Where we conflict with peace, deny, ignore, barter and trade it, we brutalize our own natural pathways of being. We become auto-immune, attacking in all directions, protesting, dictating, and proliferating the very suffering with which we decided we have no peace.
By Georgi Y. Johnson, author of Nondual Therapy: the Psychology of Awakening
Peace is not a military event. It's not an outcome, nor is it a strategy. It's a resonance of how it feels to be alive, behind all movements of experience. This resonance is what allows life itself to "be". We depend on it. The peace of the endless night sky, the peace of our inner home, the peace of belonging to each other, the peace of sharing beauty, the peace of being born, the peace of dying.
Peace is a quality arising out of a deeper dimension that precedes, and underlies all we are, and that receives us home after the field of personal experience itself recedes.
When we decide to cancel peace, we numb ourselves to the feeling of it. Then we objectify it, as a "thing" and estrange it. This generates a sense of personal estrangement, or existential alienation.
We learned to believe that this thing called "peace" is in competition with this thing called "war". Peace, war, it's "either-or". As long as there's war, there can be no peace. Yet when war becomes the determining factor, our whole experience is clouded by its atmosphere. There is always war. Peace can only "be" in the absence of war, meaning peace is in an existential war with war. That means that this new kind of peace is energetically composed of the active vibrations of war. We cancel our ability to be at peace, in the name of a peace - a peace which is either an evasive strategy or a confusing spook-out.
When peace is made of conflict and defined by conflict, then even the suggestion of allowing the energy of peace can be interpreted a declaration of war. We feel vulnerable, as if the existence of this peace means we're forbidden to defend ourselves, forbidden to protect, forbidden to put boundaries to the violence at our door. As if the peace means we will be slaughtered.
Yet on behalf of peace, love, freedom, joy - on behalf of humanity itself - we might need sometimes to fight - not against the overt suffering of the other (their suffering of sadism, hatred), but in protection of our own True Nature. In this kind of struggle, peace is our deepest ally. It nurture us, informs us with wisdom, protects our humanity, sooths us, welcomes us home. Whatever the outcome. In the deeper human movement toward wellbeing, peace is greatest ally.
As peace is part of our existence, inseparable from True Nature, we deny our own existence when we deny peace. Then we feel existentially threatened, and also with this, we have no peace.
Can we dare to notice that we have the freedom to empower the energy of peace, right here, right now? That this peace is channeled through us, as an intimate sensation, generating spaciousness, possibility, and the freedom to be here in any form? Can we at least allow peace within our own bodies, within our own gardens, within our own inner-world?
Peace and the Fall into Duality
The teaching of peace is perhaps one of the most unpopular teachings in our time.
Peace is something we pay lip-service to, in order to be "good", and we need to be "good" in order to not be "bad". And considering that we're all feeling pretty bad right now, then we decree that this "badness" must be with the "other". (Because only if the other is "bad" can we be "good", and only then can we be at peace).
Thus, the notion of peace is born, ruptured, overturned, ignored and traded like a commodity held hostage by time, that was in the past and that we might get "later", but that is actually degraded to become a sycophantic abstraction.
We all nominally "want" peace, but few have the courage to feel it.
In nondual communities - as those who have awakened to some degree as pure conscious awareness beyond the duality of good and evil, right and wrong, self and other - we get especially challenged in the area of peace.
This is partly because we're inspired in our compassion. And we're confused. It can seem like to be at peace with suffering is to say that suffering is OK, meaning that we become implicit in that suffering. We split between a "Nondual" identity and "the real world" which demands that we do something "for real". At this stage, peace can appear as a cop-out. It denies the horror, injustice, inequality, and invalidation of real people that we witness behind the glass screen of our phone, TV, laptop. It's can feel like peace which is not a campaign or a protest is an inner defeat or moral outage, as if we join that horrific class of human that were "silent and did nothing".
It's hard to stay open to the energy of peace, when that horror that compels us on the outside, is a reflection of the deep stirring of horror in our own personal life and history on the inside - those resonant memories where we suffered isolation, injustice, invalidation, humiliation and the cruel sadism of ignorance.
And for those nondual ambassadors that broadcast conscious awakening and the wisdom of nonduality, here is the greatest temptation. In it, there is a professional crisis, as the energy of the lie comes forward. It's a suffering of horrible defeat in which we meet our human impotence. We're not actually able to "do" anything at all. We want to meet this horror, heal it, act against it, and yet there is a deeper knowing of our own catastrophic psychological impairment. We can't change it, we can't undo it, un-feel it - we can't make it go away.
It's a dark-night moment of pure defeat where it's possible that the an even deeper self-realization could occur, and we awaken through and beyond all these dualistic, unconscious, reactive shadow-lands of suffering into an empowered, deeper, more "real" wisdom of nonduality.
