How We Are Going to Achieve World Peace
Act in accordance with the counsels of the Lord: that is, rise up in such wise, and with such qualities, as to endow the body of this world with a living soul, and to bring this young child, humanity, to the stage of adulthood. So far as ye are able, ignite a candle of love in every meeting, and with tenderness rejoice and cheer ye every heart. Care for the stranger as for one of your own; show to alien souls the same loving kindness ye bestow upon your faithful friends. Should any come to blows with you, seek to be friends with him; should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores; should any taunt and mock at you, meet him with love. Should any heap his blame upon you, praise ye him; should he offer you a deadly poison, give him the choicest honey in exchange; and should he threaten your life, grant him a remedy that will heal him evermore. Should he be pain itself, be ye his medicine; should he be thorns, be ye his roses and sweet herbs. Perchance such ways and words from you will make this darksome world turn bright at last; will make this dusty earth turn heavenly, this devilish prison place become a royal palace of the Lord—so that war and strife will pass and be no more, and love and trust will pitch their tents on the summits of the world. Such is the essence of God’s admonitions; such in sum are the teachings for the Dispensation of Bahá. Abdu’l Baha
There are a lot of people in the world that believe that world peace will happen instantly, that something big is going to happen, and then suddenly everything will be wonderful. They are waiting for God’s magic to change the problems we are facing into a kind of heaven on Earth. It is a little bit like how psychologists and psychiatrists think about certain disorders. They describe them as being unchangeable, which therefore need some sort of magic pill to help a person return to some kind of bliss. I believe that God’s magic is in the quotation above. It is not an entirely new message for mankind, but it is perhaps the most challenging and why world peace is so elusive for us.
So how do you do it? … should any stab you to the heart, be ye a healing salve unto his sores:… How do you get anywhere near this state? Believe me I have very few answers, but I am bringing it up here so that we can put it on the table and then all become the cause of world peace.
It seems to me that a great many people can do it over a long period of time. So let’s say, for instance, that you are in a relationship with someone, and then they commit some kind of betrayal. The first reaction for most of us is hurt. When you are stabbed you feel hurt. This is our protective ego working. It feels the pain and then sets up barriers to the person so that the hurt does not happen again. If we are aggressive in nature, then we may even strike back which has the effect of either beginning all out war or keeping the person much further back. It does not take a huge leap of thinking to see that countries act in the same way to each other. Coldness and war prevail. So after a time, the hurt feeling often subsides, feelings calm, forgiveness sets in, and then union can happen again.
But I think that what Abdu’l Baha is asking for us to do is to recognize the stabbing, but not feel the hurt and pain. Most of us feel like we have a right to be hurt, that it is correct to be hurt, and that we can act against the other person because they did the hurting. This is how we all end up stabbing each other. The key is not to be hurt at all. Jesus said to shake the dust from off your feet. We need thick skins.
The reason that we become so easily hurt has a lot to do with trying to get our love from another person and then they really hurt us. Who hasn’t done it? Hollywood has made its entire fortune and the idea that someone else is going to take care of you, to be your everything, and bunch of other nonsense. We still believe it. That is the sad part. The worst idea is the one that says you are like a half person until you find your lover and then you become whole. Barf!!!!! If we believe that we are only half a person without the other, then of course we are going to get hurt and feel correct in being hurt when the other person in the relationship doesn’t act the way we want them to. We all have a great deal of unrealistic expectations on others and try to give them the responsibility for our own love.
So there seems to be two keys. One is to find your own love in the invisible realm, inwardly, in your own heart as it connects with everything positive, and then the other is to be completely detached from the negative things that people do to you. The first step to finding internal love (divine love) is to admit to the hurt. When you admit to the hurt, you are truthful about your own weakness, your own ego. This is what is means to have humility. If you can’t do the quote, it is not very helpful to try to force yourself to do it while still holding onto hurt. The wonderful thing about exploring hurt is that it is the negative emotion that really leads the way to opening brand new doors. What I do with hurt when I have it is to say to myself that I am about to open something new in my life. New possibilities, new relationships, and new processes are all going to happen if I stay with the hurt and deal with it in an honest manner. Running from the hurt and pretending it is not there is very destructive to a lot of relationships.
