Standing at the Feet of Mars

David Spangler


Article #12 in our series on Ethics



David Spangler is a philosopher, writer, and educator in incarnational spirituality: the integration of spiritual values, energy and presence into everyday life.He is Executive Director and oversees all educational aspects of The Lorian Association.

His books include: Everyday Miracles, A Pilgrim in Aquarius, The Call, Parent as Mystic, Mystic as Parent, Blessing: The Art and Practice, and others.
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Standing At The Feet of Mars

The Presence of Mars

In 1991, when George Bush the elder was President and just before the beginning of the Gulf War, I was driving in the city of Bellevue when I had a vision. Standing taller than the skyscrapers of the downtown district was Mars, the Roman god of war. He looked every inch a Roman soldier, and there was about him a powerful vitality and energy. He was beautiful in a terrible way.

As I stopped at a red light, he looked at me, bent down and said, "Humanity is not done with me yet!" Then he vanished. A few days later, the bombing of Baghdad began.

Now, with another George Bush as President and a second Gulf War seemingly about to begin, I have not had a similar vision. But it would appear that the words of Mars are as valid now as they were a dozen years ago. Humanity is still not done with him yet. Or is it?

Burning Questions

In recent weeks, friends have asked me in my role as a spiritual seer what my inner perception of the world situation is. These questions fall generally into two sets. The first concerns the inner side of current events. What is happening on the inner, spiritual side of things? Are we going to war? Are we not? What spiritual or karmic forces are at work?

The second set is more common and more urgent. What can we do? Standing once more at the feet of Mars, what can we do to be done with him?

Finding answers to the first set of questions is challenging. For me, the answers depend in part on the level on which one looks and, just as importantly, the way in which one does the looking. To look with a heart and mind that is loving and compassionate is to see one thing, while to look with attitudes of fear or with an adversariality that expects to see enemies, either physical or non-physical, is to see something else. If a person inhabits a worldview of conflict between good and evil, light forces and dark forces, he or she will carry that worldview with him or her into his or her seership.

The answer to the second set of questions is easy by comparison: in our individual lives, we need to be everyday peacemakers.

Will There Be War?

Are we going to war? Anyone looking at the extensive military build up and the pronouncements of the current Administration would probably be a fool to say no. The President has all but said that it no longer matters what Iraq does, we are going to war to remove Saddam Hussein, not just disarm him.

But I remain a fool. When I look at the situation, I see outwardly what everyone else sees through the lens of the media, and inwardly, I can certainly see a great build up of energies that are without question Mars-like and Mars-filled. There is a terrible addiction to war. Robert E. Lee famously said that it is a good thing war is so horrific, otherwise we would love it too much. There is paradoxically a vitality about destruction that is undeniable and seductive. Conflict has a power and an aliveness to it. It is like a perverse Cartesianism: I destroy, therefore I am.

But admitting that these forces are there, the predominant presence I attune to is one of peace. It is one of Mars held and transformed.

When I tune in inwardly, what I see is no war, war being averted, war being transformed. This is not surprising. One of the very first lessons one learns in doing inner work is that thoughts and images impel events. To think war is to take a giant step towards creating and embodying war. It's like a metaphysical version of WYSIWYG or wizzy-wig , a computer term familiar to all who use word processors: What You See Is What You Get.

The interest of the inner worlds is not in prediction but in preemption and creativity. Spiritual forces working on behalf of humanity seek to preempt the energies of war and create alternatives to conflict.

To look inwardly and not see war is not really a prediction at all. To be precise, the inner beings whom I think of as my colleagues do not say, "There will be no war." How can they? Human free will is involved, and conflict is ever so attractive a choice. What they are saying is "The road to alternatives is still open. Keep it so." From their perspective, no war is inevitable until the first weapon is fired and the first souls find themselves lovingly embraced and welcomed as part of their world instead of ours. Even then, the course of the war and its duration are subject to change. There are no inevitabilities, only possibilities and the continuing power of grace to choose those most advantageous for humanity as a whole.

