Spiritual Warfare, Within and Without
By Wayne Saalman
TO STAY SANE IN WHAT APPEARS to be a crazy world in this day and age is tricky enough, but to be wise in such a world is trickier still. Such a statement might seem an exaggeration, but for those of us who follow the daily news dispatches on the global airwaves and cable networks, the reports we encounter are generally steeped in violence and death, most of it politically or religiously motivated. With the war raging in the Ukraine at the moment, violence and death are, without a doubt, more prominent than ever.
Seeing, hearing or reading about what is happening in that country can make one’s blood boil. The natural response is to hope that the torturers and killers among us will be brought to justice and locked away for good. We might even feel the desire for revenge and wish those persons to suffer the same fate as their victims.
Such outrage is justified, of course, but we would do well to think twice on that front and keep a certain spiritual adage in mind, namely that, “Energy flows where attention goes.”
In other words, if we feed energy to the idea of revenge, then that notion will grow within us and with it will come agitation. What follows on from that is stress, which is not good, for stress, as we know, is quite often the root cause of many, or most, of the physical ailments with which we humans must deal. Stress weakens the immune system and that can lead to countless diseases.
While such outrage is fully defensible, it is far better to realize that millions of our fellow beings have suffered terrible personal and collective injustices over the centuries and that has darkened many of their minds and hearts. In their pain, these victims of violence have narrowed their openness to the spiritual side of life and many have been driven to join in with others in an effort to right the injustices of the past. In many cases, what people do is hand down their outrage to their children and their children’s children in a cycle that serves only to enflame tensions in the world.
The spiritually wise do not want their children to be saddled with hand-me-down pain and anger, however. They want everyone to get beyond the atrocities and injustices of the past, and to grow wise in their own right. The spiritually wise want every man, woman and child on the planet to become loving and compassionate, to become enlightened in some way, whether one’s idea of enlightenment is defined as simply sane and rational behavior or as some form of mysticism.
The spiritually wise desire peace of mind for everyone, even for perceived cultural nemeses. They want this especially for the political and religious leaders in the nations of the world and in their own societies. After all, the point of politics is to allow nations to govern its members in a fair and intelligent manner, and to prevent violence and murder, while religion is meant to keep humanity high-minded and lofty in its ideals and aspirations.
What we see and experience in today’s world, however, is often almost exactly the opposite. Corruption and injustice run rampant at a governmental level in almost every nation on the planet and our major global religions are riddled with monetary fraud, exploitation of the vulnerable and prejudice against people not of the same faith.
So entrenched are these divisive inequities that to contemplate how we can, or should, go about changing them can seem like an impossible task. Yet, for our own well-being, we must spend at least a portion of our time as individuals trying to make a positive difference in the world, however small.
The best way to begin to do that is by pondering the state of our own hearts and minds, and by praying for the highest good for everyone, which I believe simply boils down to wanting everyone to enjoy the most basic of human rights.
This can be a hard thing to fight for, however, if one lives in a country that is under the sway of corrupt politicians, merciless military generals or a cold-hearted dictator. It can even be difficult in democratic countries where the proverbial rat race deems turning a profit of greater value than safety in the workplace and protecting the environment.
Two truths stand out about humanity, however. One, we have an almost infinite capacity to find solutions to our problems and, two, each of us has within us something precious and eternal: a spiritual heart-essence which impels us, ever and always, toward renewal. This is true even in one’s darkest hours, even when we feel as if all hope for us is lost.
To start anew again is not only possible, it is nature’s explicit way to do so. The seasons prove that to us year in and year out.
Starting anew is best pursued by turning inward. Meditating even fifteen minutes a day can facilitate renewal with surprising swiftness, for we are all connected to a Higher Mind, a Higher Heart Essence, that is the very wellspring out of which humanity has discovered its deepest truths, including the one cited above about energy flowing where attention goes.
By opening up to that Higher Mind, that Higher Heart Essence, we renew our awareness of it and it renews us by channeling an abundance of intelligent energy back to us. That intelligent energy can expand our perspectives, impel us toward helpful situations via surprising synchronicities and ultimately open us to more enlightened insights.
How can we stay wise in a crazy world, then? By being peaceful people, mindful of our every thought, word and deed. That mindfulness is exactly how we can make a contribution to helping the world to become a little less crazy.