Tag: <span>Taoist</span>

Louise Diamond Book Reviews

Louise Diamond. The Courage For Peace.

Featured Image: Photo by Avi Chomotovski in Pixabay 

(Berkeley, CA : Conari Press, 2000, 263pp).

Louise Diamond;  a co-founder of the Institute for Multi-Track Diplomacy in Washington, DC;  works in areas of inter-ethnic conflict to empower peacebuilders.

Our power to empower is perhaps the most important role;  we can play in the 21st century. The more individuals; who feel empowered to work in their own systems for peace and conflict transformation; the closer the world comes to that critical mass that will allow for a massive leap of consciousness; allowing new processes for peace;  that were previously unimaginable to become normative and easy.”

She stresses in her book that the Spirit of Peace is a living process;  encoded in our hearts, embodied in our words; expressed through our thoughts and empowered through our choices. Peace:

“Is the everyday practical matter of how we can live together harmoniously; dealing creatively and effectively with the inevitable differences; hurts and fears that arise in human relationships… On a larger scale; peace is a political goal of nations and peoples; on a smaller scale; inner peace is a personal goal for those of us; who are trying to live more consciously within this frenzied world.”

A New Cycle is Beginning.

The world can seem as “a new cycle is beginning; one that stems from the recognition of the fact that we are one. Favoring a relational, intuitional, opportunity-oriented way of thinking and a community, inter-connective, partnership approach to social relations; this new way of being;  is built on our emerging understanding of universal truths: matter is energy with meaning and motion. Life is not static; it is flow. We are not broken; we are whole.

If we oppress others; we oppress ourselves…Even as the old systems disintegrate and fade away; pioneers among us; are creating new ways of living and working together;  that honor the truth of our oneness. I happen to believe that peacebuilding is at the forefront of this wave; and that its pioneers are and will be among the greatest champions of a new era.”

Louise Diamond’s views will be familiar;  to those who deal with individual therapy .As she writes:

I found that whether I was working with individuals, couples, families or organizations; the work was inevitably about the issues of power and healing. In short; people were struggling to find peace and balance within themselves;  and to live and work harmoniously with each other.”

Peace can be Envisaged as Having Three Basic Aspects.

Her road map for action  is based on four principles;  based on faith and common sense;  but that are also the lessons learned for experiences – her own and that of other peacebuilders;  whose views she shares.

These lessons have to do with our basic unity and wholeness; our interdependence; the power of love for reconciliation; and our ability through conscious thought and action; to shape the world we live in.”

 

Her book is an inquiry into the practical implications of these spiritual lessons. How do we heal ancient wounds and restore justice? How do we ensure healthy communities?.

Peace can be envisaged as having three basic aspects – the water, ice, steam analogy. The most fundamental aspect – the water stage – we could call “metaphysical” and has to do with peace as order, harmony, and unity. Then there is the “serenity” aspect; often an inner peace; which is expressed as calm, tranquillity, equanimity. This calm, however; is also a source of energy, a will to action.

For me; peace is literally a powerhouse of strength. I experience peace as a specific vibration of dynamic state of being; which, like a song, radiates from my heart and soul.” 

The third aspect is that of “relationship – agreement, accord, rapport. The Spirit of Peace reminds us that these three aspects are really one.

The Spirit of Peace to Fill Our Lives.

Peace as harmony, order, tranquillity; accord is very close to the Taoist image of the Tao. As in Taoism;  there are many avenues to tap into this flow of peace: music, poetry, dance, communing with nature, making love, deep relaxation, prayer and meditation.

When we tap into that energy; we have access to vision, intuition, creativity, synergy, and the power of miracles – resources of mind, body, and spirit far beyond our day-to-day awareness. When we rest there;  we are at home; we have found peace.

The Spirit of Peace arises from this place. Our work; when confronted with our small-minded sense of separation, our lack of harmony, our experience of conflict; is to center home. (By ‘centering home’, I mean touching the Source within myself.)” 

By touching the Source; we awaken to what we need to carry us to new levels of thought and action.

Louise Diamond deals with the shifts in vision;  and attitudes necessary for the Spirit of Peace to fill our lives. There are, of course;  other aspects of building a peaceful society. There are often needs to build new political and economic institutions;  and to formulate new policies. Yet attitude change, at a deep level;  is essential. Many, I believe;  will find Louise Diamond’s book both very clear and profound.

Rene Wadlow;  President, Association of World Citizens.

 

Learning from Practice Podcast – Louise Diamond.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

1 2 21
Religious Appeals

Religious Liberty: Continuing Efforts by NGOs Needed.

Image By S. Hermann & F. Richter in Pixabay

by Rene Wadlow.

22 August has been set by the United Nations General Assembly as the

“International Day Commemorating the Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief”.

Due to Nazi and Japanese militarist persecution of religious groups during the Second World War;   freedom of religion and belief was on the U.N. agenda from the start of the organization. The issue is at the heart of article 18  of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;  proclaimed in 1948.

Religious non-governmental organizations (NGOs);  were active during the San Francisco conference;  at which the drafting of the U.N. Charter was completed. It was due in part to their active efforts  that an article creating a consultative status for NGOs;  was included into the U.N. Charter. NGOs in consultative status with the U.N;  can make U.N. bodies aware of issues by providing timely;  factual information. Often NGOs will address matters to U.N. agencies;  when governmental delegations keep silence. The duty of NGOs is not to speak against States;  but for the interests of humanity and human rights.

