Once we discover violence within, we may begin to observe the whole system of social conditioning; and perhaps we will recognize how punishment has been observed as another synonym of “justice.”
In general, in our society punishment is the settlement of an offense made by someone. Punishment increases, as the offense is deemed to be “worse.” Laws are in charge of judging the severity of those offenses, but the bottom line is that “eye for eye and tooth for tooth” still remains as the principle of retribution to compensate for a loss.
That principle of punishment is so ingrained in our society that even religions preaching peace, brotherhood, and forgiving another’s offense use the principle of punishment quite often in their philosophies and beliefs. Even “God” could be depicted as a vengeful being who supports a particular land or people over another.
Looking at the penal system in the world, we could see a wide variety of beliefs and approaches: From the popular “If you do the crime, you do the time” to a more restorative and rehabilitative system where the inmate is treated with dignity and high hopes to make him part of society again. The correctional system in Norway is well known for the later.
It could be easy to point out that the level of overall violence existing in a country, is proportional to the type of punishment that they will support. Violence uses punishment as another way of reciprocal violence under the label of “justice.”
When the collective consciousness is continuously fed with violence, there will be manifestation of it and retaliation in the form of punishment. It is interesting to look into this, for we could perceive how our conditioning will make us behave in violent ways even with our closest relatives and friends. When others do not behave according to our expectations, punishment is used to bring that person into compliance, although; our understanding of “fairness” and “justice” is biased by conditioning.
Someone stole a widget from a store. He could be penalized with jail time, a fine or even to chop that hand off. Very few will go into a way to rehabilitate that person and understand his circumstances. Who has the time in a busy society? Fear is the tool used to discourage the person from recidivism.
To understand punishment means to look into our own inner violence. That is the starting point. Someone harming another may be mentally ill or circumstances may be pushing that person. Rehabilitation is a more humane way to deal with violence.
If someone murders a close loved relative like your sibling, and you know who that person is; Wouldn’t avenging that person be the right action? Why is there the belief that by taking the life of the individual murdering a loved one, things will be even?
I could say through experience, that to deal with inner feelings of vengeance is the challenging part. That literally will poison us. Our inner violence will exacerbate and manifest. That is the hardest part. Vengeance cannot bring a loved one back, but it can destroy our own life; for our own violence will be completely unleashed and self destructive.
A “spiritual” person knows that we cannot take “justice” in our own hands. Humans do not have the power to decide over someone’s life and if we pretend to have it, consequences will be experienced. We know that Life is a gift, however; Life and Death are together. We can thank our parents for giving us Life as we have been told, but we forget that through that Life, there will be the experience of Death as well.
Life has its own “justice system,” which is not human: It never forgets and arrives at the “right time.” All we may need to be aware of, is what we keep in our hearts. If we keep the poison of vengeance, then the trauma that we will inflict into ourselves will make our life miserable. The emotion urging us to “get even” is the mind with its own conditioning, learned through living in a violent social system: “An eye for an eye.” Thus, we have the responsibility to look into this as we could experience the poison of vengeance.
We say “forgive and forget.” That is not for “normal” humans; but for those who are willing to go beyond their own little selves and open up their hearts to any experience that Life may bring. Experiences will not always be pleasant for we live in the world of duality; but for sure, those experiences will be exactly what we need to experience. This is not a matter of “luck” but destiny. It is not punishment but a test for growth. It is up to us to make it a lesson or a trauma.
I could write about hope. I could say that things will get “better,” and that we should have clear “objectives” in our minds to reach them. Isn’t that what most individuals are desiring? After all, we need something inspiring to get ourselves motivated and “become something” in Life and “earn” some serious income, start a family, buy property, etc. That is, to repeat the conditioning one more time.
Why is it so hard for most of us to take a look at “what is”? Why is it that we rather continue dreaming with something that isn’t? I understand that we need a “goal” something to strive for; but isn’t that at the same time some form of diverting our focus from what is, and little by little become self-centered and isolated from everything else?
“What is” may not be what we desire. It may not be part of our goals in Life, but anything we build without considering “what is,” will be like a card castle. Even though an amazing feat to build, it will fall easily for there is no strong foundation.
We don’t look because we don’t want to feel pain. That looking is not only about what is “out there,” but mostly what is “inside,” for as we “know” that which is within; we will see it out there too.
We are society. Every single one of us is part of it, thus the pain of society is also my pain. We need courage to look, for pain will not go away by focusing on some ideal or objective.
In Life, typically we don’t consider the collective. We only care about individualistic views; that is why; it is difficult to work towards the collective good.
