I was raised as a pacifist. It was the only way of thinking I knew. As a child, I never knew anyone who had fought in a war or even anyone enlisted in the Canadian Forces. I don’t recall any conversations about the CF at home or even with my friends at school. I do remember every Remembrance Day at school and the ceremonies of ‘remembering the fallen’.
Since my teachings focused on living peacefully with the land, I didn’t truly grasp what I was to remember. However, even as a small child, I remember feeling compassion for the suffering of soldiers in war. Somehow I knew that war brought tremendous suffering, devastation, despair and trauma, even though I never had seen it up close.
As an adult, I understand there is a bigger and more complex story of how we as humanity must ascend to the consciousness of peace. This path requires the full and deeply dedicated discipline of growing in forgiveness, tolerance, compassion, loving-kindness, truth-telling and extraordinary skills in listening and creative conversations … and more.
Every systemic paradigm must be explored for its clarity and validity in offering a wholistic response to our current challenges and assumptions. Such endeavours are often challenging as rarely do we see the depth of our own assumptions, cultural norms and worldviews which we have come to accept as ‘right and good’.
In my own path of deepening my inner peace, I realized I needed to study and understand new ways of living with conflict, not as something to be avoided or suppressed, but as an opportunity to seek understanding, restore creativity and practise the fundamentals of dignity and respect for all beings.
Over the years, I have come to recognize the ‘wars’ inside of me that needed my love and forgiveness. I needed to lay down the internal weapons of judgement, criticism, shaming, blaming and more. It requires an ongoing dedication to inner healing as I compassionately accept the complexity of what makes us/me human.
Around the world this week, we will be remembering ‘the fallen’, those whose journey for service, peace and freedom led them to fight for the causes deemed necessary by our governments. We the people elect our governments to make these choices on our behalf. We together make up the consciousness of who we are and how we want to live.
This past weekend I have been watching tributes and listening to songs and hymns for ‘the fallen’. I have watched videos as soldiers return in coffins down the ‘highway of heroes’ [Hwy 401].
I have also watched tributes for world peace, songs by a collective of artists around the world, ‘playing for change’. I have meditated and asked for my own growing spiritual development and inner peace. I have prayed for the ‘fallen’ and those whose path of service includes the military, asking for harmony, balance and peace for all beings (and in my world, that includes trees, land, water, animals, etc). We cannot get to peace in one day, and not even in one generation.
That being said, regardless of the news media, statistics show that the world is becoming more peaceful – when measuring the number of active wars.
Let us remember the cost of war, both blatant and those sophisticated nuances of its devastation that can last for generations. Then let’s turn our attention to what truly brings inner peace, peace and tolerance in our families, our communities, and our nation and among nations. Let’s celebrate the strides and gains we have made in our collective wisdom to implement the Declaration of Human Rights, for example. Let’s celebrate the new spiritual communities in all their diversity we see emerging. Let’s celebrate where tolerance is rooted and legislated into our lives, so we might make further gains as a global family.
This week I invite you to notice that somewhere in the ‘common intention and desire’ of people and soldiers is the service and commitment to free expression, to peaceful communities and to improving the well-being of citizens around the world. For this week, focus on the ‘good’ in the world and seek out the acts of humanitarian service that might otherwise be hidden. Make this Remembrance Day a time to remember that we all desire peace, happiness and well-being, that our souls are taking us through the lessons to awaken to the consciousness of peace.
Honour the past, celebrate the present and create a future where you can experience yourself living in harmony and peace.