So you just say I am really hurt, but only to yourself not to your partner or friends. When you say it to your partner, you are trying to put the onus of change on them because you believe they are so rotten. Even if they are rotten, it doesn’t matter. Your hurt belongs to you, not them. Love your hurt and become friendly with it because it is about to open whole new worlds for you. It is as if God has come down out of the sky, through the clouds, and given you a big gift in the form of a troublesome relationship. It is your curriculum. So the best thing you can do is enjoy it. I am hurt because I have a weakness that needs strengthening. You are not hurt because someone else is a schmuck. You are the schmuck. You are hurt because you are still not strong enough to deal with whatever others do.
When you go to the hurt inside, it will almost always appear as a metaphor, just like as if it were a dream state. The metaphor can be like being stabbed, being shot down, being run over, having a tidal wave hit you, or being ripped open with glass. The metaphor is the key to your own healing because it tells you what process is about to open. Whatever the metaphor is that you are feeling, the opposite in a spiritual direction is calling you. So if you feel like you are constantly being shot down by someone by the terrible comments that they make to you, this means that was is opening up to you is how to uplift yourself and others. The gift is in the hurt because it gives you the direction. When you read the metaphor, you know where the divine world is leading you.
The hard part is letting go of the hurt. It is just so tempting to hold onto getting revenge or hoping for the other person to get punished or trying to make the other person change. Very few of us do not get into this state. Fewer yet reach detachment. Letting go seems to be assisted by the realization that whoever is doing the harmful behavior is equally hurt, if not worse than you are. You can have compassion and detachment by realizing that when you go after someone who has been hurting you, it just is like going into a hospital and finding the person hurting you there in a cast and then trying to break another leg or arm. What good does it do? They are hurt. You are hurt. So let’s all hurt some more.
Once you have the metaphor as in being run over, then you can describe how the metaphor makes you react in behavioral terms. I am put down, for instance, by the unkind words of others, then I feel really down which makes me run away and hide. Or it may do the opposite which is to give the put downs right back at the other person. Both ways are unproductive, but they are also keys because instead of running away and hiding or giving back put downs, the spiritual world wants you to become detached, find your own love and then be out there fully with positive actions and uplifting comments because these are what heal and make peace.
In my own dream life this used to come out as swearing at the perpetrator. My wife even have to leave the bedroom. I wanted vengeance. But Abdu’l Baha would have me give the person the choicest honey. What a long journey this is to giving choice honey instead of vengeance!!! Is it possible?
Let’s review. First is to admit the hurt and take responsibility for it because it is yours not theirs to solve even when they are unjust. Second is to find the negative metaphor like the feeling of being stabbed or shunned because it leads you in the direction of your growth which is the opposite positive energy like uplifting others. Third is to detach yourself completely from the hurt by understanding that they are extremely hurt also probably from a very early age and than hurting back only makes things worse. This is is important to really believe that hurting back only makes things worse.
When you are detached from the hurting process, then you can begin to feel the positive energy inside of the new process. What does it feel like to be uplifted, to feel like you can run forever instead of feeling run over? What does it feel like to feel be able to do really positive things for others? When these are implanted inside of you, then you can just start acting on them, and then great things will happen?
But again you won’t be able to do them by just forcing yourself to visualize them or saying a mantra about them. You have to do the dirty work which is to admit to the pain, describe it, work with it, and then transform it. Admitting to weakness seems to be the hardest.
One of the questions you might ask is about the justice in the whole thing. If someone does something to you like sexually abuses you, what are you to do with your vengeful feelings? Obviously the inappropriate use of force to get one’s way is intolerable so you have to be intelligent enough to take appropriate steps to protect yourself and others. If justice is not available for sexual crimes, which it is not in most of the world, then you can find ways to protect yourself from the perpetrators. Self protection is very desirable under these circumstance. Justice is so warped in some parts of the world that a young woman who is raped is often seen as the perpetrator and then she gets condemned. There is no justice in that.
But justice does not give you healing nor does it help you to grow. Justice allows us to have societies where heinous crimes are not allowed to flourish unchecked, but they do not heal. The perpetrator can go to prison, get rehabilitated, and then come back in society, but you stay the same for as long as you hold onto the hurt. What heals is detachment, and then new growth and positive action. It doesn’t seem to help the perpetrator by being really vengeful. It only makes them want to be more negative.
Today I will love my hurt.