I’ve stumbled upon many definitions of “war.”
But in my opinion, only Jiddu Krishnamurti defined its true significance. Krishnamurti was an Indian philosopher known as “the guru who didn’t believe in gurus,” because he refused to adopt anyone’s philosophies but his own.
Krishnamurti said that we are responsible for the wars we have created. He believed that war is an outward expression of our inward state—it’s the expansion of our day-to-day actions.
When we think of how to stop war, Krishnamurti said that if you and I see a house on fire, we can learn the causes of the fire and build a new house with different, non-combustible materials. In other words, we can see wars, we can understand what creates wars, and then we can stop generating new ones.
If we want to stop wars, we should start by transforming ourselves.
The other day, I saw a post on social media suggesting that history is repeating itself and we should expect a World War III. While we should take this point of view into consideration, I believe we can avoid wars if we learn from the past and grow on the individual level first.
Choices from our past have created the circumstances for war. The corruption outside reflects the corruption inside ourselves. So long as we seek power, position, and domination, we will keep on creating wars.
“If you as an individual belong to any of the organized religions, if you are greedy for power, if you are envious, you are bound to produce a society which will result in destruction. So again, it depends on you and not on the leaders—not on so-called statesmen and all the rest of them. It depends upon you and me, but we do not seem to realize that.”
Krishnamurti goes on to explain that our firm belief in nationalism, in an ideology or particular dogma, causes religious and political wars. We are bound by beliefs for which we are willing to destroy each other.
When I was in high school and college, I was an active member of a political party in my country. When I read Krishnamurti’s take on the causes of war, I could wholeheartedly relate and now understand why I would have died or destroyed another human being for the sake of my own beliefs.
The truth is, I was precisely what Krishnamurti described as “not peaceful from the inside.” The revolution outside was what mattered to me most. I never planned to stop being political or to give up my political beliefs. However, when I understood the nature of my mind and worked on creating peace within myself, my steady political beliefs began to fade.
It appears to me that we’re constantly seeking a destructive revolution because we need something to identify with. Because without our principles, who are we? When I understood myself, I understood that my beliefs weren’t me—I can still exist without them. In fact, I’ve realized that I still can propel a change in society without creating a war.
When our actions are driven by love, kindness, and consciousness, we can make an astounding change outside.
“To rely on others is utterly futile; others cannot bring us peace. No leader is going to give us peace, no government, no army, no country. What will bring peace is inward transformation, which will lead to outward action. Inward transformation is not isolation or a withdrawal from outward action. On the contrary, there can be right action when there is right thinking and there is no right thinking when there is no self-knowledge.”
Some of us might think that inner-transformation and finding peace is bullsh*t, that this spiritual and mindful revolution is a trend. But those who believe that may just not be ready for the inner evolution yet.
Our inside state is an immense entity, and tuning into it can threaten our ideologies, dogmas and beliefs. But only when we see and live the consequences of war, can we get in touch with our inner realm.
Perhaps it’s too late to stop some wars, but it’s not too late to stop creating new ones. We’re accustomed to pointing the finger and blaming others, but what if for once we point the finger at ourselves and take responsibility for what’s happening in the world?
We’ve tried hate, greed, power, anger and domination—the results are the same. There’s still hunger, poverty and destruction.
How about we give love a shot this time?
(Source: The First and Last Freedom, Jiddu Krishnamurti)
Author: Elyane Youssef
Image: Maria Morri/Flickr
Editor: Nicole Cameron