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Mutual respect, acceptance, and compassion in the absence of these, conflicts will forever loom on the horizon, and the peace that we know will be nothing more than the calm before the storm. But if this theme were the center of our days, our children would know less violence, true peace could be established throughout the world, and 'War' would come to mean: Wrong Answer to a Resolution. - Richard A. Snipes

Golden RuleThere is an imbalance in this world. This imbalance leads to instability, which further leads to various degrees of violence and degradation. This imbalance is based on the understanding that our existence encompasses the three elements of mind, body, and spirit. In a world of power and gain, the collective interests are primarily that which feeds the desires of the mind (mental, ego) and the body (physical, material) with relatively little regard for nourishing and enriching the spiritual aspect of our being.

Spirit is the essence of who we are. It is our bond of commonality. It is the part of us that seeks to express through creation and unite through love and compassion. Religions have long been a means for seeking spiritual guidance. But for many, spirituality has become confined behind the closed doors of a church, mosque, or synagogue; buried under layers of ideology and dogma and lost within the structure and organization. With this comes a detachment from the core principles from which our great religions where inspired; for at the heart of every religion there can be found a version of the Ethic of Reciprocity, the Golden Rule. This sacred message embodies the self-evident truth that we each and all share the same fundamental desires to pursue happiness and avoid suffering. And, what we want for ourselves, we should surely want for another.

There is a need for a more spiritually balanced approach to life and the challenges that it brings about. There is a need for this simple, but essential, message to be more prominently instilled in the hearts and minds of the masses. To witness a significant decline in violence and degradation within our societies on a global scale, these core principles can be delivered from a theologically impartial, secular platform through curriculums designed for early childhood education and development that are centered around the importance of accepting differences and acknowledging commonalities, along with strengthening the foundations of respect and reverence for life for all sentient beings. This investment in ourselves would hold a promise of ensuring the reciprocation of future generations towards a collectively higher level of respect, acceptance, and compassion. Incorporating these same principles into policy and protocol for conflict resolution matters would serve to produce a more genuine and sincere outcome, while also setting the invaluable example that only through peace do we truly resolve our differences. With violence, the differences merely dissolve, allowing the causes to remain.

Violence is much like an epidemic. From bullying on the playground to gang bloodshed in the streets, from sexual degradation and abuse to senseless acts of cruelty, murder, and terrorism, all too often we hear of yet another account that leaves us shocked, dismayed, and paralyzed with disbelief. To stay this course will only lend to the continuous desensitization of the critical mass. Taking action with specifically designed plans and programs would bring about a notable change. While punishing the act is an essential part of our society, many times a sentence only proves to treat the symptom. We have a vital need to go beyond the action and address the cause, not only with psychotherapy and neuroscience, but by searching for answers further beyond our shadows. Doing so would be a testament to our spirituality being the fundamental element that can see us through to brighter prospects ahead.

Violence has long been a part of human behavior, and we should make no apologies for being human, except only when we fail to improve upon it whenever the opportunities arise. To encourage a more spiritually-balanced, common sense approach for a gradual, but significant, reduction in domestic and global violence is our opportunity. Rather than creating a way to live forever, we should strive to live forever in what we create. With this opportunity, we can create a means to ensure the awareness and importance of enriching and nourishing the spiritual aspect of our being. This could help to bring forth a light from within the darkest of souls. Extreme individuality and separation can sometimes allow for evils to discover their way through the cracks and crevices of humanity. However, a society centered on a theme of unity can hold true a bond of solidarity against them.

The further removed we are from a situation or circumstance, the lesser the degree of our concern. To embrace our individuality as a person, group, or nation is a part of our human nature. We have an innate desire to become that which best reflects our ideologies and beliefs, but before we have become anything else in our lives, we are, first and foremost, human beings. Yet, before we became human beings, we were spiritual beings. Out of fear of that which is greater than ourselves, or greater than our capacity to comprehend, our spiritual nature has become an almost unspoken truth commonly reserved for religious domains. But our spirituality is the golden thread that connects us, each and all, to one another, regardless of our title. Being detached from our spiritual awareness allows for the separation that permits hostility, aggression, and cruelty to enter into our societies, along with enabling us to turn a blind eye to the violence and bloodshed cloaked in foreign policy.

The awareness and cultivation of our spiritual unity can offer a sense of connection that would inspire more empathy and compassion towards our fellow man and help us transcend borders and distance to speak out boldly and bravely against matters of degradation and destruction of life itself with unified and peaceful solutions. Instilling a higher awareness of this cohesive bond into the hearts and minds of the critical mass could produce a paradigm shift of collective thought; bringing us closer together in the quest to diminish violence and degradation of all forms.

Our understanding of life and how we grow within it is determined by the degree in which we allow ourselves to open our hearts and minds to continually discarding old ideas and accepting new possibilities. The value of the human condition and the destiny of the human evolution is greatly dependent upon our ability to accept change, the depth of our insight, the good of our intention, and the measure of our desire for others to experience the happiness that they so desire. The generations we touch in the present will be teaching future generations from their past. As utopian as this concept may seem, it is nevertheless a possibility and one worthy of our pursuit. Even if only achieved in small steps, they will surely be steps in the right direction. 

We have become jaded to the true magic that we each and all possess. Thoughts make things. And, with a single thought, we take from the field of infinite possibilities, and through space and time, we mold and manifest that of our intended desires. Ours is the world and all that it beholds. When we come to this realization, we then turn from creatures of circumstance to creators of circumstance. - Richard A. Snipes


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