Inner Forces At Work

What about the inner forces at work? Here, at one level, the situation is complex to me. Many forces are at work pulling both towards and away from war. America is now the most powerful nation on earth, and as such it faces an initiation into a greater spiritual maturity and responsibility. How will it use its power? There is a planetary karma here that is being confronted, one that every nation that becomes extraordinarily powerful and dominant in its time must face and one that few, if any, have successfully passed. The habit is towards the use of power to dominate and coerce, even subtly, and to fall into pride and arrogance, all of which represent a solidifying of a particular identity over and against the identity of the world as a whole. A child might put it this way: "My way or I don't play."

This is a collective, national version of the threshold or initiation we all face as individuals to see the world either as a stage on which I will enact my will or as a co-creative ally with whom I am interconnected and with whom I will foster a synergic will of benefit to all of us. It is the threshold of the expansion of self from being alone to being part of a larger wholeness, an expansion in which self is not lost but is transformed by interconnection and the increase of capacity that such interconnection can bring. It is, quite simply, an initiation of love and compassion.

So the test of America's identity and role in the world and the kind of energies it will invoke to itself and share with others is one force at work. I would add that successfully meeting this test does not mean that America may not be called from its position of strength to be a policeman in the world in situations where evil must be confronted. But as street cops throughout our land have been learning, the most effective way to deal with crime is not to shoot first and ask questions later but to build community bridges and understanding that can defuse problems before they burst open in a spray of violence. To be a cop is an honorable profession, but increasingly we are learning that to be a good cop is to be a peacemaker first and an enforcer second.

There is a karma of the Islamic world as well at work here. This is not a religious issue as much as a civilizational one. At one time, the Islamic culture was the most highly developed and refined in all of the western world. Then it was destroyed by invasion and war and never fully recovered. But the memory of that civilization lives on and desires rebirth. There are two forces here really that I can see inwardly. One is the memory, a desire to recover past glories, a desire that can be blinded by illusions of the past and filled with anger and resentment at what has been lost. This collective thought-form looks out at the world and sees the West, and in particular America, occupying a position of civilizational and cultural power that it once had and says, "That is where we should be. That is really our role in history, and it was taken from us. Let us take it back!" This is a thought-form within the Arab worlds that can breed conflict. Related to it are the memories of the Crusades and of the Moslem attempts to conquer Europe. Centuries have passed since that time, but as we saw in the recent "ethnic cleansings" of Kosovo and Croatia, these memories are very much alive and carry a venomous potency. In some ways, this ancient conflict has not yet been resolved or transmuted. Forgiveness, which along with love and compassion is one of the most powerful and necessary ingredients to peacemaking, has not yet fully taken place. When President Bush, after 9/11, spoke of a "crusade" against the terrorists, he tapped into that ancient memory and gave it new currency. Osama ben Laden calls the West and America crusaders, and plays upon what lies unforgiven and unforgotten in both the Islamic and the Western psyche. Bush and other Western leaders may deny that current actions represent in any way a crusade against Islam, but the ancient memories and fears, angers and hatreds are there and they are finding outlet in the current confrontations. The spirit of the Crusades do still live on both sides, and it would be silly and dangerous to deny it. It would be better to bring this history fully into the open, admit it is there as an obstructive memory between two civilizations and take positive and deliberate steps to heal and transform it.

In its looking to its past, the Arab world can confine its creative energy for the future. Within the Arab world are powerful creative forces waiting to be released for the good of humanity, but structures of habit and oppression restrict them. At some point, these energies will be liberated. Perhaps war is being invoked as a means of doing so. Often if a living system cannot liberate itself from its own stuckness, some other force comes from the outside to do it. We see this in our own lives when we get into a rut and then something happens to kick us out of it. That something is not always pleasant!

