Friday, September 19, 2008

Open Letter To The World: International Day of Peace.

September 21, 2008 The International Day of Peace

Being aware of the state of our world today, one can only wonder how we arrived at this point? How is it that millions are left to starve to death, millions are thoughtlessly slaughtered, millions are dying alone of perfectly preventable diseases, millions are living without shelter and water, and a few billion are exploited for their bodies, labor, energy, resources and time? Millions of women are raped, killed, and abused by men they know and do not know. Millions are locked away in prisons, left to rot and degenerate with feelings of hate and aggression. How many are tortured, persecuted, denied basic human rights, denied basic human needs, denied the status of being a human being? And just how many of us turn our heads, look the other way, zone out, entertain ourselves, escape, avoiding life's grave situations and it's ultimate demand to be responsible?

What has gone wrong, for surely what has been stated above is but a brief account of an absolutely neurotic mess called civilization. Is it civilized to be greedy and a glutton for excitement? Is it civilized to hate, to want to hurt another human being? Is it civilized to ignore my own selfishness in order to condemn another somewhere else? Is it civilized to separate the human family by flags, colors, symbols, status, and words? Is it civilized to keep correcting one wrong with another wrong of greater magnitude? Who says human beings are not human beings wherever they are and however they appear? What is it that makes you and I feel and think we're different, better, higher, more noble, more righteous, more deserving, more qualified to live in comfort, safety, and peace? If we're taking 'the war' elsewhere, so that it is not 'in our backyard', what about the people who live in that 'backyard', elsewhere? Why are they less deserving of peace, comfort, and safety than we are? Do they not feel pain? Do they not love? Do they not grieve loss and suffer as I do? Is it acceptable because I don't know them? Is it because I will never have to look them in the eye and feel their pain or acknowledge my role in their pain? Or is it possibly, that I know deep in my own heart that their pain is my pain, and their pain is due to my refusal to bare pain myself and I just cannot accept my own denial?

And so I wonder today, on this International Day of Peace, what do you and I want out of this life? Knowing we will take nothing with us beyond the grave, not even a memory of what has been; what is it we want out of life? Why are we making it such a war, such a chore, such a disgrace to be human? Where has this division arisen, that I act, think, feel and believe myself to be separate from you, and everyone else? Does my body need water and yours does not? Would my mother agonize over the loss of her child but yours would not? Please. Are we not aware of the direct correlation between our discontent, our isolated existence, our unsatisfactory drive to be happy and the world we help create? Because, we have all created this mess described above. With moments of hope, moments of joy, moments of peace, fleetingly present before being swallowed in a sea of discontent, unease, conflict, and aggression. Doesn't it all seem totally inside out, backwards? Where is the sea of peace swallowing the fleeting presence of conflict? Are we not constantly resisting the very nature of life and love, day in and day out? Isn't it exhausting? Resisting those we love, those we hate, those we hardly know, resisting the way life naturally unfolds in any given moment?

And so, observing this International Day of Peace makes me wonder is there a totally different way of living our lives? Is it possible to face this world we've made without flinching, without turning one's back? Is it possible to take full responsibility for the state of our planet and our fellow brothers and sisters? So that this world is seen clear through for 'what it is' and 'what it is not'. Then maybe we can stop playing such foolish games with each other's precious lives. Then maybe we can live in peace, as peace, and deal with life's challenges cooperatively and with ease. If one is so willing to face this cold world alone, then one must be equally willing to face oneself. For this world, as we have described it above, is being constantly created and recreated by you and me. Whatever I am, the world seems to be, for the world is but a reflection of myself. So what if this world is being created and recreated by a false impression of who I am? What if I am not what I think, feel, and experience myself to be? What if I have been mistaken all this time in believing I am something I am not? Would I be so willing to use this moment, today, or any moment that it occurs to me, as an opportunity to turn my attention towards the naked, immediate sense of being, and find out who it is that I truly am? Maybe then the reflection I see in the world would be a radically different one then the one I see today. Why not find out for yourself?

With love,
Robert Taff

Read more

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Black Elk Speaks

"It is hard to follow one great vision in this world of darkness and of many changing shadows. Among these shadows men get lost." Black Elk (Lakota medicine man) 1930

Read more