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War or Peace?


by Susan Boskey


The great social divide among people today is so vast that many believe time is of the essence; that is, before all out hot war spreads around the globe. The war cry is loud, palpable and personal, as well. They call us names; we call them worse names back. They steal our business; we find a way to steal even more from them. They threaten nuclear war; we respond in kind. A knee-jerk eye for an eye strategy seems to be what life is all about these days.

Yet can anyone tell me why the collective ‘we’ fails to see how this does not succeed in providing long-term peace? Sure, a country may ‘win’ a war, but at what cost? Same thing in personal relationships, marriage or business -what survives are bad feelings and injuries requiring much time for repair if even possible.

I have banged my own proverbial head enough times against the ‘I’ll get even’ wall to finally wake up and see the writing thereupon: what you fight you become. Take, for example, the revolutionary coups that end up becoming as dictatorial, if not more so, than the regime that is overthrown. The context remains and only the content is new; but no real change.

I wish more people understood this.

As one of my mentors, the late American architect, systems theorist, writer, designer, inventor, philosopher, and futurist, Bucky Fuller once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”

A New Model

Many of us know and feel in our hearts the possibility of a more beautiful world. The question through the ages, because this is not a new yearning is, “how do we get there?” Though politics are likely to always be with us, one way or another, it is not where a new model is born.

Politics and politicians end up as common scapegoats because it’s much easier to see dark agendas in someone other than ourselves. In my view most talk about the major role of politics in establishing a peaceful world is misplaced BS. Given increased levels of emotional (and physical) violence and corruption around the globe, how could anyone expect politics to offer anything else? The personal, business and political domains all have one important thing in common: human beings.

Personal Trauma

I believe we have culturally co-opted politics as the source of today’s problems instead of pointing the finger back to ourselves. The proposition of starting with the individual for an eventual peaceful world, though also not new, keeps getting buried under the titillation of controversies and emergencies.

A new model birthed first within the individual would be reflected in politics. That’s the proper sequence. However, entering the arena of self-inquiry is definitely for the courageous at heart because beneath the exterior of “everything’s fine” is the oft discovered reality that everything absolutely is not! I’ve noticed that many people are poised to erupt at any opportune, circumstantial moment. (Don’t I know that one!)

By no means do I intend to trivialize the impact of how a traumatic event can trigger a Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD) reaction in someone’s life. I only want to bring attention to how hair-trigger reactions are widespread in relationships, and for all intents and purposes, have become normalized. It’s as if there’s no other way.

Some believe that trauma and loss affects a human negatively forever. no matter what. I do not. I prefer to see it as the breakdown before a breakthrough. From direct experience, I have learned ways to reclaim inner peace from a persistent sense of loss and feeling emotional trauma.

The Great Unraveling  

Culturally speaking, and for generations, as a people we’ve been taught to suppress feelings and control ourselves. That, in turn, has also taught us to control others. To not do so we would expose our own and others’ human imperfections, which would be considered far worse. How do we unravel this fear of exposure in order to heal and discover our wholeness, feel safe and trust others without the need for control?  

Might an ancestral fear of the dark be deeply embedded in our psyche? If we employ our free will to face all the dark things we believe and act out about ourselves and others, we can also choose to let them go. When enough of us do so then unraveling the collective madness is not far behind. The Golden Rule naturally becomes the default mode of operation once uncovering who we are beyond our story.

The price of entry into a world of agape love, safety and opportunity may be our sincere humility. One-by-one like a snowball gaining momentum rolling down the hill, a new possibility appears on the horizon as human beings dissect the dark recesses of their mind only to find the light that has always been there for them. As light within replaces the dark, a new collective narrative, impossible to fake with empty words, takes form.

Food for Thought

In any given situation out of our control, what we can control is how we choose to view and respond to it. How do you treat people to whom you don’t have to be nice, such as customer service, retail clerks, restaurant servers, etc.? Going further, war between nations becomes the natural extension and escalation of unaddressed internal fears and hatred.

From personal experience, as a work-in-progress, I practice acknowledging my own limiting beliefs, expectations and feelings once I realize I have projected them onto someone else. I’m not saying that taking back projections and instead inquiring within is easy, but it is doable, requires self-compassion and seems more important than ever.

I see the pivot point to lessening internal suffering and loss as when someone becomes curious and considers there could be another way to move on without it. Only you can choose to step up to unravel the obstacles to your unalienable right to experience inner peace. It is certainly not ‘instant’ and situations are ongoing but with personal commitment the war can end both within and without.



Photo by Alexas Fotos

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