Living and Loving Peace

Vol. 1, Feb. 2003


* Column: The Still, Small Voice The Essence of Heart and Soul
* Meditative Writing The Woman with the Jug of Water: A Parable about the Heart
* Heaven in Cyberspace A personal coach’s exercises help make 2003 as you want it
* Spoonbenders for Peace Lessons to shift personal and planetary consciousness
* The Washington Peace Rally An in-depth profile
* Endquotes Great Truths about Peace


The Essence of Heart and Soul

In this month of love, I find myself listening to the voice of my heart more faithfully than ever before and grateful to know, as perhaps you already do, how to harmonize heart and mind to inspire soul growth and wholeness in the physical body. My quest began with confusion about a love relationship and resolving it led me, as it so often does, beyond my indecisive intellect to the quiet centering of my mind and the still, small voice that illumined my dilemma, soothed the sorrow, and gave the guidance I needed to decide what to do and not do. Synchronicity brought powerful relationship-healing tools just in the nick of time.

It was almost funny how it all started, with the sudden appearance of the legal document whose absence was the cause of the trouble. I felt upset, but didn’t consciously know why, so I spent the next morning tuning in to soul and discovered that I’d ignored the spoken needs of my heart for 12 years and, perceiving no resolution, had allowed my mind to dictate the relationship. It didn’t do a very good job: it nay-sayed my heart’s needs, dealt with this disharmony through covert and overt anger and resentment, and when I wondered what was going on, created distractions in a busy effort to hide the truth from me.

Sound familiar? Maybe you’ve experienced this, too.

In an effort to hear my heart, I listened to my soul and some beautiful concepts flowed into my meditative writings. Perhaps they’ll make just as much sense to you.

In the hierarchy of creation, my inner voice explained, soul manifests its love as the heart and its individuality as the thinking mind. These are given a body so that individuality, or personality, may know itself more fully. Each is an outgrowth of soul, seen as Light shining through a multi-colored lens and diffracting soul into heart and mind.

Soul’s nature is Love and so is the heart’s. The heart, powered by the Light of love, beats with the energetic life force of the divine and, in terms of electrical impulse, gives life to the body. It is a "transformer" between the two, transmitting a vibrational frequency of either a higher or lower nature depending on the thoughts and feelings held in mind. Negative emotions can affect the human heart’s higher frequencies, but emotions do not reside in the heart; emotion’s memories, beliefs and attitudes are held in the mind and energetically imprinted upon the body.

The spiritual heart, the essence of love, infuses negative emotions with love’s higher vibrations of harmony and balance. By quieting the busy mind and emotions and turning to the highest reaches of the heart, the doorway to soul, we are able to commune with our voice of insight and intuition. The proper balance is co-creative partnership: mind serving heart, heart serving soul, and soul serving Love. When our lives are led by our loving hearts and aligned with the intentions and desires of soul, we possess a high degree of insight and intuition which clearly depicts right roads and destined depots.

How, then, may we bring about unity in heart and mind? I began the process by opening up a series of tender, respectful dialogues between my mind and heart. Now, when my mind’s fears create pain in my heart, I listen and allow the two to work it out. Soul enlightens and unites them.

Supporting this harmony requires attunement, especially to my loving spiritual heart, since my headstrong mind tends to stifle its soft, gentle voice, and with it, my cherished intuition. Heart and soul remind us also to eat living foods, as the electrical currents of our bodies must be fed with energetic foods in harmony with the high-frequency currents of Universal Love, or our bodies feel and get ill. From daily meditation comes the peace needed to sustain harmony in heart and mind, body and soul.

What gives you joy? Living in the light of joy allows the open heart and mind to resonate with the highest reaches of Soul; in this, we are wisely guided and our bodies are healed and made whole.

In one meditative writing was a wondrous parable (The Woman with the Jug of Water, below) about the need to satisfy the hungry heart. If your heart aches with hunger for something, ask what it is and listen patiently for the answer. It might simply want to be heard.


