because we would have no emotional scars repressed or suppressed in our subconscious and unconscious mind; thus we would not have pain to seek escape from through distraction. Our hearts would be filled with loving kindness and endless compassion for ourselves and others.

Arbitrary concepts that oppress people would be eliminated because we would be beyond the need to control others through oppression. Our enlightened minds would embrace everyone’s differences knowing we are all in this world together wishing to love and be loved. Through that awareness we would not even consider rejecting people based on concepts that separate us. Each individual would have their needs met easily since not wanting to oppress anyone we would live without poverty; thus our attention could be placed on cultivating our enlightenment. No one would even think about war because in our self awareness we would recognize the only problem is inside our mind and anger is a reflection of who we are not anyone else. People could still disagree and have differences of opinion but they would not culminate in anything more than a healthy debate.

The compassion and love inside each and every individual would effectively prevent wars from taking place; furthermore, our self awareness would also aid in mediating any conflicts that might arise leading us to make smart decisions, such as walking away or taking a few deep breaths if necessary. If anyone got to a critical state where there was anger the parties involved would be evolved enough to take time out to meditate on the folly of their ways. After sufficient meditation the anger would be gone or reduced to a reasonable degree and tensions would evaporate or diminish substantially. Denial and any other type of defence mechanism would also be unnecessary since these tend to arise when we feel afraid or uncomfortable facing a situation or truth. Similarly, honesty would be our default mode and lying would be seen as an ethical lapse requiring us to inquire within why we felt lying was permissible.

A peaceful world requires us to develop compassion for ourselves and others. Greed is a leading cause in wars so this is something everyone would have to consciously monitor themselves for. Being filled with compassion and love for everyone we would not wish to take more than we need however, thus mitigating the risk for malignant greed developing. In order to maintain our peaceful world we would all have to be evolved enough to the stage where we possess awareness of who we are; thus not blaming others for our own errors.

I think world peace is a long way off for us but it is not impossible. It begins with you and me though. If each one of us looked within ourselves and found inner peace we would radiate that to the outside world. Through our inner peace we would “infect” others with our positive vibrations leading to more people seeking their own inner peace. We cannot find peace OUTSIDE of us. Peace is found INSIDE ourselves. This is where we need to look if we wish to have world peace someday. To get there is as easy as sitting on a meditation cushion/bench or chair for 5 to 10 minutes if new to the practice and longer for more seasoned practitioners.

©Natalya, 2012-2013.


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Art for Peace?

May’s Bloggers for Peace challenge is to write about art and peace so I will discuss my thoughts below.

The World Peace monument in a pond next to a s...

The World Peace monument in a pond next to a statue of the Buddha on a lotus in Swayambhunath temple site, Kathmandu, Nepal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Art has the power to bridge culture and language; it can bring a room of diverse people together and enable them to appreciate something in common, be it dance, paintings, acting, performances of all varieties, etc. There is no need to understand what an opera singer is saying to be moved emotionally, nor is there need for speech when gazing at a statue or painting. During the period of Nazi Germany Hitler ‘spared’ the musicians because their art ‘spoke’ to his misguided soul. Music has the power to uplift us and bypass cultural barriers. South Korea’sK-Pop‘ is popular in America among English speaking young people. They don’t know what every word means but something gets transcended when communication is elevated to art form.

Whether or not art can bring us global peace is debateable but it certainly has the ability to bring peace to individuals and groups of people. Our hearts are ‘hearing’ and ‘seeing’ for us when we let an opera, symphony, painting etc. inside us. There is art available that likely brings little peace with it but there is good and bad in everything. What we should try to do is appreciate our differences. Those differences can cause wars but they can also enrich our world if we open ourselves to new things. Understanding comes when we learn our way is not the only way and others can be right too. One form of art is not superior to another, although we may like one more than another.

Art is like the individual, unique but not everyone appreciates or understands them like their admirers do. Just because we don’t appreciate or understand though doesn’t give us permission to wipe out that art form. In similar fashion, we cannot ‘wipe out’ a culture because they seem unreasonable to us. It happens but it is not ethical. We should strive to live our lives as ethically and peacefully as possible. Art might just bring us a little bit closer to this goal.

©Natalya, 2013.


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Life Without Internet

Reconnecting with the world. I didn’t take this picture. Found on Pinterest and shot in Ireland.

Well I didn’t pay my internet bill for a few months because I didn’t have the money and finally got it shut off on me. Thus, I have only just gotten it back today after finally paying my sizable bill off. It’s hard to believe it has been since May 25th that I’ve been without internet. That’s a lifetime when you’re an addict like me. For the first two days I had a headache because I was in withdrawal mode! After a few days the physical symptoms subsided and I merely longed psychologically for my internet connection again. After all, how else am I supposed to keep up with all your wonderful blog posts? Okay I could have visited the public library but I wasn’t such an addict that I absolutely had to have my ‘fix’ everyday.

So what on earth did I find to occupy my time for these past 5 full days without internet you may be wondering. Well I cleaned, decluttered and tidied up. I got a lot done with no internet to distract me! LOL Heck, even my sleep had changed. Instead of going to bed at midnight I found myself wanting to retire at 10:30-11 pm or sometimes earlier. In the mornings I got up at around 7:30 am, give or take a half hour. The whole experience has left me thinking I wasn’t living my life with very much variety. Sitting in front of my computer for the better part of every day isn’t ideal. So I guess I’m not sorry I had to be deprived of my internet for 5 days. Many worse things could have happened and they didn’t. Thus I have little to complain about.