The same thing happens to civilizations as well. Historically, wars have shattered civilizational patterns that were energetically stuck, but at a huge price. It is the least efficient way to bring about transformation, for it can create stuck energy of its own. And in our time, when the destructive consequences of war upon all humanity so far outweigh possible benefits, it is a spiritual imperative to find other ways of dealing with energetic and creative stuckness. We see this conflict as "Bush's War," but from an inner perspective, forces can be observed drawing America into that area and into a potential of conflict that have nothing to do with Bush or oil or strategic alliances. There is a whirlpool of energy here in which vengeance seeks more vengeance in a downward spiral of destruction. America did not initiate this whirlpool or the forces within it, but now we are acquiescing to them. I observe a deep soul impulse behind our involvement in the Middle East to help support the unbinding of what is bound, but that impulse can be and often is corrupted into a desire to meddle for other purposes. We are making ourselves a participant in the violence when we could be helping to transform it.

The past is not the only force at work. There is another spirit within Islam and the fractured remains of the once great Arab and Persian Islamic civilization which is not a memory, not a karmic energy. This is a true spiritual force that knows it has contributions still to make to the betterment and unfoldment of humanity. This spiritual force seeks neither to dominate nor to be dominated but rather a co-creative partnership with the spiritual forces of West and East. Importantly, it recognizes that for all its accomplishments, the West in its drive for material success has set aside a vital spiritual dimension from its consideration. America and the West are imperfect custodians of humanity's future because of this. This is not a religious issue as much as one of balance in the human spirit. Some elements in Islam may go too far in seeking theocracy but elements in the West go too far in promoting "secularcracy." In this context, the spirit within Islam does resist the Americanization of the world where that American influence does not convey the best and highest within the spirit of America but its lowest material and commercial interests to turn all humanity into simple consumers. Islam can be a lover to the West, a partner to remind us to seek the richness and goodness of spirit and not just the material attractiveness of goods.

The Arab world is still a powerful civilizational force; how could it not be when it is the home to millions of souls? It has gifts to contribute. But much of its creative energy is stuck, partially caught in the memories I have mentioned, partly in the patterns of oppressive governments and habits of the past. Where energy is stuck, toxicity can arise. There is a need for this stuckness to be shattered, for that which is obstructed to be liberated so the creative spirit within people can reemerge.

These, to me, are the four most powerful forces at work here within the specific context of the relationship of Islam and the West. All require our loving attention and inner work of prayer and reconciliation, understanding and co-creativity. But in some ways, for all their potency and for all their power to manifest in violent ways, these elements are not the most important inner force at work here, as far as I can see.

Humanity's Moment

To me, what is happening is a genuine historical moment of human initiation, a time when collectively we are struggling to understand and achieve a whole new level of human spiritual understanding and capacity. This is Humanity's moment.

On the surface, it appears to be a confrontation with the energy of Mars within the human psyche, an attempt to say, "Yes, we as humanity ARE done with you!" Over the past few days, millions of people around the world have taken to the streets to take a stand against war. Millions more prayed or meditated at home or in places of sacredness and worship. A psychologist friend of mine, a wise and wonderful woman, called these demonstrations "a global expression that the thought-form of war can no longer have viability."

I agree. But it is more than just that. For centuries seers and spiritual prophets have foreseen a time when humanity would finally come together as a species unified in spirit, if not in politics and culture. This is a vision of the emergence of the planetary humanity. Such a humanity is not one in which diversity is lost or in which one nation, race, religion, or ethnicity imposes by its strength and dominance unity upon the world. That would be a false unity. A true planetary humanity is a spiritual unity, a consciousness of being unified in our humanness and interconnections and at the same time proud of our diverse cultural identities and differences, differences that can only enhance our capacities for insight and creativity.

Such a planetary humanity may be a long time coming, but it has to begin somewhere. To my inner vision, that beginning is now. That is what the idea of the New Age sought to convey before it was captured and devalued by a tide of psychological and spiritual narcissism. We are at the threshold of a new experience for humanity. We are at the beginning of an expansion of human capacities based on compassion, interconnectedness, synergy, and community.