The Woman with the Jug of Water: A Parable

In times of old, a woman carrying a jug on her head wended her way across the desert and into a dingy little town of few people and great poverty. She was tired from her journey, and yet, in her heart was the thought of water and its refreshment, and the hope of friendship and camaraderie with the few people of the town.

She entered with this hope, laid down her jug and walked from house to house to see if any invitation came forth. In the doorways were women of the town, looking beyond it for a vision of sustenance beyond the town. For it was poor in spirit and in material wealth.

The woman from the desert walked past these doorways, noting this, and knew there would be no comfort or respite for her here, as each house into which she was invited would spin its own tale of woe.

She was not without compassion, however, and wanted to help these people longing for a savior and a way to live more happily.

The woman, therefore, brought her own jug to the well and, in the sight of the townspeople, poured her water into it. Puzzled by this behavior, the townswomen and men gathered around her and asked why she did this.

She responded that she could see how poor they were in spirit and wanted to share with them her own wealth. The people sat down and she spoke to them.

Do not fear the sameness of each day, she said, for within the rising of the sun are great glories to behold. See the beauty of light glistening on the grass and the golden sand, and know that this beautiful light falls upon you, too, if only you will see it.

In the wind, she went on, are treasures even greater than this. For it is the wind which scatters the seeds of vegetation which feed and sustain you. It is also the wind which calls you to consciousness of the changing conditions of the Earth and out of the sleep which would otherwise beset you, so that you knew nothing and were only an animal, eating and drinking without any thought of what is good in your lives and what is not.

She paused, and the people drank this in, listening to the wind blowing across the desert and seeing this phenomenon in a new and different way.

There is much more, she went on. Each of you carries sadness and despair about the unmet dreams of your life, and yet, I have walked across the desert in my search for beauty and love and in doing this I have found you and found it in myself.

In this month of the heart, we can look into this parable as a mirror to see what is and what can be in our lives. Just as the woman taught the townspeople how to awaken to the Greater Truth, so do we find ways to bring about this awakening in ourselves. It can be done alone, with or without an empty jug of water, or it can be done with many or a few.

This meditative writing, in answer to my questions about happiness, went on to say that "the heart which seeks happiness finds it because it cannot help but do so; here is the purpose of life and this is unchangeable. All moves toward this purpose, separately and together, until the heart’s happiness is complete.

"If it is complete as it is, then one need not walk across a desert; one can teach of beauty and truth in the place of one’s being. If the heart is empty, even in the smallest measure, it will seek to fill itself in whatever way is needed."

So we ask ourselves, now and always: is my heart full with love and satisfied, at-one with my mind, and led by its teacher, my soul?

By asking these questions, we appreciate what we have or we see what else is needed to bring our aspects into harmony and balance: intellect serving heart, heart serving soul, and soul serving Love. "Here is our journey of heart and soul, together filling the mind and feeding the body with what is needed," my writing explained.

May your heart be filled with joy! Happy Valentine’s month, everybody!


Heaven in Cyberspace

Last July, I met a wonderful woman at the International New Age Trade Show in Denver. This bright, switched-on redhead and I were instant "soul sisters," and in fact, she’s a Louisiana native who transplanted herself to colorful Santa Fe.

A personal coach with a master’s in applied psychology and spiritual science, Rebecca Skeele has authored and self-published a terrific book, You Can Make It Heaven: How to Enrich Your Life with Abundance and Caring. It’s not only a superb guide to connecting with your inner self, it’s filled with nuggets of wisdom and exercises to help you work through mental-emotional obstacles in the way of your life’s blossoming.

I read her book on an airplane to Amsterdam and used one of her exercises to work through a tough issue that would otherwise have spoiled my vacation. The Game Plan is so powerful that I use it in my workshops to help people get to the real truth of their thoughts and feelings.

