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Ahimsa and the Internal Practice That Destroys the War on Terror

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If anyone still believes that the power brokers of our time don’t control every aspect of human society, including the current escalation of war in Syria, and North Korea, with additional threats being hurled at Russia and China, then this article won’t likely reach them.

For those who have finally thrown their hands up in disbelief and horror, but are compelled to truly look at how we got here – again – it is likely that you will benefit from a discussion on the topic of ahimsa, a Sanskrit term meaning “non-violence,” or “do no harm” as part of the yamas and niyamas which are studied in yoga.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that the “chemical weapons” used “by Assad on his own people” in Syria are just another contrivance like the “weapons of mass destruction” which were “found” by the U.S., and which subsequently gave them “permission” to start a war in Iraq.

Our governments and political system have become so warped that they don’t even need to fake evidence anymore – they just do what they want, with their terrorizing agenda in mind, with no care for the destruction of people, property, or financial cost. Violence is always an excuse for more violence in this upside-down world in which we live.

With evidence that the sarin gas attacks were staged, we can keep pointing the finger at all the players outside of us, but to truly overcome this nightmare, we need to look within.

Ahimsa is the Sanskrit term meaning "do no harm."

Ahimsa is the Sanskrit term meaning “do no harm.”

The idea of ahimsa has its roots in ancient India. If we practice ahimsa, we do not intentionally harm any living creature, not even a lifeless object. If we accidentally step on a bug, that is not considered a violent act, but the overall intent behind our actions and thoughts forms the crux of this philosophy. Within ahimsa is the idea of universal benevolence toward all people and animals.

Ahimsa was popularized by people like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., who preached and practiced non-violent resistance, but there is something more that we need to do to change the world we live in other than just take posters to the streets, and occupy federal buildings or facedown pipeline projects.

In the most advanced practice of ahimsa, we not only oppose violence, but we dissolve violence by using it as our ultimate weapon. We turn our enemies into friends. You can imagine that dropping bombs in Afghanistan, conducting 3,000 airstrikes against Syria since 2014, or launching a missile attack on any country might not make friends of your supposed enemies. This is the opposite of ahimsa. It does not banish the possibility of further conflict, but ensures that conflict continues.

Nonviolence

It is our internal attitude which seeks to punish our enemies that leads to our perpetual hell. We can liberate ourselves by changing our minds and hearts – by practicing universal benevolence – or, as Tulsi Gabbard has suggested, we can create more terror by supporting terrorism.

We need to understand this principle in subtle ways in our daily and personal lives before it can ever be applied on the grander stage of world geopolitics. It is obvious that we disrespect other countries, and their people by bombing them, but what about how we treat others within our own small spheres of influence? Do we hurt people with angry words, or by offering them contemptuous body language?

Does our own internal hatred bleed out onto others around us? Has our apathy toward our fellow human beings harmed them in violent ways? Way before violence becomes an armed, full-out, no-holes-barred war, it begins in tiny ways within us.

As Martin Luther King Jr. has stated, Nonviolence means not only avoiding external physical violence, but also internal violence of the spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you also refuse to hate him.”

This action is exemplified in Daryl Davis, the African American blues musician who has befriended countless members of the KKK over the past 30 years, causing many of them to renounce their active hatred of another race and their membership in the organization.

You could also see ahimsa being practiced when two mothers from Northern Ireland, one Protestant, and one Catholic, had both lost sons to the endless fighting in the area. They put their differences aside, and said to the armies who were leading the fight, “NO MORE.” Many say that these mothers’ actions helped lead to the peace agreement there.

In our own lives, enemies don’t appear as cartoon villains that cackle behind our backs, but we may know that we actively dislike another person, and that they dislike us. You may hear about how they dislike you through emails or gossip, and never even exchange a personal conversation with them. The “enemy in disguise” is the person who regularly sends words or actions of a negative flavor in your direction. Making them your friend is probably the last thing you would imagine doing.

We can’t make friends of our enemies if we have demonized the “other.”

