Can We Stop The Violence and Create Peace In The World?

Peace & Violence

Mass shootings in Oregon in USA, two people shot dead in front of Paramatta police station in Sydney (one victim and one perpetrator), USA bombing in Afghanistan of a hospital (collateral damage is the claim), refugees fleeing out of their homelands, increasing deaths due to domestic violence (66 deaths in 9 months in Australia alone), human trafficking etc etc etc.,

How did humans become so violent – profiting from, mutilating and killing each other? To what end?

The violence I mentioned above on the global scale also plays on an individual level.  Our minds are “bubbling hot baths of violence” when we

  • Contradict, dislike, judge each other subtly or openly,
  • Constantly compare with each other,
  • Live in the artificial world of ‘us & them’
  • Spew negativity in the name of wanting to understand,
  • Get stronger in our own convictions even if they openly hurt another,
  • encourage cut throat competition in the name of fulfilling ambitions
  • consume excessively  created by extensive wants and desires…

Result is low self-esteem, over confidence, depression, fears, anxiety, scarcity thinking, hoarding, substance dependence to get away from all of that, which creates more problems.

We simply have forgotten how to live simply.

Global wars and crimes are micro played in our  minds first and we become blame shifters – it is the

  • Government’s fault,
  • The law’s fault,
  • Police not doing enough or
  • Religion’s fault.

Our phobias increase rampantly as we desperately isolate groups or individuals to pin blame on.

We are spending more money on weapons instead of educating people.

We spend time and effort and money on finding essential elements for survival in space (water on Mars) while actively contaminating and pilfering the precious resources here now on earth that we call home. Geroge Monbiot said in his recent article – “The richer a country becomes, the less its people care about their impact on the living planet.”

How is finding water on Mars save children who die daily because they don’t have access to clean water?  How is selling guns to countries who can’t feed their population an answer to their problems?

Where are we heading collectively?

I am sure these are questions that everyone ask of themselves, shake their heads helplessly and go back to living in their safe silos and hot heads (me included) – too far away, not my problem.  We have food, clothes, shelter – the basic necessities and we belong to a family, a community that is our safety net. We believe that one day someone somewhere will come up with a magic solution to all the problems…

Bonding, Belonging and Believing – three essential ingredients for human happiness.

Is it enough to have these three at individual level?  Is that even happening at an individual level?

How bonded are we with each other beyond our immediate family and even within our immediate family?

Do we feel safe in belonging in our communities – of course that depends on which community or country we are talking about.

Do we believe that solutions t0 problems are other people’s headaches?

Where do we individuals stand on these global issues – are we not responsible individually and collectively, no matter how immediate or far removed the issues are from us?

The gadgetry distractions we have created for ourselves, the fear induced selfishness which is making us become increasingly indifferent – are these the values that we are passing on to our children?

If we feel responsible, what can we do?

What do we teach our children?

What are we teaching ourselves?

When we know this is not who we are, how do we go about finding who we truly are?

How do we put an end to, may be not possible to put an end to, but at least curb the violence we witness each day?

Here is what I think (for what it is worth)

To curb violence in the world, we need to stop violating ourselves first and foremost.  We need to go back to the fundamental Human Values that are inherent in all of us.  We need to actively teach our children what these values are and how it helps them grow up to be caring human beings.

Bonding and belonging is more important than any thing else. So instead of creating bonds with gadgets for our children because we are busy, can we perhaps make time to give them our time instead of a gadget and create bonds that last. Research shows that IPad usage by two year old children may harm language development which means inability to express which means inability to communicate and we know what that can lead to.

Yes, we don’t have control over global scale violence, but…

We have control over how we can

  • Develop the inner moral compass of our children,
  • Enhance their sensitivity to moral cues,
  • Make them become aware of our interdependence and
  • Teach them to live with personal integrity which helps them to take responsibility for their state of minds and actions.

Here is a free educational program that does just that for 4 to 6 year old children.  Use this program for your own children or gather a group of children from your local community and teach them.  Catch them young and mold their minds.

What else can we do?

We can stop being excessive consumerists and limit our desires

The older generation has so much wisdom that the young needs to learn from beyond the three R’s, in fact more than reading, writing and arithmetic, children today need to learn Resilience, Resonance and Reflection.

Retired people among us can volunteer their time with local High Schools and mentor the kids there especially the ones that are not coping with the demands of high school.  Show them how valuable they are, teach them how to respond and not react, as well as the value of being kind, being healthy, being helpful, forgiving, taking care of themselves and the planet etc.