Rebecca’s book is filled with helpful systems like this, and she's just started a Newsletter that’s uploaded to her website (youcanmakeitheaven.com). The Newsletter page features a series of excellent exercises for starting out the new year with focused energy, a light heart and soul connection.

Check it out. I think you’ll love Rebecca as I do!


Spoonbenders for Peace: Feb. 9

The inimitable James Twyman–spiritual leader, author and peace troubadour–has co-created with Gregg Braden and Doreen Virtue a way to amplify the shape-shifting powers of your mind and give peace a chance. Writing about this on the cusp of February is especially appropriate, partly because spoon bending is a heart-centered technology, but also because Twyman is calling on us and 100,000 people taking the online Spoonbenders Course to live peace all day on Feb. 9 and focus our peace prayers at exactly noon New York Time.

The idea is to send a wave of healing energy to the governments of the U.S. and Iraq, in the hope of a peaceful resolution to the current conflict.

Even if you have no interest in that, you might want to check out the Spoonbenders Course. Its four enlightening lessons and exercises light up the chakras, open the heart and seek to alter our perceptions of physical reality: by allowing more divine energy to flow through us and knowing on a soul-deep level that we are able to use the energy of our hearts to bend a spoon, teaches Twyman, we are able to bend the world toward peace.

The exercises in Lesson 1 teach us to create the emotion that our prayer has been answered–an ancient technique at the heart of prosperity teachings today. These are high-voltage metaphysical principles (for example, "Energy flows where attention goes"), so we can only benefit by reading them, even if we don’t want to commit to take the Spoonbenders Course.

For free or for donation, you’ll find the course on Twyman’s website, emissaryoflight.com. At one point, there was talk of setting up random number generators in Israel to gauge the effect of this peace wave, an element that would make this peacemaking initiative even more interesting.

But what’s really important is that, even if you’ve never meditated before, these exercises take the brain to depths of meditation achieved only after considerable practice. And where is that? Into your loving heart infused by divine light, where all healing and transformation takes place.


The Washington Peace Rally:
An In-Depth Profile
Click Here For Photos

Jesus taught that, "Faith without works is dead," and apparently, many of the 200,000 to 500,000 people at the peace rally in Washington D.C. recognized that deeply held beliefs and convictions must be lived or wither on the vine. While the activists included people of all ages, races and nationalities, we were united enough to speak out against U.S. aggression in Iraq and to create a rising tide of protest that is still uplifting this country today. Bus after bus rolled into the city on the cold, sunny morning of Jan. 18, the coldest day of the year, and as we poured into a sea of anti-war demonstrators gathered in front of the domed U.S. Capitol, I sensed that these well-intentioned people, from infants to college students to 1960s grayheads, all had come in good conscience to be counted among the majority of Americans opposing a U.S. led war on Iraq. In the days after the rally, that majority jumped to a solid 63 percent.

We were a persuasive group, a real hodge-podge of Americana.

Hippies, yuppies, gay rights advocates, Vietnam vets, doctors, lawyers, writers, musicians, feminists, business leaders and many children composed this multicultural cross-section of America. People rode buses all the way from Indiana, Florida, North Carolina and Louisiana to the nation’s capital; they represented millions of Americans concerned about the bloodshed and inhumanity of war, our country’s standing in the world, our stirring up greater unrest in the Middle East, and the Bush administration’s economic and political agendas.

While some objected to Bush's dangerous and unjustified first-strike precedent and its meaning for U.S. foreign policy (as in Bushwhacker), others protested the potentially disastrous toll on the U.S. economy. The certain deaths of thousands of Iraqis and the destruction of their country were vivid images in the minds of protesters and gifted, eloquent speakers.

Police described this as the largest antiwar rally at the Capitol since the Vietnam era, and it was just one of many peaceful demonstrations taking place in various parts of the United States on Jan. 18.


