Blame

We live in a world where control is maintained through violence and coercion. Our governments are bought and paid for by corporations with little to no humanity. Our peace officers have become enforcement officers. Our society is often cold and unforgiving and falling to the margins has become much easier as our safety nets and human rights are slowly eroded in the name of security. It is natural to try to assign blame to various parties in an attempt to rationalize how we have arrived at this place in history. We can blame religious extremists, white supremacists, or uneducated immigrants. We can blame our neighbours, our politicians, or the media. But in the end assigning blame, while cathartic, does not bring us any closer to a solution. Blame is divisive and pits groups against one another and as such should be abandoned. What is needed in this time of division is forgiveness.

The first step towards sustainable peace is the act of forgiving our perceived enemies for their transgressions. Forgiveness does not equate permissiveness, nor does it denote tolerance of heinous acts. The pacifist must be steadfast in their denunciation of violence and abuses. What forgiveness implies, however, is that we see past the action and instead acknowledge the human that has committed it. Forgiveness relies on an understanding that humans are by their very nature imperfect and that every action is rooted in our past experiences. We begin to see that every violent action is actually a reaction to perceived expectations and abuses in that person’s past. We also come to realize that humans are driven by an overwhelming urge to fit in and find their place within their community. We come to understand the abuser as dysfunctional and weak. Their acts of violence are seen for what they are; a call for help and an attempt to conform to a warped societal expectation. Sometimes we even see our own contributions to the abuse around us. Quickly we realize that no one is blameless and therefore no one is to be blamed.

Just as assigning blame is a divisive act, forgiveness is a unifying act. When we embrace forgiveness we show our adversaries that their crimes against us are in fact, ineffectual. The point of violence and abuse is to gain power over your victim. That power is taken away when forgiveness is coupled with peaceful resistance. The playing field is levelled and the aggressor is forced to look at their actions in a different light. The pacifist understands that engaging in forgiveness also leads to engaging in a dialogue. We do not simply allow our abusers to continuously offend us with no repercussions. Instead, we stand tall in the face of abuse, denounce the deed as unacceptable, then offer our forgiveness to the person responsible. Through time our steadfast and resilient response to abuse will compel our aggressor to justify their actions to themselves. Since violent actions are never justifiable, the pacifist has gained the upper hand and has removed the aggressor from their position of power. Through time the abusive person will find themselves on the defensive and will begin to doubt their ways. They will see that violence and abuse is not the answer and that it has no place in our communities and they will be forced to abandon their ways. In the end, the aggressor will join the ranks of the pacifist and our communities will become more unified.

Beginnings Part VII

Stationary, observing,
cracking the code;
deducing that which comes next –
frenzied activity presents revelation.

Patterns whipping up waves
of elucidation; carving paths
through woven confusion,
spiralling towards possibility.

Capturing Others an act of will,
an act of patience, imagination,
an act of suspenseful waiting
for conditions unknown.

Create – unravel motion,
perturb momentum, design
solutions to unfathomable
chains for tempo.

Rhythmic pulsations feed our senses,
consume attention, provoke us to action.
Quietly we tread forward
again; attempting ensnarement.

Was one, then two, soon one
once more.
Held in cosmic dance,
spun through eternal embrace.

Hesitant we tread forward,
testing invented moves,
freeing ourself to author
what lies ahead.

Should we discover connection,
devise a course to protect,
engagements requiring perfect step;
in tandem, affection beset.

Revolution

It is my opinion that humanity is entering another period of social upheaval. Talk of revolution is on the tip of many lips. Inequality is rampant and tensions between ideological groups is high. The arrogant elite have been allowed to ravage our communities unchecked. Rule of law has become biased against the common man and woman, and the enforcers of this biased legal system have been corrupted and rely heavily on violence to maintain a semblance of peace. If we look back at history, we will see many other times reminiscent of this one and all of those times have been followed by major revolutions. In ancient history slavery ignited revolutions in great empires such as Egypt and Rome. We saw a similar period of gross inequality in the late 18th century that led to the American and French revolutions. Most recently we saw social injustice leading to the communist revolutions in Latin America in the 1950’s. But we must remember that in all of these cases, revolutions, while bloody and disruptive, have always failed in leading to real change. The poor classes are still poor after a revolution. The rich ruling classes shift membership slightly, but in the end it is still the same hierarchy that was in place before the revolution came about. Perhaps the style of government has changed, but not the institutions of inequality.

