There is no right or wrong. If you are here on this site, there is a good chance you believe that statement; however, there is what works and what doesn’t. For those of us who are in recovery, as well as those who understand the destruction that addiction causes, we know that addiction doesn’t work. Physically, it damages the body just like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Emotionally, the addict copes with life’s twists and turns about as well as a 4-year-old and never gets better at it while actively using. And as hope for normalcy fades from the addict’s life, so does any desire to grow spiritually.
In Neale’s conversation with God, God makes it very clear that nobody does anything inappropriate, given their view of the world. Again, being that you are here on this site, you will probably agree to some degree that everything is perfect just the way it is. There is perfection in all that we think, say, and experience. For those of us who have experienced addiction firsthand, even when that was happening, it was perfect, there was nothing wrong with it at all. I was experiencing exactly what I was choosing; and that was to do drugs.
It was not apparent to me or anyone else in the beginning of my drug use that there was a problem, because it was working. It was working perfectly. I was able socialize better and I didn’t feel inadequate anymore. For most addicts, when we had our first experience with the addictive substance or behavior, it was mission accomplished — we had found the cure! Over time we began to demand more and more out of the disease, and that is when things clearly did not work very well anymore.
Thanks to the media for bringing right into our living rooms perfect examples of people living a life of active addiction to keep this very real for us. Just about two years ago, we watched as Charlie Sheen was fired from Two and a Half Men for ironically exhibiting the same behavior his character on the show acted out week after week. He then proudly came out and said that he was “winning.” How is that for denial? The whole world saw him fired from a multi-million dollar job, lose his kids in a custody battle, flaunt horrible relationships — and he called that “winning.”
Nary a month goes by without seeing Lindsey Lohan’s plastered mugshot flash across the TV screen and the tabloid magazine racks. Her spiral down to the bottom is being meticulously documented in print and on screen.
We have seen the following legends pass on from addiction: Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, John Belushi, Chris Farley. The amazingly talented Whitney Houston. Then there is the 27 Club, which includes: Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Curt Cobain, Amy Winehouse, Jim Morrison, just to name a few, all of whom died at the age of 27. The list is too long to include all the names here, but I am sure you know of someone who you may have been a fan of that passed away from addictive behaviors.
But we love keep up with the crazy behaviors the famous addicts of the world continue to display. Addiction sells. The media is making a fortune by following known addicts around, waiting for them to act out, get into a fight, get arrested, or better yet, when they die. It’s not the media’s fault. The media is just giving the public what they want, and are willing to pay for.
It is our cultural story of living our lives vicariously through the celebrities. Many people are of the belief that it is not moral to act this way themselves, but enjoy seeing other people do it. It is almost as if the celebrities aren’t real, and it is okay to sit by and watch them destroy their lives. Most people don’t even consider that they are actually enabling the behavior by patronizing them.
Why don’t we have the same standards for the rich and famous that we would have for our own family members? If every act is an act of self-definition, and it is, aren’t we saying, “It is fine by us if you want to kill yourself with drugs, just entertain us in the process”? What message are we sending to our children by allowing this stuff to creep into our homes?
We spend way too much of our time and money glorifying alcohol and drug use. It is common now to see references to pot smoking on almost all of the sitcoms. If it’s okay to watch that as a family, are we sending the message to our kids that pot smoking is condoned? Is marijuana use now condoned? Do we as a society not care anymore that our kids are using pot? New surveys show that, for the first time ever, more Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana than those who oppose it. Do we just want the money from it? Or do we not care if people use it?
I think we need to pay a little more attention to what works, and what doesn’t. It is clear that addiction doesn’t work.
How are you defining yourself? Does it matter to you?
I get that everything is perfect, I really do. Nothing needs to change. I, however, am defining myself as someone who desires to see the rampant addiction and destruction it creates lessen in my lifetime. I choose to be a person who is there for the addict when they reach their hand up from the bottom and ask for help.
What will you do to help? What is the cultural story you hold about addiction? Let’s talk.
(Kevin McCormack C.A.d Is a certified addictions professional, as well as a Conversations with God Life Coach. Kevin is a practicing Auriculotherapist, and a Spiritual helper on www.changingchange.net. Kevin will be presenting at the CwG Recovery Retreat in Medford Oregon June 23rd – June 26th. You can visit his website for at www.Kevin-Spiritualmentor.com To connect with Kevin, please email him at Kevin@theglobalconversation.com)
The is the sixth and final part of an extended series of explorations on “enlightenment” as a human experience. The first, second, third, fourth, and fifth entries in this series may be found in the archives or accessed by clicking on the corresponding links in this column.
At the conclusion of Part One I said that the danger of this business of enlightenment is two-fold. The first danger is thinking that there is something specific that you have to do in order go get there. And that if you don’t do that, you can’t get there. The second danger is thinking that your way to get there is the fastest, the best way to do it.
