Summer 2001 Archive
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Love thine enemy? Is it possible for humans to do this? Posted by John on September 25, 2001 at 13:36:08:
The situation is changing with breath-taking speed. Moment-to-moment, day-to-day, so many things are changing.
Most of the Afghani knee-jerk-reactions to a mere threat of invasion are working against their own interests and even survival. It now looks like the
U.S. doesn't even have to attack for the country to destroy itself. And the Afghanis may be, collectively, the people who have suffered *the most* on
the face of this earth among all the rest of their fellow humans during the last twenty years.
Unless cooler heads on all sides prevail, there may be millions of Afghanis starving in a week. There was already a drought. What crops they do have
are unharvested. And winter is coming.
The real world is greater than their leaders' "master-plan."
And the people have already suffered, more than enough. Part of the problem for them is that they can't manage to be contrite about what happened
in the attacks on America, because they have suffered so much more than most others in the world—especially, in their eyes, Americans—and they go
on suffering that way and hating us.
CNN explains that the masses of Afghani people feel betrayed by the U.S. They say they fought our fight for us, when they battled the Russians out
of Afghanistan. And when it was over, we just dropped them and let them sink into poverty and famine. And their reactions to this may be
destroying them, as a people. Who knows what dangers this may be sewing in the world around?
Just like the Palestinians are displaced in Jordan and the other countries around Palestine, millions of Afghanis are displaced in all of the bordering
countries around them, representing a powerful destabilizing force threatening the governments in all those countries. There's more than enough fear
to go around in this dangerous corner of the world.
And, just as President Bush has said, "You're either on our side or against us," so Omar, the Taliban leader (married, by the way, to the Prime
Suspect's daughter!), has called for a jihad throughout the world against Jews and Americans. (Give a stinger, get one back.)
I wrote the rest of this posting yesterday. I intended to take a small step back to "normal" by giving myself Monday as my "day off" again. But I
cheated and was drawn to getting down these reflections yesterday.
I've been wondering at the widespread silence at this time from the most recognized religious and spiritual leaders of this planet. I've been looking for
them on television, and I haven't heard from any of them so far. It is as if the religious and spiritual leaders of the world are "hushed" for now about
this whole thing.
With more than seven thousand dead in these vicious attacks on America, is it possible for anyone to stand up publicly yet on the side of mercy and
peace? For in a time when we have all been *whacked* so hard like this, it is so difficult if not impossible, for each of us to *really* be on the side of
peace, much though we might wish to be, even though we may be *training* our warrior Beings to be, in classes around the world like this one.
Now, His Holiness the Pope has had the extreme courage to speak up, before a crowd in Kazakstan, a Middle Asian nation that itself is plagued with
terrorism from displaced Afghanis in its territory. His Holiness has gone right to the front lines. And he calls upon the leaders of the world to *avoid
war*. His Holiness has the guts to be the first religious leader in the world to stand up and be vulnerable, really being a true hero here among the
world's warriors for peace. I'm so proud of him for telling it like it is. Despite the risk of unpopularity in a world that is rushing "geopatriotically"
towards war, the Pope has come right out and asked for no more than what Jesus says in the New Testament.
But can we do it? Can we humans really do this?
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: but I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall
smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." . . . (Matthew 5:38).
"Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbor, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that
curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your
Father which is in heaven." . . . (5:43)
"Be ye therefor perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect." (5:48)
Well, that is one heck of a tough order, Jesus! For most of us, anyway. Even for those of us with enough awareness and presence of mind to wake
up on it, it goes by, moment to moment, like Jeff laid it out: shock. tears. anger. retaliation. breath. tears. sadness. breath.
When the towers were hit, I was shocked at the anger that took over my body, and the thoughts of retaliation that went coursing through my mind.
It seemed so *intolerable* to me that I, "the supposed Coach" would be thinking and acting that way. I was twisting in the wind, as I saw these
hateful, vengeful reactions going on and on within me. I couldn't accept my Self being that way.
When I found Jeff's posting I "connected with my humanity" again. I realized, "Of course, I'm a human being. I have *both* these sides in me! Even
though I coach a game of peace, and I'm "supposed to live by what I teach," I am just a human being, after all! And reacting like this is what human
beings do!" And I cried in pity for my own retaliatory Self, and the retaliatory Selves of All of us. For we are all so far from perfect. We are a long,
long way from peace on earth. We go on and on retaliating when we are stung.
But that doesn't mean I can't go right on working on it! That doesn't mean I can't go on playing for peace, even if peace *isn't* possible. I still have the
choice to go on working for peace, every day, because I love it! . . . if I can shake free of my Self, I can be free to play for peace!
I had such a chance this morning. One of those unsolicited phone sales people called me up, and I recognized her voice because she had importuned
me already the other day. And I said, "No, I'm not interested in a stamp machine." Unstoppable, the way they are, she said: "Do you mind if I ask
you why?" I said: "Because I don't do any business this way over the telephone." She thought that one over, and said: "I understand. I apologize."
I'd been rough with her up to them, and I was glad I had the presence of mind to tell her, "Have a nice day." I didn't send her away thinking I hated
her. It was her voluntarily showing real contrition that turned the tide of war on this one. — So that's my "hopeful observation about humanity" for
the day. I *didn't* go away hating her, either! So much the better for me since then!