Often, an enemy has simply made up his mind about you without really getting to know you. (Or you, them.) You can make friends by offering details about your life, or opening up to them. Think of Dale Carnegie’s advice from How to Win Friends and Influence People and simply use their name a lot, or allow them to talk about themselves. This makes people love you. They can’t help but soften up if you say their name repeatedly, or ask them about their personal lives. You can also follow Carnegie’s other eleven tricks to making friends presented in this timeless book.

You can also find common interests with another person to break down the walls of the “other” that we mistakenly believe in.

We needed our ego to develop when we were tiny infants so that we could understand that we were separate from our mothers. This process is called individuation. Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell talk about it abundantly, however, the ego begins to get out of control. It starts to put up barriers based on our past experience and our confined, limited 3-d experience of time and space, and therefore the people within this matrix of time and space.

There really is no YOU, IT, HE, SHE, ME, THEM, etc. It’s all connected, but in order to function with seeming autonomy and individualism, we let the ego run the show.  We create an “out there” which is really just a perfect reflection of “in here.” In traditional psychology, this is often called projection. Carl Jung further called this the shadow self. He said,

To become conscious of it [the shadow] involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge, and it therefore, as a rule, meets with considerable resistance.” (CW 9ii, para. 14-15).

We find these dark aspects of our personalities – self-hatred, other-hatred, fear, jealousy, desire for infinite power, anger, etc. – as unsavory so we stuff them inside ourselves. They then wait, like a tiger ready to pounce on a gazelle, for the moment we meet anyone that we can pin these undesirable traits on – just as long as we don’t have to look at them in ourselves. Our inferiorities become another’s faults. Our pain become another’s insensitivity, etc.

These projections isolate us from others, and create “enemies.”

As Jung also explained,

While some traits peculiar to the shadow can be recognized without too much difficulty as one’s own personal qualities, in this case both insight and good will are unavailing because the cause of emotion appears to lie, beyond all possibility of doubt, in other person. No matter how obvious it may be to the neutral observer that it is a matter of projections, there is little hope that the subject will perceive this himself. He must be convinced that he throws a very long shadow before he is willing withdraw his emotionally-toned projections from their object… As we know, it is not the conscious subject but unconscious which does the projecting.” (CW 9ii, para. 16- 17)

If you want to practice ahimsa, you have to start breaking down your own projections. That is what Martin Luther King Jr. really meant. You can’t hate another if you are too busy looking at ways to love yourself – to accept your shadow, and not allow it to taint your ideas of the world around you.

In classic Jungian style, the U.S. is projecting its fear and power-hunger onto every country around it, while refusing to look at its own shadow. We, living in the U.S., and other parts of the world though, are not 100% experts yet at looking at our own darker stuff either, and so the game of war continues.

We can take this even further and start to dissolve our fears and desires. A man with no desires says Paramahansa Yogananda, has no anger. A man with no anger has no rage, and a man with no rage makes no violent wars.

As the Buddha taught, the feeling of a separate “I”, which we call ego-consciousness, is directly related to the strength of ignorance, greed, and hatred. The dissolution of a separate self, and its accompanying wanton lust, greed, and fear, also makes way for true peace. This is politics we need to be practicing.

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Awareness

UK Queen’s Statues Torn Down Amid Anger Over Mass Graves for Indigenous Children

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This year may have had one of the most muted Canada Day celebrations, but this didn’t stop Indigenous protesters from making their anger felt – especially in the wake of the discovery of over 1,000 children’s bodies near the residential schools run by the Canadian state and church authorities.

And with churches being likely targeted by arsonists for the crimes of Catholic clergy, protesters are now attacking the symbols of Anglo colonialism – namely, statues of Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria.

More than 200 children’s bodies were discovered buried in a mass grave in May, with several hundreds more being discovered in June at unmarked gravesites near Indian residential schools in June.

About 150,000 First Nations children were forcibly separated from their families and communities and forced to attend the religious schools which were established in the 19th century to assimilate Indigenous children into the Anglo settler-colonial culture of Canada.

