21 September, Peace and Environmental Activism, International Day of Peace
My International Day of Peace seemed very complete with my meeting with two very interesting people. Melody introduced me to Willy and Rowan. They are English people who have spent some time in Australia. They lived in Brisbane and Willy was familiar with the Rotary Peace Program at University of Queensland. I mentioned to him I knew Professor Kevin Clements who had taught peace and run the program there. He also knew Professor Stuart Rees from Sydney University. It was nice to recall these people. Those of us in the peace area have crossed paths with many different people with a range of voices. Professor Stuart Rees is a poet and wrote a Passion for Peace. We all share that passion. What was interesting about Willy was that he was studying war. He was embracing the subject rather than just opposing it. I found that courageous and useful for turning the tide and creating deeper understanding about the human condition. I explained my work (joy I should call it) was about focusing on positive peace, where we are going and creating a vision of what peace looks like in reality. For me it is about ‘being peace’ in my own life as a clown, so the work (play) and focus is there.
A little later Rowan turned up, she is Willy’s partner. I felt a sadness in her and it was evident the environmental destruction was troubling for her. She dedicated her life to conserve the environment. She felt we had passed the tipping point, as I did. She was concerned about the loss of species. I tried to bring some positivity to her as I feel strongly in the importance of living now to manifest the future we want. If we are looking ahead, which most likely will turn out differently, we can spend our time there rather than the here and now. The reason I believe in living in the moment is that this is where we have the power. To affect the moment we live in and expand on what we want now. I do believe our thoughts today manifest the future. To envisage a future full of diversity and peacefulness is the key.
We had a discussion about the current situation and the fact that many people are in denial of the environmental realities and clearly people are not really changing their lives. I have seen unequivocally that consumerism is rampant and as I describe as a juggernaught. That was brought sharply home to me in India, the second largest country in the world around 1.1 billion or precisely 1,129,866,154. China has a population of 1.3 billion or 1,330,044,605 and is also coming online (technologically) in respect of consumerism and economic power. I spoke of ‘it is what it is’, this is a reality that is happening, and we don’t have the power over the big picture, but we do in our own lives. I also shared with them Byron Katies work and the 5 questions to investigate our own thoughts. The idea here is we are not questioning ourselves, we end up in conflict with others and wars over concepts, yet in reality we are not looking into the truth behind our beliefs. So Byron Katie says to do The Work (www.thework.com) to undo the negative beliefs and live in peace. Gandhi would support that as ‘being the change’. To be something transforms the world faster than just talking. . I support this approach as this directs us to work where we have power, within ourselves rather than change others. I am still learning this, but it is a work in progress as I tend to put it. To give you an idea, The Work of Byron Katie suggestions to test your negative beliefs as follows:
Negative belief: The world is being destroyed
1. Is it true?
2. Can you be absolutely sure it is true?
3. How do you feel, how do you react when you believe the thought
4. Who would you be without the thought
5. Turnaround: examine the thought in reverse looking at yourself
She indicates the truth is within and the answers rise up from our subconscious. I definitely want to get into The Work and am convinced it is the way to peace. As I have experienced so many things coming to me and my life being supported in what I would say are magical ways, I believe peace is possible without a doubt. I felt the pain within Rowan and wanted to give her some hope. She is an example of many people working for change who find the external world very challenging as it is evident people are not changing. However, there is no point living in sorrow, we have to find a space of happiness within.
They kindly invited me to dinner and Rowan was a wonderful cook. We had healthy vegetables. I was pretty hungry as I don’t have much food where I am. So it was lovely to eat a hearty dinner with cake afterwards.