“My pain,” “My depression,” “My violence,” we want to “solve” that. It is difficult to observe that those are part of society as well.
Our minds cannot grasp Life paradoxes. Although we are individuals, we are one unit called humanity. We may have different experiences which make us different; but that “difference” paradoxically, is the one that will make us also the same.
These are exciting times. Not because of what I can get out of it, but because these times will be challenging. That is another way to look at things.
We may see that all the security that we thought our structures brought, will fall apart.
We may see that to be “right” is no longer valid and that will not be “wrong.”
We may see that emotions will rule over reason and logic.
We may see that a new form of dementia will be confronting our highly conditioned, structured minds; for the mind had had its due time.
The most exciting part is that none of those items will be the product of our willful direct DOING, these things will just happen, they will just BE.
As our society has created psychological isolation between humans, where we can only see “me, I and myself” as the center of the Universe; what is coming will break that apart; just like what
“Covid” did to our highly routinized lives; then perhaps we could finally challenge the conditioned notion that “I am the master of my destiny” and observe that “I move together with everyone else.”
I cannot help but observe human misery as “what is” there (wars, hunger, corruption, widespread violence, despair with some shades of gentleness, goodwill and joy in the human psychological rainbow) which is mine as well. All we need to do is to read the current international news.
Is there a “bright” future for the new generation to come? Shall we sit and think of “solutions”?
No. Times are not calling for that sort of “action.” We had plenty of that: Superficial solutions brought about by the same mind that created the issues- a greedy, self centered, violent mind.
Times are calling for us to become AWARE on how humanity, society is in “me.”
“Action” is in transforming what is in “me,” rather than selfishly pretending to “change the world.”
Do we see violence within? Are we aware of it? There is a difference between seeing it and being aware of it. When we see, when we look, there is language involved to label and make sense of that which we are looking. We wouldn’t know what a “rose” was without classifying it, we couldn’t communicate that to others and ourselves without a label: “rose. I have seen a rose.”
Language is thought. The gist of thought is to separate, classify, analyze, dissect, compare. Thus, when we “see” violence, we separate it and compare it with something which we consider “non-violence.”
That idea is merely another thought. Then the mind comes up with a “solution.” What is that solution?
We ought to “practice” non-violence; which is just an idea.
The above, is what our society does on a regular basis. It is very superficial indeed. We want to “practice” an ideal, something floating in our minds and put it in “practice.” But we cannot.
BEING violent does not change through a behavioral “practice.”
If we observe a man hitting another, we label that as “violence.” Our solution is that man should not hit another man. That behavior, is the manifestation of violence; however, the root is still there, ready to manifest in another way: Let me hit an animal instead. Another law appears to protect animals. Violence continues to escalate: Then, let me hurt myself. There is no “law” against that.
Many individuals DO that (self-violence) on a regular basis: We hurt ourselves emotionally when we resent or make a trauma out of life. Physically; when we do not care for our bodies and psychologically when we continuously compare with others then; we cannot help but hurt others as we live in relationship. We are not isolated islands separated by the immense ocean. We are the ocean itself.
Do we see this cycle?
Looking at violence is not enough. Making “laws” is not enough.
Become aware of violence: When I push myself because of the idea of “winning” or “no pain, no gain.” When I compare myself with others and want to “beat them,” we are being violent. Society may give me a “medal” in certain “games” but, violence is there. Otherwise, why is winning so important when we are “playing” in goodwill?
When a child does not want to do what we grown ups, ask them to do. How do we react? What is the sensation coming out from us? When we belittle someone, what is the experience? Yes, the ego may feel “superior.”
If person A does not want to comply with the desires of person B, what is the solution? Although the “solution” is important, more important is to be aware of the sensation, the feeling coming out from us during that time. That is the path to understand violence. Are we clenching our teeth to avoid fighting? Are we repressing the sensation? Are we sensible enough to perceive how that repression is hurting our internal organs? Are we aware of the trigger and the whole motion of violence?
Are we watching the commentaries of the ego through the mind as the situation takes place? Are we aware on how those commentaries remain even days after the fact?
Do we see the importance of BEING AWARE?
Violence brings more violence in unaware individuals. They may think that they are “fighting back,” defending themselves. They may think that it is “reasonable” to fight back, but there is another side of reason that we haven’t looked at: The egoistic reasons of the mind. The one offending others and the ones defending use those “reasons” quite often. The end result is more violence.
How is it possible for a mind whose primary objective is to divide, to consider the common good?
