November 16, 2015
How does one respond to events such as those in Paris?
Or other similar events where we are flooded with images of attack, suffering and death. It can feel very uncomfortable to just ‘sit’ with one’s feelings of powerlessness, helplessness, anger, sadness, fear and terror.
Yet all the ‘doing’ in the world does not make these events go away. It seems that we handle one area of the world and another area cries out to us, exploding in suffering and bleeding in pain.
The attacks in Paris really caused me to search deep within my mind for a way to understand that would heal and free me.
I felt I could not really practice inner peace of mind if I kept feeling that the source of attack and danger lay outside me.
It is during these times I am so grateful to have a practice of reflection and stillness that can lead me out of this darkness and remind me of the Truth. I am also grateful to have so many wonderful spiritual teachers in my life whom I can turn to and they can help me to see this situation differently. This allows a way to heal my perceptions so that I can then be at peace and from that space be truly helpful and of service.
I am thankful to have known teachers such as Roshi Philip Kapleau- one of the founding fathers of American Zen and the founder of the Rochester Zen Center. He once was quoted as saying that the greatest of all poisons lies in the human mind.
And I am reminded of the poems my Mom taught me written by the Indian mystic saint and poet, Kabir who lived in the 15th century. In one poem, he writes about how he went on a search to find evil but he could not find it anywhere. When instead he searched his own mind, there he found the source of evil- in his thoughts, attitudes and perceptions.
Dr. Jerry Jampolsky, a child and adult psychiatrist, and the founder of Attitudinal Healing, wrote in the introduction to the third-edition of one of his best-selling books (Love is Letting Go of Fear) that he once heard Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (another famous psychiatrist, now deceased) state that there is a little bit of Hitler inside each of us. Now Jerry, who comes from a Jewish background, did not like this statement. In fact, he writes, he resented it and thought to himself, “I hate Hitler and there is no Hitler in me.”
However, upon more self-reflection, he began to recall instances in his own life when he yelled at his two sons for failing to clean up their rooms. He realized he used anger as a way of instilling fear in them so they would comply with doing their chores. He began to think about bullies in school who terrorize other kids who are smaller than them. And then he asks us if we have not all had moments when we have felt so angry at someone or something that we have entertained “murderous” or other attack thoughts.
We feel that what we think in our mind is one thing and what we do in terms of behavior is another.
Yet wise spiritual teachers such as the Buddha taught that we make our world with our thoughts.
A Course in Miracles teaches that the world my eyes see and my ears hear and my senses sense- all of it is a projection of my thoughts.
Even the studies from quantum physics reveal that there is no independent reality ‘out there’ somewhere apart from my mind. Everything is subjective.
If we want to heal our world, we must first confront the Hitler inside our minds.
We must then be willing to go beyond this veil of attack and counter-attack so we can experience the Love and Light within.
Yet it must start with each of us taking responsibility for our own minds.
Listen to the recorded teleconference where we explored the ideas of Attitudinal Healing and how they provide us with a radical way to see beyond what the eyes report in reference to the events in Paris so we may find a way to heal and extend peace and love.