Saturday, February 25, 2012

Sister Peace, Brother War

From what can be observed from all we have learned about history and our own lives, all that exists is locked in tension between two unrelenting forces, death and life and the thrust of all our effort toward satisfaction in our daily undertakings is to promote one over the other. We live in a world of dualities, good and bad, sweet and sour, strong and weak, big and small, war and peace, etc. As each morning breaks, we wake with an increasing awareness of the challenges we must face that day. Some days start out well, others do not and from one moment to the next there are continual adjustments each of us must make to maintain a sense of balance. As babies we have little control over our environment and are dependent upon those that care for us but as we grow we learn the mechanics of how to survive so that in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in at any particular moment we are able to rebalance body, mind and soul. As adults we care for others who benefit from the knowledge, wisdom and experience we have gained over the course of years and into our senior years, there is an even greater ability to tease out meaning from the good, the bad and all that lies in-between.

There are many aspirations people develop as they interact with their environment. Some think very big and are highly motivated with an ability to focus on whatever inspires them to achieve while others are more passive whether it be a result of nature or nurture. Some have physical or mental limitations that impose certain obstacles in their ability to exert control over their environment. Scientists, economists, politicians, auto mechanics, tool and die makers, janitors, etc. all have one thing in common. They all must live and struggle in a world of duality and come to terms with the vagaries of chance occurrence.

Expanding out from the individual there is another dynamic at play, the interaction of the group with other groups. People tend to affiliate with other like-minded individuals to obtain certain advantages they would not have access to on their own. Those affiliations become increasingly more complex as we go from the center to the periphery, from the smaller to the larger in size. Rules are created by groups to provide stability and strength to deal with the variability in human behavior so that all the components of the group benefit more or less equally. Of course, it is very human to try to get around rules since individuals tend to feel dissatisfied with their particular circumstances and decide to break the rules in order to gain some perceived advantage over others. Why is it so human to do so? It is because we live in an imperfect world of dualities where life is really not very fair.

On this planet we are bathed in a medium of both order and chaos, peace and war. When order prevails, people I think tend to fight less since they experience a lesser degree of deprivation. They find ways to cooperate. When chaos increases, social bonds tend to weaken, people become more fearful and will go out and wildly try to grab things which they think will help them survive. This is the state of war. It is a natural condition caused by factors that are both inside and outside of human control. To avoid war, people need to accept certain limits on what they can do – they need to follow rules for civilization to flourish.

So it seems that there will always be times of both peace and war. Everything and everyone is in a moment by moment fight for survival. Utopia can only exist by divine decree since heaven is by definition without duality. Heaven is in itself unity and in that state there can be none of the contrary conditions we find in the world as we know it. Every individual however, according to all the holy writings, has some of the divine nature within so it is therefore logical to assume that we can overcome the warring that exists both inside and outside persons and groups. It is impossible to do away with conflict altogether since we are imperfect beings living in an imperfect world, but we can choose to recognize that part within each of us that is unity and seek to nurture it with the help of God who is by nature, One. There really is no choice but to accept what we cannot change in our lives and so it is necessary to learn live in whatever circumstances we find ourselves in. It is in the acceptance that we look to that which is completely whole, perfect and beautiful in each of us. This is something all must learn to do from moment to moment. Within that reality all must resolve themselves to live between two rivaling siblings, Sister Peace and Brother War.

“We all just seeds in god’s hands, we start the same but where we land is sometimes fertile soil and sometimes sand. We’re all just seeds in god’s hands.”


‘Seeds’ written by Pat Alger and Ralph Murphy and performed by Kathy Mattea on the album, ‘Lonesome Standard Time.’

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