THEOSOPHY, Vol. 84, No. 9, July, 1996
(Pages 274-277; Size: 9K)

STUDENT REFLECTIONS

[Article number (3) in this Department]

The following considerations on peace offer a dual approach. They suggest various avenues and ideas to put into practice as we strive to create purpose and harmony in our environment. This environment is dual and includes both the inner and the outer.

In this time of transition many are seeking to heal the human soul, along with the world in which they live. [EDITORS]

THE QUESTION OF PEACE

IS WORLD peace an impossibility? Are we wasting our time thinking that someday it will come? There are many notable people who pray for peace regularly. Most politicians promise it as if it were just around the corner, yet it never seems to materialize. Whenever we stop fighting in one place it breaks out in another, as though it is lurking just below the surface. It is like the fire in the forest hidden in the pine duff, breaking out just when we think we have it in hand. Is peace an impossibility or is there something we have overlooked in our search?

Could there be a misconception with the popular belief that peace is merely the cessation of war? Have we missed the obvious--? that peace like war must be built brick by brick? That peace requires persistent work and with the same vigor and devotion, as those who construct the mountainous vehicles of war?

Those who would make war work tirelessly for years, planning, training, manufacturing, investigating and propagandizing. They toil long and hard to reach their goal, spending vast amounts of money and resources, including the lives of our youth. Wars, then, are not inevitable, they are built.

Why not view the building of peace in the same dimension? We have money, resources and people, if we just point them in the appropriate direction. We need to create alliances which emphasize and grow out of points of agreement. Affinities among races, nations, and religions must be sought, along with an expansion of international business and cultural transactions. Information has to be gathered and brought to the people, information that depicts the similarities between peoples instead of the differences. Stock-piles of goods and services that can assist those neighbors need to be made available, and aimed at those we formerly sought to bomb. The "Army" known as the Peace Corps is a good beginning.

All this we must pursue with the same vigor, energy and scope we formerly put into war.

No, peace is not merely the cessation of war. It is truly a wondrous state of affairs and it is within our power and possibility. It has to be built, however, hand-shake by hand-shake.

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ON INNER HEALING

FEW WOULD disagree that much of humanity is presently suffering from spiritual malnutrition -- a hunger to believe in something stable, true and unchanging; a hunger to affirm with conviction even just one thing that is true -- to believe there is something larger and more important to live and work for than merely materialistic survival. In one sense this kind of hunger is worse than physical hunger and immeasurably more difficult to rectify, for it withers away the higher aspirations, which long to achieve spiritual and moral ideals. The chief among them being: "How do we get along?" Since we continue to hold such ideals and work toward them, however haltingly, indicates the possibility of their realization. These goals stem from that part of our nature where ideals are facts. Whatever path mankind takes, however far he wanders, these ideals invariably rise, like the tides in the sea, to be dealt with, in the form of a question: "What is the meaning of my life and how do I find my place?" Uncertainty is the accompaniment of a transition age.

The divisions tearing society apart today are identified as stemming from differences as to class, culture, gender, race, religion and economic status, including long-held attitudes concerning "others." These are but the external symptoms of a malady affecting the whole of humanity, the price of self-consciousness, which conveys to us the fallacy that we are disconnected from one another. Feelings of disconnection beget a type of soul illness, which has reached epidemic proportions on the one hand, yet has awakened many to seriously search for its cure. The problem of alienation can be addressed only through assimilation and practice of the "soul-satisfying philosophy of the ancients," with its teachings of universal Unity, universal Law and universal Purpose. This analysis may appear an oversimplification, but observe these words of H.P.B.:

Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work in union and harmony, instead of disunion and strife. ... With right knowledge, or at any rate with a confident conviction that our neighbours will no more work to hurt us than we would think of harming them, the two-thirds of the World's evil would vanish into thin air. (S.D. I, 643.)
No one, least of all the Teachers of Theosophy, claim that once having identified the cause of conflict, it will be easy to resolve. Human beings see things from different levels and avenues of perception and experience. Fundamental to conflict resolution is a genuine desire on the part of all parties to find a way, as well as an agreed upon premise from which to begin. The idea of Universal Unity as a fact in Nature is the basis of true brotherhood. Mr. Judge says, "we are all here for a good and wise reason." As Souls we are here to fulfill the requirements of our calling which is to make things better. Yet we meet the hostility of rejection and devaluation at every turn. Not to be recognized as a fellow traveler is to suffer the humiliation of the homelessness of the Soul, the most painful rejection of all.

True healing has to take place within the individual through his attitudes and values. Briefly, we need to come to like ourselves before we can truly reach out to others. Through such a position of inner strength we gain the strength to help others. The healing teachings of Theosophy throw light on how to begin, how to continue and how to fulfill Nature's plan of conscious realization of universal brotherhood.

"The SELF of one is the SELF of all."


COMPILER'S NOTE: The following is a separate item which followed the above article but was on the same page. I felt it was useful to include it here:

So advantageous are all forms of mutual service that the question may be fairly asked, whether after all Co-operation and Sympathy -- at first instinctive, afterwards reasoned -- are not the greatest facts even in organic Nature? 


--HENRY DRUMMOND

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