I was in Poland a few months back to visit one of my teachers who is also a master in his own rights in process oriented psychology, body psychotherapy, and transpersonal psychology.
Being in Poland bought me closer to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war, and the ongoing war that is happening between Israel and Palestine today.
Amongst us in the seminar conference were people who were directly impacted by the war, and those who had to navigate the devastating effects of losing their rights, home, and way of life.
Just a few weeks after my trip, a major conflict has erupted in Israel and Palestine. This string of events has stirred up conversations around war and peace globally. I am sure that most of us would agree that war is bad. Nobody starts a war to end a war. We know that as a theory, but yet what has always been presented on ground tends to say otherwise.
Where there is war, there is bound to be destruction on all levels - at physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and more. Even if there are any immediate benefits to wars, the lasting impacts of the devastations far outweigh anything we can gain from it.
Those at the bottom of the food chain suffer the most during war. They lose the big picture for they cannot see where the war is headed from where they stand. On the other hand, those who orchestrate wars are unable to feel the direct effects of it, as they are disconnected from the sufferings on the ground.
This is troubling and problematic, as it only propagates the unhealthy cycle of war and violence further.
Getting Out of The Narrative of War
This conversation of war and peace is even closer to us at a more personal and intimate level.
Many, like myself, are blessed to be living in a country where there is peace on the outside today. While we have not experienced violent wars physically in our lifetimes, we can begin to introspect and examine the wars in our lives, within us, and what we can do to begin to make peace with the conflicts within.
Let us begin with some questions:
Are you at war with yourself or with the people around you?
Do you have inner peace within? When was the last time you feel safe being you?
Let us examine also the noises and rumblings in your head - are you present to them?
Do you experience moments of stillness in your life?
There is a distinction between being against war, and being for peace.
Energetically, there is a heavy negative charge that goes with being against war. Whereas, there is a more peaceful, soothing flow that comes with being for peace.
When we say that we are against war – be that the war with our emotions, the war with our relationships with the people outside or our relationships with ourselves, or the war with our circumstances – we put ourselves in a space of power or powerlessness, usefulness or helplessness, savior or victimization complexes, where there are victors and losers.
We feel that by winning, our problems dissipated, or we are less than the victors, that is, whoever we think is causing the sufferings to us. Instead of healing the wars in our lives, and taking the lessons or karmic lessons from it, we end up feeding the wars when we find ourselves to be against it.
As above, so below. Many of the physical wars our brothers and sisters experienced today in our physical environment are manifestations of the wars and conflicts within ourselves.
When we continuously project and play into the roles of the victor and loser; abuser and abused; culprit and the victim, we inadvertently propagate the cycle of this relationship dynamics. We begin to attract circumstances in our lives that feed and fuel these narratives.
Ironically, the talk of being against war and those who orchestrate them keeps us entrenched in the narrative of war and conflicts. We get sucked into the conversation and we forget to listen for the lessons we can learn from war as we remained to be blinded and unable to see the bigger picture of the forces that are in play.
On the other hand, if we say we are for peace, we can then start by directly addressing the gaps and building foundations, structures, systems, frameworks for presumably lasting and sustainable peace in our communities.
Being for peace, on a contrary, allows us to step out of the war narratives, and enables each person to take ownership of change and transformation from our own parts at a micro level such that we can impact the bigger macro level.
We can start asking ourselves what we can do to generate more peace for ourselves, our family, our community, and our country, depending on the ranks that we carry with us.
How can we begin to be at peace with ourselves?
Creating peace starts from within.
This is where self work and inner work becomes critically important and even more so, necessary today.
We must first heal the wounds and deep-seated war stories and emotional baggages that were passed down from generation to generation, corded with discords in our genetics.
We carry the memories and baggages of our ancestors inside of us. Intergenerational traumas was first acknowledged and recognized publicly in the children of Holocaust survivors.
Transgenerational traumas is carried on as part of the groups' collective memories and shared cultural identities affecting subsequent generations. Examples of such also include descendants of African-Americans forced into slaveries, Native American genocides survivors, war survivors, refugees, survivors of domestic violence, to name a few.
These impacts have been observed and measured scientifically in our human genome that was first fully sequenced, and also the environmental and cultural and social transmissions.
Historical traumas are real, and have always been in the invisible threads shaping the forces and dynamics of the world and lives we live in. Healing is necessary, for the amount of healing we do also begin to free our bloodlines from those narratives that had been entrenched into our reality.
Healing brings Transformation.
Being for peace does not excuse the instigators of war, nor does it make them right. It simply means that we no longer root ourselves in the identity of war, at the physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, energetic levels, and we are free to make new choices for ourselves and the next generation based on peace and values that matter to us.
It gives us freedom of choices and options. It gives us freedom of space for new light and new possibilities to enter.
At an expanded consciousness rooted in shamanism and altered states, we may also begin to enquire deeper and broader.
What is the Spirit of War trying to teach us?
What is it do we really need to learn from the wars in our lessons?
What are the karmic imprints we can clear out from these events?
What are the gifts that come from destructions?
There is an old saying, that in destructions, are we able to create and birth new lives.
What are the areas in your life that require renewal and revitalization and rejuvenation?
Perhaps it is a relationship. Perhaps, a project that you had been working on for many years that have abruptly come to an end. Perhaps, it is your health.
Many of us are looking for inner peace. No amount of Gucci bags or Lamborghinis are going to fill that holes within us. No amount of compensations can replace the ease and alignments we are seeking for within our lives.
Begin with innerwork. Begin by doing your self work that will bring more healing and transformations.
Avoiding conflicts is not a solution for there is an old wisdom of saying that we can find Harmony Through Conflicts.
There are appropriate ways to confront conflicts.
Therefore, know thyself first.
Who am I? Where do I come from? What do I do? What matters to me? What are my values? Where do I go next?
Sun Tze's Art of War:
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.
If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
What are you doing to create peace for yourself in your life today?
One of the things I am deeply appreciative and moved by about is how open-minded and integrated the Europe and United States psychotherapy communities are in speaking about Native American Shamanism, The Teachings of Tao, and Altered States, and how they are closely weaved in modern psychology practice today. I personally see a prominent gap and feel that there is more that is to be done in Asia.
We have to be more open to our close-mindedness so that we can begin to look for alternate ways that are more laser focused and cutting edge.
I am also excited to share more about some of the indigenous tribes I had personally studied and trained with in time to come, and the parallels between their wisdom and way of life and medicines, and how they are relevant and applicable in the world we live in today.
Sometimes, we make things to be more complicated than they really are. And sometimes the answers to dis-eases and misalignments are much more simpler, obvious, radical than we imagine them to be.
Hunt the root cause.
Treat the cause.
With the right medicine.