In Part Two I wrote of the time when Paramahansa Yogananda, or “Master” as he was called, came to America bringing a technique for “self-realization” — which was his phrase meaning “enlightenment.” Self-realization declares that when you realize who the Self is, you become enlightened. And Master described himself as having been enlightened. And, by the way, he was enlightened. He was enlightened because he said that he was and, I hate to break the spell that someone may be under, but to be enlightened is to say that you are. It is quite as simple as that.
In Part Three we looked at other “Masters” and other programs leading to “awakening” or “enlightenment,” not only Paramahansa Yogananda and the Self-Realization Fellowship, but also Maharishi and Transcendental Meditation, and, more contemporarily, Werner Erhard and the est program. There are many programs, many approaches, many paths developed by many masters. There is a book written called Many Lives, Many Masters written by my friend Brian Weiss, and he talks about the fact that there are many ways to reach the mountaintop. Which way, then, should we recommend? Which way, then, should we encourage others to take? And the end of Part Three I indicated that we would look next at the path that the Buddha took.
In Part Four we did just that, and then we ended with a brief look at an out-of-body experience that I had many years ago. I emerged from that experience with a two-word message: “Nothing matters.” I said to myself, “Nothing matters?? How can that be?”
In Part Five we explored the “message behind the message, which is that if nothing matters intrinsically, then I am free to declare what I choose to have matter to me. “So,” I said in Part 5, “this is the time of your liberation. And we’ll speak more about what that looks like in our next entry here.” Here, now, is that follow-up entry…
You can be liberated from your life long search for enlightenment. You can be released from any thought that you may hold that, “No, no, it has to look like this,” or, “No, no, it has to look like that…no, you have to get to it by this path, by this program, by this activity…”
You may still do those things if you choose to, but if you feel stressed about them, if you feel pressured by them, then how could they be a path to enlightenment? So set yourself free today.
And stop working so hard on yourself, and decide that the rest of your life — every day, every moment, every word — is something that you will share with everyone whose life you touch, that they might know there is nothing they have to do, no where they have to go, no one they have to be…that they are perfect (which is, after all, what enlightenment is) just as they sit there.
Spend the rest of your life giving people back to themselves, that they might love themselves, and know that there is nothing they are lacking, nothing they are missing, nothing they need, nothing they are not.
But how can people know that, when it seems so real that they are lacking, that they are missing something, that there is much they are not? How can you help them to see the truth?
Well, let’s see what Conversations with God has said on this subject.
That which you choose to give to another will become real in your experience of self as well. What you wish to experience, give away. And so the fastest way for anyone to experience that they are enlightened is to cause another to know that they are. That’s why Namaste’ has become such a powerful exchange of energy: The God in me, sees and recognizes and honors the God in you.
There’s nothing more to be done, if I really mean that. Of course, if I am making that up because it sounds good, then there is much more to be done. But if I really mean that, then the struggle is finished. The search is over and enlightenment is ours at last.
This is the message that I bring to the world. This is the message that has been given to me in my conversations with God, and I might add, in my conversations with every master I have ever met. They all say the same thing. And this is the message of Humanity’s Team, a grass-roots movement that I have created, which we seek place into every town and village and city in the world, and which will create teachers and message-bringers and leaders who will share, with all those whose lives they touch, the wonderful freedom of knowing that God sees your perfection, and merely waits for you to do so.
And that you will do so — you will see your perfection in yourself — in the moment that you recognize it; that is re-cognize it. That is, know it again.
So Humanity’s Team is about bringing to the earth a New Spirituality and creating the space of possibility for a new spiritual experience to emerge upon the earth. It is about creating a Civil Rights Movement for the Soul, freeing humanity at last from the oppression of its beliefs in a violent, angry, and vindictive God. It is about producing an Evolution Revolution through initiating the Conversation of the Century in homes across the planet, then taking what is ultimately brought to deep understanding there into real life, on the street.
(This is the final installment of this series.)
“I, Tina, take you, Tony, to be my husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.”
Couples around the world, thousands of them, on the threshold of entering into life partnerships with each other, commonly recite these traditional vows. And while there is nothing “wrong” with these particular words, or their meaning, I wonder how much thought or consideration is given to whether or not these declarations actually reflect the highest level of their commitment, the deepest expression of their love, and the clearest intent and very purpose for entering into the relationship to begin with.
I don’t think I would be too far off the mark by making this perhaps bold statement: These same couples, thousands of them, have no idea why they are entering into their relationships to begin with, nor do they have any understanding of where they are going. The fallout is demonstrable and inarguable as we continue to witness growing numbers of painful divorces and separations – or, for that matter, perhaps even a larger number of people staying in relationships that either no longer serve them well or have become downright harmful. That is not to say that longevity is the sole indicator of the value or worthiness of a relationship. We could probably all share an experience where in a fleeting relation with another we were provided us some of our most profound remembrances and realizations, demonstrating the idea that ALL relationships create a context within which we are given an opportunity to choose and decide Who We Really Are.
