I don’t like war, but I am about to get deployed…

Dear Advice,

I have been blessed by the teachings that Neale and other like-minded souls have provided. I was wondering what I can do about my situation. I am currently in the military, and I have a wife and three children. I don’t like war, but I’m about to get deployed to Korea for a possible conflict. I am determined to let God work through me, but I experience sadness when I think about the potential violence and death that could happen in Korea. I was deployed to Afghanistan a few years ago, and the trauma of war is terrible. The military is my physical source of income, and it appears to be the only option for supporting my family. I feel some guilt because of my occupation, and what it causes me to potentially do; however, my wife and children need a loving, providing father.  My wife is partially disabled as well, so her working at a job is partially unreasonable.

Thank you for your answers,
G.M.G., El Paso,TX

Dear GMG,

As you know, there are no easy answers to this one.  There are the physical and the spiritual, and there is how to combine them.

The current reality is, as I see it, that you have a legal contract with the U.S. Government.  I took the liberty of contacting a very good friend of mine, who is an ex Staff Sargent, to ask him what he would counsel.  His first thought was to suggest that you go to your unit’s chaplain and approach the subject with him (knowing the military, it might even be prudent to do the “hypothetically, if a person felt…” thing), and see what he/she might say about how to become a conscientious objector.  This may not be possible, though, since your deployment to S. Korea is not considered in a conflict area at this point.

Now, should you wish to, and are able to, pursue any track that gets you out of the military before your tour is up, it could cause you to lose your benefits as well, which, given your family situation does make your decision much more complicated.  Since going to Korea is usually a 1-year unaccompanied tour, I assume you have at least that left?  Might you have been in long enough to “retire”?

However, we now move to the spiritual side…we often say we have no choice in the matter, when, in fact, we really do have a choice.  We just don’t like accepting the consequences of what one choice would be.  We are, also, conditioned to make the “easy” choice, even though that choice may just be delaying making the choice we really should make, or is simply the one we have been told is the “right” choice.  Often, even though something nags at us, we do what others…culture, religion, government, family, friends…tell us is the right thing to do, rather than what our gut tells us would really work for us, on a level too often not worked into the mix…our soul level.

I am going to suggest you also reach out to your family.  If you haven’t already, sit down with your wife, and your children (if they are old enough to understand), and tell them how you are feeling.  Discuss that a huge part of your decision rests in what you perceive your responsibility is to them.  GMG, there is a real possibility that they don’t expect you to do something that is harming you in this way.  I would let them know what your vision is of what you would like to do, and why, and ask them how they would create your vision.  If you would like them to be part of you life, it can only work if they have a voice in what that life looks like, and how it gets created.  Remember…they are on this journey with you, co-creating with you. Remember, too, that children, because they don’t have all of the clutter of culture, religion and more, often have the greatest insights!

So, how do you apply the Spiritual knowing you have growing in you…you don’t like war…to all of these real (in the physical level) aspects of your life?

I believe you have to move to the first level of truth telling.  Tell the truth about yourself to yourself. Someone recently put it to me this way: The highest virtue is being truthful. What “works” for us doesn’t always look compatible with our physical circumstances.  Telling the truth to ourselves, about what we are feeling, will often make us feel isolated from what the world says we should feel. However, when we are truthful with ourselves, it opens the door for all possibilities to appear.

Then we have to make sure that we put no boundaries around possibilities!  We do that so very often by having a very specific view of what the solution to a problem should look like.  We most often want that road of least resistance, when it is the messy road that our soul tells us we should take.  When you are truthful with yourself, you will know what the “right” road is.  That’s what gut feelings are all about.  Our bodies connect the mind and the soul.

And then there are your children.  What do you wish to example to your children?  What do you feel you are exampling now?  What do you think you would example by doing something different?  Which would have the most positive long-term benefit to your children…and your wife…and you?

Having said all of that, let me conclude with this: There are no “right” and “wrong” choices to be made here.  As CWG states, there is only what works and doesn’t work.  We get to define what “works” for us.  Sometimes things that once worked don’t any longer.  Sometimes what would never have seemed like a possibility in our lives, is now the perfect choice, if not the easiest choice.  And knowing what that perfect choice is comes from, yup, telling the truth about ourselves, to ourselves.

I am now going to suggest that you find some time to just sit quietly and meditate.  I am going to suggest a very simple meditation.  Begin at the top of your head and just feel every inch of your body…from the top down, and then back up again.  When you have a thought (and you will!) don’t judge it, simply acknowledge it, thank it, and move on.  The same thing for body sensations…notice, thank, move on.  Do not linger in the thought or sensation.  Do this for 15 minutes to 1 hour.  It may be difficult to go more than 15 minutes the first time or two.

Why do I suggest you do this?  Because doing this brings your mind fully, and only, into the present moment.  It eliminates the clutter for that brief period of time…and does much the same thing as rebooting your computer does.  It gives your mind a chance to de-clutter and and allows for the possibility of new thoughts.

GMG, I would also like to invite you to join The Changing Change Network at www.changingchange.net .  This is the website Neale Donald Walsch created to support the book “When Everything Changes, Change Everything.”  The membership is free.  The book, in its entirety, is on the site to read…for free.  And, most importantly of all, there are volunteer Spiritual Helpers there who will dialogue with you about moving through dramatic change in your life…and I think this is a pretty dramatic time for you right now.  It has some pretty powerful stuff, that can help you find your answers.

Finally, I would ask you to be kind to yourself, no matter what decision you make.  You have had a lifetime of data, and changing your thoughts about that data will not always happen overnight.  Just know that you are on the “when you know better, you do better” path, and that is enough.


(Therese Wilson is a published poet, and is the administrator of the global website at www.ChangingChange.net . She may be contacted at:                                                              Therese@TheGlobalConversation.com.)

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