We are all at WAR, yet around all us is PEACE.

Sea in Malaga

Sea in Malaga

For the first time in my life, I am lucky to be living close enough to the sea to be able to hear it from my bedroom window. Late at night, when the traffic has stopped and all the Spanish voices lingering and chatting on the street corner beneath our flat have finally gone to bed, the sea’s soft and rhythmic sounds can be heard. There is a kind of ongoing hum to it, when the sea is rough it is coupled with the hypnotic sounds of the waves breaking on the shore. Prior to this new-found live-action hypnosis, I would play these same sounds on my iPad: sea waves crashing with a thunder storm layered over it. There is just some kind of primordial soothing that comes from these types of sounds. At times, when my wife and kids have gone to bed, I will sit out on the balcony and just take it all in, like the immortal words from the movie The Castle, “So much serenity.” 

It’s striking at times how peaceful that feeling can be. Even in the midst of massive storms, where you have these gale forces winds and the waves just smashing against the rocks below, there still is contained within the movements of nature a simplicity and repose that’s hard to describe. What makes its peace so attractive is how it contrasts to our own human contribution to nature. Nature is as it is, yet we are at war: with ourselves, with each other, and with our ideas of who we are and of how others should be. Frenzied, blind, frenetic and stressed would be apt words to describe our inner and outer states. Voltaire said, “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains,” yet to me it seems man is in chains and everywhere is free.

balancing-rocks-030I battle daily with my past wounds that seem to haunt me, my destructive and habitual coping mechanism, and my expectations of who I am and who I think I should be, yet my inward struggles are just a mirror of the external dynamic. The collective and individual selves just keep mirroring and feeding into each other’s wounds. All around us, our global culture works to educe in its population an insatiable desire for more, be it more food, more clothes, more money, more love or more control. The cultural meme of “more” is incompatible with whatever we have within the present moment. Nature is at ease with itself, though we seem not to be. We seem dis-eased. I think this is why we are so intuitively drawn to nature, be it the mountains, oceans or rivers. We instinctively gravitate back to that unquestioned “is-ness” that nature so effortlessly and joyously emits. Its direct presence helps us quell that ceaseless war within and helps buffer us against that rub of the war that surrounds us. We don’t need God above in a distant heaven to pray to when we have multi-formed and multicoloured gods before us in the sun, stars, land and seas.

I have a deep desire to surrender against all I fight and battle with. Inwardly, I think it’s an illusionary battle fought against invisible ghosts that feed off the knowing that V-day will never arrive. Surrounding us, there are more real battles in which the stakes are high, as our future rests within the outcome of what will be the forces that truly shape our collective destiny. Yet, if there is any hope, it lies somewhere in that magical sound of those waves outside my bedroom window. To radical leftists fighting against maniacal corporate sociopathy, I know that sounds like abstract waffle, but it’s not. Until we really hear nature, do we stand any chance of hope, not in a metaphorical sense, but in a literal action of listening to what the earth shares with us? The secrets of who we are and what we are capable of becoming are there to be understood and discovered in the whispering of the trees, the light of the sun and the soft glow of a full moon.

aerThe author of Sacred Economics, Charles Eisenstein, once said we need to be in the business of making miracles if we stand any chance of a sustainable future. It’s a statement that really resonates with me, as that peace the waves gift to me is its own mini-miracle. So is all of the peacefulness that nature hides in the clear light of day. If I really want to make some kind of significant contribution toward making the world a better place, I have to really take responsiblity for the war I wage within myself and the war I wage with the world around me. I have to not win that war, but transcend it. I have to let the sun melt it, the waves dissolve it and the stars engulf it in vastness and magnitude. The impact this has on the greater whole, I have no idea. What I do know is that nature has spoken, and I have to listen. As in doing so in a tiny pocket of the universe, in some tiny pocket of this world, there will be a little more peace and a little less war, and that is a good start.

4 thoughts on “We are all at WAR, yet around all us is PEACE.

  1. Mr Nicholson ? (there is no signature on this post, is it safe to assume that as the next post is identified as written by Mr N that this is too? Or, are you and Mr Carkery both having simultaneous existential moments? – which would in itself be very interesting to pursue, but not at this time).

    Anyway, whoever – Greetings!

    The sea and the sky, like a blank canvas with nothing to distract the mind, the soft and rhythmic sounds of waves on the shore – indeed a fertile hypnotic setting. That you recognise it as a ‘new-found live-action hypnosis’ is most appealing, and may it ever continue to be so for you. Your sense of ‘primordial soothing’ makes perfect sense for me, after all we did once crawl out of the water . . . echoes of our very beginning, our species birthplace, before we left our individual birthplace, the waters of the womb. Our first home . . .

