I was listening to CNN the other day on the Lebanese/Israeli conflict. Representatives from both sides of the conflict were talking to Larry King or Anderson Cooper...can't even remember. I was busy cleaning up and was only listening to bits and pieces of each sides view as I moved around the kitchen and family room. What struck me though was how the conversation seemed to be nothing more than a tit for tat of "No, we didn't start this, you did! and then the other side would respond with "Not so, we didn't start this you did!" Each would then give a litany of history showing that they were right, they were best; the other side was the problem--and that's why this side was killing them.
I thought to myself...am I listening to 8 year olds? As the days of the war continue and all the media sources--newspaper, radio, television, internet, report--its all I see--two sides--adults fighting like children over their right to be right and better than the other. Amazing-- done under the umbrella of their 'spiritual/religious beliefs', they justify killing each other. This just shows an immaturity of spirituality of enormous levels--individually and culturally.
Spirituality on a personal level starts with love and the realization that "I am greater than no one, no one is greater than me--in EVERYONE shines love, as I can see love in me, I can see it in thee (and the caveat is...when I can't see love in me, I can't see love in thee, either") Achieving this level of spiritual edge development results in a SELF that lives daily with the awareness that every human they meet is just like them--a Life Puzzle under construction trying to find their pieces. When you're at this level, you look for the love in others as you share/reflect this love in you. Yes, you recognize that you deal with people who have not yet achieved this level of spirituality--but you don't kill them as a result! If you're truly spiritual--you attempt to build an environment where all can grow towards love--you don't wipe out those who are not like you!
Few have achieved this level of spiritual development--and clearly on a cultural level in the MidEast, it has not been achieved either. Individually when our spiritual edge is missing--we spend most of our lives 'comparing' ourselves to others, then attacking our SELF or others depending on who was 'better'. No one wins when we live from this perspective. On a Cultural level when the spiritual edge is missing--communities spend their time attacking others as a way to prove they're better. When you add mega-weapons....we all lose.
General Abizaid said yesterday about Iraq and their potential for civil war, that the conflicts in Iraq will only end when Shiite and Sunni Iraqis care more about their children then they care about hating each other . I'd say the same thing goes throughout the MidEast. Care about your children, teach them to grow their spiritual edge---strong, loving SELF and war will never arise again. Now, how do we get the current 'adults' to build their edges, develop a strong SELF and start living love for all so their children will have a world to live in?
Well, in a perfect world you are correct. But we live in a fallen world where hatred, bigotry and 'self' rule supreme. Those who love and teach to love are far in the minority. Even worse, we have now seen that those who preach "tolerance" the loudest have made themselves out to be the most hate-filled people in our country. Wolves in sheep's clothing.
We don't live in a 'fallen world'...we live in a world of immense ignorance. Religion has filled the void this ignorance creates and has enabled hatred and bigotry to thrive "in the name of God".
A favorite line of a wonderful spiritual teacher, Adelle Tinning:
"All religions divide man from man which divides man from God".
Religion prevents spirituality:living love for all.
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