Former students have testified to the horrific sexual, mental and physical abuse they suffered while enrolled at the schools. Myriad children died from preventable diseases, as well as in accidents and fires. Others disappeared when trying to escape. The Commission has denounced the schools for institutionalizing child neglect and for being organs of “cultural genocide.”

The discoveries have churned up deep-seated anguish and memories of the suffering visited upon First Nations peoples, with many lashing out at the symbols of colonialism.

At least seven churches, all but one of which were Catholic, have also come under apparent arson attacks throughout Canada in recent weeks.

In June, a statue of the late Pope John Paul II at a Catholic church in Edmonton was splattered with red paint and red handprints.

On Thursday, July 1, residents in Canada also held organized protests and pulled down the statues of the top figurehead of British colonialism: Queen Elizabeth II, as well as that of her great grandmother, Queen Victoria. Sky News reports that the toppling of the statues was accompanied by the chant, “No Pride in Genocide!”

In Ottawa, protestors gathered en masse at Parliament Hill chanting ”Cancel Canada Day” and ”shame on Canada,” urging an end to the national holiday over the deaths of Indigenous people.

Indigenous groups and Canadian politicians are demanding an apology from the Catholic Church – specifically Pope Francis. The event could take place by year’s end, according to the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops.

However, it remains unlikely that the British crown will offer the same amends to Canada’s Indigenous nations who, like many across the globe, suffered greatly in British Colonialism’s worldwide search for riches and glory.

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3 Reasons Why Introverts Are Undervalued in Today’s Society

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It’s undeniable that our society favors assertive extroverted personalities with strong communication skills and underestimates the quiet ones. If you are an introvert, you have probably learned it the hard way.

It could be that you felt unseen in the classroom as a child or teen. Or you may have watched your less competent co-workers get a promotion thanks to their social skills.

It feels unfair, but if you think about our society, it makes perfect sense. The consumerist mindset that has become our second nature inevitably affects the way we treat other people. It seems that everything, including our personal qualities and worth as human beings, is translated into some kind of market value.

In other words, to make other people see your worth in personal or professional life, you need to be able to ‘sell yourself’. Yes, this expression alone tells it all.

You need to know how to make a good first impression, say the right things, and be assertive. If you can’t do it, you are perceived as incapable and uninteresting – whether we are talking about a job interview or an informal social gathering.

But it’s not the only reason why introverts are undervalued in our society. Here are a few more:

1. They are less efficient in teamwork

Communication and teamwork skills are required for all kinds of jobs. It seems that without being able to work in a team, it’s impossible to do your job even if your duties don’t involve interaction with clients.

Introverts are much more efficient when they work on their own and are given a certain extent of independence. They thrive in quiet environments with few distractions and interactions. This is when a quiet person gets the chance to unleash their creative self and make good use of their analytical skills.

Most office jobs don’t give employees this opportunity. Office meetings, group projects, phone calls and all the other attributes of a 9-to-5 job make it almost impossible for an introvert to be productive.

2. They don’t like to be in the spotlight

Sometimes it feels like we are living in a society of attention seekers. Today, you are expected to go public about the most personal matters, such as your relationship and family life.

People share their most intimate thoughts and feelings on social media, post updates about the most trivial events, such as what they had for dinner, and upload countless selfies.

Introverts are among those who still value privacy. They are less likely to showcase their lives online or share the details of their personal affairs with the whole world.

At the same time, the quiet ones don’t like to be in the spotlight at social events. An introvert will never interrupt you. They will listen to you and talk only when they have something important to say. This tendency to avoid attention can be mistaken for insecurity and even a lack of intelligence.

3. They prefer to be real than to be ‘nice’

If you want to make a good impression on others, you are expected to be nice. But what does it mean to be ‘nice’ anyway?

In an introvert’s mind, it equals saying things you don’t mean. Quiet personalities will never bombard you with compliments or say meaningless social pleasantries just to win your fondness. But if an introvert said something nice to you, then be sure that they truly meant it.