Willy and I discussed his work in the war area. He spoke of the secret war by the CIA in Laos. He had been a British soldier and I believe he said that they had been involved in Vietnam. He had done research and looking at the weapons used in warfare such as cluster, white sulpher, defoliants (destroy forests), napalm and many others. I spoke to him about meeting Scott Ritter (senior weapons inspector in Iraq). I spent some hours with him in a hotel room discussing real peace not Iraq. I also interviewed in a community radio interview Major Douglas Rokke who was Director of the Depleted Uranium Project in the Pentagon and traveling the world discussing depleted uranium. Willy shared my horror of the weapons they are using on people. For example the depleted uranium has a 4 billion year half life and is spread all over Iraq, Afghanistan and Balkans. It is hard to imagine how people can have no feeling for the people who are exposed to these horrific weapons. Where does our humanity go, clearly soldiers are trained to feel nothing and see only ‘the enemy’ and not question, how else do you get a person to carry out an unnatural behavior such as killing someone they don’t know, particularly civilians. This is very disturbing when 90% of fatalities in warfare are civilians. In Papua New Guinean history apparently mountain tribes would have wars and when one person was killed they stopped and mourned the death, nowadays we can kill millions, in the Second World War over 50 million were killed. What has gone wrong where we can’t resolve conflict or deal with power issues. I do feel the male psyche that promotes men to be disconnected from their feelings and emotional states of being is one of the central issues. This is playing out in marriage breakdowns. The family unit is disintegrating. This is an issue of love and responsibility for children. Willy and I discussed the violent video games and how violent they are, I explained to him that children can now scan their faces into the game to make it more real. I find it disturbing that parents allow it. One of my friends says there is nothing she can do. They want to play it. Our moral and values based development has been severely neglected and the problems are surfacing. Even the gang violence in many central/south American countries is related to frustration, disempowerment and the power of violence to get what you want. This has to be reversed in favour of the power of love as the real security. So the issues are complex yet they do come down to a choice of the world we want to create. Collectively we will make that decision, one way leads us to destruction, the other a new culture of peace on the planet. It is time now for this to happen, and it will.
I spoke to Willy and Rowan of the spiritual. It is always challenging to discuss this subject without being seen as religious or new age, but none-the-less I discuss it as it is central to my truth. It is a part of our being – mind, body and spirit and it is within us. It is what guides my own life and has given me a deep optimism for the future. I try to share this to give others that sense of peace through my example.
It was interesting learning a little bit about Rowan’s life in natural resource management. She was seeking her purpose and was feeling a little lost about what she is to do. Her purpose before was linked to conserving the environment, but her observation of the outside world seems to have taken this purpose away, as it seems not possible. She had worked with tigers and Willy showed me on a website the flash photo’s of animals at night. It was fascinating to see the different wildlife that you may never see unless you have a camera on at night. There was one shot of a tiger growling at the camera, apparently it had seen it flash and went for it. The wildlife in this area was white faced monkeys, armadillo like animals, I believe, a wide range of bird life and there are butterflies. I saw a blue one today very big and beautiful. There are wild cats in this environment, scorpions and a multitude I can’t recall. It is a rich diverse area one of the most biologically diverse in the world. So I am in a very special place. It seems that very special people are drawn to this location and the small community appear to be very interesting. I feel there will be many environmentalists in despair. The business community in its obsession with profit does not have the education or awareness to understand the fundamental link of nature to security and survival. They see trees and for them it is development. When I studied economics there was no mention of ecology or social impacts. Thus we out picture a model that just focuses on demand (product/services) and supply (resources) and profit maximization. Where there is no profit there is no interest. Thus the link of giving from the heart (for free) is severed and seen as worthless unless of economic value. Even the concept of ‘life’ is of no value and lost in beliefs of ‘success’ and ‘career’ concepts embodied in self interest or a focus on children and keeping up with the speed of life. It is very interesting how powerful the mind is and how deluded we become.
The fragility of the ecosystem in respect of its balance I found out could be envisaged in this way, animals have become extinct in protected areas. The scientists don’t know why but the ecosystem is so balanced that perhaps a change in another part of the forest affects the area or change in temperature moves birds to other areas, or fruits fruiting can attract other birds if food is scarce in their environment due to deforestation. Apparently some South American birds are showing up in Costa Rica which is not normal. Scientists are trying to work out why. It shows me that we have so little knowledge of the depth, breadth and balancing points of the eco system. We talk about the tipping points but there will be millions of tipping points of varied species that require certain temperatures to operate, certain food sources and soil quality. We just go to the shops and buy what we want without any deep understanding of how the plastic wrapping is poisoning the natural systems, how processing affects our health and how all of this links into a delicate balance. Our lives are in the balance and when the feedback effects happen it will collapse quite quickly is my feeling. I could be wrong, but I believe that is what will happen. However, I do believe this is necessary given the way we live is not sustainable and we must create changes and face the truth of our place on this planet. Humans funnily enough seem to need to go through the drama and catastrophe before they change. However, my hope is that with all the tragedies happening that a consciousness of compassion is rising as people care about what happens to others. This is what is needed to create the change.
We need to grow kindness,
We need to nurture love,
We need to cultivate understanding,
We need to find peace within,
To see the world as kin,
And branch out with the message of love,
For this is the new soil that produces new varieties,
That are favoured,
A great day for the International Day of Peace. See how the universe works, brings me the right conditions given where I feel I am going. I trust in that and now I have a good sleep.