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Excerpt: Peace With Community

From "Creating Peace By Being Peace: The Essene Sevenfold Path"

by Rebbe Gabriel Cousens, MD

PEACE WITH HUMANITY IS THE ULTIMATE RESULT OF A SHIFT IN INDIVIDUAL CONSCIOUSNESS TO THE AWARENESS OF GLOBAL UNITY. Peace with humanity is harmony between groups of people on a social, economic, political, and spiritual basis. It is the culmination of the collective process of individuals who are at peace with themselves and have shifted into unity consciousness. It is a shift from family, tribal, and national identities to a global identity as one people. To accomplish this, we must break our habitual identification with what Alan Watts called being “skin-encapsulated” entities, seeing everyone outside of our own skin as different, separate, and foreign. This fractionalized, alienated attitude of perceiving ourselves as separate from the whole may be healed by seeing ourselves as part of the whole. The more we meditate and try to live in harmony with natural and divine laws, the more we are likely to experience this oneness. Peace with humanity includes planetary systems of justice that are respected and a planetary economy that is designed to create peace and meet basic needs for the many rather than unbelievable accumulation of wealth by the few.

In The Global Brain, Peter Russell hypothesizes that the escalating pace of planetary communication is resulting in an ever-increasing shared awareness of international interconnectedness. For the first time in history, we are able to use this planetary communication to have regular, simultaneous global peace meditations, such as Peace the 21st and the World Healing Hour on December 31st, as well as musical events for peace such as the Concert for Bangladesh and Live-Aid. For the first time in history, almost all of the planet has direct access to spiritual teaching from past to present. Because of increased international travel, general international turmoil, international corporate activity, and the psycho-spiritual interface of East and West, we are beginning to experience the world as smaller and more unified. The Internet has accelerated the ease of global communication, and although the Culture of Death sometimes seeks to suppress Internet connectivity, such as in the violent suppression of the Buddhist monks and the Burmese people in late 2007 with its concomitant shutting down of the Internet, the creativity of the people in creating an unstoppable communication network will further assert our oneness—and no suppressive government will be able to prevent it. We still have a long way to go in this transition to a full sense of global unity, and a corresponding absence of an “us and them” mentality. But this will surely happen as the global brain process unfolds and expands. The increase in international travel has also helped to break down the walls of separation resulting from lack of familiarity. One of our roles as peacemakers is to help give birth to this evolutionary step.

Humanity has never experienced full peace in any age in history because there have never been enough mature individuals who were willing and able to live according to natural and divine law. The rich and strong have almost always exploited the poor and weak, economically, socially, religiously, and politically. Great wealth is concentrated in the hands of a few, perhaps more now than ever before in history. The poor perennially struggle to regain some of this wealth, often just to survive. Unfortunately, the result of this imbalance is that both the suppressor and the suppressed are forced into disharmony. According to Raimon Panikkar (proponent of interreligious communication and formerly a professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara), in a theoretical global village of 100 families before 1990, 90 do not speak English, 65 can’t read, 80 have never flown in an airplane, 70 have no drinking water at home, 7 families own 60 percent of the village and consume 80 percent of its energy, and only 1 family has a university education.

In our world today, approximately 40 million people die of starvation each year, according to statistics from the Institute for Food and Development Policy, and approximately 14.5 million of them are children. We have more pounds of ammunition per person than we do of food, according to Doug Mattern, president of the Association of World Citizens. We spend $16,500 per soldier in the world and $260 per child for education. Sources compiled by Greenpeace show that in 1988, in the United States, the richest part of the global village, 1 percent of the population owned 36 percent of the wealth. In 1990 the U.S. ranked last among leading industrialized nations in economic fairness, as defined by the proportion of the income going to the top 20 percent of the population versus that going to the bottom 20 percent. By 2008, the disparity between the rich and poor has gotten even more extreme, with the U.S. still having the greatest disparity. With this huge gap in the distribution of basic resources, we do not have to look far to find the economic causes of war or to understand that starvation is a social disorder. The Essenes taught that this sort of social imbalance comes from disharmony in our personal lives, which then manifests on social and political levels. They felt that both poverty and riches were a result of deviation from the law. The Essenes, although living simply, always had excess food to share with, and personal time for service in, the surrounding communities. One of their great messages that is relevant for our modern world is that if we live by the divine and natural laws we will all experience abundance.