Sights and sounds

The rally was quite a spectacle.

Banners and hand-held signs projecting above the crowd identified religious people clustered to voice their objections: the Sisters of St. Joseph, American Friends Service Committee (Quakers), Tikkun and other Jewish groups, Presbyterians for Peace, the Unitarians and dozens of others. Individuals also carried signs expressing religious and spiritual messages, like Pray for Peace and Guide Our Feet into the Way of Peace. Later on, one powerful sign struck a chord of truth in me: "Any government that spends more on its military than its social programs is destined for spiritual death."

The turnout overjoyed everyone and delighted a slate of celebrity speakers including Rev. Jesse Jackson, actress Jessica Lange, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, Vietnam vet Ron Kovic (author of "Born on the 4th of July"), and Congressman John Conyers.

I’d been to Vietnam protests in San Francisco, but this was bigger than anything I’d ever dreamed of. Our two buses from Bethlehem and Allentown, Pa.–carrying people from local peace groups, Unity (Church) of Lehigh Valley and the buses’ sponsor, The Islamic Center–arrived at 11:30 a.m., half an hour after the speeches began. Six of us Unity folks edged up as closely as possible to the stage, but we never saw it and couldn’t see the back of the crowd either. Helicopter blades chopped the air overhead, reminding me of the Vietnam era, but the speakers onstage were loud and clear and the only scent of danger came later, as we marched past lines of stern metro police swinging shiny black billy clubs in the shadows of a dark, windy underpass.

Back at home that evening, I was surprised and disappointed at CNN’s coverage of the rally, which, from what I saw, consisted of a few seconds’ footage and comments from its political analyst; he dismissed the import of the day’s demonstrations by saying that every U.S. conflict has a whiplash response from some contingent. Despite the interviewer’s objection that this seemed to be a wide cross-section of Americans, most of whom had never protested before, the analyst rejected that and grouped us as "the left."

In fact, we were an amazingly diverse group and so were our speakers.


No blood for oil

Most of the speakers were forceful, like the ANSWER organizer who alerted us that we were 200,000 already, with dozens of buses pulling up and New York City still on the road. "Every time a bus pulls up," he declared, "it’s a statement to George Bush: a rejection. And a statement that we will force this government to obey the will of the people. We will control our future and our children’s futures. We are the ANSWER!"

The protesters cheered every speaker, but speeches defying the Bush administration drew the loudest, most appreciative response.

A rally co-chair, a Muslim, yelled out to rolling cheers, "We don’t want to eliminate weapons of mass destruction from Iraq; we want to eliminate weapons of mass destruction from the world! We have a message for Mr. Bush: we want you to take your spiritual advisors, whether Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, or Tom and Jerry, and remember that Jesus didn’t say, ‘Blessed are the warmongers.’ He said, ‘Blessed are the peacemakers.’

"When the president remembers that," he went on, quoting Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We will be ‘free at last, free at last.’ And only then will we be free at last."

The allegations of an official representative of the Martin Luther King Center drew by far the loudest applause. "This war is not about peace!" he boomed. "It’s about oil and the arms manufacturers who have made so much misery for so many people for so long...Peace can only be achieved if we are a world based on social justice.

"Our message to Mr. Bush is ‘Pull back, bring the troops home, no more war! And Mr. Bush, while you push to drill for oil in Alaska, you still haven’t told us the part Dick Cheney played in Enron. In no other part of the world do people have so much as we do. Yet this war will give billions more to our already wealthy.

"Happy birthday, Martin," he concluded. "We won’t go to war for oil."

No Blood for Oil was one of the most prevalent signs at the rally. Protesters widely agreed that this is the real motivation for the Bush administration’s harassment of Iraq over North Korea. This was also the claim of reading materials supplied by national organizations like War Resisters League and Veterans Call to Conscience, as well as a thoroughly modern phenomenon: online peacemaking groups (such as moveon.org and unitedforpeace.org, both of which maintain excellent websites*).