However, as our world gently transitions out of its Old Cultural Story and into its New Cultural Story, we are given another opportunity, perhaps an even grander opportunity, the opportunity to redefine and recreate our relationships with each other not only on a global scale — politically, socially, and economically — but individually, within our most intimate relations and interactions. This shift holds within it the gift of change and the awareness to create. And the most beneficial place to begin is, quite frankly, at the beginning.
This change is not always obvious or easy. We are constantly barraged with mind-numbing television programs which degrade the holiest of unions by exploiting brides who behave poorly or by aggrandizing extraordinarily decadent and over-the-top weddings or whom offer us the advice of “relationship experts” who tell us the way our relationships “should” be. As a result, for so many, more energy and thought is expended on the pomp and circumstance of the wedding event than is given to the actual commitment.
People spend more money on multi-tiered designer wedding cakes than they are able to practically afford in order to please their guests, a large majority of whom they don’t even know. Women starve their bodies for weeks in an effort to fit into a wedding dress one size smaller than they naturally and comfortably fit into. We smash cake in each other’s faces, we pollute ourselves with so much alcohol that we can barely even remember what took place, and we, as I earlier mentioned, allow the very first words that we utter as an expression of Who We Are to be something we cut-and-pasted from Google.
If we are going to change everything, and reconnect to the intended purpose for our relationships, where do we begin? What kind of an experience would a “ceremony of commitment” or a “declaration of unity” under The New Spirituality present itself as? What would a couple in love, being love, expressing love offer at the dawn of their relationship as a declaration and demonstration of a spiritual partnership that would exemplify the very reason they have chosen to unite in the first place?
Conversations with God, Book 1, Chapter 8, offers to us the following:
“If you both agree at a conscious level that the purpose of your relationship is to create an opportunity, not an obligation—an opportunity for growth, for full Self expression, for lifting your lives to their highest potential, for healing every false thought or small idea you ever had about you, and for ultimate reunion with God through the communion of your two souls—if you take that vow instead of the vows you’ve been taking—the relationship has begun on a very good note. It’s gotten off on the right foot. That’s a very good beginning.”
What would you, from within the framework of your own understanding and your own experience, offer to someone who has come to you seeking a new definition and a new experience of “happily ever after”?
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
Once in a while, I come across a film that becomes more than simply an enjoyable experience, more than just an evening of pleasant entertainment, more than merely a way to spend a couple hours of my day. Every so often I encounter a movie that is transformational. And that is exactly the word I would use to describe “A Blue Flower,” a personal documentary written, directed, and produced by Nils Taranger as his graduate thesis film for the University of Central Florida’s Master of Fine Arts program in Digital Entrepreneurial Cinema.
Born with an indented chest, and subsequently experiencing rejection by his mother when he came out as being gay, Nils sets out on a spiritual quest to heal both his physical body and his emotional pain by searching for the one thing that he believed had the power and ability to cure him: the Blue Flower, which was thought to have mystical healing powers.
This creative, candid, and honest documentary courageously invites you on Nils’ journey as he travels far and wide, reaching out to members of the healing community — a lightworker, an alchemist, a Shaman, a Tantric yoga instructor, a spirit release treatment specialist, a “Course in Miracles” teacher, just to name a few — all in an effort to mend what he thought and believed to be broken or missing.
In his search for the blue flower, whose existence was said to be a myth, what Nils was allowed to discover is that what he was looking for, what he thought he was lacking, what he imagined to be impossible to find, did not exist somewhere outside of him; the healing was realized through a process of self-discovery, self-love, and a remembrance of his own magnificence and his own capacity to love…himself.
The underlying message in this film ties in perfectly to this excerpt from Conversations with God, Book 1: “You must first see your Self as worthy before you can see another as worthy. You must first see your Self as blessed before you can see another as blessed. You must first know your Self to be holy before you can acknowledge holiness in another.”
For information about where you can see or obtain a copy of the movie “A Blue Flower,” visit this website: A Blue Flower
(Lisa McCormack is the Managing Editor & Administrator of The Global Conversation. She is also a member of the Spiritual Helper team at www.ChangingChange.net, a website offering emotional and spiritual support. To connect with Lisa, please e-mail her at Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com.)
(If there is a book, movie, music CD, etc. that you would like to recommend to our worldwide audience, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Review”)
We conclude, with this entry, our extended series of articles in response to an entry many weeks ago by a reader named Carol, who wrote: Where does it all end? What do we use for our barometer for right and wrong? If you have not read the previous posts in this series, I invite you to check the Archives on the site to do so.
This article is Part VIII, and the end, of an ongoing series: LAYING THE GROUNDWORK FOR TOMORROW
Moving to the conclusion of this dialogue, I want to focus on Carol’s wonderful statement: “I will obey the commandments, I will live a honest God fearing life, and I will not tolerate deceit, lies, injustice, and behavior that is hateful without saying something to stop it.”
You know, Carol, when I was a child, I was taught the Ten Commandments. I was told by the nuns in my school to memorize them, and then by my parish priest, at Sunday morning Mass, to live by them.