This is due in part to the power of language in shaping our expectations and thoughts. The word “revolution” describes a period of change that starts at one point, moves through a series of events that appear on the surface to equate to change, but then ends at the same point it started in. A revolution is the process of completing a full circle. We start at point A, travel to point B then return to point A again. It is the illusion of change. A controlled demonstration of power which allows the lower classes to feel as if something big is on the horizon, when in fact nothing real has happened. There is a displacement of the families in power, but power itself remains rooted in the same institutions of government and wealth. Perhaps the wealth has shifted or the government changed form, but to the poor, little will be different.

In this time of inequality, we must look to our past and learn from our previous mistakes. This is not a time for revolution. This is not a time for violence, rioting or anger. This is a time for change. This is a time for peace. This is a time for passive resistance through refusal of participation. In order to bring about real change we need to come together as a collective and withdraw our participation from the current system. As the labour class, our participation is critical to the success and maintenance of the ruling elite. The greatest single blow we could strike to the current power systems would be to withhold our participation as labourers. Without manpower, the machine that is our society comes to a grinding halt and wealth erodes incredibly quickly. No violence is required. Taking to the streets is unnecessary. Assembling and protesting are not particularly important. All that is needed is for everybody to stay home for a couple of weeks. Refuse to work, refuse to purchase new goods, refuse to support the wealthy. The elites’ power lies in their wealth, our power lies in our numbers. Unity is the solution to our current system of inequality.

Beginnings Part VI

Racing after formless echoes –
ripples left in darkness
expose presence, propose purpose;
answers lie ahead.

How to cling to brief engagements,
force entanglements upon
Others swirling past
on currents of infinity.

Chasing transient specks,
peripheral, ephemeral stardust,
floating just beyond
reach.

What madness this?
Trailing always one step behind,
pulled left, nudged right;
sprightly wisps of light unfurl beyond us.

Oh, to dance – to capture
that which enrages,
mocks our desperation,
espouses our futility.

Ages pass as we search.
Horizons dotted with Others
we cannot reach –
senses aflame for want of touch.

Acceptance breaches turbulent waters,
tears apart self, endurance,
memory; could life
hold only pursuit.

Stopped in our tracks, consider
offerings forsaken, sacrifice for naught,
heart broken.
Unattainable points of light sprinkled distantly.

Love

In our world today, love is a word that is used more commonly than any other. It is thought of to the point of obsession by nearly all mankind, yet how many people truly understand what love is? When I look around the world I see some acts done with love, but my overwhelming sense is that most acts are done out of insecurity, fear and selfishness. How can it be that as a society we talk of nothing but love yet still fail to act in a loving way to one another? We know deep down to our core that love exists and that we have experienced it. Even if it only lasted the briefest of seconds, once it has been experienced it is never forgotten and forever sought after. So what is love?

Before we try to understand what love is, perhaps we should discuss in more depth what it is not. Love is not an emotion. Emotions are impermanent and tightly linked to the ego. Emotions quickly change as new information becomes available and is processed. The most powerful emotions tend to spring forth when you have the least understanding about a situation. Love, however, is a constant that starts as just a hint and grows only if it is nurtured. Love is the root of all emotions, not the other way around. When we truly look at the emotions we will see that none of them would exist without first experiencing love. Anger exists when something we love is threatened. Hatred exists when something we love is taken from us. Hope exists when something we love begins to take shape. Happiness exists when something we love is present. But all forms of emotion first require love to exist.

Love is not desire, for desire is a selfish act. Desire is looking at a person to see what you can get from them to further your own needs. Often desire is rooted in lust, but it can come from other needs as well. We also desire a sense of security, a better life, someone to nurture, or someone we can walk all over. But in the end all of these desires come from a sense of emptiness inside that needs to be filled. Love is looking at a person to see what you can give to them to help them along their journey. It pours out of you when you see an opportunity to improve another’s life, so it cannot be desire.

