As Americans look towards their Thanksgiving, we Canadians just had ours. At our family dinner, I asked my mother whether she felt the world was crazier now than when she was young, or that the underbelly of the human psyche is simply more visible today due to the power of our media. She immediately responded that she feels people are much more on edge and violent today. Her response echoed what a 92-year-old World War 2 British marine vet recently told me when I asked him the same question. He too felt that the world is more intense now, even more so than when he went through the devastating war.
There is no doubt that our world is hurting. We see it in the hateful words that people hurl at each other in person and online, disconnected from compassion and understanding. We see it in the growing number of senseless acts of violence. We see it in the increase in radical groups that seek to kill and destroy. Yet, and this is important, there is also a growing effulgence of luminosity, which I feel when I choose to turn my focus to that which is eternal. There is so much pain, and so much grace, available to us all in this unprecedented time. The choice of which to focus on is up to us. What we choose now affects how we experience this moment, and determines what our future brings.
As I sit in daily meditation practice, I become a neutral witness to whatever may be. I allow myself to receive this moment exactly as it is. In so doing, I can feel my cells and my entire being opening like a flower to a field of utter possibility. The light in that field fuels me and brings with it clarity, effervescence and calling. I feel inspired to inspire, as my heart bursts with a greater sense of interconnection with it all – the dark, the light, the suffering and the freedom from pain.
The growth in global darkness is ours to collectively transcend as one Earth family. We must take heart, remembering that whatever we choose to focus on will grow. We cannot fight hate with hate. Only more hate will come from such a choice.
No amount of figuring out, strategizing, plotting or planning will end violence. We have tried these strategies many times through history. If they worked, we would not now be in a situation that my 92-year-old vet friend calls worse than World War 2. When we come to understand that our true nature is eternal luminosity, we will see that only love, compassion and wisdom will set us free.
Doubters may say that to love is too soft an approach, that it denies the pain and the gravity of the situation we face. But love at times of horror and terror is the clearest and most courageous choice we can make. Our human, knee-jerk reaction is to point fingers, to judge, to valiantly roar into the battlefield. Yet the root of the word courage is “cor”, Latin for heart. To have courage, we must have a heart that sees the fullness of what is with wisdom and compassion and is willing to live rooted in such insight, despite what fear may say.
Founding Parvati.org and dedicating my life’s work in music, yoga and words to establish the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary is one way I live that insight. The polar ice is the world’s air conditioning system that secures global weather and crops. Yet today the Arctic ice is melting, permafrost is thawing and methane is bubbling to the surface – putting all life on Earth at risk. Instead of heeding this alarm signal, companies seek to profit from the loss of ice, moving in to claim natural resources, shipping routes, even cruise ship routes. At the same time, military personnel carry out exercises and continue to assert territory in the Arctic. Establishing MAPS will not only protect the Arctic and compel the global shift to renewables. It brings people and our global leaders together with one common purpose. It sends a powerful message of peace and interconnection to the entire world. For the sake of everyone on Earth, there must be a place on the planet where the guns and ships are silent and the voice of Nature can be heard. Signing and sharing the MAPS petition and getting involved as a volunteer becomes a simple and practical way for people to do something productive with the anxiety they may feel about the future.
Remembrance Day (Veterans Day) is today. As we take a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the brutality of war, may we remember that the only way to end war for good is when each of us ends the war we inadvertently carry within. May we all remember that our true nature is love. Only love is real.