But this new condition cannot be imposed. It cannot come from a government, from a religion, from a charismatic leader. It cannot be granted by higher spiritual beings or by beneficent aliens from space. It must arise from people. It must arise from each of us and all of us, for it is rooted in our individual capacities for peacemaking, for co-creativity, for forming and fostering connections and community. It must arise as an expression of the will of humanity. It's first step—and a vital one it is—may well be to say, "Let us stop killing each other. Let us stop the wars that are in reality one great civil war within humanity. Let us truly be done with Mars!"

The next step, and the truly important one, the one that will open the door to the future, is to say, "Let us start understanding and helping each other. Let us even start loving each other. Let us take the vitality of Mars and use it to build and not destroy, to enjoy each other and not hate, to honor our differences and see the potential in them and not seek to abolish diversity and render us all the same. Let us embrace and grow with each other and not waste each other!"

That love is what is stirring in the human unconscious and in the human spirit. Its true power will come from being for something and not against something. The peace marches are impressive, but protest, we must understand, is potentially just Mars in another form. It can be war with the violence transferred from the physical to the emotional and mental dimensions. What is impressive is the beginning of a genuine stirring on the parts of millions of people, some in leadership positions but most just ordinary people on the streets and in the homes of the world to take responsibility for our world. In a way that has not quite found a clear and articulate expression yet, people are realizing that if we want a world with a humane and abundant future—a truly human future—then it is the responsibility of all of us. The collective spirit of humanity must find its voice and speak it. And this speaking must not be just against something, whether it's war, governments, corporations, or any other thing we may dislike or fear. It must be for something. We must give voice at least to the fact that the future belongs to all of us, not just to leaders or corporations or governments, not to any one religion or country or race but to all of us. And once that great word is spoken, once that creative voice is released, then we liberate and may empower leaders and governments, corporations and religions to truly serve the future and not obstruct it.

In the uproar against the war on Iraq, I can hear and see this human voice beginning to hear and recognize itself, not simply in protest but in co-creativity. I can see the emergence of a felt sense that this is humanity's moment, not the moment of America or Europe, Christianity or Islam, the Arabs or the West.

And even if war comes, this moment will not pass. We are tasting it. We are sensing the possibilities and the responsibilities. The moment is upon us, and we will respond, for it is critical. A new Gulf War is not the only danger upon us or even the worst. The nuclear confrontation building in Korea threatens a far worse catastrophe for the world. And there are the very real planetary problems of ecology and environment. These issues are human issues, far to critical and important to be left only to leaders and governments, corporations and religions alone. They confront all of us as human persons, whatever our roles in life, and we are awakening to that fact.

We are awakening to Humanity's moment, Humanity's vision, Humanity's power. We are awakening to a moment when Humanity as a whole will demand accountability and responsibility from its religions, its businesses and corporations, its governments. We are awakening to a moment when the Spirit of Humanity as a wholeness will be the voice that speaks not against but through the diverse voices of its religions, its governments, its businesses, its races, and its ethnicities. This is not a vision of a world government or a world religion or of any one institution or group achieving dominance. It is not even about human dominance over the world. It is about Humanity living up to its creative potential as a part of the wholeness and integrity of the world. That, to me, is what is happening inwardly at this time. This is the greatest inner force at work within us right now.

Millions and One

I look at the peace marches on television and see millions of people on the streets. It is awesome, and it is a message. But how many of those millions are there for the future or for something beyond maintaining the status quo? Perhaps all of them, perhaps only a very few of them. How am I to know or judge? But I imagine there are people marching because they have SUVs and don't want a war that will raise gas prices; that there a people marching because they are frightened of economic consequences of a war; that there are people marching because they hate Bush or America or the military; that there are people marching because they are filled with anger and violence themselves and this is a way to express it; that there are people marching because they are afraid; that there are people marching because they have nothing better to do or because they seek their identity in the presence of a mass movement. In short, there are people marching for whom peace is only a slogan, an excuse, but whose hearts belong as much to Mars as the "warmongers" they protest.

