Stopping The War

Jack Kornfield

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Awakin FeatureThe purpose of a spiritual discipline is to give us a way to stop the war, not by our force of will, but organically, through understanding and gradual training. Ongoing spiritual practice can help us cultivate a new way of relating to life in which we let go of our battles.

When we step out of the battle, we see anew, as the Tao Te Ching says, "with eyes unclouded by longing." We see how each of us creates conflict. We see our constant likes and dislikes, the fight to resist all that frightens us. We see our own prejudice, greed, and territoriality. All this is hard for us to look at, but it is really there. Then underneath these ongoing battles, we see pervasive feelings of incompleteness and fear. We see how much our struggle with life has kept our heart closed. [...] 

This is a task for all of us. Individually and as a society, we must move from the pain of our speed, our addictions, and our denial to stop the war. The greatest of transformations can come from this simple act. Even Napoleon Bonaparte understood this when, at the end of his life, he stated, "Do you know what astonished me most in the world? The inability of force to create anything. In the long run, the sword is always beaten by the spirit."

Compassion and a greatness of heart arise whenever we stop the war. The deepest desire we have for our human heart is to discover how to do this. We all share a longing to go beyond the confines of our own fear or anger or addiction, to connect with something greater than "I," "me," and "mine," greater than our small story and our small self. It is possible to stop the war and come into the timeless present-to touch a great ground of being that contains all things. This is the purpose of a spiritual discipline and of choosing a path with heart -- to discover peace and connectedness in ourselves and to stop the war in us and around us.

Excerpted from "A Path with Heart" by Jack Kornfield.

Seed questions for reflection: How do you relate to the author's exhortation to move from the pain of our speed, our addictions and our denial to stop the war? Can you share a personal story of a time you stepped out of the battle and saw with fresh eyes 'unclouded by longing' how each of us creates conflict? What helps you look at what's really there within you?

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5 Previous Reflections:

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    On Aug 7, 2018 Ashok wrote:

     Stopping the 'internal' war. Very peaceful... Thanks for this article.


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    On Aug 5, 2018 david doane wrote:
     Jack Kornfield's words remind me of Gandhi's exhortation to be the change you want to see in the world, and  Buddhism's emphasis on detachment.  I hear Kornfield's exhortation as one to let go of our hectic runing, our addictions and our denial, and stop, look inward, listen, find our self, be open and real and vulnerable with ourself and with one another.  This is the way to stop the war within and without.  Running from self, anger and war are not necessary.  We can be the peace we want to see in the world, and being the peace is probably the only way to get to peace in the world.  My stepping out of the battle, at least somewhat and sometimes, has been a long process, and really a wonderful one that brings me increased peace and contentment.  I think the essential ingredient is looking inward and seeing that my primary war is within me, and accomplishing peace within is the most I can do for peace without.  What helps me look at  w... [View Full Comment]

     Jack Kornfield's words remind me of Gandhi's exhortation to be the change you want to see in the world, and  Buddhism's emphasis on detachment.  I hear Kornfield's exhortation as one to let go of our hectic runing, our addictions and our denial, and stop, look inward, listen, find our self, be open and real and vulnerable with ourself and with one another.  This is the way to stop the war within and without.  Running from self, anger and war are not necessary.  We can be the peace we want to see in the world, and being the peace is probably the only way to get to peace in the world.  My stepping out of the battle, at least somewhat and sometimes, has been a long process, and really a wonderful one that brings me increased peace and contentment.  I think the essential ingredient is looking inward and seeing that my primary war is within me, and accomplishing peace within is the most I can do for peace without.  What helps me look at  what's realy within me is honesty with myself, openness to input from others, and the growth and peace that result from it.

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    On Aug 3, 2018 Jagdish P Dave wrote:
     I love and admire the great teachings of spirituality, of wisdom traditions taught and shared by Jack Kornfield. Spiritual discipline as I understand and relate to is always an inner journey for me with an open mind and an open heart. Such journey helps me to see my inner landscape filled with suppressed and repressed thoughts, fears, longings and cravings and lots of unfinished buisness. It also opens the door for me to see the glimpses of light and real hope for peace and harmony. Meditation has helped me to look within and work on myself. The outer war is a reflection of the inner war. I need to work on discovering the causes of my inner war to find the Tao and walk on it. To me this is the main pupose of living. Like Jack Kornfield says, " This is the task for all of us. Individually and as a society." This is our dharma-to discover peace to be connected withinn ourselves and others to end the war and divisveness in us and around us. This has been an ongoing journey for me. ... [View Full Comment]

     I love and admire the great teachings of spirituality, of wisdom traditions taught and shared by Jack Kornfield. Spiritual discipline as I understand and relate to is always an inner journey for me with an open mind and an open heart. Such journey helps me to see my inner landscape filled with suppressed and repressed thoughts, fears, longings and cravings and lots of unfinished buisness. It also opens the door for me to see the glimpses of light and real hope for peace and harmony. Meditation has helped me to look within and work on myself. The outer war is a reflection of the inner war. I need to work on discovering the causes of my inner war to find the Tao and walk on it. To me this is the main pupose of living. Like Jack Kornfield says, " This is the task for all of us. Individually and as a society." This is our dharma-to discover peace to be connected withinn ourselves and others to end the war and divisveness in us and around us.

    This has been an ongoing journey for me. I always find quality time everyday from my busy life to sit by myself and go wihin with an open mind and an open heart for receiving blessings from within and sharing them with others. This creates hope in me for peace and harmony. I appeal to all to join hands with each other to walk on this path of of creating and sustaining peace and harmony.

    May we find our Tao for peace and harmony!

    Namaste.
    Jagdish P Dave


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