    And from this experience I believe you can now begin to be who you really are – whole and perfect – and this is where your peace is, peace is not something ‘out there’, planet earth is neither at peace nor war, it is what it is – a planet.
    Please, Mr N, may I suggest that you allow yourself to have this experience before your wife and kids have gone to bed, sit out on the balcony and just take them all in . . . and allow them to experience you – like this . . . awesome.

    Who you are is not an idea, it is an experience; and who are we to say how others should be? Being yourself allows others to be their self.
    With regard to chains, well I don’t know much about Voltaire – wasn’t he a monarchist? Anti-republican, anti-democracy? I understand his quote and I think yours too, but am inclined toward ‘if we have chains, (which I don’t agree with if we are truly living out who we are) they are chains of choice’ which I think is something Voltaire suggested, but like I said my knowledge about him is sketchy at best.

    You mention battles with past wounds and an expectation of who you are and who you think you should be, and that these struggles are a mirror of the external dynamic. Well, with regard to the past wounds, a friend of mine once explained it as ‘shaping your future based on your past is like steering your car forward by looking only in the rear-view mirror’. hmmmm. Likewise, I would suggest that the external dynamic is possibly the mirrored reflection of your own inward struggle.

    Having expectations about who you are and who you should be is looking from the outside in, just who is it who is looking in? Whereas, when you are truly being who you really are you are looking out, and having the experience of yourself, of being alive. And like this it is possible at one and the same time to experience that, yes, all life is sorrowful (I believe it was Schopenhauer who said ‘life is something that should not have been’) and that, yes, all life is awesome and wonder-full and say YES to life.

    And now I have revision for an impending exam to attend to . . .

    Be your wonder-full self

    Kind regards
    Hilary Cook

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    • Please, Mr N, may I suggest that you allow yourself to have this experience before your wife and kids have gone to bed, sit out on the balcony and just take them all in . . . and allow them to experience you – like this . . . awesome.

      Thanks Hilary, you have worded that above so wonderfully. As its very easy to be de-attached from that experience of serenity as somehow separate that same serenity I witness. As the serene waves lap upon the shore, so does my chest gentle rise and fall as breath in that sea air and gift before me. So must to be own moving body of quiet as they watching this other moving but connected enity. Do you have a blog of your own? You write really well. Thanks E.F 🙂

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  2. Hello EF
    You ask if I have a blog, no I don’t though it is something I am thinking about, as yet I have not come up with a subject matter, no idea what I would write about!
    It was in thinking about it that I discovered your own blog. A visit to WordPress for ideas on presentation and your blog was one of the examples for a design. I had a look, liked the title and your home-page statement and subscribed.
    I haven’t responded to any of your other posts, not that I disagreed with the issues more that the whole seemed a place of anger; not something I would want to respond to. However, I understood that you and Mr Carkery had created a space where you could both rant, a vent for your anger and frustration and, like I said, I didn’t disagree about the issues. So I did not un-subscribe, I would read and then reflect on my own stance on the issue raised and I am really pleased that I didn’t un-subscribe for I would have missed your two most recent posts – posts that I was truly delighted to read, to learn that your anger has not totally consumed you.
    I don’t know if you yet realise the place to which your exhaustion has brought you – the experience you are now having – that place where you can be your wonder-full self – all ways . . .
    Kind regards
    Hilary
    p.s. you know when your chest gently rises and falls as you breathe in the sea air – you can breathe along with the waves – breathing in as the sea recedes and breathing out as it rushes up the shore . . .

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    • Thanks Hilary for your frank and insightful feedback. When we first started this blog I thought I might be stuck for ideas of subjects to write about ,yet it’s amazing how easily things arise in response to what’s going on, so often just starting without any idea is best place to begin as keeps you really open to what comes through. So please let us know if you do, would love to read it.
      To be honest I have never really considered that our blog come come across “angry” or even “very angry” to the point someone may read it and thinking twice about coming back again as not to be exposed that resonance. Annoyed or disgruntled maybe but hostile certainly is’nt something I thought came across in the writing. So I appreciate you sharing that as its something I have been reflecting on consciously working being “less of” although I wasn’t aware it seemed so obvious.

      Which I am ok with as it was always a blog about sharing honestly what I felt about the world and how it works. And I do think outrage is an appropriate response to how bad things are in the world. Yet like that quote from the beginning of the book “Emotional Intelligence”, something along the lines of “being angry is one thing, being angry for right time to the right degree is something different all together.” So your right that outrage has a place and can be vehicle to something else, something deeper and more connected to that loving universe we are surrounded by. I think the issue is getting stuck there, starting to believe that feeling as the truth. As it gets boring to read and boring to write and as I mentioned hard to sustain emotionally. As all of us I believe have these various voices with in each of us and each voice has legitimate place or reason for being. I think I am getting to a point that don’t want to speak so often from that voice of indignation, it will always been there but I think like the sufi poet hafiz said.“What we speak becomes the house we live in.”  So possible new dwelling in progress 🙂 Thanks again – EF

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