Our society has been at war for a long, long time.
The War on Terror.
The War on Poverty.
The Iraq War.
The War on Drugs.
There is obviously an issue here, and the issue isn’t terror, poverty, Iraq and drugs—the issue is the way we’re framing the problems we want to solve.
The problem is framing issues in terms of war.
Think that the problem is only political? What about all you spiritual warriors out there?
There is a fierce pride to the spiritual warrior—spiritual warriors don’t give up, they persevere, they grow and adapt and gain perspective in self-actualizing.
All good, but why must we be warriors to make that so?
Personally, I am proud to call myself a spiritual pacifist—I blaze no warpath, and have no hate in my heart or gut or loins. Instead, the spiritual pacifist wants everyone to live the life they want—to be happy, to self-actualize, to enjoy and to love. They want for you the opportunity to be in harmony and to find truth. These are simple intentions.
But perhaps one of the simplest and most profound intentions one can make is to drop the notion that they are at war with anything.
We are not at war with our spouse.
We are not at war with our boss.
We are not at war with our ego.
I humbly present an alternative to fighting all of these battles—Empathy.
Lets put ourselves in the other person’s shoes—heck, lets try empathizing with ourselves and try to cut ourselves some slack and give ourselves some well deserved credit.
If human beings want to live in peace with each other, then doesn’t it make sense that we change our language to reflect that peace?
The “war metaphor” is perhaps a convenient way to phrase problems because people understand war, but I also know that each of us creates our own reality, and the vocabulary each of us uses is part and parcel of creating that reality.
If we want a more peaceful world—if we want to be at peace with ourselves— then it’s time to make peace with the war metaphor.
It’s time to embrace the peace metaphor, and it’s time to bow to the spiritual pacifist within each and every one of us.
Does life give us battles that we must win?
Obstacles that we must conquer?
Perhaps, it is that instead life gives us opportunities to grow, to stretch, to unwind and to expand.
When we stop framing our lives in terms of wars, we realize that the vocabulary of out growth and self-actualization is beautiful.
We want to live a life of amplification, of expansion, of momentum—a life where we’re at peace with our demons, our ego, our moms and dads, and our lovers.
Being at peace doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy the tensions of life.
Tension is a good thing, but tension doesn’t have to mean that there’s a larger conflict to end through violent victory.
So let’s move beyond metaphors of wars, and weapons, and battles, and conquering, slaying and “killing it” or “crushing it.”
Lets let go of the language that allows the idea of destroying the competition, or demolishing the ego by eviscerating it, and blowing it to smithereens.
Let’s set this archaic language aside, because surely we can do better.
Let’s move the world forward by moving our discourse forward, one metaphor at a time.
It’s time to end the war metaphor with a peace treaty we sign with ourselves, with our heart, with our loved ones and with our world—a peace treaty we can uphold with every turn of phrase. A treaty that you uphold every time you replace the war metaphor with an analogy of peace, expansion, creativity, and love.
I’m grateful for you joining me in this peaceful campaign to move our language, and our world, forward. And I bow to the spiritual pacifist within each and every one of you.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Apprentice Editor: Brandy Mansfield / Editor: Catherine Monkman