They need to understand and practice the values of Love, Truth, Peace, Right Conduct and Non-Violence.  For that they need adults in their lives who practice and demonstrate those values in action.

We may not be able to solve the worlds problems, but we certainly can help in our local communities particularly children and young adults and create loving bonds and a sense of belonging that will stop them from straying away, becoming depressive and suicidal or violent like the 15 year old boy in Sydney who ended up dying.

We want a peaceful society, it is up to us to create that.  We are not helpless in doing that. We need to put our own inhibitions aside, limit our desires and the resulting consumption.   We need to  take genuine interest in the welfare of our next generation and use the freed up time and resources for the welfare of the community that we live in.

Let us form little ‘Circles of Safety’ and bring our younger generations into those circles and equip them to become character laden citizens.

We have nothing to lose and everything to gain – do you agree?

Would love to know what you think and how we should go ahead with this…Please drop a line in with your comments and action plans

Until next time

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari

What Do You Need To #Stop Doing In 2015?


tumblr_n8tu9xSdHA1sk1rjvo1_500and what do you need to do to make that stopping more than an intention?  These were the questions by Charles Gilkey on Day five of #Quest2015

These questions as always made me to start reflect deeply.  And this statement from Mark Nepo’s latest book that I am reading called “Endless Practice” added some clarity to the question above.   The statement is “How can I stand before what life has to offer without removing myself and without drowning in it? We tend to fall to one side or the other; shutting down our feelings for fear of what they will do to us or following what we feel at all cost, fearing a life with no passion.”

I can so relate to that statement as I am currently struggling with the question – How can I stand before life without removing myself or without drowning in it?  Right now if I leave myself in what life is offering me, I am drowning in being a demanding, judging, criticizing nasty person who has her own self protection paramount, who is making ‘her’ the central part of every story she is encountering. The fear of what this is doing to me is keeping me from experiencing life with passion – here I equate ‘passion’ with ‘Love.’

Experiencing life with passion does include feeling the pain as it is inevitable.  But ‘pain’ is only painful when ‘I’ am the centre of every other’s story.  The moment ‘I’ become the central part of the other’s behavior, I lose the capacity to try and understand and when I don’t understand, I will not be able to  make adjustments.  This results in the thinking of “How could she,” or “Why would she” etc. and the end result is a “poor me…” state of being which only drives one towards indifference and that’s more harmful than actually imposing and inflicting hurts.

My life currently is filled with loved ones who all are steering through varying degrees of mental health issues some labelled and others not.  I feel the  massive responsibility of helping them paddle through their oceans of pain while I am trying to keep afloat.  The dangers of me drowning in the ‘poor me’ state of being are very real and to stay afloat is exhausting.

Again borrowing Mark Nepo’s words – “how can I withstand the tension of feeling both the truth of love and the truth of life, without minimizing either?”

What can I #stop in order to do that?  What gestures are waiting inside me to be released by love or crisis?

Can I be like a massive gum tree standing tall and strong, forever embracing the sky, never turning away either from the harshness showered from above, or the hardness of the ground poking from underneath right through to the core?GumTree

Should loved ones troubles weigh  me down or should the fact that I have love in my life lighten me up?  How can I stand before what life has to offer – fully engaged without fear of drowning or being indifferent?

After much pondering, I come to the same answer as always – don’t know why I don’t recognize the answer immediately – here it is.

Giving all of me in the moment that I have, without making ‘ME’ as the centre of every unfolding story, without translating all happenings through the filters of ‘ME.’  When I stop being the centre story of all life, then I am capable of standing in the middle of life watching ‘Pleasure’ and ‘Pain’ with equal passion, strength and energy.

So what do I need to #stop doing in 2015, well actually from today – I do not need to make other’s pain, confusion, worries and anxieties etc.,  “My Story,” all about me, poor me – the victim.

What I can do however is –  I can continue to love, and that’s all I have to offer – an unconditional love from moment to moment, each moment and only in the moment, because there is nothing else outside of this moment right now.

Unconditional Love towards myself and unconditional love towards others -that’s my intention and what do I need to do to make that  more than an intention?

Remembering that I am neither a martyr nor a saint – I just live life with love attending to whatever is coming at me with total acceptance and gratitude – moment to moment, right here and right now, starting each moment fresh –  if slipped, which I will — pick up, dust off and remind myself that only this moment exists and continue to love.

That is my intention moving forward and into 2015.  What is yours? Waiting to hear…

With Love and Respect

Padma Ayyagari