Love is not passion, for passion is an uncontrolled fervour. Passion is looking at a person through a lens and only seeing the aspects of them that we are interested in seeing. It places a person on a pedestal. It is an overwhelmingly emotional experience, which leads it to be easily confused with love. Its flames burn out quickly as your delusions about the other person become apparent, though. All of a sudden they cannot compare to the perfect partner you have created in your passion. There is no truth in passion, so it cannot be love

Finally, love is not sex, for sex is merely a physical act, albeit one which results in the formation of life. Sex is a powerful, emotionally connecting moment between two people and can certainly result in an experience of love, but it is equally a powerful tool for destruction and pain. Sex can certainly exist without love, as love can exist without sex. In fact most of the loving relationships in our lives have zero sexuality. Family, friends, pets all exist in your life quite lovingly without sex. Until we can accept the reality of our sexuality, we will continue to confuse it with love.

So what is Love? When have we experienced it in the past? How can we recognize it in the future? We must remember that love is simply an interaction. Love is the sharing of a powerful experience between two or more souls that leads to truth. Love is walking down a dirt path on a fall day. The air is crisp, but your jacket is cozy. The leaves are turning beautiful shades of yellow and red. Coming towards you on the path is a father with his two year old daughter on his shoulders, piggy-backing. As they bounce past the daughter looks you straight in the eyes and lets out a loud screech of laughter, her face exploding into a toothy smile as yours does the same. A chuckle bursts from your lips as your eyes descend to the father’s and you see his face aglow as well. The feeling that washes over all of you at that moment; that is love. The connection made with the laughing child and her father, two strangers who you will most likely never meet again, is a moment you will remember. The child has seen that an enthusiastic laugh and smile will bring the same out in a stranger, the father has seen how the innocence of a child can bring together previously unknown people and you have learned to appreciate every bounce along the path of life. All three have grown, all three have participated in a beautiful moment. All three have loved.

If we want to enter a realm of higher thinking, in an attempt to break love down into its simplest form, then I would imagine the definition for love would be that it is. I think you will find upon deep introspection and analysis of the experiences in your life that they all break down to variations of the same thing: Love. The confusion in our assessment of love, I am convinced, is simply one of misplaced labelling when one experiences a connection to love. Love is the lesson. It is the core, the root, the essence. All things in our solar system arise from infinite, minute variations upon the same theme: Love. Because love is it, when we catch a glimpse of it we become filled with a sense of awe, wonder and happiness. But this is also where the confusion enters. For we associate the emotions of happiness and bliss that arise from love as being love, but this is not the case. Love is the lesson learned. Love is what arises when another step down the path towards Truth has been taken.

Many people go through life looking for ‘the One’ that they will fall in love with and live with in eternal bliss. This mindset, that there is one person out there in the midst of seven billion who can satisfy you and make you complete, is one of gross ignorance. By thinking in this way we set ourselves the task of searching for love, or worse still, waiting for love. In both cases, when someone does meet another person that they have a close connection to, instead of nurturing their shared happiness, each person begins to categorize their partner. In an attempt to decide whether or not this person is ‘the One’ they rate various attributes about their partner, judging and measuring them against their own lifestyle. Never making compromises, but instead seeing how the other person fits into their rigid idea of the perfect relationship. The problem with this way of thinking is that no one will ever fit, and no partner will ever be ‘the One’ because no person is perfect. We all have bad habits and imperfections. But if we are constantly critiquing our partners we are sure to notice every imperfection. And with time these imperfections will begin to grate upon our nerves. Our original feeling of love towards this person is being replaced by annoyance. Perhaps, because our original feeling of love was actually lust, which wears off relatively quickly. All in all our relationship is doomed to failure because we are waiting for love to happen, or searching for love so furiously that we instead uncover all of our lover’s imperfections.

How can this be avoided? Wise men have said that love can be found between any two people, and I tend to agree. All that must be remembered is that love is not something that arrives, or something that needs to be found. Love is something that is created. When two people who share something special decide that they want to engage in a loving relationship and they make the effort together to create love between one another, then it cannot fail. But both parties must understand that love is a journey with ups and downs. Love is multi-faceted and is expressed in many ways, some unpleasant, but all of which need to be experienced. The ‘perfect’ relationship is one where two souls are content to share the majority of their experiences in this life together, so they can compare notes, reminisce about past shared experiences and learn from one another as they grow.