Jessica Lange touched the hearts of many with her direct, honest and passionate words.

She spoke of her daughter’s 24-hour bus trip from Minnesota and why both of them attended the rally. "We came here to send a message that the path this administration is on is wrong, immoral and we object. We have to stand up and say, ‘We are the people. You are not speaking for us’!"

Lange spoke not as an actress or celebrity, but, she said, as a mother determined that "the legacy passed on to the next generation is not shame, greed and bloodshed. Bush has tried to keep us mesmerized with rhetoric and restriction of our civil rights, women’s rights, environmental policies and, now, our civil liberties. How far are they willing to go to silence us? Every time we speak out, we are demonized. As Jimmy Carter said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, ‘We will not learn how to keep peace by killing each other’s children’."



Poetic speeches, hilarious signs


Between speeches, people chanted slogans that echoed off the buildings to our left and right, and would carry us along the slow, two-mile march up and beyond Capitol Hill in a rectangle ending at the U.S. Naval Shipyard.

"What do you want?" organizers shouted, to the chorused answer, "Peace!"

"When do you want it?" they asked again.

"Now!" was the thundering reply. Some people beat drums in rhythm with their answers, and their demands for peace grew louder and more insistent as the afternoon wore on.

Rev. Jesse Jackson was the second-to-last speaker, and people listened closely.

"Today we march for a principle," Jackson announced, "because it doesn’t make sense to abandon Al Queda and go after Iraq. We’re fighting about oil and defense contracts. But we deserve better. We deserve better.

"We cry out to the world today that we choose life over death, hope over hostility. We use our bodies to march in sacrifice. We fight back to fight war, racism, sexism. We fight for one world, and we choose negotiation over confrontation, brains over bombs and brute force to stop violence. This land is your land and it was made for you and me."

As the speeches ended, the crowd rolled past the stage to begin the march and I found myself delighted with the clever boldness of people’s signs, some of which consisted of adhesive tape spelling slogans on long coats.

While the messages on a few signs were startling (like the red letters of War, Famine, Death and Pestilence stamped on the apocalyptic faces of Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and defense undersecretary Wolfowitz), I saw no statements at all that would offend grandparents or shock children. (In fact, this was easily the most courteous crowd I’ve ever been in. When someone jostled or bumped you, you’d hear immediately, "Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you all right?" and the empathetic person would actually check to make sure you were. That’s unusual behavior in a crowd and says a lot about the caring character of these people.)

Lots of signs invited voters to Impeach Bush and Drop Bush Not Bombs, and others explained why: one said U.S. Policy Brought to You by The Three Stooges and pictured Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Another pictured Pres. Bush in a cowboy hat decorated with a golden crown and said: America, Rein in the Lone Ranger, Send Him Back to Texas.

Many people picked up the "weapons of mass destruction" theme and gave it a comical twist: President of Mass Destruction, President of Mass Distraction, President of Mass Deception. The meanest sign (which made many of us laugh, as it resonated with a commonly held belief) was Drunk Frat Cowboy Runs Country into Ditch: Starts War to Cover Up.

Marching past the Capitol up the hill toward an historic area, each 18th century building an architectural gem, we breathed in a world of delicious smells wafting out of Greek and Italian restaurants. Joan, a member of our church group, sniffed the air and, in answer to the chant, "What do you want?" quipped "Pizza!" and "Now!" By then 2 p.m. or so, we were all getting hungry, but were easily distracted from this and the biting, 20-degree cold by some truly hilarious protest signs.

Pres. Bush’s "axis of evil" slogan was the butt of some really good jokes. One sign pictured the infamous three and read, Axis of Weasels; another that still makes me laugh was Asses of Evil. Others emphasized the gas-swilling nature of sports utility vehicles: SUVs: Axles of Evil.


