by Ed and Deb Shapiro: Why do people mistreat each other? After the shooting at Sandy Hook, the response of the NRA was that every schoolteacher should be armed.
But isn’t this trying to solve the problem from the outside, rather than from the inside? As the new Miss America, Mallory Hagen, said with her winning answer, we can’t fight violence with violence. How could it possibly work if the people wielding the guns have anger, hate and delusion embedded in their minds?
Many ways have been tried to bring peace to the world. We’ve created organizations like the UN and NATO, we’ve had treaties and summits and endless meetings, we even go to war in the name of peace, but still there are difficulties and disagreements. Egos battle, greed for power dominates over humanity, and old hatred divides one against another.
What will it take for us to change from the inside out and generate genuine peace? Rather than being made to change by laws or governance, the real shift has to come within ourselves, so that we become kinder and more caring about each other and our world. As peace must begin at home, could meditation be the missing link?
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, from our book Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World
We recently interviewed Ohio Congressman Tim Ryan, author of Mindful Nation, on our live BlogTalkRadio/VividLifeRadio show, “Going Out of Your Mind.” He told us how, when he handed President Obama his book, the president said, “I like the title!” Imagine politicians practicing mindfulness meditation; imagine politicians just being mindful! It’s not as far-fetched as it sounds, for meditation is already being used to help rehabilitate army personnel on their return from war, in hospitals to help deal with pain, and neuroscientist Dr. Richie Davidson, among others, has shown scientifically how meditation affects the brain, increasing attention, happiness and compassion.
Each of us is a micro version of the greater world. If we work toward transforming our own hate, fears, doubts, aggression, delusions and greed, so we will transform those same qualities in the world. This is a turning away from being focused on self-centeredness, self-survival, and closed-heartedness, toward concern for others, generosity, and open-heartedness. We free our minds from me-centeredness and self-obsession to caring for others and our world, to other-centeredness.
All of the pain and pleasure that we experience stems fundamentally from the mind. So when we say we want peace on earth, what we are really talking about is reducing the conflict in our own minds. — Sakyong Mipham, from our book Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World
If we genuinely want to end war, inequality, and abuse, then we need to end the war within ourselves and cultivate kindness toward all, equally. The enemy within ourselves can become our friend by transforming it into our ally. Such a deepening of understanding is essential if we are to end the disregard and violence that destroy so many lives and cause so much unnecessary pain and distress. All this can come through the simple act of meditation.
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, from our book Be the Change: How Meditation Can Transform You and the World
The equation, therefore, is simple: The more meditation becomes a part of our lives, the more we change and evolve. The more we change and evolve, the more society is transformed and the world moves into a more sustainable, wise, and loving place.
Are you ready to end the war within yourself? Do comment below.
See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, foreword by the Dalai Lama.
Our three meditation CDs: Metta — Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi — Breath Awareness and Insight; andYoga Nidra