I just realized I didn’t write my B4Peace post yet for May so I had better try to get that done.

Glad to be back 🙂

©Natalya, 2013.


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Teach the Children Peace? (April’s B4Peace Topic)

  • Publish a post on how to teach children peace. How do we raise children to be peaceful? What do children need to know about peace? How do we teach them what peace means?

How do we teach peace to children? By living and breathing it everyday of our lives. Children learn by watching adults so if we want peace we have to behave peacefully. We’re role models as adults so it’s our job to make sure children understand everyone deserves to be treated equally and with compassion. Of course many adults do not treat others as equals or with compassion so this is where problems may arise. Do as I say and not as I do is a phrase often said by parents but what if parents and adults alike decided to not be hypocritical and walk the talk? Children are very sensitive to incongruities and learn that if you say one thing and do another they will understandably be confused.

As adults we must understand the concept we wish children to learn. How can you teach something if you don’t understand it yourself? Or you understand it but don’t value it enough to live it? Peace is a value a lot of people say they have but they don’t necessarily behave peacefully. Adults commit crimes and acts of violence on other adults and even children and animals. To teach peace to children is not hard if all you are doing is talking. But peace is not only words but our actions too. Our actions will always speak louder than our words. We are responsible for doing our part as parents or aunts, uncles and/or grandparents, ensuring our children see us behaving peacefully. If we are shouting, hitting, or hurting others in some way then we are not conveying the message of peace.

Peace is not just a symbol on a T-shirt or something “hippies” subscribe to. It can and should be something everyone sees the value of. Unfortunately there are many awful things happening in our world that go against peace. Murder, rape, genocide, racism, sexism, child abuse, animal abuse, torture of any kind, and more. All of these things damage the goal of peace yet we can still do our best to let children know that those things are wrong and unacceptable. Maybe it’s as simple as explaining each time the news reports on something bad happening that those responsible were doing bad things. I think we need to differentiate between the person and the action since people are not all bad; their behaviour may be terrible but not them as a person. Likewise, when children misbehave they are not bad but their behaviour is. Peace is living non violently, respecting all people and animals, and eschewing intentionally hurting others.

If we are to achieve a state of peace we have to treat everyone and thing we come into contact with in a compassionate, humane and respectful way. Animals deserve to be treated kindly and humanely. Ideally, everyone would stop eating animals and exploiting them for their own gratification. Exploitation of animals, children and women is a problem we need to deal with if we are to ever live in a peaceful world. Our hearts must open to others as though they are our family because they are our family! They and we belong to the Human race so there is no reason to not value and respect people because they came from somewhere unfamiliar to us. Similarly, those living with radically different values and beliefs from us deserve our compassion and tolerance. We cannot all live the same and think the same but we can all learn empathy and compassion. If you’re compassionate and empathetic to everyone then violence is less likely. Understanding other people is an important step on the way to peace.

Children need to learn other people may think differently from them so should try understanding when someone does something they do not like. By acknowledging our own beliefs are not everyone else’s and don’t have to be we stop feeling frustrated. Believing everyone should think like we do creates conflict especially if we try overtly imposing our beliefs on others. We must accept differences even when they violate one of our values. So long as the belief or value is not harming anyone or thing then it should not concern us. Even if the belief or value harms but is within the law we should either try to tolerate it or try to change it by petitioning government and/or law enforcement. That way we are not creating more harm and are attempting to act peacefully to invoke change.

Writing and illustrating children’s stories on peace would be a good way to easily teach the concept. Most children enjoy books with imaginative stories and illustrations thus it would reach many children. Make the books accessible through public libraries and schools so that it is widely available. Teachers could incorporate peace into their curriculum at the appropriate developmental level for the child’s age. If school boards took the initiative they could ensure peace was on the curriculum for sure.

Violence is a theme prevalent in our T.V. shows, movies and video games. Children watch and play these forms of entertainment and become desensitized to it. If we want children to learn peace they will have to understand what they choose to play and or watch has ramifications. Parents or guardians must be willing to explain to children the significance of  what they watch on T.V. or in movies as well as their games. Letting children witness these forms of gratuitous violence without responsibly providing a disclaimer will teach them to think violence is acceptable. I know some children are quite intelligent and can figure this out on their own but erring on the side of caution is best; better to explain to them about the violence they’re witnessing than be sorry later.

Peace is not hard to teach in theory but we as adults destroy the message of peace when we condone various forms of violence. In practice peace is difficult for a lot of adults to teach to children because they may not be living with peace as their primary intention. Using violence to try eliminating it is like trying to put a fire out with gasoline or another flammable substance. Peace begins within us and is up to each of us to BE peace. We cannot change others but we can change ourselves. If we really value peace we will find peace inside ourselves then embody it and show children what peace looks like.

Ways to achieve peace (in no particular order):

  1. Meditate regularly
  2. Practice yoga or Tai Chi regularly
  3. Love yourself (in a non narcissistic way!)
  4. Learn to enjoy your own company
  5. Be compassionate to yourself
  6. Be compassionate to others
  7. Respect yourself and others too
  8. Live ethically/ sustainably
  9. Play and/or have innocent fun
  10. Laugh regularly
  11. Appreciate differences
  12. Love
  13. Breathe fully
  14. Live simply
  15. Live with intention and integrity
  16. Spend time in nature

©Natalya, 2013.