My teacher, Miguel
Ruiz, was unconscious for over two months after a heart
attack last year. When he decided to return to this world,
he said that the most shocking thing he realized was how
violent our society is. I began to watch, and see if I
could truly understand what he meant.
This morning I
turned on the radio and thought I had found an Iraqi War
broadcast when I heard someone saying: "We were out for
blood. We knew there was no turning back. I am not real
proud of some of the things we had to do, but we knew
we were faced with our survival." Imagine my surprise
when I discovered I was listening to a basketball player
talking about winning last night's game.
Much has been
written about the violence that our young people are exposed
to in the name of entertainment (in video games, films,
TV, and many sports), as well as the horrors of race and
gang conflicts. I now wonder why we are not talking about
concern for the violence that the rest of us are exposed
to, also. We absolutely do live in a violent society,
as evidenced by our entertainment, games, and our wars.
In fact, I am told there are well over 100 active wars
on this planet at this time. We live in a culture of violent
The Toltec tradition
taught by Miguel Ruiz shows us that everyone is dreaming
their own personal dream, based on their beliefs and the
unique way they interpret reality. No two people dream
the same personal dream, because each person is conditioned
with different opinions, facts, filters, agreements, beliefs,
and other distortions of reality.
Conflict and violence
occurs between mates, parents and children, nations, friends,
neighbors or lovers when there is not mutual respect for
the beliefs of the other. When one side needs their personal
dream to be RIGHT, they must make the other wrong. Since
nobody wants to be wrong, each must fight to be right.
In the fight to be right, there are no winners.
if we are to live in a saner and more peaceful world,
is to know that our personal dream is unique to us, and
has nothing to do with anyone else. Nobody is wrong, because
everyone is dreaming their own personal dream, and their
version of reality is perfectly right for them. . .even
and including their beliefs about war. (Note: Accepting
someone's personal dream does not mean that you like it
or want to have lunch or a war with them!).
For many people,
the worst violence lives inside their own minds. I believe
this is the real problem. So few people live with real
peace in their own minds. Who among us does not judge
themselves, and then condemn and punish themselves for
their imagined wrongs and failures? Listen to your own
mind. Do you hear the conflict and violence there? Do
you feel the anger that lives in you for not living up
to impossible standards set by some voice within-- and
do you feel the hurt that steals your vital life force
when you are judged so mercilessly. Listen within. There
is violence there. Conflict. There is a war within.
To live in a peaceful
world, I believe we must end the conflict and violence
that lives in our minds, and which becomes projected onto
our bodies, mates, other cultures, our parents and children,
and our mother planet. We must learn to live in peace
with ourselves, to love our uniqueness, and allow ourselves
to simply be who and what we are. It is a simple concept,
and not always an easy task. Can you love and accept all
of the different dreams and belief systems that live inside
your own mind? Each has its own story, and if each is
respected you will end the conflict that lives inside
of you. An end to the conflicts in our own minds will
surely lead to an end to the violence in the world.
As within, so
These are challenging
times. I believe that as Humans, our basic nature is not
fear and violence, but Love. The challenge is to remember.
And find peace within.