A Peaceful Economy

Economics in the service of peace is part of peace with the community. Our modem economic thinking has some of its roots in the philosophy of Francis Bacon (1561–1626) and Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679), who believed that nature is a limitless resource to be exploited to meet humanity’s personal needs. In their anthropomorphic ego-centered approach, Bacon and Hobbes believed that wealth could be defined as power over other people. In this context, they saw human life as unending competition for power. Adam Smith (1723–1790), in his classic book The Wealth of Nations, has often been quoted out of context to support this position of pure laissez-faire. Robert Nisbet, who was Albert Schweitzer Professor of Humanities Emeritus at Columbia University in New York, in his book History of the Idea for Progress, pointed out that, contrary to the current historical mythology, Adam Smith was deeply sensitive to the needs of the poor and the working class. Although he was in favor of competition and free enterprise, he always tempered this view with the qualification that people observe the rule of justice. The current capitalist economists have consistently omitted the rule-of-justice aspect in their citations of Adam Smith to validate their amoral approach to economic thinking. The presence of worldwide hunger, poverty, and economic disharmony in our global village is ample evidence that this approach has not worked for the benefit of humanity or the planet. Clearly, no collective justice has been practiced. The economics of peaceful abundance, which the Essenes successfully demonstrated in their communities, was based on an economic justice for everyone. With global warming becoming a more serious problem, some corporations as well as nations such as Denmark have taken serious steps to shift their economies toward a more environmental conscious perspective.

Yet we still have to ask: Why is there so much poverty, injustice, and environmental degradation on the same planet where there is so much abundance and unparalleled riches? A significant reason is that our world economic system is not connected to a planetary morality. As soon as we take economics away from considerations of world peace, prosperity, and service to the whole, and toward the pursuit of personal self-interest, we have sown the breeding grounds of social disorder. Without peace as a consideration in economic decisions, we lack the clarity to make a distinction between useful production and services, such as day-care, affordable housing, and health care, and those areas of economic productivity that are harmful to humanity, such as the armaments industry, the junk food industry, or the tobacco industry. In 2004, the U.S. military budget was $400 billion, about 40 percent of the worldwide total military spending of $950 billion. It is estimated that an annual expenditure of just $237.5 billion for ten years would provide global health care, eliminate starvation and malnutrition, provide clean water and shelter for everyone, remove land mines, stop deforestation, prevent global warming and acid rain, dissolve the debt of the debtor nations, prevent soil erosion, produce safe and clean energy, and eliminate illiteracy. In other words, we have the ability, with a simple shift in our consciousness and within ten years, to create a world of physical peace. But it must, and does, come from changing our consciousness, which is the source of that shift. To do that we have to face our shadow and let the light guide us to a way of life that leads us to peace. Economics without morality brings chaos and war, not peace. For economics to aid in the creation of world peace, it must be organized in the service of world peace.

Conventional economics is presently in conflict not only with social needs, but also with ecological, spiritual, and commonsense needs. In conventional economics, our decisions to exploit natural resources are based on the crudest measure, the price of the commodity on the world market. The more obvious results of this policy are seen in worldwide poverty, in millions of acres of fertile topsoil becoming desert, in global warming, and destruction of the rainforests. In 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development published a report entitled “Our Common Future.” The commission stated:

Economics and ecology must be completely integrated in decision-making and law-making processes, not just to protect the environment, but also to protect and promote development.

Greenpeace magazine, January-February 1989

As economist Herman Daly once said, “There is something fundamentally wrong in treating the earth as if it were a business in liquidation.”

Humanity is not in good health; it is being eaten away by the cancer of personal, national, and international separateness and greed. We are still choosing to work only for the ego-centered self, family, or nation. We still seek to take wealth from those we consider outside of us, in whatever way we can. How do we overcome the fear-based greed and the thirst for power and domination that bring so much world disharmony? Through meditation and prayer we are able to go beyond ego-based fear to the direct experience of love and unity. In the condition of harmony, it is fine to seek riches because we are ready to seek them where they really are, in the gold of God Communion. We become so rich in this gold of awareness that we actually want to share our wealth with others. To realize where the real riches are and what they are is the key to creating all levels of personal, familial, national, and international peace.

When enough people experience the golden light of consciousness, international exploitation will be transformed into a new era of economic and social harmony. Then international exploitation will cease on the most fundamental level because we will have learned to keep what is necessary for our material well-being, in a consciousness of abundant simplicity, and to share the rest with our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Our economics will be in the service of peace.