And such marches are selective. Where are the millions marching in the streets for a nuclear free Korean Peninsula? Where are the millions marching in the street for a pollution free world, for a world that respects its forests and rivers, its air and its oceans? Where are the millions marching in the streets saying "This is our world, the world of human beings and animals and plants, a living world, and we will not surrender it to Mars or to death, to hunger or to poverty, to diminishment or barrenness!" Where are the millions marching in the street saying, "We, the peoples of the world, are the creative majority. The future is in our hands. Listen to us!"

But do we need to march at all? It is powerful to do so, and it can be an important form of communication, but is it the most powerful thing we can do?

When it comes to peace, we should not be misled by numbers or quantity. Our genuine power in this matter is not to be part of a crowd of millions but to be a peacemaker of one in the context of our individual lives. Peace is not made on the streets but in each contact I make with another person in the course of my everyday life. Collective demonstrations can raise a great deal of energy and hope, but energy is not the same as peace. Energy needs to be grounded and given specific expression and that is something we do as individuals.

Here is a thought. One person in the White House or in an Iraqi palace saying the right words at the right time could shift the course of events, causing one leader or another to make a different choice leading to an unexpected and unforeseen transformation. That person may have been inspired in turn by another saying the right thing at the right time, and that person by yet another, on back through a chain of individuals, each being a peacemaker of one.

An Everyday Peacemaker of One

The Army has a new slogan: Be an Army of One. It attests to the power of an individual, trained and equipped to be an embodiment of Mars.

What about the power of an individual embodying peace?

If we are to have peace, it will be because we create it moment by moment, encounter by encounter, person by person. We hear this so often, but it is true. It is a clichÄ but it is true, nonetheless. It is not all that is true about peace, but it is an affirmation of our power. In the world of matter, we privilege quantity. Power, we believe, lies with numbers. The majority rules. But in the world of spirit, it is the opposite. Each person is the finger of God touching creation. Each person is the point at which love may touch the world, and each touch is the moment from which peace and transformation may flow. The outer worlds sees us as separate beings; the inner world knows us as interconnected beings, that what touches one, touches all. An act of peace and forgiveness between two people releases an energy that blesses all people and enhances the possibility that more of us more often will choose peace, will choose forgiveness, will choose love in our interactions. We reclaim our world from Mars one situation, one person, one engagement at a time.

If we would be done with Mars as a species, we must be done with him as persons. Being a peacemaker is not easy. Being peaceful and giving peace to others can be a challenge. It is easy to be against war, but what about the little conflicts that bedevil our lives? What about the mini-wars between spouses or between parents and children or between employees and employers? Where is my peacefulness when a rude driver cuts me off or my employer treats me in a way I find unfair? Where is my peace in the midst of the hundreds of small irritations that can fill my day?

Is there ever any conflict too small for a peacemaker, or do we save our attention only for the big battles, the wars, the conflicts between nations and religions? It's nice to know that I am joined by millions of people throughout the world in a quest for peace, but by itself, that is meaningful only if in each moment when I engage with another person peace is present and powerful in my heart and in my actions.

If I find that difficult to do, then I need to discover why and what I can do about it, just as I expect my leaders to do at an international level. Shall I expect heroic efforts of peacemaking from them and not from myself? Peace is not made by proxy. I cannot expect someone else to be a peacemaker on my behalf. Peace is made by each of us being peacemakers in whatever little pocket of human conflict we may find ourselves.

What Can We Do?

The important question that people ask me is what can we do to be peacemakers (or co-creators or vision holders or generators of a humane future)?

Exactly how we make peace—or anything else—is an individual matter. Part of the power of our peacemaking is that it is our peacemaking as individuals. It is an expression of the unique style, intelligence, compassion, and spirit of each of us in response to the specific situations we meet moment by moment. No technique of peacemaking can meet every situation of "peace-lacking" or "peace-needing." I may have a hammer, as the song says, but not every situation presents me with a nail. So I must become peace, and that is something only I can figure out through my own discipline of self-knowledge, attunement, understanding, experience and wisdom.

