I wondered why my mind could not rest after reading and responding to Jan’s comment on my last blog. At length I realized my mind’s machinations were providing me with the last chapter of the how-to book I’m presently writing (as yet untitled, but The Art of Poverty has been bandied about). Though I’m reluctant to release details of the book prior to its publication, my mind cannot rest until I share these more general thoughts with you today.
I was never a contestant for Miss America, but I know my answer to the question, ‘What is your dream,’ would have been — and still is: World Peace. “Can’t be done,” says nearly everyone. And if nearly everyone believes that, they’re absolutely right, for as my friend Jody says, “Perception is reality.” Until we can see something in as much detail as possible in our Mind’s Eye, we have but an infinitesimal chance of achieving it. (You can see my earlier blog, ‘I Can’t See That Ever Happening,’ for a fuller discussion of this phenomenon.) When it comes to World Peace then, it would take a very large number of people indeed to make that happen, right?
Maybe not. Journeys begin with one step, and world peace begins with one person. We must make peace with our own world, our inner world and immediate outer world, first. That’s why I’m writing the book, but I only realized its larger import today. If we individually can see how amazing and creative we are when facing our own budgets, for example, and we see the fruits of our non-violent efforts on our own behalf to love and accept ourselves as we are, the ripple effect will be remarkable in the best of ways — even to the elusive concept that is World Peace.
You know, I taught ESL for years. I often quizzed my students as to why they chose to learn English, and especially why they chose to pretty much forsake their own beautiful languages and cultures in favor of the upstart, American English. My Chinese students confided that their number one reason for coming here was to learn how to be creative. As far as English went, they knew more grammar than I did, but the Chinese knew that that was not enough for success as they envisioned it. They wanted our ingenuity, not our language per se. Unwittingly, we gave this to them and a hundred other cultures because we mistakenly believed all they were interested in was the money they could earn by learning English.
Imagine that! Here’s a country — China — with however many millions/billions of people (as I mentioned yesterday, facts are not my forte; I’m a mystic, for Pete’s sake!), who could take the U.S. over by simply sending over their strongest and bravest young people and killing or maiming us before we had a chance. (You younger folks won’t know that various Menaces were portrayed for earlier generations in just this way.) But this never happened. Why? Because they discovered creativity is stronger than the sword.
As Americans, we have forgotten that it is our ingenuity that made us a world power in the first place, and it is that aspect of us that other countries want for their citizens. Thus, they send their students to learn our “secret recipe,” if you will. They observe and learn and return to their home countries to teach others. Meanwhile, we use the bulk of our money and ingenuity devising ways to kill and torture people. We send our bravest and strongest overseas with that murderous technology, and, unbelievably, in the name of peacekeeping or peace. Has there ever been such a dangerous oxymoron?
Citizens in some countries backed away quite a while ago, while others are only doing so now. They see the truths we stubbornly refuse to acknowledge. One of them is that the country who proudly brings you such earth-shattering inventions as drones to deliver pizzas, fifty ways to cure your hemorrhoids, and robots that will clean up your dog’s poop, seemingly cannot come up with a creative alternative to war, let alone ensure healthcare as a basic right, or clean air, or pure drinking water for all its citizens, and not just the rich few. They watch in horror as their belief in our democracy crumbles. They know that Democracy is a bottom-up process and not a top-down one; how do we not see that? They watch us charge into various countries — often unasked; or worse, having caused the mess in the first place — with the best of intentions, but placing us further trillions in debt. (I’m reminded of the times others tried to “help” when they were doing anything but. I know I’ve said, “Please, if I get any more of your ‘help,’ we’re all doomed.” I wish the countries who feel that way about the USA would just tell us!)
Seriously, would you be given several hundred thousand dollars because you wanted to keep pests out of your and your neighbors’ gardens? “But I’m doing a really great thing!” you tell the loan officer. The bank, knowing you make $1,000 a month and have a credit rating of 500, just gives you an incredulous stare and calls security. None of us are allowed to spend money so irresponsibly as does our government. We must scrimp and save and budget till we feel like we have been through a war ourselves.
That’s why I’m writing the book, which focuses on a concrete method of living happily within your budget. What I only copped on to today was that the method works not only for individuals, but societies. If enough people realize that their ability to creatively control their lives (including their budgets) can be extrapolated to their fellow citizens, world peace could actually ensue. The reason I couldn’t stop thinking about yesterday’s blog was that I hadn’t realized I’d actually discovered a way to World Peace. That’s what I always wanted, yet thought I was being too idealistic and naive. (And you thought so, too, I know:D). Watch this space, folks; watch this space.
It takes courage to envision a new future, and a lot of creativity. Bombing the hell out of people and places is so 2016. I love the words from a Michael Franti song, a man who also believes things can change: “You can bomb the world to pieces, but you can’t bomb the world to peace.” Amen, bro. I’m reminded, too, of a Vietnam-era poster that said, “What if they gave a war and nobody came?” These statements are meant to raise our consciousness and allow the creative process to begin: the imagining that John Lennon so beautifully articulated in his immortal song.
You can have peace in your lifetime, whether it’s world-wide or not. It really is up to you.