The study of our own body function will give us some clues about peace with humanity. How is it that the cells of our body have organized themselves in such a way that they work efficiently and harmoniously with one another to create a healthy body? As the human race, are we so out of control that we cannot do the same? As individuals, we can be likened to the individual cells that make up the human body, just as we make up the planetary human body, and if we could mimic the harmony of our cells as a planetary body, we would all enjoy health, love, and prosperity. In our body, only a cancer cell acts, as we humans do in the world body, separately, disharmoniously, and as a foreigner to the body. The natural and divine laws are played out in the microcosm of our cellular and bodily function as well as in the macrocosm of the world and universe. If we were committed enough to peace to follow these inherent laws on every level of our life, planetary peace would be a real possibility.

The reactivation of the energy of sacred commerce and the ancient merchant priesthood is an optimsitic answer to the economic imbalances that exist in the world community today. Emerging out of the history of Egyptian teachings of sacred commerce, the pharaoh Akhenaton was said to have passed it on to Moses and the twelve tribes of Israel. (Specific discussions are still found in Jewish literature of the importance of doing business in a way that psychologically uplifts the person one is doing business with, as found in the Torah as well in such current books as Jewish Ethics and Halakhah for Our Time by Basil Herring, which covers such merchant priest topics as “the limits of truth and deception in the marketplace.”) Merlin and King Arthur’s court in the fifth century were associated with sacred commerce, and it was reactivated by the Knights Templar as a way of life and teaching taught by the merchant priesthoods for the creation of peace and the overall uplifting of life on the planet. It can also be found in the teachings of the Prophet Mohammad. We see it worldwide today, such as in the brilliant work of Dr. Mohammad Yunus, who in 1979 founded the first micro-lending bank whose focus was loaning small amounts of money to people (mostly women) in poor rural areas. This concept has spread from Bangladesh to all over the world, and he received a Nobel Peace Prize for this great service. This is just one example of how this understanding is slowly but surely being activated today on this planet.

Sacred commerce is also connected to the rise of the conscious consumer. Best described in the new book Sacred Commerce by Ayman Sawaf and Rowan Gabrielle, it is part of overall lifestyle as opposed to a business activity solely for accumulating wealth. It is part of the growing Global Citizen Movement made up of those who choose to live world-healthful lifestyles and interact commercially either consciously or unconsciously using the principles of sacred commerce. It addresses the issues of poverty and war and helps us move from the base of the Maslow pyramid, in which survival and safety are the primary concerns, into a self-actualizing global conscious evolution, a term coined by the visionary Barbara Marx Hubbard. Conscious evolution creates the pre-conditions to act with awareness and intention to create healthy changes in all seven levels of the Sevenfold Path. It creates a conscious ability to address the chaotic conditions of today’s temporal reality. The art of the merchant priesthood is to activate and illuminate the divine gift we humans have been given for experiencing the Divine and being peace on the planet. It helps to create a spiritual and intellectual environment that is conducive to democratic principles and freedom; it also helps heal and rebalance the male-female energies to their highest alchemical octave, and enhance the sacred in all aspects of life. It helps one aspect of society from exploiting another aspect of the global community. It creates a healthy water that lifts everyone’s boat and the boats of every culture.

In Sacred Commerce, the lifestyle practice is defined as the:

party-cipation of the community in the exchange of information, goods and services that contributes to the revealing of the divine (beauty, goodness, and truth) in all and where spirituality is the bottom line.

In modern times we have known only one bottom line: How much money do I make? As businesses have gotten more sophisticated, that question has multiplied to three bottom-line considerations: What is the intention? What are the means? What is the economic result? Sacred commerce adds a fourth dimension: What is the spiritual return? This becomes the most important bottom-line consideration and simultaneously redefines the meaning of profit. The merchant priests used their business relationships as a feedback system to grow personally and spiritually, especially in the area of character development and as a way to create prosperity and serve humanity. In this context, business is primarily for helping us become more loving, compassionate, caring, happy, and as a way to activate the frequencies of beauty, goodness, and truth. The world of business is a way to create meaning and value, fulfill one’s sacred design, and serve the Divine. In this context, the King of Bhutan has created a GNH, or “gross national happiness,” as a way to measure the nation’s wealth.