Here, though, are some suggestions.

I can study peacemaking. I can, for example, take a course in non-violent communication.

I can broaden my understanding of people whose religions, races, histories, cultures, and lands are different from my own.

I can study and understand those elements in my own psyche that can lead me to misunderstand another or miscommunicate my own intents.

I can understand those elements in myself that are attached to Mars or see his power as needful.

I can understand those elements in myself that need healing or forgiving, or at least that need to be heard and acknowledged. The are the hidden (or not so hidden) elements of pain and fear, anger and despair that can lead me to wish harm or violence to another, elements that would assuage feelings of powerlessness by seeking power over another.

I can practice meditation or some other spiritual discipline that enables me to anchor myself in an inner peacefulness and in compassion and love for another.

I can refuse to use the imagery and language of enemies and adversaries.

I can be alert to propaganda that lessons the humanity of all of us by dehumanizing some other member of the human family.

I can pray. I can develop an inner discipline and understanding of how to radiate peace into the world.

I can understand that the potential battlefield where war or peace is chosen is within me and within my engagements with others. I can heighten my awareness that each moment may present me with a choice for peace or conflict and that I have the power to choose peace. At the moment when conflict is about to break out between me and my child, me and my spouse, me and my coworker or boss, me and my neighbor, I have the power to pause and choose another response.

I can refuse to see myself as a victim, that I must have conflict with someone because "they started it."

I can join with others who seek to be peacemakers of one so we can share our examples, experiences, challenges and wisdom. There is power in supporting and being supported by others sharing a mutual intent.

I can study a martial art so I feel safe in myself and in control of my aggressiveness or my fearfulness and not as defenseless or vulnerable as I may have felt before.

I can nurture and expand my imagination so it becomes supple and powerful, so that if I feel "boxed in" by the potential of conflict, I can think outside that box.

I can read or view true stories of war and its consequences so I can disabuse myself of any feelings that it is a glamorous or heroic undertaking. I can detach myself from the addictive drama of conflict. I do not have to be the hero in my own private imaginative war movies!

I can look for opportunities in my own life and community to take concrete actions to bring peace into troubled situations, courage and hope where there is fear, compassion where it is needed, and honor to the sacredness that we all share.

If War Breaks Out

If I am wrong in my perception and war breaks out, what then should we do? Exactly the same. The coming of war is not the ending of peace. The challenge to be an everyday peacemaker is the same as before, though now complicated perhaps by heightened energies of anger and hatred, fear and suffering. The main difference is that now we must hold those who bear the brunt of the fighting and the suffering on all sides in our compassion. To a peacemaker, there are no adversaries. All war is civil war, and we all suffer and lose.

What is Peace?

I have found it helpful to think of peace as something more than just tranquility or quiescence. It is certainly much, much more than maintaining the status quo or not rocking the boat, creating waves, ruffling the waters, or any of the other tired metaphors we use to justify not doing anything.

The spiritual paradox is that Peace is Mars wearing different clothes. We lose something important when we assign to Mars an exclusive right to the qualities of vitality and power, heroism and fearlessness. Peace embodies these qualities as well.

Peace is a tiger! It is fierce and protective. It walks with the grace of a fearless compassion It knows itself and it owns its territory. Its claws are sharp with an imagination that can tear through the flesh of habit and custom. Its teeth can pierce the reflexes of anger and despair. It devours fear.

Peace is a raging river! It plunges over a cliff to become a waterfall sparkling and roaring in the sunlight. It is power. Nothing can stand before it. Its mist spreads moisture throughout the countryside. Its flow drives a generator that sends energy throughout the land. It is generative, nourishing, and irresistible.

