What We All Need Now

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We have endlessly tried to bring peace to the world, creating organizations like the UN and NATO, we’ve had treaties and summits, and scores of meetings and programs, but still there are so many conflicts. Beliefs and egos battle, greed for power dominates over humanity, while ingrained hatred divides one against another. It’s a simple equation: When we’re angry or unhappy in ourselves then we’ll be angry with everyone else while increasing the suffering in the world; when we’re in pain, that pain gets projected onto others or blamed on everything around us: “It’s your fault I’m unhappy!”

All this is due to ignorance, greed, hatred and deep unhappiness. As Ed recalls: “I grew up Jewish in the Bronx and was raised by my aunt who wouldn’t allow me to bring a non-Jewish person into our home. I was taught not to trust anyone who was different.”

So how do we embody who we really and connect with dignity, humanity and humility, both as individuals and as a human race? When we blame or project our pain onto others then we’re avoiding the real cause that lies within ourselves: our deep unhappiness and, simultaneously, our longing for happiness. To make changes in the way we treat each other comes through the turning away from self-centeredness, self-survival and closed-heartedness toward concern for others, generosity, and open-heartedness.

We are all linked to each other. What we do, say, and even think immediately affects all those around us, and from them to all others. It is the awareness of this inter-connectedness that drives a sense of deeper altruism.

The simplest way to stop the aggression is to look within. When we find our peace then there’s one less person suffering and one less person causing suffering to others. There will never be peace in the world if we are not at peace within ourselves. Such a deepening of understanding is essential if we are to end the violence that destroys so many lives and causes so much unnecessary pain and distress.

Who makes problems? We humans. And who is the controller of the human? The mind. And how to control the human mind? Through meditation. If you can control the pilot, then the pilot can control the plane. Mingyur Rinpoche, in our book, Be The Change

Meditation reveals sanity in an insane world. It has the effect of lifting us out of the quicksand of the mind, out of misunderstanding and suffering. Through it we find our freedom from reactive and self-serving behavior. Having a compassionate understanding is vital to our development and survival as a human race.

“Thanks to mindfulness, I’m calmer, more focused, and nicer to people around me. I believe this is something that can help many Americans who are struggling right now.” Says Senator Tim Ryan, author of A Mindful Nation, in Parade Magazine this week. The article, that also quotes Arianna Huffington, goes on to say: “In a new Harvard study, brain scans showed that mindfulness meditation increased gray matter in brain areas associated with learning, memory and compassion, and a decrease in the part of the brain linked to anxiety and stress.”

The point of meditation is to keep the mind free of confusion. Meditation, past calming our nerves, past being good for our blood pressure, past allowing us to work out our own internal psychological dramas, which it does, past helping us to get along with our kin and our community, is a way of really deeply seeing the truth that the only way to ameliorate our own suffering and the suffering of the world is to keep our minds clear. Sylvia Boorstein, in our book, Be The Change.

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