“Spirituality” has been known for not being able to come up with “real” solutions for the problems in society, but perhaps we are missing the point: Violence has been inside man. No matter what we do from the outside, violence will be there. Thus, it is the task of every “reasonable” man to become aware of that; for until we become aware of that violence in us, it is very little that could be done as a “solution” for society. Even after so many laws to prevent violence; there is greater violence.
Society is “us” and so is violence.
When we perceive danger or a situation which brings a feeling of uneasiness, we could stay and fight. We need to “win,” we need to conquer the “enemy,” etc. On the other hand, if that situation is perceived as unsurmountable, then we need to “save face,” that is “flight.”
Our conditioning is heavily influenced by dualities: win-lose, fight-flight. This is the first aspect to observe, when making sense of our behavior. Why is that important? Because we are caught in a box of 2 possibilities, when there are many.
One of the heaviest conditioning there is in our society, is related with this duality of perceiving Life as the inner working of a computer: On-OFF, 0-1. In general, we see Life from this binary format. Duality. No wonder “our creation,” the classical computer works in the same way. We may need to switch our awareness to something like a “Quantum Computer,” where there could be more than just one choice, many possibilities.
Spirituality sees that ACCEPTANCE of “what is,” is indeed another way to meet Life.
This is not surrendering or an offshoot of “flying,” by slowly walking off like a dog who has been nagged by his owner. Acceptance is to be flexible in the moment to meet Life as it appears.
For example, every Tuesday I may eat spaghetti religiously. One Tuesday I ran out of it and couldn’t purchase it. Yes, I could eat something else instead, but that is not the type of acceptance that I am talking about.
Acceptance is to look with some sort of excitement at the opportunity for something different, that is the arrival of newness. Acceptance is an attitude of gratefulness for the new experience.
The above is something difficult to see when we are only caught up in our own stories, our own images that we want to protect.
For instance, Life sends a pandemia. The story is not just about human beings. Nature has the rare opportunity to rebuild itself. Caught up in our own stories in self-absorption, we cannot see the whole picture. So what Nature has to do with “me”? Nature is where WE live, what we breathe, Life itself.
The human story commonly shared is about lost jobs, lost lives, lost income, lost markets, lost GDP, and so forth. We do not see the unity of all. We do not perceive when we divide ourselves from everything else, that we create a duality between “us” and “them;” therefore, the survival of “them” depends on the extermination of “us.” We cannot see a sane balance of “us” and “them,” for our minds haven’t been conditioned to harmonize but to ‘win,’ to ‘conquer,’ to follow the “survival of the fittest” idea when paradoxically, the weakest of us are being killed through a virus (There is an element of human responsibility in every pandemia) and we want to protect them. Let us not go into the “morality” of that perspective. Let us see the facts. Animals, plants, the environment are the “weakest links, “younger brothers” compared to humans but the same moral direction to protect is not there, but to exploit.
Acceptance. That is the opportunity to end the stories of despair and anguish and look forward to newness, the opportunities.
There are different levels or interpretations of acceptance, but a deep acceptance will bring as a result what is known as a “detached observer.”
What Life “throws at us” is for our own inner development; thus, we may need to sharpen our ability to Observe, so we could assimilate Life experiences with acceptance rather than bitterness and opposition.
“We” cannot ‘win’ over Life. We are Life itself.
Justice, equality, love… pretty words used by many when looking for support.
The human journey is to go from the merely intellectual understanding of those words to the actual feeling and thus BEING it.
Love IS. Justice and equality are man-made inventions in a world full of violence. Human beings ARE violent creatures.
Life has “justice” in it. Although, “justice” is not the correct word; which should be “balance” instead, human perception of justice is not the paradigm used by Life itself.
A few days ago, the International women’s day was celebrated. Women’s constant struggle to find equality with men has been the theme of many years now. The invention of a new pretty word -empowerment- (of women) has been used to show society’s efforts to work towards that equality.
Why does society perceives men and women not to be equal? Because conditioned human beings find and concentrate on differences and use violence as a tool to demonstrate supremacy over “different ones.” However, that perception is an illusion, for differences create a complementary quality which creates wholesomeness, unity. We are one.
In short, differences are not opposite but complementary. Life moves along those lines. Society moves through conflict, through discrimination, oppression and violence of one side towards the other. Paradoxically, it is that same violent mind the one that has created “rights” to defend the oppressed side.
At the most obvious and superficial perception, differences of men and women create the complementary quality needed to live Life in harmony. In its depth, we could find that every man and woman irrespective of sexual orientation, has a masculine and a feminine side. Our perception as society will change once a human being is able to harmonize those 2 sides within. Otherwise, the predominant side will prevail and dominate the other. That is exactly what happens at the level of society.