Let me interrupt here today, that is Tuesday, and share a story from this morning, early this morning. The phone rang, waking me up from a sound
sleep, and would you Folks believe this??? It was a man with the same damned company! When I found that out, I started cussing at him. I didn't
leave any of the choice ones out! And I slammed the phone down in his ear.
Aaaah . . . . . moment to moment . . . . .
I cried when I heard the news today, that the Pope was stricken during a speech he was making in Armenia. They said he suddenly looked very
tired, and fell into slurred speech. A Vatican aide had to finish the speech for him.
I feel for him, so much.
In the context of "the world of geo-patriotic fervor," the Vatican last night, had issued a slight retraction of the Pope's earlier words of peace. It said,
"The Vatican understands if the U.S. feels it must take military action."
It's not really a "retraction." It's just another masterful observation of reality. I "understand" that "the U.S. feels it must take military action," too. And
I'm still on the side of the Pope's original statement on this one. God *bless* him! If there ever was a time when God talks directly to Popes, this must
be one of them.
And, again, I still haven't heard from the other most prominent spiritual leaders of the world speaking publicly on this worldwide emergency. (I'm
waiting with my "reporter's notepad," to take notes.)
"Jihad." I wished to say something about that. I'm told by friends who know much more than I about Muslim teachings that the *real* "Jihad," or so-
called "Holy War," has nothing to do with the ways that violent revolutionaries are using that term. It is not about a war with other people on the
outside, but . . . . . wouldn't you have guessed it? . . . . . an internal war with "the impurities of the Self," you might say, a spiritual war of inner
transformation. The awareness game that we practice here in playing for peace within and harmony with others may be a closer parody of the
classical Islamic "Jihad," than the interpretation that these terrorists have been applying to that term. Islam deserves no blame whatsoever for these
things the terrorists have been doing. Islam is "peace." "Jihad," I'm told, doesn't mean "holy war," anyway!!! It means "holy struggle." And every
body in the whole world has got one of those on its hands, right now.
Afghanistan is, if anything, *different*. It has to be the worst place in the world for a woman to find a husband. In their treatment of aid workers in
their country, they have literally bit the hand that has fed them. These Afghani men are *so-o-o independent* they had the audacity to broadcast
pictures of them destroying giant ancient Buddhist statues with cannons, so the world could see how different and fuck-all independent they are. If
there's such a thing as a nation full of Rebels, it is Afghnistan today.
Now don't get mixed up here. Rebels are not Rebels because they do terroristic acts!!! NO!!! Rebels are Rebels because they are *different than the
others around them*. In America, the majority of the Rebels are *peace-loving*. They are the non-violent peace-marchers. That's what makes them so
different in our largely aggressive society. So all my talk about the Rebels of Afghanistan has nothing to do with us Rebels in America. After all, I am
a Rebel in my own personality make-up, probably my chief feature, too. And a number of us who have been participating in this class are Rebels.
What makes the Afghani Rebels Rebels is their blind intent to be different than all the people around them. Maybe this is just what happens to a whole
country that is pounded for so long by war. That much rejection impacting into their space may make Rebels out of *all of them*, rejecting back against
it all. In other words, the more that outside forces attempt to tell them what to do, the more and more they reject the outer world back, and the more
they are *impelled* to be different. (We might see this same phenomenon in some of the innocent children we raise in our own homes anywhere.)
Phenomenologically, the people of Afghanistan may be the toughest and the most bitter people on the face of this earth. They may represent the most
intense and *dense* collection of rejected Rebels on the planet, and certainly this is a compacted physical force to be reckoned with, *if they are able to
strike back again*, after the present war they have brought upon themselves is over, and the smoke there clears. The whole world will be holding its
breath in perpetuity after that.
In addition to being bitter, jealous, and rejective, the people of Afghanistan are afraid. They are running in their fear, running to the borders,
abandoning their belongings behind, begging for food and water. They have been afraid so many times over the years. Fear has hardened them.
Like Nietzsche said, "That which does not kill me makes me stronger." These people can pull their own wheeled-carts. They are physically strong.
These primitive Afghanis can climb mountains and live in mountains, close to the ways of the Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons before them.
Did you know that when Neanderthals and Cro-Magnons—two different species—co-occupied Europe and Middle Asia for thousands of years, they
*didn't* make war upon each other! We modern humans who came along afterward are the ones, somehow, that invented wars. Maybe this is an
opportunity now for the whole human race to undo that back and forth continuum of violent exchanges that has gone on for millenia in our human
Maybe "Love thine enemy" will finally win out!
And Michael Jordan will play basketball again! And the remaining Beatles will get back together, even if only one time, and play and sing John's
beautiful hymn to the human race, "Imagine." And . . . . *imagine*, President Bush coming to the microphone, and saying:
"After long and deliberate reflection, I and my advisors have decided to show mercy on the people of Afghanistan. Causing starvation and misery for
millions of you is too great a price for capturing one misguided man. Instead of mounting a military attack, which could result in the unwished for
deaths of thousands of Afghani civilians, women and children (like we have recently lost in the attacks upon our own country, which is so deeply
wounded by this), my Administration is going to call upon the world to follow our leadership by developing a Marshall Plan for Afghanistan and the
displaced Afghani peoples in the countries there around . . . . uh, and while we're at it, for the millions of displaced Palestianians, too. And the money
we were going to be spending on this war, will be spent, instead, on feeding the hungry, and bringing peace to all of your lands."
Love thine enemy. Heh-heh. That'd be the day! ;-)
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