Blog entry by Alan Chapman
Paths to Peace
There are many paths to peace, so that we are:
- Calm about life.
- Loving towards others, including those who upset us.
- Able to accept things we cannot change.
- Able to face our own mortality - that we will die one day.
- Keen to seek truth, especially if it's very painful.
- Accepting that everything that we believe most strongly now, about life and especially ourselves, we will come to reconsider as we grow, and that we forgive ourselves for the person we are now. It is all perhaps about self-love and self-forgiveness really, as well as extending love and forgiveness to everyone else.
I was lucky to find my own peace, so far (we all continue to grow while we continue to live) through the traumas of suicidal disintegration, explained by Dabrowski's Theory of Positive Disintegration, (and in overview in my very brief Positive Disintegration summary, which is the lightest introduction to an extraordinarily deep and powerful concept - the work of true giants, Kazimierz Dabrowski and especially since 1980 when Dabrowski died, William 'Bill' Tillier).
There are other gentler paths to peace and fearlessness.
They particularly include older and ancient wisdoms, such as:
- The Japanese Buddhism concept of Satori
- The English poet John Keats' notion of Negative Capability
- many other interpretations of Spiritual Enlightenment
- and many ancient wisdoms and storytelling of different cultures, especially those connected with nature, for example Native American, Aborigine, Pagan, etc.
"What's in it for me?" What will enlightenment or peace do for me?
Why should anyone be interested in exploring or striving for any of these versions of peace, or enlightenment?
What are the gains that come from this sort of effort - for oneself, those we love, and all other life and the balance of our planet?
The best way of explaining this, to me, is fearlessness, which equates to love, which enables vulnerability and trust and cooperation.
When we become peaceful in the sense of spiritual enlightenment, we no longer fear death.
This means we can:
- Love and forgive, unconditionally - (this does not mean condone or approve - it means we understand, and we do not carry any animosity towards, someone or something that would otherwise upset us).
- Detach ourselves from possessions - (this does not mean we give or throw everything away that we possess, it means that we do not see ourselves or represent ourselves through anything, except our basic self as a human).
- Give to others in need, and help others in need, while also continuing to look after ourselves in basic ways, so as to remain healthy.
- Live in grateful wonder at the beauty of life, universe and everything, cherishing every moment, while accepting that we cannot change the past, and we cannot predict or control the future.
- By accepting our mortality, deeply, really, then we are free to enjoy every moment of life to its maximum, and this gives a strength that is beyond the pen and the sword. It's a strength of our own freedom of thinking, that is profoundly frightening to many people. When we think completely freely, we are alone, to go inside our heads, fearlessly, and to the farthest imaginable reaches of the universe (or whatever actually exists out side of our thoughts).
We can do this little-by-little.
One tiny step at a time.
You can control the flow yourself - like opening and closing a tap or a door.
We can open the door, and let it come to us, firstly by simply being open to the possibilities.
This is a very quick summary. Language in words alone does not convey meaning very well.
Actually word language, and other types of theoretical explanatory language based on words, symbols and imagery, tend to be extremely confusing when we are addressing any subject at a deep level.
You might ask then, how are we to learn and grow, and enable learning and growth in others? And my answer is that we must support 'language' with experiences, especially involving how our minds and bodies and 'souls' interact with nature, arts, conversation, walking, making, creating, cooking, sharing, etc., and really anything 'experiential' and multi-sensory.
Growth and learning are achieved mainly by how we experience life, humanity, world, universe, and our reactions to and reflections about all this, with which we can blend learning through traditional language such as books, videos, audio works, and theoretical texts, academic references, and great works of literature, etc.
Importantly, to work with language, we must understand its limitations, and know that we must 'filter' and interpret language by using our deeper wisdoms, and our (ideally increasing) independence of thinking and feeling that we develop through experience and reflection.
So this is an attempt to open a door to your own continuing learning and self-discovery - your own personal growth - rather than to teach fearlessness or enlightenment.