These changes represent a global paradigm shift in values and the rise of the global citizenry—people aware of a wider and more interconnected, interdependent world. They are also associated with the 50 million Cultural Creatives in the U.S. who have in common a call for social justice and for a more sustainable, caring world; a world of international cooperation of citizens to make the world a healthier and safer place. They are part of the growing Culture of Life and Liberation that is arising on the planet to see through the misinformation and paranoia on the way to creating a world of peace and fulfillment—a world community filled with peace, prosperity, and conscious evolution for all. The growing merchant priesthood movement is based on people choosing to become agents of goodness and in that context to choose to express their universal love as the desire to work for the good of others. They have become part of the birth of a new humanity.

Respect for International Law

Our institutions reflect our belief systems, and some good progress is being made in the external world, as there is a sense of an increasing shift toward a global awareness. Generally supporting institutions like the United Nations and the World Court, although they are often still embarrassingly sectarian in their decisions, is important because they are the wobbling first steps on a social and political level for creating world peace. The external laws, policies, and efforts at international justice of these institutions support and create an international matrix needed for a shift toward international brother- and sisterhood. Perhaps, as part of this movement toward strengthening international institutions, we are now in the process of a paradigm shift toward respect for civil and human rights as a value system to guide us to work out differences in the world community rather than the old mode of seeing war as a way to solve problems. There will come a time when war will be as outmoded and ethically unacceptable, like the institution of slavery.

There is often some public resistance to a shift toward legal, economic, and political cooperation with a larger social unit. The process of expanding our experience of community from smaller social units to larger units, such as in the transition from family to tribe, village to county, county to state, state to nation, and, finally, a planetary shift of individual nations to a global United Nations, encounters the same type of fear and resistance at each step. People fear that expanding their experience of community will weaken their existing unit. Some become afraid that a step toward a higher level of world order will detract from the present family, state, and national unity. What they do not understand is that by creating peace and cooperation with the larger unit, the survival and functioning of the smaller unit is enhanced. There are some very clear problems in creating a one-world government if it is dominated by an oligarchy of wealthy families and corporations, which choose to use the mechanism of a one-world government to further their selfish-egoic desires to exploit resources and peoples, rather than a one-world government created to serve the spiritual health and economic needs of all the peoples of the world. An example of the idea of using the one-world government for personal gain and planetary control is Codex Alimentarius, a World Health Organization idea, which is blatantly controlled by international pharmaceutical companies, the corporate medical-industrial complex in general, and the oligarchy behind them. Their goal is to make herbs, supplements at therapeutic dose levels, and even organic foods illegal while at the same time approving the use of previously banned pesticides and herbicides known to be carcinogens. Codex functionally exists as a means to sacrifice the health of the world for the wealth and world domination of the few. It violates the U.S. Constitution and the right to pursue life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. In any commonsense or rigorous examination of the meaning of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” it is implicit that these rights include the liberty of pursuing and maintaining health.

Restrictive concepts of patriotism are not new to any country and are a force against a one-world government. In the creation of the United States, a similar struggle took place in moving from a loose confederation of thirteen colonies to the formation of a nation. During post-Revolution days, George Washington tried to persuade his New Jersey troops to swear allegiance to the United States. They refused, because they felt that New Jersey was their country. The sentiment against a United States of America was so strong that immediately after the Revolution there was no national government, only the thirteen sovereign colonies. In 1777, representatives of the colonies got together to create the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union. After five years, a weak system was ratified that possessed no executive leader, no court system, and no enforceable agreements among the states. Not surprisingly, the Confederation began to fall apart.

Because the Confederation allowed a social chaos that benefited only a few and penalized the vast majority, a constitutional convention was called in 1787. The delegates had to work out a system that neither governed too much, creating another kingship, nor governed too little, allowing anarchy to reign. There was much resistance. It took nine months before the minimum number of nine states needed to bring the U.S. Constitution into existence had signed. Today, it is easy to look back and understand the great benefit of unifying the colonies into the United States on legal, economic, and political levels. On an international level, we are now at a juncture similar to the chaos the colonies faced in 1787. It is now time to expand the vision of peace to include the whole planet.