I had no problem with any of this. I had reached what my church called the age of reason (I was 7), and that there would be a list of “rules” made sense to me, even if I didn’t get the full meaning of all them (like “coveting” a neighbor’s wife, which I could get no nun to explain to me—to say nothing about the “adultery” one.)
As I grew into a young adult, the commandments made even more sense. Good rules to live by, I thought. Can’t go wrong with these.
And they are wonderful guidelines for living, there’s no question about that. That’s no doubt why they have been around for so long. You can imagine my shock and surprise, then, when I was told in Book 1 of the Conversations with God series, “There’s no such thing as the Ten Commandments.”
How could that be? I wondered. Had God himself not given us these laws and ordinances? And where would humanity be without a set of sacred rules upon which to base all other human laws by which it governs itself?
Of course, I asked God these questions, and the answers I received made it apparent that God had no problem with the content of the Ten Commandments either. It was the concept that was faulty.
It had already been made clear to me that God and we are One. This was the very first announcement in the dialogue, appearing on pg. 5 of 3,000 pages of interaction. So I had already been given the groundwork for what God had to say about those ten statements he gave to Moses, and I suppose I should have guessed exactly what that might be.
“Who would I command? Myself?”, God asked. “And why would such commandments be required? Whatever I want, is. N’est ce pas? How is it therefore necessary to command anyone?
“And, if I did issue commandments, would they not be automatically kept? How could I wish something to be ‘so’ so badly that I would command it—and then sit by and watch it not be so? What kind of a king would do that? What kind of a ruler?”
God explained that he was neither a king nor a ruler, but The Creator.
“I have created you—blessed you—in the image and likeness of Me,” she said. “And I have made certain promises and commitments to you.”
It was explained that Moses went to the mountaintop with an urgent plea. He begged God to give him something he could tell his people that would assure them they were on the right path.
God must have felt, “Fair enough. Good question,” because he essentially said to Moses, “I will tell you, in plain language, how it will be with you when you become as one with Me.” Here are, God explained, some Divine Covenants: “You shall know that you have taken the path to God, and you shall know that you have found God, for there will be these signs, these indications, these changes in you.” And then he listed them.
(This entire exchange may be found on pg. 37 of CWG-Book 1.)
You shall know that you’re on a good path, God said, because when you are walking a path to God there are things that you shall and shall not do automatically. But this list, God said in CWG, were never meant to be commandments.
“For who shall I command? And who shall I punish should My commandments not be kept? There is only Me.”
I understood the logic of this completely, but I have to say that I felt that the bulk of humanity might feel little lost without those guidelines—call them commandments, call them commitments, call them whatever you wish.
I wondered if the new theology of Conversations with God would give us anything to replace them, any kind of touchstones or guidelines, criteria or even suggestions that might help us find our way through the thicket of Life on Earth. And it has. It has given us the Ten Illusions of Humans — and the explanation of those illusions, with instructions on how to use them for the Divine Purpose for which they were intended. Please look these up in the book Communion with God. Those explanations take up ten chapters in that book, and reading this can change one’s life.
Then God gave us a clear statement of our pathway here on Earth. You can find that in the book The Only Thing That Matters. It is now being serialized and may be read for free on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/nealedonaldwalsch), or you may purchase the book if you’d like you own private copy to study whenever you wish. It’s available at this link…
And so, Carol, we are left with the greatest gift. Not commandments from God, but covenants. God has given his promises. Please read those promises starting on page 37 of Conversations with God-Book One.
You may also find it wonderfully valuable and deeply rewarding to read What God Wants, which answers the biggest question of all time: What does God demand of us?
I wish you well, Carol — and all of you — on your travels. May you find God again along the way, through knowing that God never left you…and could never, because God is you, in Singularized Form. You are united with and part of The One, both now and even forevermore.
Wishing you God’s peace deep within…Neale Donald Walsch
In Conversations with God, Book 1, we learn that “…all illness is self-created. Even conventional medical doctors are now seeing how people make themselves sick.”
Let’s look at what you need to do in order to get healthy, stay healthy, and stop making yourself sick.
There are three basic steps you have to take for stellar holistic health. If you are vigilant and careful, you can improve your own health, reduce occurrence of illness, heal yourself, and start feeling great! First you must cleanse and detoxify your body, inside and outside. Get rid of the toxins that are hanging around in your intestines, clogging your arteries, wearing out your organs, and causing symptoms. You must also detoxify your mind, thoughts and relationships. Second, you must learn to avoid toxins in everything possible from food, beauty products, air, water, household cleaners, emotions, and thoughts. Finally, you must nourish your body with good, clean, whole food and subject your body to nutrient-dense foods, exercise, positive thoughts, actions, and activities.
Today we will look at avoiding toxins in your food and environment.
There is no way to completely prevent toxins from entering our system through food, air, water, environment, and thoughts. If we aren’t careful, we will ingest large numbers and amounts of toxins that will build up and make us unhealthy or diseased.
