Saturday, March 25, 2006

How We Declare War on Someone

Business and personal empowerment counselors often advised that the most important aspect of human interaction is the ability to listen to what others are saying. However, what's REALLY most important is that we learn to listen to what we ourselves are saying. If you do then you'll probably be able to answer the following question:

When was the last time you declared war on someone else?

No, don't bother racking your minds for some event from your past that resulted in you truly declaring an all out, vengeful rampage against someone, be that slashing tires, getting their girlfriend (or boyfriend), passing lies about them, etc.

War is much more subtle than that.

For example, you're engaged in a political discussion with someone who is on the opposite end of the political spectrum about the war in Iraq/torture of prisoners/etc. What do you think is the intent of this sentence: "You just wait till something like that happens to you. Then you'll see! Then you'll learn!"

First, the person saying it is calling for something terrible /painful/awful/stressful to happen to the other person. They are wishing and hoping for and spell-casting so that other person will experience something dreadful. They've just thrown a spear directly at the other person's person.

Second, the person saying it is doing so because their beliefs (ego beliefs they have pledged their allegiance to) have been challenged by the other person, so they have fallen back on a habitual pattern of self-defense posturing rather than continuing the discussion toward understanding.

Third, the person saying it is needing to cement their "rightness"; the correctness of their belief; the "reality" to which they have pledged themselves, albeit unconsciously, perhaps. To do so, the other person must be proved wrong. To do so the person throwing the spear must believe that everyone will react to a situation in the same habitual way their beliefs have prepared them to respond -- so, having called down this awful scenario upon another, they can feel vindicated/correct because of their surity in how they believe they would respond (Note that it doesn't even have to actually happen to the other person whom they have called the curse down upon. The one declaring war will go about their business confidant that they'll be proved right).

This wish for pain to be felt by another is no less an attack/declaration of war than pulling out a gun or a knife or releasing an army. Think about a bar fight: Someone is intoxicated and feels insulted, pulls out a knife and says "Take that", stabbing the "insulter" through the gut.

So, I'm suggesting a) You pause and listen to what you are about to say so you understand it's real intent and potential and can decide if that is really the kind of person/kind of action you wish to promote/do to another;
I'm also suggesting b) if someone ever says such a thing to you, you lighten up instantly and forgive 'em mentally (coz they know not what they do), and begin a calm discussion that points out to the other that they have just called forth a wish for bad forces/painful things to attack you. "Do you really hope that...XYZ happen to me?"

This inquiry discussion path helps to deflect the war-filled wish and bring it out into the open where the sun can shine on it. The person may still defend that desire, and the two of you can part ways. However, the important thing is that by pointing out the underlying intent of that wish, a corrective idea has been planted into the other's consciousness; and that other person will recall it next time they start their spell-casting. It'll interrupt their thought pattern about it. When habitual thought patterns start to become interrupted, it allows a fissure for new ideas of being and relating to enter.

Consider this: What we wish for another is really being called upon ourselves.

So, war is not massive actions by others OUT there;by governments, by companies, by politicians, etc. War - and Peace - are the choices I and you make everyday.

Are you about to say something?

- Claire

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