This transition toward a planetary government is critical if we are to have peace on this planet. Presently, data compiled by Friends of the Earth in the United Kingdom from official sources indicate that an international anarchy allows an ecological pollution of 250,000 tons of sulfuric acid to fall as acid rain in the northern hemisphere each day, contaminating our water and destroying forests. Each minute, 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide enter the atmosphere, amplifying the greenhouse effect brought about by destruction of the rainforests. Each hour, approximately 1,800 children die of malnutrition, 1,613 acres of productive dryland become desert, 120 million dollars are wasted in global military expenditures. Ten tons of nuclear waste per day are generated by the 360 nuclear plants in the world. Each one is a potential Chernobyl waiting to contaminate the world with radioactive fallout. Perpetual warfare wastes our planetary resources and prevents us from attaining prosperity for every member of the global family and not just for 7 percent of the global family. The cost for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, as of November 2007, reached beyond $20,000 dollars for a U.S. family of four. The waste and death boggle the mind. This international chaos has created an international paranoia. This is not a peaceful way to live. It disrupts the peace and security of a safe family base. Our children grow up under the threat of instant annihilation. Without the stabilizing security of planetary peace, every unit of our social system is weakened and disrupted.

When we talk about peace with community, we have to talk about replacing the law of force with the force of just law. The author believes we are about to make the shift to a worldwide acceptance of civil, health, and all levels of basic human rights as the internationally accepted standard of morality. This general acceptance of civil and human rights as a value will eventually be established in our consciousness. Just as the United States had to end the violence of the “Wild West” by bringing law and order to the western states, so we must bring a level of order to the world to end the terror and potential world destruction of the “international Wild West” we have created. Unfortunately, the U.S., along with other major countries, has not been the best example of respecting human rights. This needs to change soon, as worldwide contamination from the use of weapons of mass destruction, such as the use of depleted uranium in armaments, rockets, and bombs in Bosnia, Afghanistan, and Iraq, has had a significant toxic effect on the local and world population. For example, Italian peace observers in Bosnia suffered a rate of leukemia that was three times higher than normal. The statistics from the first Gulf War in Iraq showed increased rates of cancer up to 1,000 percent higher five years later and rates of severe congenital defects up by at least 600 percent. The radiation in some areas of Iraq is 1,000 percent greater than before the first Gulf War. Depleted uranium in this context is a weapon of mass destruction. It is now possessed by seventeen countries. The author and some international lawyers consider this a flagrant disregard of international law based on world treaties dating back to after World War I. If the world national powers feel they are above the law, how can any nation be expected to respect international law? Attempting to solve our international problems by threats and wars of mass murder is simply too primitive.

There are four levels of government in the United States today: city, county, state, and national. One more, an international level of government that truly represents the needs of all the people from a world peace perspective and not simply a lobby for the advancement of national and international corporate agendas, will complete the structure to provide a practical base from which planetary peace has a chance to grow. The establishment of a respected international law gives time for the quality of inner peace to develop. This inner peace is necessary for lasting and fundamental planetary peace. This is like putting a fence around a small tree so that the deer do not eat it. Past U.S. president Harry Truman said:

When Kansas and Colorado have a quarrel over water in the Arkansas River, they don’t call out the National Guard and go to war over it. They bring suit in the Supreme Court of the United States and abide by the decision. There isn’t a sane reason in the world why we cannot do that internationally. … It will be just as easy for nations to get along in a republic of the world as it is for you to get along in the republic of the United States.

An international change in attitude by the powerful nations is needed before we can establish any serious international order. This change in attitude will require a change in world consciousness to one dominated by the Culture of Life and Liberation, with love. The power of feeling-based prayer of peace, love, and compassion and the power of meditation are the seed energy to shift world consciousness toward respect for international law and cooperation. Then we will see President Truman’s statement be true on an international level. A key attitude behind the success of the constitutional convention of 1787 was the delegates’ commitment to acknowledging and reaching agreement about the diversity of needs, lifestyles, and demographics of the different states they represented. This special willingness to compromise is what made peace possible. As Benjamin Franklin delicately put it:

I confess that there are several parts of this constitution which I do not at present approve. … But I am not sure I shall never approve them. For having lived long, I have experienced many instances of being obliged by better information or fuller consideration, to change opinions even on important subjects, which I once thought were right, but found to be otherwise. It is therefore that the older I grow, the more apt I am to doubt my own judgment, and to pay more respect to the judgment of others.

Peace with humanity means a peace in which all nations, all peoples, and all cultures are recognized and respected as an essential part of humanity. It requires compromise in creating a world order that will treat all justly. To achieve peace with humanity, we need to create the conditions for economic, social, political, and spiritual balance in the world. This peace will lovingly end the historical struggle between the haves and have-nots of this world. Peace with humanity will create the preconditions for a stable abundance and tranquility for all.

From Creating Peace by Being Peace by Gabriel Cousens, published by North Atlantic Books, copyright © 2008 by Gabriel Cousens. Reprinted by permission of publisher.

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