First of all, learn what is actually in the food you are eating. Processed foods contain many chemicals and synthetic substances used to flavor, color, preserve, or even make you addicted. Sugar is hidden in products you would never suspect, such as tomatoes or beans, toothpaste, ketchup, and canned fruit. Excitotoxins are regularly added to foods to make you crave them or continue eating them after you are full. Oils are partially hydrogenated, which causes trans fats to form. Big agricultural farms douse your produce liberally with pesticides and herbicides, and worse yet use GMO seeds.
The best way to avoid toxins in your food is to increase the amount of food preparation and cooking you do at home for yourself. When you go to a restaurant, you don’t know what kind of oil in which the food is cooked, whether the ingredients are organic, or what additives have been included. Stop buying processed foods when at all possible. Processed foods are anything that is pre-prepared, or in a box or bag at the grocery store. I consider deli and restaurant food “processed” as well because they are constructed from processed ingredients instead of homemade ones. It’s pretty safe to assume that anything that has a commercial on TV is a processed food.
Stop drinking bottled beverages, sodas and diet sodas, or restaurant offerings of tea or coffee, and just drink water. Carry a water bottle with you at all times and drink water all day long. You will flush out your system and prevent new toxins from entering your system. As a bonus, you will save a lot of money.
When eating animal products, know where it came from and how they were farmed. Big farms use antibiotics and a host of chemicals to promote growth and appetite, and the animals are processed in horrible conditions. Check that fish hasn’t come from an area that is known to be contaminated. Environmental groups recommend that you avoid Atlantic halibut, king mackerel, sea bass, shark, swordfish, tuna, and farmed salmon among others.
Your skin is the largest organ in your body and anything that touches your skin is absorbed into your system. In order to avoid toxins in the future, be aware of what household products you use to clean, such as bathroom, oven, drain, and detergent cleaners. Even many “green” products contain toxic substances. Some of the most damaging chemicals are in fragrances which don’t legally have to be identified as anything except “Fragrance.” Many detergents still have phosphates, surfectants, and petroleum-based ingredients which have been shown to cause cancer.
Consider making your own cleaning products from simple ingredients such as baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice, and borax. And again, you will save money!
Surprisingly, you are also exposed to toxins in many health and beauty products like soap, hair products, skin products, makeup, and perfume. Look for ingredients such as synthetic color, DBP, Triclosan, DEA, TEA, metals such as titanium or aluminum, Petrolatum, fragrance, parabens, benzophenone, ceteareth, and more. Don’t buy products with poisons in them. Great guides to find out whether your health and beauty products are toxic can be found on Environmental Working Groups website www.ewg.org.
Before you use a product, ask yourself this question: Would you give this to a baby? If not, then don’t use it on yourself either!
Your thoughts, behaviors, and relationships can add to your stress and disease! If you have regular negative thoughts or an involved in toxic relationships, if you repeat destructive behaviors or participate in “office gossip” or triangulation, you are adding negativity to your health bank.
Reduce your own stress and toxicity by replacing your negative thoughts with positive ones. If a negative thought pops into your head, ignore it and move on to the next thought. Or better yet, intentionally replace it with a positive version. Don’t allow yourself to talk about other people or hurt other people even indirectly.
If you identify that you are a negative person or you keep ending up in negative situations or relationship, ask for help from positive family, friends, or seek the help of a counselor. You will be much happier and your health will be better.
We have examined how to detoxify yourself and how to avoid toxins. Next time, we will look at nourishing yourself with nutrient dense foods, positive thoughts and behaviors.
(Beth Anderson is a certified Holistic Health Coach and founder of the Holistic Health Hotspot in Evansville, Indiana. She is also the author of “The Holistic Diet: Achieve Your Ideal Weight, Be Happy and Healthy for Life.” Beth received her training from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. Beth is helping people improve their lives through nutrition and lifestyle education, health coaching, and by helping others to learn to make informed choices. Beth continues to spread understanding of the connection between body, mind, and spirit and encourages all to discern the truth about food, consumer products, environment, and life choices. You can find Beth on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HolisticHealthHotspot or email her at email@example.com)
LET’S DISCUSS IT: Two questions….1. If North Korea launches water bound missiles in the days ahead as an unarmed test of its military hardware, what should be the response of (A) South Korea; (B) the United States; (C) Japan?
2. If North Korea launches armed missiles in the days ahead that strike and explode on South Korean or Japanese soil, or on U.S. outposts in the region, what should be the response?
Look, it’s very simple. Everybody does something because they want something. And when people do what others call “bad” things, it’s because they think it’s the only way to get what they want. So if we don’t like what someone else is doing, all we have to do is figure out what it is they want, and then show them another way of getting it.
If there simply is no other way of someone else getting what they want, then we need to show them that there may be something else that is equally desirable that they could substitute for what they want, and be just as happy. Then, we have to show them how they can get that.
There, in 119 words, is a solution to the tension/counter-tension engulfing the world right now over all the saber rattling that is going on between North Korea and the United States.
Life is really very simple, and there is no reason for nations to get themselves into a position where the entire world feels threatened with nuclear holocaust because two countries can’t get what they want.
