A more peaceful approach to life

Homeopathy works on the basis of treating like with like. A little bit of the thing that is ‘not good for you’, can cure you of the bad thing (‘like cures like’).

Peace dove

Image CC-0 from Pixabay

This approach does not work with hatred or violence. With these, if you have some violence, then you add more violence, you get even more violence. This can be found in all records of human history.

Even thought it doesn’t work, it seems to be the only approach that nearly all leaders of countries use. Meanwhile, many normal people dealing with war and conflict in their daily lives try to find better ways to resolve hatred and violence. There are also international organisations trying to find better, non-violent ways, of resolving conflict, such as the International Crisis Group, or Search for Common Ground.

Another problem with the violence + violence response is that our Western media seem to prioritise the results of violent actions: some events make the headlines, some don’t. Generally the ones that don’t feature are in far-away countries, probably where no Westerners were involved. Even if there are twice as many, three times, four times, as many people killed it doesn’t matter.

Is it really human nature to only be concerned about things that happen in ‘our’ land, to ‘our’ people? I think not. I think many people around the world care deeply for all other humans, and other living beings.

This can be found in the teachings of the Buddha as well as in many other religions, and in the actions of people around the world.

If you’re feeling despondent because of all the violence and suffering in the world, here are some things you could do. They’re all small actions. Multiplied they add up to a better equation: violence + peace actions = change for the better.

  1. Write to your local, regional or national government/leaders. Explain why you believe violence is the wrong response to violence. In the case of UK and Syria, the Stop the War Coalition has a template letter you can use.
  2. Join a local, regional, national or international peace group or organisation. If you feel part of a larger group of like-minded people not only does it reduce your feelings of being isolated in your beliefs, but when people work together they can achieve more e.g. the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.
  3. Meditate on compassion, either on your own, using the steps outlined in this WikiHow guide, or from Jack Kornfield, or with free guided meditation tracks e.g. from Mindfulselfcompassion.org.
  4. Take part in a public demonstration for peace, if you feel comfortable with this.
  5. Change your bank if you know your bank invests in companies which fund the international arms trade – read the Ethical Consumer article about this.
  6. Reduce your consumption of the ‘normal’ news outlets and read things like Positive News, or the Daily Good, the Good News Network, or the Daily Alternative News.
  7. Practise random acts of kindness.
  8. Read alternative sources of information for more nuanced background on conflicts e.g. the country profiles on the International Crisis Group website, which is available in several languages.
  9. For other suggestions and links you may like to read articles by the International Peace and Conflict Org, or the Guardian newspaper’s suggestions for young people.
  10. Look up the work of peace organisations around the world, and the Do One Thing organisation with their calendar of ideas.
  11. Maybe donate to Global Giving projects, if you can afford it, or other similar groups/projects.
  12. Start planning for International Day of Peace on Sept 21st.
  13. Look into non-violent direct action, as practised by Gandhi, amongst others.

Update – if you are looking for alternative news on war on terrorism, you might find these websites useful:

3 thoughts on “A more peaceful approach to life

  1. Good ideas here, I’ve followed a few of the links. I wish the news did cover all incidents equally, which would give a more accurate picture of what is going on. Sadly, the traditional media puts a higher value on some lives than others, based on what they think the readers are interested in. Causing pain and suffering to others is an evil act, regardless of place, race, age, sex, species.

  2. Dear Alyson, I have been missing you and your yoga sessions more than you may think. Your message on peace struck a deep chord, just as the people in charge of the western world appear to be on the verge of repeating past mistakes (as very well put by J Corbyn). Both my shoulders have advanced OA, I was in increasing agony during parts of the salute to the sun and other positions where l was resting my weight on my shoulders. I recently went to a shoulder specialist at Oswestry who injected my shoulders and said if it removed the pain, l would benefit from a ‘decompression’ procedure. ( l think this means clearing out the broken off bits of ligament like for a knee) It worked immediately and l may be on track to have an operation sometime in the new year. After an absence of probably 8 months, l went to Paul’s Wednesday yoga, partly because my wife goes to that one and partly because he talks so much, there is time for this old fuddy-duddy to complete the manoeuvres. Luckily my work and cycling are almost unaffected – just putting my arms above my head, and other insignificant moves is much worse. Now that the injection is wearing off, l am not sure l will be able to go much more. Not being able to do salute to the sun is a bit limiting. With kind regards, Tim

    • Ah Tim! I have wondered where you were, but didn’t like to email as there’s probably not much worse than a nagging yoga teacher! I assume if people are absent that there’s probably a reason. Sorry to hear about the OA – but hopeful for the possible future operation. It’s good that your work and cycling are possible – there is something to be said for the argument that suggests that being able to do x, y or z, or a salute to the sun serves no purpose when they are not useful functional moves in our every day lives! If you do feel able to try yoga again, and if it fits in with your schedule, my 4:15-5:45pm may be a better option for you? I very rarely do sun salutes in that! Keep well, and thanks for letting me know how you are. Alyson

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