Beginnings Part V

Oh, to dance – to capture
that which eludes,
betrays our inabilities,
exposes our weakness.

Thrown through vast frigid expanses,
constantly seeking intangible affinities;
spaces where the Other hides,
spaces warmed by passing silhouettes.

Driven now; the clock ticks ahead.
Time measured in encounters,
whose frequency swells
through boundless oceans.

Pull of the Other from new directions;
sources now, what once was source.
Sailing forward, jubilant.
Not one, not two, but many.

The Other becomes Others; our
realization blossoms with
awareness of multitudes,
confronted with possibilities.

Desire speaks –
to know what Others exist,
that Others exist for us to know.
Holding fast we hasten forward.

Was one, then two, now many,
overwhelming gratitude infiltrates
heart, hope, future selves.
Alone no longer, navigating black seas.

To understand touch becomes our prayer.
Others bring life,
feed expectations,
cure souls of despair.

Acceptance

We live in a world where power rests in the hands of a very small group of people, leaving the vast majority of humanity to do the best they can with what little they have. Acceptance has often been promoted as a means for the down-trodden to wrestle a small amount of power back from the elite. Through acceptance we learn to find joy in the life we have been given and make the most of our time here on earth. Acceptance allows us to be satisfied with less, to understand that joy is derived from who we are, not what we have and to realize that there is much to be gained from learning humility. While this is an important skill for the individual to employ in their personal life, does the potential for acceptance to improve our life translate to society as a whole? How does employing acceptance effect the pacifist in her goals towards changing the world around her? Can she accept a system of injustice, exploitation and violence?

Acceptance is a double edged sword. While it is important to be satisfied with our possessions and the people who make up our lives, we should not let our guard down when faced with abuses. I will again draw upon my argument for Balance from an earlier post, and posit that resting between complete acceptance and complete defiance there is a middle ground where humanity will find peace. When the pacifist is faced with abuse, whether institutional or personal, they should abandon their position of acceptance and take on a position of defiance. We will not stand by while war is waged in the name of religion, profit or power. We will stand our ground against unjust laws, the destruction of our ecosystem and the erosion of human rights.

But how does the pacifist exercise defiance without resorting to wartime tactics? It is our responsibility to rise above violent and provocative behaviour. One of the pre-eminent leaders of the peace movement was Mahatma Gandhi, who proved that the use of non-violent resistance can be incredibly effective in creating social change. Meeting violence with non-violent resistance is dangerous and difficult work, which relies on the pacifist to adopt acceptance into their practice. If she accepts that her body is separate from her self, that it is merely the shell which houses her true power, she can detach herself from the violent acts brought upon her. By choosing to stand strong in support of our goals and to remain standing, even in the face of aggression, the pacifist has shown her aggressor that she will not be broken.

In today’s world the authorities are quick to use violence to break up protests, often hiding behind the guise of fearing for their safety. Unfortunately, practising non-violent resistance will not be enough to avoid violent confrontation in these situations. For this reason we must be prudent and begin by assembling on the issues that are most important at this time. Solidarity in numbers is a huge advantage when utilizing non-violent resistance. At the same time, assembling alone, or in small numbers can be very dangerous. While we must accept that we will face violent acts, we should still try to minimize our exposure to them. Assembling in areas with higher numbers of witnesses and even filming protests will result in a small amount of protection. But in the end, the pacifist must come to the realization that resistance in this political climate will result in violent acts directed at the protesters. We must understand that violence ultimately comes from a position of weakness and reveals the aggressors as being in the wrong. Through time the numbers of non violent protesters will grow and the number of citizens willing to engage in violence against them will shrink. As each violent act is met with non-violent defiance, witnesses will be forced to choose a side. The pacifist will face a dangerous uphill battle, but in the end they will come out on top. As humanity is forced to watch violence met with non-violence it will become increasingly difficult for the aggressors to vilify the protesters and justify their actions. More and more people, including agents of the violent authority, will come to stand beside the pacifist and the tides of change will begin to turn. By accepting that we will be the target of violence and choosing to meet our aggressors with non-violent defiance until our demands are met, the pacifist will show the world the power inherent in peace.