A symbol of a new world


This was one creative crowd, and a simply enormous one. Once we safely passed the D.C. police and their billy clubs, the protesters spread out across six lanes of roadway with a wide median in the middle. I surveyed our length from the peaks and valleys of the city’s rolling hills, yet could see neither the beginning nor the end of us.

I take this as a symbol of the gathering opposition of U.S. citizens to war against Iraq. In the 1960s and ‘70s, the baby boomers rebelled against violence, war, racism, sexism and economic exploitation, and today, in this Age of Soul (as commercial publishers term this New Age), we have grown to comprise one-fourth of the U.S. population. Referred to as Cultural Creatives (see lohasjournal.com), we are 65 million strong, and we are raising the consciousness of the U.S. and the world by buying products and reading books related to personal development, green ecology, sustainable living and spirituality. Where the U.S. mainstream reads three or four books a year, we read 25. Our incomes are high, we vote, and our progressive thoughts and beliefs hold the power to transform this country’s majority.

Indeed, there is no end to us.


The power of protest, prayer and truth


Back in the 1980s, I was outraged at our government’s dirty deeds and murderous acts in Central America, but in the past 20-odd years, I’ve gained enough inner peace and loving detachment to know that the evolution of the human race is a slow and steady march toward change and maturation. I know that we must bring forward from the past what is good and useful to us and leave the rest behind. By remaining peaceful, I am no longer part of the problem, but a healer of it, like so many of you.

In good conscience, therefore, I cannot end this article without giving you the steely hard, cold facts as I know and heard them at this rally. While there is always hope that Pres. Bush is bluffing Saddam Hussein and does not really plan to attack and kill Iraqi people, it is nevertheless prudent and wise to question his motives and intent.

In the governmental rogue’s gallery, Pres. Bush looks the most suspicious:

* He and two of his top advisors, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleeza Rice, were executives of and shareholders in major oil companies (and probably still are today).

* Dick Cheney still has strong ties to his previous employer, weapons contractor Halliburton, which Cheney set up as the single war-on-terrorism company; since 911, Halliburton has received four multi-million-dollar contracts, one a 10-year contract with no spending limit. These special interest groups are rich and powerful: one of Halliburton’s subsidiaries, Brown & Root, made $13 billion in 2001.

* On top of that, 32 top appointees in the Bush administration have been executives, consultants, or major shareholders of weapons contractors.

No matter what, we know that dissent and prayer are the only ways to head off war and, for this reason, we can’t afford to ignore what’s happening in America and the world today. One sign, in the end, says it all: "Ignorance is Not Innocence"; it’s a sentiment no doubt shared by the millions of people killed and maimed in wars.

Ron Kovics, the quadraplegic Vietnam vet, was a powerful speaker at the rally, and his words still ring in my mind.

"You were born to reclaim this country and to take this country back," he said. "You will do this because of your sacred responsibility, your responsibility to the world. This fight will be won by love, compassion and non-violence."


In accord with conscience


For my part, I’m calling and writing congresspeople, signing petitions and attending marches (like the massive upcoming rally set for New York City on Feb. 15 in conjunction with people in 28 European countries). I’ve also signed a pledge of civil disobedience in the event of war.

We must all act in accord with our consciences, but I think we must also hear what Jesus said about living our beliefs. For you, that may be to pray for the best possible solution and surely this could be as or more powerful than the pen and marching feet. A prime example of the power of prayer is the minister who dreamed that war could be avoided if Saddam Hussein voluntarily left Iraq. The minister sent e-mails to his friends and asked them to pray for this outcome; in turn, his friends e-mailed their friends with the prayer request. The prayer took form. At this moment, Hussein’s exile from Iraq is supported by Arab leaders as a way to avoid a war and potential catastrophe in the Middle East.

So everyone can pray that Saddam Hussein disappears himself. Or your prayers could be a surrender to Divine Will, which is known to be the most effective form of prayer.

