Reflections by Deepak Chopra July 2006

Delving in consciousness as bombs fall and hatred grows

Change doesn’t start on the surface

Societies get into the grip of their own self-created story.

Let us resist the lure of dualities.

Love is the only point of departure for intelligent action.

We cannot simply pursue without reflection the same thing that didn’t work

Change doesn’t start on the surface

This has been true throughout history. If Buddhism can begin with one person and Christianity with twelve, let us not think in terms of numbers and odds. It may sound grandiose to compare ourselves to great spiritual guides, but we act collectively, as an alliance. Our strength comes from critical mass.

We aren’t here to make the world evolve.

We are here to evolve as individuals and then to spread that influence.

In the wisdom tradition of Vedanta, the stream of evolution is known in Sanskrit as Dharma, from a root verb that means ‘to uphold.’ This gives us a clue how to live: the easiest way for us to grow is to align ourselves with Dharma.

We don’t have to struggle to grow–that would be unproductive, in fact. The Dharma has always favored non-violence. If we can bring ourselves to a state of non-violence, and connect with others who are doing the same thing, we have done a huge thing to reinforce Dharma.

“If we could know the secret history of our enemies we would find in each persons life enough suffering and sorrow to disarm all hostilities.” –Longfellow-


Human Forum; The Faces of Courage (Puerto Rico, 7-9 December, 2006)

Dear Friends of the Alliance,

What happens when we are delving deep into the nature of our consciousness, while our collective subconscious erupts with rage and violence in the Middle East?

I felt myself asking, “Is it realistic to hope for a new humanity?” As I look at the faces of people yearning for true peace (not just the absence of war) and feel their presence, any sense of helplessness diminishes, because I am looking at the seeds of the new humanity.

These are caring, compassionate, loving, people engaged in personal transformation. There are many all over the world, if only they could be connected. If only we could reach critical mass as soon as humanly possible.

But the immediate question for everyone of us is “What can I do now?”

I would like to share my reflections with all of you in this time of war. These are not original insights. They have been part of wisdom traditions for a long, long time. I deeply honor the sentiments of those of you who favor social activism, but that approach has been tried over and over again without great success. I believe at the core of my being that only a consciousness-based approach will work.

Societies get into the grip of their own self-created story.

It’s helpful to realize that we can choose not to participate in that story. Realize that national and tribal stories are limited, self-serving, based on the past, reinforced by orthodoxy, and therefore opposed to real change. Stories are incredibly persuasive. Wars are fueled by victimization that runs deep, for example. So let us not try to change anyone’s story. Let us only notice and observe ourselves when we buy into it and then let us back away from participating in it.

Let us not demand of ourselves that we alone must be the agent of change. In a fire brigade everyone passes along a bucket, but only the last person puts out the fire. None of us know where we stand in line. We may be here simply to pass a bucket; we may be called on to play a major role. In either case, all we can do is think, act, and say. Let us direct our thoughts, words, and actions to peace. That is all we can do. Let the results be what they will be.

Let us realize that engagement and detachment aren’t opposite–the more engaged we become, the more detached we will have to be. Otherwise, we will lose ourselves in conflict, obsessiveness, anxiety over the future, and feelings of guilt and inadequacy. Keep in mind that we are pioneers into the unknown, and uncertainty is our ally. When our minds want closure, certainty, and finality, let us remind ourselves that these are fictions. Our joyous moments will come from riding the wave, not asking to get off at the next station.

Most misery is born of failed expectations so let us learn to minimize expectations so that we will feel far less guilt and disappointment. We aren’t here to be good or perfect. We are here as the antennas for signals from the future. We are here to be midwives to something that wants to be born. Good people have preceded us. They solved some problems and created others. As one wise teacher said, “You aren’t here to be as good as possible. You are here to be as real as possible.

I know this sound difficult, but let us try to be tolerant of intolerance. This is a hard one at times, but if you try the opposite–showing a hard heart against those with hard hearts of their own — all we’ve done is expand the problem. It’s helpful (but often difficult) to remember that everyone is doing the best they can form their own level of consciousness. Trying to talk a terrorist out of his beliefs is like trying to persuade a lion to be a vegetarian. All we can realistically do is seek openings for higher awareness.

Let us resist the lure of dualities.

These include us versus them, civilized versus barbarians, good versus evil. The good, civilized people of Europe managed to kill millions of themselves, along with millions of “them.” In reality we are all in the same boat of human conflict and confusion. Sometimes it helps to admit that the doctor is not far from being a patient.

Let’s create an atmosphere of peace around ourselves. Imagine that we are like a mother whose children come home crying about fights at school. Would it be her job to soothe their wounds or to arm them for fighting back tomorrow? Simplistic as it may sound, the male principle of aggression can only be healed by the feminine principle of nurturing and love.

Mahatma Gandhi spoke the truth when he said “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” We are units of consciousness, and the world is our projection. If there are enough units of peace consciousness and they connected with each other to reach critical mass, we could heal the world by healing ourselves.

