Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Common Ground, Holy Ground - Working for Peace One Thought at a Time

I want to live in a peaceful world.  The whole world, not just my little spot on the hill here in Tennessee. Jim and I have managed to bring our dream of a peaceful, welcoming home into reality and we're grateful...but it's hard not to feel helpless and overwhelmed when we look at the larger world and realize we have no control over events. I can't transform the whole world.

Or can I? 

I've stated my belief here before that we have very little control but enormous influence, and that we are shirking our responsibility when we don't use what influence we have for the good of all.  If the world is, as I believe, an interconnected web...if we really are all made of the same stuff, connected and influenced by the actions of all in that web...then we influence the whole with every action.  And if, as I also believe, thoughts are things ...that what we choose to think about will make its way into reality...then we influence the whole with every thought and that influence grows exponentially stronger when we think about something repeatedly and with intent. And if I can influence the thoughts of others with words, spoken or written, am I doing all I can to use my influence for peace? 

I don't have the data, but I'm making an educated guess here that there are more people in the world who want peace than there are people who don't.  Theoretically, with all of us thinking about peace, we should be able to influence the world in that direction, right?  Obviously we haven't succeeded yet, so there's a fly in the ointment somewhere.

The problems start with the fact that violence, even a small amount compared to the whole, creates fear and fear keeps us from thinking peaceful thoughts. You can't be afraid and not think about what you are afraid of. Hatred directed toward you, even if you don't return it, is so emotionally overpowering that we can't seem to help thinking about how unfair it is, how wrong, how damaging. Those are not peaceful thoughts.  Doubt, grief, envy, jealousy, depression, anger, attachment...how many other detractors from peaceful thought enter our lives every day? 

And we, in our infinite wisdom, add to the problem by selecting entertainment that puts images of violence and misery into our image-processor brains and call it good.  Many movies feature more violence, cruelty, and pain in ninety minutes than many of us will experience in a lifetime. While we consciously know that the images on the screen are not "real," they're still there, saved and stored and cataloged.  I watched two movies with my husband this weekend that gave me a stark reminder of why I made the decision years ago to not watch such things. "Dark Knight" and "The Happening" were both good movies; Heath Ledger's performance as The Joker was astounding. But I have replayed over and over in my mind scenes from those movies, pictures of madness and horrifying death. Why did I think it was a good idea to put those images in my mind, images that weren't there before and serve no good purpose? I'm still trying to shake my mental Etch-A-Sketch clean.

What if we all made a conscious decision to think about other things? What if we, on purpose, with will and intent, choose to think about things that promote peace?  If the world is filled with conflict and we want peace, focusing on the conflict isn't going to get us there. What if we made a concentrated effort to turn our attention away from the source of the conflict and look for the common ground? 

It will only be a ripple. I know that the horrible mess in Gaza and Israel won't disapper tonight even if the whole world takes up the cause. Peace won't greet the dawn in Afghanistan...hatred and bigotry and genocide and senseless violence won't fade from the world and leave great peaceful holes in their wake. But my looking for common ground in my own interactions will affect me and my personal actions on the great web. I am the only thing I can control, and by controlling my thoughts I alter the influence I have on the world. If enough of us exert influence, what might we accomplish?

Today I will focus my thoughts deliberately on words, actions, and images that promote peace, understanding, coexistence, and joy.  Where there is potential conflict in my life, I will look for common ground and resolution. I will use discernment in my entertainment choices. I will choose words that promote peaceful thoughts in others.  I will make every effort to use what skills and talent I have to influence the web for the good of all.

I challenge you to do the same, and post a comment back here with your thoughts. Can we change the world, one thought at a time? I believe we can.

6 comments:

  1. Here here! Once again, dear Heartsong, you have managed to capture what the rest of us think....

    Happy PEACEFUL New Year!

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  2. Very well said Heartsong! You are a wise lady indeed...

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  3. Thank you all for singing with me and for your kind words. Here's to a peaceful, happy, healthy, exert-our-influence 2009!

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  4. Storm2:28 PM

    Merry Meet! I was just directed to your page from an email and I thank you for it. I too strongly believe thoughts are things. I have recently come across something that could change the world in a more direct way than we realize. Please check out Dr. Emoto's work with the Hidden Messages In Water. I think my coven will be doing work with water very shortly but we should all start right now. Blessed Be!

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  5. Hi, Storm...thanks for singing with me!

    I'm familiar with Dr. Emoto's work with water...fascinating stuff! Excellent point about working with water...and I'm always reminded that we ourselves are mostly water. How often do we send negative self-talk to ourselves and what effect is it having?

    Thanks...please stop by often!

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