Spiritual But not Religious.

Although religious NGOs have had a wide range of interests to stress at U.N;  meetings and conferences;  such as the status of women, ecology, food policies;  liberty of religion and belief;  has always been a concern. The concern of religious liberty is not limited to religious NGOs;  but is also championed by secular NGOs;  such as Amnesty International and the Association of World Citizens.

Over time;  there has developed a fairly large number of people;  who consider themselves as “spiritual but not religious.” There has been the development of a growing number of associations devoted to practices;  which have their roots in religious traditions;  but can also be independent such as yoga, meditation, Chi Quong. Such associations often fall outside the usual governmental protection of religions – their tax status or other facilities concerning their buildings and properties.

Amnesty International
Amnesty International at the Bologna Pride 2012, in Bologna, Italy. Picture by Giovanni Dall’Orto, June 9 2012. By G.dallorto, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons.

Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The U.N. holds that the religious liberty provisions of Article 18 of the Universal Declaration;  are not limited in their applications to traditional religions;  or to religions and beliefs;  with institutional characteristics or practices  similar to those of traditional religions. Thus;  newly established movements and religious minorities should be protected.

Article 18 of the Univesal Declaration of Human Rights is developed in detail by the: 

“Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance nd Discrimination Based on Religion or Belief”.

Adopted by the General Assembly on 25 November 1981. The Declaration recognizes that every individual has the right to freedom of thought, conscience, expression, and religion. The importance of inter-religious dilogue; is stresssed as is the need for intensified efforts to protect the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and to eliminate all forms of hatred, intolerance and discrimination;  based on religion or belief.

There is a hope that tolerance and pluralism will strengthen democracy;  facilitate the full enjoyment of all human rights; and thereby constitute a sound foundation for civil society;  social harmony and peace. Yet we are fully aware that forces of aggressive nationalism;  absence of religious tolerance;  religious and ethnic extremism continue to produce fresh challenges.

the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

Eleanor Roosevelt holding poster of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (in English), Lake Success, New York. November 1949. By FDR Presidential Library & Museum, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons.

The Islamic State (ISIS).

A tragic current example of victims of acts of violence based on religion or belief;  is that of the Yazidis of Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS). The Yazidi world view is Zoroastrian;  a faith born in Persia proclaiming that two great cosmic forces;  that of light and good;  and that of darkness and evil are in constant battle. Humans are called upon to help light overcome evil.

However;  the strict dualistic thinking of Zoroastrianism was modified by another Persian prophet: Mani of Ctesiphon in the third century CE.  Mani tried to create a synthesis of religious;  teachings that were increasingly coming into contact through travel and trade:  Buddhim and Hinduism from India;  Jewish and Christian thought;  Helenistic Gnostic philosophy from Egypt and Greece as well as many smaller;  traditional and “animist” beliefs.

Islamic State

Variant of the jihadist black flag. This particular version is used by the “Islamic State of Iraq” and by al-Shabaab in Somalia. By Unknown authorUnknown author, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.


Demon Worshipers.

He kept the Zoroastrian dualism as the most easily understood intellectual framework though;  giving it a somewhat more Taoist (yin-yang) flexibility. Mani had  lived in China. He developed the idea of the progression of the soul;  by individual effort through separate lives through reincarnation – a main feature of Indian thought. He combined the idea of spiritual progress through different lives;  with ethical insights of Gnostic and Christian thought. Unfortunately;  only the dualistic Zoroastrian framework is still attached to Mani’s nme: Manichaeism. This is somewhat ironic as it was the Zoroastrian Magi;  who had Mani put to death as a dangerous rival.

Within the Mani-Zoroastrian framework;  the Yazidi added the presence of angels;  who are to help humans in the constant battle for light and good. The Yazidi place great emphasis on Melek Tauis;  the peacock angel. Although there are angels in Islam;  angels that one does not know could well be demons;  and so the Yazidis are regularly accused of being “demon worshipers”.

Collateral Damage.

There are probably some 500,000 Kurdish-speaking Yazidis in Iraq. Iraq demographic statistics are not fully reliable. Yazidi leaders may give larger estimates by counting Kurds;  who had been Yazidis;  but had been converted to Islam. There had been some 200,000 Yazidis among the Kurds of Turkey;  but now nearly all have migrated to Western Europe, Australia and Canada. There are smaller groups of Yazidis in Syria, Armenia and Georgia. (1)

The Yazidis have often been persecuted for their beliefs;  and as part of the Kurdish-speaking community. This was true during the period of the Ottoman Empire;  as well as during the Arab Ba’th Socialist Party rule of Iraq. However;  the most recent and dramatic form of persecution came at the hands of the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Association of World Citizens stressed that the policy of the ISIS leadership was genocide – the destruction in whole or in part of a group. The killing of the Yazidis is a policy and not “collateral damage” from fighting. While ISIS has lost much of the territory in Iraq and Syria that it once held;  the trauma  continues. The Victims of Acts of Violence Based on Religion or Belief call upon NGOs for continued speedy and effective action.

Note:

1) See Nelida Fuccaro. The Other Kurds in Colonial Iraq (London: I.B. Tauris, 1999)

 

Rene Wadlow, President, Association of World Citizens.

Here are other publications that may be of interest to you.

World Refugee Day.

June 20 is the United Nations (UN)-designated World Refugee Day;  marking the signing in 1951 of the Convention on Refugees. The condition of refugees and migrants has become a “hot”…

1 2 11