Of course, the first thing that all the nations involved have to do is talk about it. If the leaders of nations refuse to even openly discuss ways to find peace through the resolving of their differences, there is going to be no way the world will ever experience the peace and security for which it has so long yearned.
If I was President of the World — or had a huge global stage, such as can be commanded by, say, someone like the Pope — I would publicly ask the leaders of nations that can’t get along to answer three questions:
What do you want so bad, or what are you so afraid of, that you feel you have to behave the way you are now behaving?
Can you think of any way that you can get what you feel you need without hurting other people, or threatening to do so?
If the whole world begged you, would you at least sit down and talk about it with people who want to help?
At one point in time it looked as if the so-called Six Party Talks (between leaders of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of Korea, the United States, and the State of Japan) might actually get somewhere. Then everything fell apart, and now North Korea says it wants bilateral talks with only the U.S., or nothing.
It says this because it no doubt feels, and sometimes openly claims, that it is the U.S. which is mainly responsible for its misery — including the crippling economic sanctions that have been imposed on it by the United Nations.
All this despite the fact that many other nations voted to put those sanctions in place (including, North Korea must hate to acknowledge, its own staunchest ally, China) as a response to North Korea breaking its international agreements by both test-firing missiles and detonating underground nuclear explosions to further develop atomic weapons.
North Korea clearly feels that the only way to get the respect of other nations that it feels is its due, to say nothing of its fair share of the earth’s abundance, is to be militarily strong. Strong enough, in fact, to threaten and brow beat the rest of the world into doing what it wants. It says that this is exactly what the United States has done the past fifty years or more, and that it has just as much right to do what the U.S. is doing as the U.S. has.
Yet leaders of not only the U.S., but of Russia and other nuclear-armed nations, have recognized that their own nuclear development has gone too far, that it has carried the world far too close to the brink of self-annihilation, and so, not just the U.S., but a great many other nations, have called for a halt to nuclear proliferation — and for the dismantling of presently-in-place nuclear weaponry.
This disarmament has not been totally successful, but that is the direction in which the world is moving — and the majority of the world’s nations have agreed that the last thing the planet needs is more nations moving in the other direction, arming instead of disarming nuclear weapons.
The problem has to do with power. The world has watched the DPRK allowing its people to starve, and to grovel in abject poverty, while its leaders — essentially, the Kim family — and their cohorts (including military leaders) have lived in the lap of luxury for decades. This is not a wild allegation. This is observable, and has been for years. Nations that insist on denying their people at least some voice in their own future inevitably fall into chaos. All it takes is time. Then there is revolution.
We saw it in Egypt. We saw it in Tunisia. We saw it in Yeman and in Libya. We’re seeing it now in Syria.
In order to stop internal revolution, nations with iron-fisted rulers seek to turn the attention of their country outward, working hard to convince their people that if it weren’t for oppressors from the outside, everything on the inside would be fine.
And, of course, where the news media is tightly controlled, all information from the outside is closely censored, and where people are denied even the ability of free speech that includes criticism of their own rulers, it’s a fairly easy task to convince folks that none of this is their ruler’s fault — it’s all the other nations of the world that are doing them wrong.
It’s understandable that North Korea would be angry. All of its nation-neighbors are enjoying The Good Life. South Korea’s economic growth has been one of the highest in the world. Japan’s economy is robust. China is doing well enough to continue to be the source of most of North Korea’s economic aid. Yet instead of asking themselves, “What are we doing wrong?”, the DPRK’s leaders keep reversing the question: “What is everyone else doing wrong to us?”
If the country would simply keep its international agreements, there would be no economic sanctions imposed on it for breaking them. Meanwhile, the U.S., Russia, China and other more powerful nations (read that, more economically and militarily capable) have done a remarkably poor job of explaining to less powerful countries (Iraq, Iran, North Korea, etc.) why they, too, should not be able to develop, to store, and to stand at the ready, globally destructive nuclear capability.
These more powerful states have themselves refused to embrace total nuclear disarmament, and so it is easy to see why less powerful nations resent having to do so. To these economically and militarily weaker nations it feels as if those countries on top of the heap are saying, “Do as we say, don’t do as we do.” So the weaker nations call the more powerful nations despotic hypocrites.
This criticism is leveled in particular at the United States, and not altogether without justification.
For instance, there are lots of headlines around the world about North Korea moving two missiles into position for firing from its east coast. The assessment now is that the DPRK will fire one or both of these missiles in the next ten days. It will be a “military test,” the North will say, even as the country is condemned around the world for “ratcheting up” tensions.
At the same time, the United States military just announced that it will now delay the launch of the Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile — which it had originally scheduled for Tuesday at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Why was it planning such a launch? It is a missile “test,” the U.S. says. It has been long scheduled, and has nothing to do with North Korea and recent tensions on the Korean Peninsula. The postponement was announced as a “prudent” measure, to avoid the DPRK misinterpreting the action.