A conscious change of heart is one of the most concrete things the world can ever see, a change of heart can change the world, whereas dutiful combative stances can only increase our agonies.

While caught up in a conflictive situation keep out there in the midst of it all doing what you do best:

Do not be discouraged, but know that there are people all over the world who support you, one day there will be so many that everyone will see peace.

Love is the only point of departure for intelligent action.

Reactionary activism based on blame and self’-righteousness leads us to perpetual strife, as we accumulate vengeful and judgmental postures.

There is war and suffering in life, it has always been there, now in the present news from the Middle East, Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Guatemala, Congo, Somalia, etc. But it is really everywhere, as we have forgotten who we really are, and have failed to exercise the charity of forgiveness of ourselves and others.

How can we overcome this strife? -By overcoming hatred-. How can we overcome hatred? -By releasing love-. How can we release love? -By growing in consciousness, which means consideration, forgiveness, understanding, -an awareness of our common being. And this applies to collective, social, family, and individual conflicts.

Lets not become impatient for concrete solutions alone.

As we engage in dialogue among ourselves to find the solutions to our immediate problems, some of us with warplanes and missiles flying overhead, become truly desperate for concrete strategies, and concrete results.

But lets ask ourselves: did millions marching for peace across American and Europe before the Iraq war prevent it? Did the peace treaties negotiated by President Clinton between the Palestinians and Israelis achieve anything? Has all the negotiation and conflict resolution by responsible, intelligent, sincere diplomats affected the estimated 35 wars that are now going on simultaneously in the world? Has all the moral outrage prevented the ethnic cleansing and genocide in Sudan, Ethiopia, or Gujarat? Has the hundreds of billions of dollars of aid to developing nations overcome poverty?

We cannot simply pursue without reflection the same thing that didn’t work

Maybe personal transformation (including the longing for personal transformation) can contribute towards a lasting and radical solution. Why don’t we give peace a chance by engaging in something seemingly not so “concrete” like participating in the creation of peace consciousness?

We can and must do whatever is in our reach to put out the fires. Yes, let us bring the buckets of water and dig the trenches to contain the forest fires we have started, but if we do not stop smoking, we would not have addressed the root cause that gives continuous rise to the fire. So although we must raise our voices and coordinate our actions as our hearts demand to counteract conflagrations like the one in the Middle East and Iraq and put pressure on our leaders to act fast to bring peace, we must not diminish our first order of sustained priority, that of addressing the root cause of all our social and individual hassle and pain – our ignorance and the healing our own selfishness.

And this quest applies to all, the so called spiritual leaders, the seekers, the social workers activists and everyone, for all, no matter what role we play, we all are longing for love and peace, for greater understanding.

Peace can only be created by those who are peaceful.

I cannot honesty claim that I have achieved peace of mind, but because I am at least trying to go beyond my personal melodrama, it is my hope that I may be capable of seeing things in perspective. I think longing for peace may itself be the beginning to bring about a new birth of awareness.

To be part of the gestation process is just as necessary as any other stage. As Rumi said in one of his poems, “Our longing and our helplessness are the way”.

Let’s meet as people who have nothing in common except our helplessness and our own peace of mind.

It’s worth celebrating that we are not emotionally drawn into the concept of war as a “solution” when the rest of the world is. Maybe it is worthwhile to invite the world into a new era–showing humanity the face of peace.

I have no doubt that millions will watch us and say, “That’s me, too.”

I do not want to convey a sense of pacifism.

Consciousness isn’t passive. In itself it’s always moving, changing, creating and affecting change. Activism that works for change on the surface often winds up being just a counterforce–it’s the opposite side of a tug of war.

The situation in the Middle East right now, for example is rife with action. It’s rife with opposition. Is there a choice that didn’t involve increasing tension? Of course, we all support humanitarian relief, peace negotiations, etc. this world has always been full of good, well-intentioned people who devote themselves to social change. And for many, this work is their personal path of evolution.

Yet the world remains a sinkhole of poverty, famine, war, crime, and despair. Goodness hasn’t changed the situation; activism has ameliorated it, at best.

When doing more of the same thing doesn’t work, I think it’s time to consider the deeper wound, which is at the level of consciousness.

There is action to be taken in consciousness, even though it may be subtle action.

Love, Deepak

The Human Forum in Puerto Rico; The Faces of Courage (December 7-9, 2006)

The Human Forum will gather the faces of courage that collectively enliven our spirit, our determination, and our humility, in the face of all that has to be done to change ourselves and our world for the better.

This is a time when all hands are needed on deck. Each one and all are essential. By recognizing and revealing the beauty of each face and the sincerity of each initiative, we will come to see the value and necessity of each person’s offering.

Join us in a collective reflection in a life transforming experience. Register early and you would make some savings while supporting the participation of many others who are carrying out transformation in all its modalities in the world. Click here for registration and more information.

Join us and tell your friends, Deepak
Learn More
:: arsenio@anhglobal.org
:: http://www.anhglobal.org

Leave a Reply