Soul power

Nonviolence is the weapon of the brave.

Thomas Moore | October 2003 issue
This month’s guest columnist: Thomas Moore, a former Catholic Monk and author of several books including Care of the Soul en Original Self.
Peace is not the absence of conflict or aggression. It is the transformation of brute power into strength of mind and heart. Peace is the humane focusing of anger and ambition on the needs of the world and on creative contributions to life and culture. Peace is an active thing, strong and bold.
Violence appears only when you have lost your strength and have nothing left but to act out with fetishes – guns and other weapons – that betray your weakness. Violence is blocked life-force. It is creativity gone amok and individuality suppressed. Therefore, the worst thing you can do in dealing with violence is to be weak.
Although violence looks powerful, it is the weakest thing of all. A person with a gun or a nation with a mighty military force may look strong., but in fact they are either ignorant or desperate, or both. The gun can take away life, but the person holding it has no power of soul and spirit.
In the face of war, it may be tempting to adopt a posture of passivity, peace as non-aggression. But let’s distinguish between violence and aggression. Violence is the acting out of a closed and rigidified heart, but aggression, defined as a power of soul, is a necessity in every moment of life.
Aggression means simply stepping toward; similar to transgression, overstepping. You have to be aggressive to survive and to create. You put yourself forward. You are a presence. Violence, on the other hand, is what happens when the green force of life, for one reason or another, can’t rise into manifestation. It’s the frustration of strength.
In response to conflict, we often try to restrain our adversaries rather than empower them. The first move toward peace might be to take careful note of where violent people feel disempowered. To display your power is to show you are anxious about it. To perform atrocity and act violently is to reveal a profound confusion of mind and heart, an insanity that shows how far apart power and weakness are.
Today, our first goal might be to assure that all nations have the economic, political, and social empowerment they need. A second step is for those who have military might to explore what it would take to transmute that weaponry into power of soul. If a nation has stockpiled weapons and bad schools, that is a sign that the power issue is seriously off-kilter. Power of soul creates peace, and when there is peace there is so much to do, so much to create and sustain, that there could be no time or energy left over for the military. People who are totally involved in their works and families can’t imagine going off to war. It makes no sense.
Those of us working against war have to do it with the full force of our intelligence and imagination. The point is not to do away with war, but to transform it into the moral battles we wage within ourselves and with those close to us.
Our leaders, who we believe are responsible for war-mongering, need a stronger imagination and a spiritual vision, both of which could help them see their situations more deeply. War leaders automatically assume postures of paranoia and suspicion. We can’t blame them alone: we have to look deeply at ourselves. Perhaps if we citizens, empowered with soulful imagination, would take the initiative to offer peaceful alternatives, our leaders might follow. Of course, we have to speak in numbers sufficient to be heard and in language that is persuasive and inescapable. Today, many people give up because they believe they are nobodies compared to those in power. But they are wrong. Millions of people can be changed in a brief time of the language and the passion and the heart are all in consort, demanding an alternative to violence in all forms.
 

Solution News Source

Soul power

Nonviolence is the weapon of the brave.

Thomas Moore | October 2003 issue
This month’s guest columnist: Thomas Moore, a former Catholic Monk and author of several books including Care of the Soul en Original Self.
Peace is not the absence of conflict or aggression. It is the transformation of brute power into strength of mind and heart. Peace is the humane focusing of anger and ambition on the needs of the world and on creative contributions to life and culture. Peace is an active thing, strong and bold.
Violence appears only when you have lost your strength and have nothing left but to act out with fetishes – guns and other weapons – that betray your weakness. Violence is blocked life-force. It is creativity gone amok and individuality suppressed. Therefore, the worst thing you can do in dealing with violence is to be weak.
Although violence looks powerful, it is the weakest thing of all. A person with a gun or a nation with a mighty military force may look strong., but in fact they are either ignorant or desperate, or both. The gun can take away life, but the person holding it has no power of soul and spirit.
In the face of war, it may be tempting to adopt a posture of passivity, peace as non-aggression. But let’s distinguish between violence and aggression. Violence is the acting out of a closed and rigidified heart, but aggression, defined as a power of soul, is a necessity in every moment of life.
Aggression means simply stepping toward; similar to transgression, overstepping. You have to be aggressive to survive and to create. You put yourself forward. You are a presence. Violence, on the other hand, is what happens when the green force of life, for one reason or another, can’t rise into manifestation. It’s the frustration of strength.
In response to conflict, we often try to restrain our adversaries rather than empower them. The first move toward peace might be to take careful note of where violent people feel disempowered. To display your power is to show you are anxious about it. To perform atrocity and act violently is to reveal a profound confusion of mind and heart, an insanity that shows how far apart power and weakness are.
Today, our first goal might be to assure that all nations have the economic, political, and social empowerment they need. A second step is for those who have military might to explore what it would take to transmute that weaponry into power of soul. If a nation has stockpiled weapons and bad schools, that is a sign that the power issue is seriously off-kilter. Power of soul creates peace, and when there is peace there is so much to do, so much to create and sustain, that there could be no time or energy left over for the military. People who are totally involved in their works and families can’t imagine going off to war. It makes no sense.
Those of us working against war have to do it with the full force of our intelligence and imagination. The point is not to do away with war, but to transform it into the moral battles we wage within ourselves and with those close to us.
Our leaders, who we believe are responsible for war-mongering, need a stronger imagination and a spiritual vision, both of which could help them see their situations more deeply. War leaders automatically assume postures of paranoia and suspicion. We can’t blame them alone: we have to look deeply at ourselves. Perhaps if we citizens, empowered with soulful imagination, would take the initiative to offer peaceful alternatives, our leaders might follow. Of course, we have to speak in numbers sufficient to be heard and in language that is persuasive and inescapable. Today, many people give up because they believe they are nobodies compared to those in power. But they are wrong. Millions of people can be changed in a brief time of the language and the passion and the heart are all in consort, demanding an alternative to violence in all forms.
 

Solution News Source

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