“The U.S. will conduct another test soon and remains strongly committed to our nuclear deterrence capabilities,” said a U.S. official, who was not authorized to publicly release details of the launch.
In fairness, the DPRK does not appear to be misinterpreting anything. That country is saying that the U.S. asserts that it has the right to test-launch ballistic missiles whenever it wishes, but that North Korea does not. The U.S. has the right to “remain strongly committed to…nuclear deterrence capabilities,” but the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea does not.
This is exactly the point that North Korea is trying to make. Is it fair to ask: By what rule of international law is the U.S. entitled to do things that it demands that other nations not do? Is it okay to simply ask: What makes it right for the United States to protect itself, but not for other nations to do the same?
So, North Korea is going to test launch a ballistic missile in the next few days, and dare the world to make it wrong for doing what the U.S. does with apparent impunity.
The DPRK has long made it known what it wants. It wants a peace treaty with South Korea. The hostilities known as the Korean War ended in 1953 with an armistice agreement, not a peace treaty. The North has said repeatedly for decades that it wants a peace treaty. It also wants direct talks with the U.S., as mentioned earlier. But as long as it is denied both, it has made it clear it is going to act exactly the way it feels that the U.S. is acting.
What the U.S., for its part, wants is for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear weapons capability and stop its testing of missiles and other wartime hardware. Yet this is something that the U.S. itself is unwilling to do. Indeed, the U.S. makes this demand even as it flies nuclear-strike-capable stealth aircraft over the Korean Peninsula’s southern hemisphere, dropping unarmed munitions over targets in military training exercises thirty minutes flying time from North Korea.
I am forced to wonder, if North Korea found a way to fly stealth nuclear bombers in training exercises over Mexico and Canada, minutes from the U.S. border, would the United States find that acceptable? Or would it put its own military on high alert?
The solution to this is all so simple. But why go for a solution when exacerbating the problem offers so much more opportunity to look powerful? Offering a solution… like a peace treaty, finally, a half-century after hostilities on the Korean Peninsula ended, and a sit-down discussion between just the U.S. and North Korea…would give the appearance of weakness, certain diplomats say. For some, this logic may be difficult to follow.
Now I want you to know that I know that I could be wrong about all of this. All or most of the assertions and ideas in my copy above could be inaccurate. But truly, this is not the really important discussion. I believe that we need to shift the discussion. Make the question: What, if anything, could cause all the people of the world to feel happy, safe, and secure?
Let’s have this discussion. Let’s call it the Conversation of the Century. And let’s move it off the Internet and into the living rooms of the world. And then, from the living rooms into the streets. Not to create revolution, but to produce evolution.
The invitation from Life at this moment is for all the people of the world to rise up and speak with One Voice, saying: “Enough. This is not the highest and best that humanity has to offer itself. Whoever is ‘right’ and whoever is ‘wrong’: Enough. Can we please address the larger question?”
Then let us rewrite our entire Cultural Story, word by word, piece by piece, chapter by chapter, dismantling one false belief at a time — until we get to the ultimate false belief that has created all the others: The idea that we are somehow separate from each other, each with our own separate interests, when, in fact, our growing global inter-dependency is increasingly obvious even to the casual observer.
The problem in the world today is not a political problem, it is not an economic problem, and it is not a military problem. The problem in the world today is a spiritual problem, and it can only be solved by spiritual means.
It is our beliefs that need to be dismantled, for they are our most deadly weapons. And it is ourselves they are killing. The late American cartoonist Walt Kelly said it perfectly, in the words of his famous comic strip character Pogo: “We have met the enemy and he is us.”
We can stop being our own worst enemy when we stop believing our own worst beliefs. Let that be what the Conversation of the Century is all about.
(NOTE: If you believe it is time to ignite an Evolution Revolution, begin a Conversation of the Century group in your community. Just gather at least six people on a regular basis in your home to explore the topics in our Evolution Revolution Discussion Guide and I will join you on a regular basis, electronically and in real time, for a growing global group discussion that could alter humanity’s future. To learn more about how you, your family and friends may participate, write to firstname.lastname@example.org)
And, of course, you may begin making your contributions to this discussion in the Comment section below…
Forgive me, teens of the world, but as May 19th approaches sooner and sooner, I and every other senior in high schools across the world have become fixated on one day alone: graduation. With a little more than 6 weeks left and the bulk of my activities coming to a close, I cannot help to wonder: What am I going to miss? How much have I changed? Do I have any regrets?
The most daunting of questions on my mind, however, is the simplest: Have I had a fulfilling high school experience?
At this point, I begin to feel old. For this question is not just asked at the end of high school. The same question applies to the other senior, the one who has faced far more than our comparatively juvenile lives. For in our elder years, we also ask that same question, and hope we have the same answer. At the end of any great journey, be it of high school or of this physical stage of life, the necessity of optimizing that journey becomes of chief concern. We ask whether we had a fulfilling life. Did we, or did we not?