It is too bad that politicians and law makers are completely unaware of the above, for “laws” are only intellectual cover ups unable to change how actually a person feels. It is indeed those feelings, the ones that will be expressed and despite the enactment of “pretty” laws, we will witness further violence.
Yes, laws are better than nothing in a dormant society. At least we could say that “we are trying.”
Observe that we ARE violence. Laws only cover that fact by forcing a behavior, because most humans are unable to look inside. There is no time. There is no profit in such activity. No demand.
Among men, there has been separation as well. Exploitation due to differences of skin color, religion, etc. Not long ago, a man could have been a slave to another, due to his skin color or national origin.
The same type of violence is showcased with animals. I always wondered about the “symbiotic” relationship of domesticated animals with human beings: What benefit do animals obtain? They could be better off all by themselves. On the other hand, humans have benefited through the free exploitation of animals. Animals have been used even for “entertainment” (bull fight, cock fight, dog fight, etc.) as still some countries keep obsolete and inhumane traditions as forms of “entertainment” and many times use another “pretty” word to hide their violent nature, they use the word “art” to hide the slaughter.
But, where is “justice” in those inhumane practices with animals?
Well… It comes to mind the epidemic diseases: COVID-19. SARS, MERS, Avian influenza, Swine flu, etc. Those viruses have an origin in animals.
Balance. In Life, a human being is no better than a fish. Although human religions and law makers may believe otherwise. Want “proof”? Death is everywhere. Hardship strikes to hunters and prey “equally.”
It is important to recognize that we are all together in this. Our distinctions, separations, differences, etc. do not control the way Life works.
When we DO something to OTHERS, we do it to OURSELVES.
Looking forward to see that “law” in “practice” in some country showcasing a “progressive,” democratic constitution.
Many years ago, it was taught: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” It seems we still have issues properly defining and understanding what “others” means, for most only see “I” but cannot understand what it is.
Many are inspired by gurus, saints and self proclaimed self-realized individuals, in their search for “enlightenment,” a “higher state,” etc. for they want to achieve that state for themselves.
Because these individuals think that to become “better” and achieve something as they have done in society, is “good.” Their role models fit that aspiration.
We may think that such goal is laudable, that it is something “good” to pursue and encourage the seeker to “obtain” that, to “achieve” it, so he can be a model too and tell us “how to get it” for ourselves later on.
Observe the desire to achieve. Observe the typical “modus operandi” in action: It is the same “method” that we have learned to DO and accomplish things in “Life.” We believe in “hard work” and steady effort to “achieve” this aspiration of “enlightenment” as well, by following the same.
Nevertheless, “spirituality” or the art of living Life in fulfillment; doesn’t follow the ways we have learned through centuries of conditioning.
Until we don’t realize that, we will be repeating the same pattern. A “higher state of BEING” is not like getting a job, or working hard through endless repetition of methods. As a matter of fact, our desires for such achievement, are of no consequence. It is not like what we have been taught.
Still, the machinery is at work in search for profit. Books, classes and other sources of information are sold to “help” the seeker to “achieve” his goals.
That is snake oil. However, it has a placebo effect according to the depth of belief.
Here is the premise to understand: The same ego, the same “I,” the same “mind” trying to achieve something “great” such as a higher state of BEING is the one required to melt away.
Thus, isn’t that desire to achieve something, coming from the same ego-mind which needs to wither away? “Oh Ok…then, I will achieve and then wither the ego away…” If it was like that, then everyone could be self-realized in “3 simple steps.”
A “higher state” is not achievable. For there will be no “I,” there to achieve. Further, a “higher state” only happens according to the need of time to those whose life experience calls for that. That “event” is beyond our DOING.
Let me be more explicit: The “I,” the “mind,” the “ego,” achieves through action, through DOING something. Observe how religions and spiritual paths have many rituals, commandments and practices thought to “better” a person.
However, DOING does not change BEING. DOING can only change behavior but never BEING.
No matter how many times we repeat some “practice,” BEING cannot change. BEING does not change due to the strong desire of the “ego-mind” to “succeed.” Spirituality is in the realm of BEING first, not DOING to cover BEING.
If the above is clearly understood, then we will face the “reality” that truly AWARENESS is the trademark of a conscious existence, which is not concerned in bringing change to itself, as change naturally happens; but rather OBSERVES, is AWARE of how it happens and naturally allows for it to happen at its own time. ALLOWING is key, when ego has been taught to control.
