Our desire to be right causes immense amounts of pain and suffering. We have a need to feel good about ourselves and so when we do not fill our own picture of perfection for ourselves, we will often project the difference between who we are and how we would like the world to be and how it is onto something external.
As soon as we do this the world is split into two; me and you, us and them. The world is in conflict and the view of reality is distorted. If we watch a western movie, it is very clear who are the “goodies” and who are the “baddies. When bad things happen to the baddies it is deserved and the hero earns his reward.
We make goodies and baddies in our personal lives and the people we come into contact with. We make goodies and baddies right through to the planetary level. When we see the horrendous actions of some people, it is very hard to avoid seeing them as wrong and as the enemy, who needs to change or be destroyed. It is easy to see the enemy as the corporate world, the United States, Al Queda, the Democrats or the Jews.
We need to be able to step back and know we live in an interconnected universe and those qualities we see in the outside world are reflections of our inside world. The same forces and influences that made Osama bin Laden and George Bush are alive within you and me.
New Zealand is a small nation in a rather isolated part of the world. It has played a prominent role in promoting a nuclear free world. It has sent naval vessels into the radiation zone of French nuclear tests and refused US ships which will not declare if they are nuclear or not.
New Zealanders tend to see themselves as valiant young “David’s” standing up against a terrifying “Goliath”. In many ways this reputation is justly deserved and many courageous people have put themselves on the line for this to be so.
From another point of view, New Zealand is in a privileged situation where it can take a moral stand. It is not under threats as other nations are. Israel is also a small nation and irrespective of arguments that perhaps their actions have precipitated its situation, it faces real threats from other nations. It vigorously defends its rights to being a nuclear nation. Would New Zealand still maintain its non-nuclear stance if it faced the real possibility of a nuclear threat? We often think our motivations are pure, when in fact we are interpreting events to create an image that we are more easily able to live with.
We have already seen how we tend to see the end of slavery as driven by our realisation of our inhumanity to our fellow humans, whereas much of the reason is that machines were more efficient than slaves anyway and the women’s movement was to large extent driven by the ready availability of household appliances.
We need to see our situation as it is rather than distorting our perception to support a viewpoint that suits us more. We need to see that we as humans are not enemies of each other, but members on the same team. If a member of our team does not play a sports game as we might expect than we work with them, encourage them to change how they are acting. This viewpoint of acknowledging our connectedness, as difficult as it is, allows us to see the world in a fundamentally different way that can reduce the level of conflict and aggression in our lives.
We often hear people bemoaning the misuse of power by those on positions of authority and the seeming unending depth of pain and suffering that has been caused by that misuse of power.
Many millions of people have died truly horrific deaths, injuries, rapes and other violations of the rights those victims in wars, avoidable famines and diseases, witch hunts, oppressive governmental policies and the likes.
While it is totally true that power has been misused and the pain caused was and is very real, however, the more we focus on the misuse of power by others, the more we see ourselves as a victim, the more we give away our power and authority over ourselves and perpetuate the very misuse of power within ourselves that we despise in others.
While the pain and suffering through the misuse of power has been and is very real,, we need to be aware that having distorted our perceptions of that misuse in order to justify our further personal misuse of power by negating our true personal power, we distort our perceptions of our reality to support the false reality we choose to create.
While living an impeccable life, fully balanced and always in great power and compassion is the ideal, we always remain human. We will fall short of our ideals we set for ourselves. We must be able to accept our inadequacies and lovingly include them in our being rather than deny or distort them. We must face our dragons with compassion, wisdom, authority and courage, so we remain fully connected to our selves and our world.