Henry David Thoreau said, “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.”
At some point in our development we learn to see others through a lens of fear and hate. Because the brain is so malleable in our younger years these beliefs become that much more ingrained and as we grow older the skew of our lens becomes hardened. When it comes to the Middle East, it seems there is a collective lens that’s been hardened through history that Arabs and Jews have an irreconcilable relationship. There seems to be a social construction of hopelessness that we’re all entranced in. But if hate and ignorance are learned, is it possible they can be unlearned?
The reality is nobody has “the answer” to this conflict and the historical trauma on both sides runs deep. When safety feels threatened, as is a continual reality there, it’s a natural survival reaction to close down the mind and heart in order to protect against vulnerability and default to a fight or flight response. If someone was shooting arrows at you, you’d put up your shield and either run or eventually shoot back. At the same time, I know there are many people on both sides, if not the majority, that see the common humanity between each other, want deeply to feel safe and protected, and long to live in peace.
From thoughts come actions and from actions comes consequences.
Read through the intentions and pictures below in the following “Compassionate Peace Practice.” Set your judgments aside for a moment and see if you can bring them into your heart and mind when considering all those who are suffering in this war.
Almost everyone is touched by this conflict and it is often and emotionally stirring subject to even bring up. Please share your intentions, thoughts, stories and questions below. Your interaction creates a living wisdom for us all to benefit from.
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Last reviewed: 29 Jul 2014