So when dealing with that experience – the experience of fulfillment – we often are led to second, third, and quadruple-guess ourselves. Fulfillment seems to be such an elusive concept; it is something that is supposed to happen naturally, yet seems to require a lot of effort to be achieved. Fulfillment also seems to be very paradoxical; it appears to only be felt after the experience, yet requires us to be living in every moment to be reached.
The very dictionary meaning of fulfillment is abstract enough, as it is listed by Merriam-Webster to mean “to execute, realize, and satisfy.” Is fulfillment really just some intangible ideal beyond our recognition or attainment? To answer that, fulfillment is defined by its spiritual definition. In a broader perspective, fulfillment simply means “to realize one’s potential.” To many, realizing one’s potential means they have done something worthwhile with their time in this life. With the majority, we are led to wonder whether we did change the world, make a difference, or even just make the world a better place overall.
The problem with fulfillment does not come from understanding it, but rather our judgment of it. Potential – our ability to be the very best version of ourselves – is something that does not have universal standards. We are all unique spiritual beings, with different purposes that aren’t even entirely known to us. Our soul desires to experience the full range of life, of loss, of love, so it may know itself. What our soul wishes to accomplish in this life cannot be quantitatively judged on a scale of 1 to 10. What one might call a complete failure may be success to another, all depending on the perspective of our soul. The nature of our soul is simply too intricate and complex to be considered so artificially.
Further, fulfillment of potential is not just something that happens retrospectively. We don’t need to wait until we are old – in mind and body – for us to recognize our fulfillment. We can experience it in this very moment. And this one. And this one. With any spiritual experience, the fulfillment of our potential truly does not happen after the fact, but is happening NOW. Fulfillment is living in the moment – being in tune with our spiritual purpose at all times. When we look backwards, we fear the feeling of regret. If we simply BE the greatest vision of the grandest version of ourselves, then there is nothing else we have to do. Though we may feel the regret that it wasn’t enough, it is exactly where we are at the part of the journey – right where our soul leads us. Within the spiritual journey, there is no right or wrong, there is only the way our spirit takes.
So that’s what that feels like. At any age, we worry and wonder about our fulfillment. If its high school or life itself, all we need to do is just let our soul do the work, and let ourselves follow. By living life from the highest point, there is nothing that goes unseen or undone. And it feels wonderful.
(Lauren is a Feature Editor of The Global Conversation. She lives in Wood Dale, IL, and can be reached at Lauren@TheGlobalConversation.com)
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind
than to be hopelessly in love with spring” ~ George Santayana
At this time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere it is wonderful to see buds tentatively expose themselves to the elements, taking their first step in the journey to full bloom. It is also lovely for us, not only because it announces the arrival of spring, but because it reminds us what this time of year—spring in the Northern Hemisphere, autumn in the Southern Hemisphere—can mean to everyone.
We often hear about the “seasons of life,” like middle-age that is referred to as “autumn,” implying that spring is a distant memory, summer is long gone, and winter is just around the corner. Indeed, when applied to the human life cycle, the analogy of the seasons appears to imply a sense of inevitability and powerlessness over the age and eventual decay of our bodies, like the tiny buds that in their flowered state will fall into the Earth and then become part of it.
However, it appears that although our lives do follow a cycle, beginning with birth and ending with death, it would be untrue to assume that what happens in between is completely at the behest of nature. After all, we are God beings who co-create our reality moment to moment, so assuming that each stage of our lives blindly follows nature’s intrinsic rules is not only misleading but reduces our consciousness to nothing more than little buds.
I would argue that although we experience the seasons in our lives, we do so not as a linear sequence of events but rather as a mishmash of happenings derived from conscious choice. In which case the experiences associated with spring can occur at any age, like my neighbor who, at 62, learned how to drive following the death of her husband, or my own mother, who holds thrice-weekly dance classes at 75 years old.
Then there is my nine-year-old cousin, who enrolled in piano lessons alongside his grandmother. And let us not forget the artists and composers who created masterpieces in their 80’s, or the middle-aged women who, after their children leave home, start a whole new life with as much gusto and energy as though they were heading off to university, which some also do.
So when we look at those who started a new career, journey or relationship in later life, we see that their enjoyment is no less than if they were 30 years younger. I believe that this is because we can feel passion at any age. Enjoyment, pleasure and the thrill of achievement is not confined to youth, but can be experienced to our last breath. For this reason, there really is no age, season, or particular time for anything. There is only the space that is held by our conscious imagination that, depending on its openness to change, can create and recreate all manner of experiences for us to enjoy, to love, and to remind us that we are all seasons in every moment.
(Gemma Phelan lives in Ireland where she works as an editor. She is also the author of “A Different Understanding,” a book which explores alternative ways of looking at the world.)
(If you would like to contribute an article you have authored to the Guest Column, please submit it to our Managing Editor, Lisa McCormack, for possible publication in this space. Not all submissions can be published, due to the number of submissions and sometimes because of other content considerations, but all are encouraged. Send submissions to Lisa@TheGlobalConversation.com. Please label the topic: “Guest Column.”)