Putin started a war in Ukraine.
“He’s a madman,” people say. “It’s a personal war.”
But I think there is a deeper truth here that makes us all accountable—to a much lesser extent—for the external war and huge, unfair destruction and trauma happening now.
Deep in our hearts, we all know the media is an over-simplification of something extremely complex. Yet we easily get swept up in it, just as we did with the pandemic. And our political leaders exploit the simple binary division to rule.
Nuance gets lost in the (often excellent) storytelling, the battle for accurate facts, and rushed choices of everyday life. This simplification under stress takes us all a little further from the complicated, messy details of the full truth, of seeing perspectives, time, and space. It takes us all further away from the aliveness and peacefulness of our own life.
We are seeing this war happening immediately after the pandemic and the great polarised divisions of hatred between the pro-vaccine camp and the not-for-me vaccine camp. There was (and perhaps still is) a lot of hatred around for “the other.” A lot of “I am right” and “you are wrong” around this issue.
Feelings ran so high, that in some cases of disagreement, friends stopped speaking to each other, parents or children refused to allow the other into their home, and otherwise happy couples separated.
My point is that for the last two years, there has been a lot of hatred flying around. A lot of insults, insistent opinions, telling other people what they should do, and real economic pressure applied. A lot of oversimplifications of the nuanced reality from official sources. Not much respect, compassion, or real listening going on.
People were scared. Scared for themselves.
And they wanted to force others to do what seemed to them as the safest thing for their own survival. There was a lot of talk about what was for the highest good for everyone, and there were a lot of untruths.
This is not about the specific issue of vaccines, but about how much, many of us allowed ourselves to really hate “the other.” People felt justified to let rip with their hatred. We’ve all read and heard a lot of it. (And before the pandemic, here in the United Kingdom was the division around Brexit, in the United States around Trump.)
Hate against race, religion, gender, and sexuality are not new. Collectively, we have been brewing hatred; we have been amplifying the energy of hatred on a big scale for a while.
Feelings turn into material reality.
On a small scale, I personally know that well, from times when I was extremely scared and would notice how often my frightened thoughts turned into a head cold, and my feelings of fear into a chest infection.
Energy becomes matter.
Fear and stress eat us up from the inside. We become overwhelmed, exhausted, and clumsy with less capacity available to manage ourselves and the demands upon us.
It seems to me that our intense, collective global fear and hatred have in some mysterious and unintended way turned into a new war of physical hatred by Russia in Ukraine.
How we are affects not just us, but everyone else around us.
None of us lives in isolation. We are connected by the air we breathe, the emotional vibes we transmit, the ways we behave. No act exists out of context. Every one of us affects everyone else.
Putin himself was a child of wartime trauma. He grew up in post-war times of poverty following the Nazi siege of Leningrad which destroyed his hometown and his family.
There is a huge cost for his tyrannical, murderous quest for his own personal/national safety. Most evil committed is done in a misguided attempt to restore perceived justice.
It is time now to end the cycles of trauma, fear, and attack.
Time to shift away from selfish competitive survival and into realising that individual survival and success is inextricably linked with that of our neighbours, siblings, colleagues and everyone and everything around us.
It is time to realise that self-care is not self-indulgent, but essential self-maintenance for our own well-being and the well-being of each other. When one of us is happy, filled with contentment, pleasure, and delight, we lift the whole world with us.
This might be the subject of my next book…we will see.
In the meantime, try to cultivate peace and neutrality within yourself and learn how to create peaceful nonattachment with others. Knowing what to do is easy enough. Actually doing it can be the challenge!
For yourself, talk to friends, exercise physically, eat homemade food (organic if possible), drink plenty of water, get enough sleep, breathe consciously, spend time in nature, meditate, have a creative purpose project, forgive your vulnerabilities and mistakes, notice the sensations and feelings of your own body, be silly sometimes.
When in conversation with others, really open your heart to listen to them, look at them as if you are seeing them afresh, and echo back what you hear. Every single person, each in their own way, is hurt, successful, damaged, healing, and doing their very own soul best.
Let’s shift our culture into appreciating our wins, not criticising others for making mistakes.
Let’s help each other be stronger together to be truly peaceful.
Inside and Out.