Small talk is another component of social relationships most introverts struggle with. To them, it embodies utterly dull, uncomfortable, and pointless conversations they can perfectly do without. For this reason, introverts are often mistakenly believed to hate people.

The truth is that they don’t – they just crave stimulating, meaningful conversations and choose their social circle more carefully than extroverts.

In my book, The Power of Misfits: How to Find Your Place in a World You Don’t Fit In, I write about the reasons why so many introverts feel inadequate and alienated from other people in today’s society. It all goes down to social expectations this personality type has to deal with from a very early age.

But the good news is that every introvert can overcome the negative effects of these expectations and find the right path in this loud, extroverted world.

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The Esoteric Meaning Behind Neo’s Interrogation Scene in The Matrix

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More than 20 years old now, The Matrix is recognized by fans across the world as being one of the most brilliant films in history, most notably for its deeper meaning and esoteric philosophy.

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One scene that is particularly intriguing, considering the social climate of today, is Neo’s interrogation by the Agents of the Matrix.

Now, before we dig into the potential hidden meaning here, as I perceive it, and how Neo found himself in this uncomfortable position to begin with, let’s first establish some key points in relation to the overall story line that will help us to appreciate the implications behind this scene a little bit more.

What Does The Character Neo Represent in the Matrix?

Neo in ancient Greek (νέος) means new/young one. This is an important piece of the puzzle to help us understand what the directors of the film are trying to communicate to us. With that said, when we assess Neo’s character in the first film, we find that he is a solitary individual that keeps to himself and is struggling to find deeper meaning in this world by constantly searching the internet.

What Does The Character Morpheus Represent in the Matrix?

Morpheus in Greek mythology is a messenger of the gods. He appears to humans through dreams with the intention of delivering divine Knowledge and Truth. In the Greek mythos, he can appear in almost any form in people’s dreams, which could be because anyone, regardless of race, gender, or outward appearance, can be a messenger of enlightenment and Truth.

The First Matrix Film is About The Beginning of the Journey to Awakening

With the understanding of the deeper meaning behind what Neo and Morpheus’ characters represent in the film, we can now appreciate the intro scene of Neo sleeping (whilst searching for Morpheus) through a different lens of perception and awareness.

You see, Neo sleeping whilst searching online for Morpheus represents the early stages of the Truth seekers journey — “asleep” but still searching for deeper meaning in life — and hoping to find that meaning by seeking out a “messenger” of higher Knowledge and Truth.

Truth is Terrorism in the Empire of Lies

Through his incessant efforts, Neo begins to get closer and closer to finding the elusive Morpheus. This, however, also attracts the unwanted attention of the Agents in the Matrix, which represent the enforcers of the shadow government of this system. Their job is to ensure that no one exposes what the Matrix really is, and how it turns unsuspecting every day human beings into useful resources that it can use and exploit.

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The Agents proceed to apprehend Neo and interrogate him, where they make it very clear that they’ve been spying on him and keeping meticulous records of his activities, both online and offline, for quite some time now. As we all know very well today, all around the world intelligence agencies are doing exactly that — tracking what we view online and keeping meticulous records on many of our movements.

The agents, however, do not see Neo as being a major threat to the Matrix system, as he is still in the early stages of his awakening and does not know enough to be a major threat. Instead, they offer him a deal where they will be willing to “wipe the slate clean” on his illegal activities online, if Neo will simply help them track down the man they call Morpheus, who they claim is “a known terrorist” that is “considered by many authorities to be the most dangerous man alive”.

This represents that the single greatest threat to this manipulative system — which is overwhelmingly ruled by deception and exploitation — is any messenger of higher Knowledge and Truth that can potentially awaken those who are still “asleep” to what the proverbial Matrix really is. In fact, one could argue this sort of power struggle has been going on for thousands of years, and is possibly why Socrates was accused of “corrupting the youth” by the ruling class more than 2,000 years ago and subsequently sentenced to death; or why Fred Hampton was assassinated by government authorities in 1969; or, in more recent history, why civilians that were peacefully protesting against Wall Street and the bankers for their part in destroying the world economy in 2008, were targeted by the FBI and even labelled as potential “domestic terrorists“.