Whatever your beliefs or politics, I think we can all agree with a quote on a flyer at the Washington peace rally: "There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

The rest of the day was uneventful. As the sun went down, the temperature dropped and we began the long, exhausting search for our buses. We rode home sharing food and stories about our lives and ourselves, now united in a common cause.

Of all the sights and sounds on that day, my mind keeps going back to our arrival in D.C. and a brief exchange between two Unity women. Upon leaving the bus, one woman wished she’d brought a sign to carry. The other woman pointed out, softly, "You are a sign."


--Judith


* United for Peace lists peace demonstrations. Prior to the rally, Move On had gathered 210,000 signatures on a petition, but after the rally coverage broke, another 100,000 people signed on to protest the war. This week, 9,000 well-spoken Move On volunteers visited congressional offices to present 8,000 pages of signatures; as a result, 30 members of Congress, and more every day, have signing a Dear Colleague letter enjoining the president to abide by the U.N. process and let the inspections work.

This congressional coup was also influenced by massive coverage of the Jan. 18 rallies and Move On’s Vietnam-era commercial of the little girl picking the petals of a daisy as the film flashed scenes of bloody battlefields, funerals, a mushroom cloud. Move On subsidized these commercials, which aired in 12 major cities, by raising $400,000 online in two days times. The commercial ended with a message that most people easily agree on: Let the Inspections Work.


Endquotes: Great Truths about Peace


The open-hearted creators of a website (openheart.com) have initiated a World Peace Experiment whose goal is to create peace by countering negative statements with the words, "Only love prevails."

One of the pages on this site features a series of thought-provoking quotes on how to create and sustain personal and global peace. Here are a few of them. Enjoy!

The ultimate weakness of violence is that
it is a descending spiral,
begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy...
Darkness cannot drive out darkness;
only light can do that.Hate cannot drive out hate;
only love can do that.

—Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.



In this world, hate never dispelled hate.
Only love dispels hate.
This is the law, ancient and inexhaustible.

—The Buddha



The only enemy is injustice.
The only death is death of the conscience.

— Guru Granth Sahib
(Sikh holy book)



The only safe way to overcome an enemy

is to make of the enemy a friend.

—Gandhi



In a time of universal deceit,
telling the truth
becomes a revolutionary act.

— George Orwell



I have come to the frightening conclusion
that I am the decisive element.
It is my personal approach that creates the climate.
It is my daily mood that makes the weather.
I possess tremendous power to make
life miserable or joyous.
I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration,
I can humiliate or humor, hurt or heal.
In all situations, it is my response that decides
whether a crisis is escalated or de-escalated,
and a person is humanized or de-humanized.
If we treat people as they are, we make them worse.
If we treat people as they ought to be,
we help them become
what they are capable
of becoming.

— Goethe



"Terror is in the human heart.
We must remove this from the heart.
Destroying the human heart, both physically
and psychologically, is what we should avoid.
The root of terrorism is misunderstanding, hatred and violence.
This root cannot be located by the military.
Bombs and missiles cannot reach it, let alone destroy it.
Only with the practice of calming and looking deeply
can our insight reveal and identify this root.
Only with the practice of deep listening and compassion
can it be transformed and removed.
Darkness cannot be dissipated with more darkness.
More darkness will only make darkness thicker.
Only light can dissipate darkness.
Those of us who have the light should display the light
and offer it so that the world will not sink
into total darkness."

— Thich Nhat Hanh in Shanghai, October 19, 2002



Kids can't see us bombing, and then listen to us
talking about getting guns out of the schools.
How can we tell them to solve problems without violence,
if, in fact, we can't show an ability to solve problems
without violence?

— Representative Barbara Lee



I know there is anger. I feel it myself.
But I don't want my son used as a pawn to justify the killing of others.
We as a nation should not use the same means as the people who attacked us.

— Oscar Rodriguez,
(whose son died in the attack on the World Trade Center)