It is of paramount importance to understand what AWARENESS is, but the catch is that it cannot be explained or defined. There is the dictionary definition, but that is not the EXPERIENTIAL, complete, unmistakably meaning. As the experience of awareness happens and we become more conscious, then we will know.
In the meantime and until that happens, there are tons of “self-help” books, classes and information to help us “achieve” our spiritual goals; whether that is “heaven,” “self-realization,” or some other goal desired by the ego driven mind. It is good to get “busy.” 🙂
Yes, there is something for everyone.
A duality is understood as two separate options when truly is one line of continuity. I am not speaking about the “morality” of what we perceive as “bad” or “wrong” for that is a human value. I am pointing out that our perception of a duality as separate, opposite sides is an illusion in the “reality” of Life. We need language to identify a side of that duality, but if we consider one side valuable and despise or reject the other, we are setting ourselves up for suffering. Language is an identifier but let us forget the connotation that it brings, if we want to go deeper. For example, the word “snake” brings a connotation according to tradition or cultural conditioning (devil, penis, medicine- caduceus-, etc.) if we are influenced by that, we cannot look at the reality of the snake appearing in front us. The mind and its conditioning will give us an illusory reality.
Let me illustrate with the duality of life and death.
The weather is getting hotter because of the increase of carbon dioxide emissions. Superficially, we could say that “Australia is one of the largest per capita emission of carbon dioxide in the world; “ and come up with a “reason” for dead kangaroos and other animals there at this time, due to the recent fires. However, Life does not make distinctions of nationalities, which are man made illusions, part of the conditioning. Is Global warming “good or bad”?
Our moral conditioned mind will say “ It is bad.” Yet, our human “progress” depends on it. In a nutshell, the “economy needs global warming to thrive.” More cars, more coal powered electrical stations, more energy dependent sources on petrol and oil which are used in greater quantities as human population increases.
What we DO is in contradiction with what we say. It is called politics.
Do we see how something which we apparently call “bad” could be turned into “good” after a couple of turns in the streets of Life? We could change our perspective of “good and bad,” due to mass media and political pressures, but we cannot change the consequences.
Every belief and support in something labeled as “good” will bring its “bad” effect as well. Observe the current international situation between Iran and the USA. We are used to take sides based on our assesment of the “good and bad;” however, ego manifested as desire for control, is the “real” cause to observe and that ego is more important in the “normal” human mind than to respect Life. No matter what religious or moral teachings we may have superficially accepted about protecting Life; sooner or later the “truth” of who we ARE will come out. Then, the question of choosing countries and pair them with a label such as “good or bad” seems very infantile. Another example? it is said that the belief in God has brought some social order but many lives have been taken as well due to that belief. Our conditioning will follow what mainstream teaches us, but every belief has 2 sides which cannot be taken apart: To separate a duality to support one side and reject the other is insane; however, it is the “bread and butter” of our spiritual/religious/moral teachings.
Many years ago while I was running, a car hit a deer. The deer could hardly walk and went near the bushes to the side of the road. I looked for help as I didn’t know what to do. A couple of firefighters came with a security guard. They offered shooting the deer with a gun and “end its misery.” The firefighters “jokingly” (but seriously) were talking about eating the deer afterwards. I was in my late twenty’s at the time. I wanted for the deer to be in a tranquil space and asked for help because I thought the deer could get well. Nevertheless, I had to forcefully convince the people around me to let the deer go naturally. The “help” I brought, didn’t help in my view. I could see the face of despair of the deer. I couldn’t understand how some people were not sensible to pain and suffering. There was no empathy. Their “economic interests” were more important. From the time the deer was hit until it finally died, about 1 hour lapsed. I saw the deer die, and then the “helpful” people helped themselves.
Now, I understand that other humans will see Life with different eyes. Where some see despair and anguish; others see an opportunity to eat. Who is to say that my view is “good” and theirs “bad”? Judgment is out of the way in Life. There will be consequences for all players. No matter what we believe is “good or bad.” Life is about the experience of consequences. Are we able to OBSERVE the consequences of our own actions? As a consequence of this incident, I developed a trauma: I had to fight with others to impose my views which I thought were “right,” “compassionate,” etc. Superior than other people’s views. Also, the witnessing of pain and suffering in others affected me as if it was my own. Empathy is different than suffering for others. Their experience is not mine. Those traumas were with me for a long time. I am sure other consequences were experienced by the other “players” of the deer scene, although they may not be aware of that.
Beyond duality, there is the common good which cannot be perceived by the conditioned mind. It is only felt when there are no reasons or interests at stake.