Simply put, Truth is terrorism in the empire of lies.

Imaginary Rights

Neo, still being somewhat naïve and unbegun in his journey, rejects the Agent’s offer and demands he get a phone call because “I know my rights!”

To this, Agent Smith retorts, “tell me Mr. Anderson, what good is a phone call if you’re unable to speak?”, which results in Neo’s mouth warping in the most eerie of ways.

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This scene represents a lesson that all genuine Truth seekers eventually come to learn — this system is not concerned with human rights nor is it concerned with upholding authentic justice. Instead, it inculcates these beliefs and misperceptions into our minds from a very young age, because it serves to help legitimize its unnecessary existence in the eyes of the unsuspecting public and indoctrinate us as to why we think we need it. But in reality, our government guaranteed “rights” can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye.

In relation to current events, for example, many thousands of people worldwide have been arrested for violating curfew orders; In one Indian state, civilians were told they must take selfies every hour and send it to the authorities to prove that they are staying indoors; in South Africa, some have been fined for not wearing masks while driving their cars; In Boston in the United States, people have even been told that they will be fined if they walk “the wrong direction” down the street; Homeless people in France have reportedly been fined for not staying indoors; Some people have been arrested for attending funerals of loved ones because it violated lockdown orders; Others (including doctors and scientists) have had their right to freedom of speech censored online; In Australia, a pregnant woman was actually arrested in her home for facebook posts that encouraged protesting against the lockdown; According to the International Labor Organization, tens of millions are being pushed into unemployment; and travel all around the world has been severely restricted by these authorities who have taken it upon themselves to be the rulers of this planet by dictating what the rest of us can and cannot do. Whether you agree with these policies or not, these things cannot logically be called “rights” since they are so very easily violated and taken away from us.

We Must Start With the Imagination

There are many other examples that demonstrate how our government given “rights” are more of a comforting illusion than an actual reality, such as the CIA’s secretive Black Site torture programs, which have been done in cooperation with other intelligence agencies and authorities throughout the world. In these programs, people have been kidnapped — without any legal criminal charge or trial — and then taken to undisclosed secret locations where many of them are tortured for many months on end, in ways that are considered to be in violation of international law and basic human rights. The CIA, of course, simply claims they are suspected terrorists. In 2014, however, a Senate Intelligence Committee Report found that at least 26 of the people that were kidnapped and tortured were actually “wrongfully detained”.

Wake Up Neo — You Are the One

Fortunately, Neo manages to escape this unthinkable situation without any serious injury or harm. Soon after, he is contacted by Morpheus, where he is told that he was very lucky that the Agents underestimated his great potential and spared him, because if the Agents had known the great secret that Morpheus knows, then Neo would probably be dead.

Confused by the obvious strangeness of everything taking place, Neo asks Morpheus what the hell is going on, and what exactly is he talking about?? Without hesitation, Morpheus replies to him, “You are the one Neo — You see, you may have spent the last few years looking for me, but I have spent my entire life looking for you.”

This is perhaps the most important lesson the new Truth seeker must eventually come to learn — We are the ones we have been waiting for to change this corrupt world my friends; and we must stop looking for heroes and human leaders to absolve us of this very serious responsibility. Instead, we must all take on the role of Morpheus — which is to awaken as many Neo’s (new minds) as we possibly can, whilst also taking on the role that represents the journey of Neo, by challenging ourselves to become the best version of who we authentically are.

By doing this, we will help to awaken and unleash the unique creative forces of each individual’s problem solving imagination; and we will also find unity in our shared struggle against the injustices, and corruption, of this inhumane system which invariably exploits us all.

If not us, then who? And if not now, then when?

Written by Gavin Nascimento, Founder of aNewKindOfHuman.com

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