Peace is mystery! It is a horizon beckoning me into an unknown land. It calls me to explore. It calls me to new places where I will change, change into╔what? I don't yet know. That is the fearsomeness of peace. It does not leave us as we were. It takes us like a whirlwind to places we may not have imagined. It challenges us with transformation. It demands me to engage with what is different from me and in the process, I may become different, too. I dissolve in peace. Who am I that will reemerge?

We stand with Mars because in truth he is less fearful, less challenging, less awesome and powerful than Peace. With Mars we have the chance if we are strong enough to conquer, to triumph, to stay unchanged. There is the chance we can stay who we are.

There is no such chance with Peace. Peace transforms. Peace expands us. Peace takes us to new and unknown places.

Mars is for the fearful and the afraid.

Peace is for the courageous and the daring.

If we are done with fear, we are done with Mars.

Let me find in myself tiger-peace, river-peace, mystery-peace! May the Mars in me become the presence and power of Peace in me.

An Exercise

Here is an exercise I find helpful to remind me of peacemaking. It is whimsical. Perhaps you would like to have fun with it.

First, imagine that everything and everyone in the world is connected by invisible threads of energy, so that whatever you touch—whether it's a person, a book, a table, a cat, or a dirty dish you are washing in the sink—puts you in touch as well with everything and everyone else.

Second, imagine that you are like the mythic King Midas, except that instead of turning everything you touch to gold, you turn it to peacefulness and wellbeing. To do this, draw to mind whatever images you may have of what peace means to you and feel the quality of peace in your mind and body. For that one moment, step into peace. Then concentrate that felt sense of what peace means to you, out from your heart, down your arms and into your hands. Feel the spirit of peace in your hands and fingers, so that they glow and tingle with peace.

Third, touch something. It could be anything. What it is doesn't matter at the moment, for we are imagining that everything is connected to everything else (which is what both scientists and mystics tell us is the nature of reality anyway). When you do, feel the radiance and power of peace in your hands flow into whatever you are touching, and from it, out into the world. If this seems strange, just play with it. It can't hurt, and who knows? Someone somewhere in need of peace at that moment may feel your glow flowing unexpectedly into him or her. Where this can have power, though, is when you touch another person mindfully and with caring with the "Midas Touch of Peace." People will feel it, and you will, too. It is hard to engage in conflict when you are touching someone in a spirit of peace.

Once you have a sense of this flow of peace, then try it with your tongue so that you can only speak words that carry the energy of peace. Instead of the gift of gab, give your tongue the gift of peace. It's hard to speak words of violence and conflict when you're feeling your tongue glowing with peace!

Try this exercise with your eyes. Let peace fill your eyes and then flow to whatever and whomever you are looking upon. Instead of x-ray vision like Superman, you have the Super Gaze of Peace. It's hard to see another as an enemy when you are looking upon them with peace.

Put peace into your feet and walk peace into the earth.

Put peace into your heart, and let your life be a heart that circulates peace throughout your environment.

Remember that at the heart of peace are love and a caring for the wellbeing of another. Practice putting love into your hands, your eyes, your tongue, and your feet as well. This is a simple, whimsical exercise, but it can be a tool of remembrance of being a peacemaker. In a deeper way, though, from my inner perspective, it is more than just imaginative play; it is an invocation and expression of a genuine spiritual and peacemaking power that can augment our everyday individual actions, as well as our collective ones.

Blessings to you and to all of us as everyday Peacemakers, Peacemakers of One, Peacemakers together.

David Spangler

Author • Educator Philosopher • Writer

March 1, 2003

Link: The Lorian Association Website

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Editors note:

Our Ethics segment of the Forum is an effort to hear from many in our communities about the quality of performance and decorum expected from those in positions of leadership; we embrace the fact that each of us is a leader. This is a complex and paradoxical subject; simply about human interrelationship and intentioning. We'll be highlighting the views and dreams of many folks, while honoring a broad range of perspectives and insights on this journey. Thanks to Resurgence Magazine for General Butler's article.

© dwij 2002
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