“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” – The Buddha
Belief. I think it’s fair to assume that the vast majority of us here today believe that there should be no war. It is because we have searched within ourselves and found that peace is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all. So why is it that we spend nearly a trillion dollars a year on wars, occupations and national defense? Defense against what? In a nutshell, it boils down to defense of our ideology.
It is conventional wisdom in our country to call acts like 9/11 and Pearl Harbor unprovoked attacks. But were they really? It is documented that there was prior knowledge of both of these dark days, yet no action was taken to prevent them. The reason they both occurred was because of our creeping American Imperialism. Our hubris in thinking that we are the Deciders, the Lone Ranger to the world with Britain as our Tonto, roaming the wide-open spaces of the third world, enforcing our brand of justice (democracy) with both barrels blazing (propping up any strongman who gives us the best the deal). Why can’t we save ourselves from ourselves? The simple answer is that the majority of Americans are too apathetic and ignorant to know any better.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my country. I am proud to be an American. I spent my early adult years, some might dispute that I was really an adult, as a US Marine. I was trained in the art of killing folks and also in the art of covering my ass. I was much better at covering my ass. Fortunately I never had to use the killing part. I was a poor excuse for a Marine, but I served out my tour and moved on to the role of loose cannon. I wasted the next twenty-odd years. Once I was able to emerge from my self-medicated fog, I dedicated my self to the cause of Global Peace.
A true global Peace Movement has to start on a grassroots level. When we deconstruct a field of grass we find a billion seeds planted in a fecund topsoil. Those seeds represent a feeling of surety that lives within our hearts, your hearts. I believe, you believe, that their should be no wars. We believe that there is no justifiable reason to kill another human being. None. Zero. We all have the same family tree. We are all cousins. Our blood is interchangeable. We are one under the sun.
So the seed of this awareness sprouts in our hearts and begins to grow. As we become more committed to our belief, we acquire an emotional stake in our cause. This is like a buzzy bee, a constant reminder of what we know is good and beneficial to all. The next step is to activate that buzzy bee to pollinate our neighbors and friends and create more sprouts of grass. When placed in the right context, our stance becomes their stance and they pass the buzzy bees down the line. More grass begins to sprout and soon we have an entire field of grass and an active hive of buzzy bees. This is grassroots activism.
America has pushed it’s ideology to the point where we are no longer the big brother of the world, but rather the bully on the corner that takes the little kids lunch money if they look at us wrong. We impose our will on every other country that refuses to stand up for itself. We shame countries with our inference that it has to be our way or the highway. We discount the cultures of our cousins around the world. We pride ourselves that we are a melting pot, yet we constantly look at other Americans with distrust and suspicion. We discriminate, we profile and we live in fear. Why is this? Our city is a microcosm of America. We think ourselves enlightened and progressive. But are we really?
War is all around us. War takes place on our streets with gun battles every night. A class war is going on in our state, part of the reason that we gather today. Our country is dived by an ideological war between the right and the left. We see it all on the news. Yet all we do is sit back and complain about it. The world is ripe for a peaceful revolution. Yet we sit back and complain.
War is within us. We are at war with ourselves on a daily basis. We fight with our spouses, our children, our bosses and coworkers. We judge reckless drivers, inattentive service workers, rude people on the street, and even the talking heads and opposing politicians on our television sets. We pass through their lives in microseconds, so fast that we sometimes don’t even spark a blip on their radar screens. And yet we allow them to irritate and confound us. Our road rage is not a reflection on them but a reflection on ourselves. When we ask to speak to their supervisor it is because we can’t control our reaction to the situation. When we rail against a politician we do nothing to solve the problem. We allow our emotions to spill outside of our comfort zone. We lose our balance.
If we are ever to achieve world peace it has to start within one heart just like that seed of grass. We must first commit to have peace in our hearts. Then we commit to sharing it with others. We can reclaim our comfort zone. Then we reclaim our street. Then we reclaim our state. Then comes the country, and then the world.
We all hold within us the greatest computer ever built, the human brain. We degrade its efficiency with pain and emotion, abuse and dependency, self-medication and delusion. If our collective species were to find its balance, imagine the things that we can do, the solutions we can come up with. Cancer gone! AIDS gone! Energy crisis gone! World hunger gone! Climate change gone! Unemployment gone! War gone!
War gone? If we cooperate to solve the world’s problems what would we have to fight about? Cooperation is the key. The problem is, big business doesn’t want to cooperate. It is not in their best interests to do so. They make too much money with their obsolete technologies, their ineffective drugs, and their engineered crops, that they will spend millions to keep the solutions suppressed. It is up to us to make a stand. To boycott those who hold back our solutions. To vote out those who refuse to represent us. To make sure that our majority isn’t marginalized again.
It is up to us to observe and analyze. To deduce what is good and beneficial for all. To sprout that little grass seed in our hearts. To let our emotions become the buzzy bees who pollinate the seeds of others. To start a movement that becomes a huge grassy field. This is grassroots activism. Joy to Power!