Yet when we have no peace with this helplessness - the suffering of impotence - when we cannot allow that our separate self has no agency, then we fall into the vortex of dualism. We are compelled to "do" something, (to fight for our right to fight).
We become vengeful, rageful, we lose our breath, we could kill. Then we blame "them" (whoever they are) for destroying our inner peace. We give our supposed enemy - the other - the power over peace itself. We have no peace "because" of them. We become possessed by the conflict with the projected enemy. And as we feel our peace is owned - held hostage - by the "other", so we suffer more. We suffer the an unbearable dependency on "them", as if our fate depends on the one we seek to negate.
The Enemy Within
As we fall into the duality of kill-or-be-killed, unplugged and up close, then the unique blend of our own darkest nightmares begins to circulate through us in a spiral of espoused victimhood and disowned perpetration. Even as we enact cruelty and ignorance on our one-time friend, we bewail our victimhood within the offence. They "made us cruel".
Compassion begins to deform now into a sadistic fest of cruelty.
The "other" must feel what I feel.
The suffering of murder becomes murderous. The agony of grief becomes a demand that others grieve. The dread of humiliation becomes the compulsion to humiliate the "other". The agony of innocence inflicts that agony on the innocent - that they will "know" how it feels - so that they will never dare do it again.
We teach our own children to hate, and we blame the "other's" children for their parents. We attack citizens for their tyrannical governments, and criminalize individuals for the crimes of their region. And with the inflation of this pain, we deliver it again and again in the (by now so cynical) name of "Good".
"God is one!" we declare in synagogues, mosques and churches, and then we go to war against the god of the "other".
And the more we lose connection with this one god and our own goodness, the greater our dependence on the perceived evil in the "other" to make us "good". Caught in the dualistic hell, we become dependent on the evil of our enemy in order to "be". We are temporarily and transiently possessed in a hell zone that feels eternal and absolute.
This is the suffering of duality, in real time, inside of us, on our screens, in a collective, intimate precincts of our own physicality - the innocent space of the body where we store all the denied resonance of pain.
In seeking release without peace, we become subsumed in a human pandemic of hatred where more hatred is seen as the antidote to hate. And we suffer this hate, like a torture in the sanctuaries of our secret self.
Yet after the protests are done, and the wars are won and lost, no-one cares about this individual suffering. Just as the pain was kept "out there", now the pain "in here" is pulsating in a ocean of intimate neglect. For indeed, the intimate pain inside ourselves has been neglected, each time we projected it "out there".
"Your pain is not real"
Now, we are in the suffering of invalidation. We feel trashed, cancelled, as if all that we are is existentially quashed. We have no voice. Our life doesn't matter. Black lives don't matter. Jewish lives don't matter. Female lives don't matter. Islamic lives don't matter. The matter of life has become a paradox of matter, all because this suffering within our human field does matter - it's real, it bleeds, it grieves, it despairs - and as long as we had no inner peace, we could not allow it.
Every trauma we have ever experienced and every trauma ever experienced by our ancestors awakens through the resonant match of this deep, dissonant outcry of invalidation. And also with this suffering, we have no peace. The scream of invalidation awakens with a crusade of "truths" to demonstrate the horror of every trauma born at that rupture where our experience - our pain - was not allowed "to be" part of the whole. It could not be felt, could not be shown, could not be spoken.
And with this, comes the vengeful rage that our pain could not be allowed "because" of the whole. It's a war against humanity.
The deeper, sentient dimension of the self
A shift is needed, a sober, courageous, vulnerable shift, out of the addiction to, conflict - which is the addiction to separate purpose and fulfillment - into a deeper dimension of human sentience.
The healing power of peace which is the substance of all we are - cannot inform our suffering if it's not allowed to "be" here together with the suffering.
This peace is part of our consciousness. It is easily opened in the here and now. It's in your feet where they touch the ground. It's in that space where the air of the room touches the skin. It's in the simplicity of the pain we feel moving through our body, the horrible discomfort, the injury, in this moment.
And if we could let ourselves be at peace with this pain, deep inside ourselves. Perhaps we could notice that when we touch this pain, we touch the pain also of our enemy, that their pain and our pain is one. Perhaps we can allow the energy of peace from all around us to surround this pain, just for a moment. And perhaps this - this presence in the here and now of what is directly felt - could make all the difference.
Peace is not an option. It's not a point of view. It's not a political antipathy. Peace is what we're made of. It's part of our existence, enabling consciousness itself. Because of this, peace is not a conflict. It's an inevitability.
The only question remaining is how much must we suffer resistance, and how long will we resist this suffering, in order to rejoin the peace which is always already here?
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