I’m sitting here listening to all the Remembrance Day coverage on TV. Every November 11th we honour the fallen by remembering them. We remember how many brave men and women we have lost, and continue to lose. I believe the underlying purpose is so that we remember how terrible war is, so that we don’t have more wars. On this day, our politicians lay wreaths at monuments, then tomorrow they will go back to buying arms. Our media outlets air solemn, moving profiles of soldiers, then tomorrow, they will go back to covering war and other violent stories. Seems we need something more than just remembering to get to peace. Here’s some thoughts from Eknath Easwaran (Words to Live By, Nilgiri Press, 2005).
Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
– Martin Luther King
All of us can play an important part in the conquest of violence. We can do this by throwing our full weight behind peaceful, effective programs for eliminating the situations from which violence arises. But just as importantly, we need to do everything we can to remove every trace of hostility in ourselves.
The violence that is flaring up on our streets and in many corners of the world is the inevitable expression of the hostility in our hearts. Hostility is like an infectious disease. Whenever we indulge in a violent act or even in hostile words, we are passing this disease on to those around us. When we quarrel at home, it is not just a domestic problem; we are contributing to turmoil everywhere.
A teacher of meditation in ancient India, Patanjali, wrote that in the presence of a man or woman in whom all hostility has died, others cannot be hostile. In the presence of a man or woman in whom all fear has died, no one can be afraid. This is the power released in true nonviolence, as we can see in the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Because all hostility had died in his heart, he was a profound force for peace.