A Recovery Blog
This blog is about my continuing recovery from severe mental illness. I celebrate this recovery by continuing to write, by sharing my music and artwork and by exploring Buddhist ideas and concepts. I claim that the yin/yang symbol is representative of all of us because I have found that even in the midst of acute psychosis there is still sense, method and even a kind of balance. We are more resilient than we think. We can cross beyond the edge of the sane world and return to tell the tale. A deeper kind of balance takes hold when we get honest, when we reach out for help, when we tell our stories.
Monday, September 21, 2015
International Peace Day
I am a pacifist. I believe in and practice non violence. This means that if my life were being threatened, I would choose to be killed rather than to kill. I follow Buddha. I follow Jesus Christ. Jesus, when his life was threatened, did not fight back and did not try to organize his followers to fight for him or protect him. He was a man of peace and he died a man of peace. He said - Love your enemies and pray for those who abuse you. He said - Do not even hold anger in your heart and deal with it immediately. He was a man of all people - man, woman and child, Jews, Romans, Pagans, Samaritans and I think quite likely some Buddhists too and more. He said - If someone hits you, turn the other cheek. Let them yell. Let them hit you. Let them torture you. Let them hang you on a cross, but always, always Love Them. Forgive them, forgive them for they know not what they do. When Jesus rebuked the corrupted Pharisees I believe he did this to reach them, to wake them up to their own hypocrisy, and yes, to love them. And how many of them did he reach? How many turned away from their hypocrisy and became, once again, honorable people? We do not know. But if even one had awakened I know it would have been worth it for Jesus. Jesus died on the cross in part because of the Pharisees and others corrupted by power who did not turn around. He also died for them, to show how far you must be willing to go to reject hypocrisy in yourself. In our world, it takes more courage to not be violent than to attack.
What a crazy world it is here in the United States, a mostly Christian country. If Jesus were alive today, I'm sure he would love every one of us, but how could he look at most of us and say we were his followers? How do we forget his message so easily? He said - Blessed are the peace makers - not blessed are the warmongers. He would say God blesses the whole world, not God blesses just the United States. Jesus would not be a nationalist. If Jesus had children who said they were going to enlist, he would not say they were righteous - he would rebuke them. His practice was to eradicate anger from his heart. How can you go to boot camp and pick up a gun or any weapon with the intention of protecting your life and potentially sacrificing others' lives and also say the you follow Jesus? Who had more courage - Jesus dying on the cross or a soldier who protected his men but sacrificed an entire village in a foreign country? And all those soldiers who have died for their country, would they have been willing to die instead not to keep peace in their country only but to foster peace all over the world by laying down their weapons?
Twenty two veterans commit suicide every day in the USA, approximately one every hour. What message does that send? Is anybody listening? What would Jesus say? What would Jesus do for these men and women who have suffered so and for those who are suffering so with Post Traumatic Stress right this second, every second? Which is the path of maturity? The path of war or that of peace? Children can be cruel, often following the example of immature adults. Must we stay cemented into global immaturity? Soldiers are not big, badass and tough - they are just as fragile as any of us. Their collective response to war is perfectly normal. War is insane. And so they return wounded so deeply in their spirits. That is what violence does to both the aggressor and the victim. And how are our veterans treated once back home? So very poorly. And how many of these poor, suffering human beings are homeless, addicted, insane, in prison?
How many of you here in the US who say you are Christian realize that Jesus was one of the most famous PACIFISTS on this planet? If we were truly a Christian country, our nation would be a nation of pacifists, pure and simple. It's as if we as a nation have some kind of amnesia about who Jesus was and what he stood and died for. It as if the words "Love your enemies" were never spoken by him. His core teaching was about love. I have heard people say, oh, it's too hard to love my enemies and so they don't even try. But Jesus never said it was going to be easy. Following a strong spiritual path is never easy. And who in their right mind would say that being a soldier trained to kill, killing others and watching others die is easy and yet people are enlisting every day. Love is about sacrifice, not for your country, but for peace and goodwill amongst ALL people.
We are one people contributing greatly to the vast decline of this planet. How much time do you think we really have before natural and man made disasters extremely degrade the quality of life for not just some of us, but all of us? Our resources are dwindling. How much time and effort and money do we invest in perpetuating wars across the earth? Do we really need to get to the point of some global disaster so huge that all our warring over the years will seem petty in comparison? Quite simply we need peace on earth starting now. We need to transform our hearts and all turn towards pacifism making it the rule and not the exception starting with the children of this generation. The basic rule must become crystal clear: DO NOT HURT YOURSELF OR ANY OTHER PERSON UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES. Let's teach the children to grow up healthy by finally growing up ourselves. That's courage in action. That's what Jesus died for.