As I write this, my heart is full of sorrow. Our world is once more plunged into the insanity of war, with thousands perishing in the name of Putin’s insane idea to restore Russia to its former ‘greatness’, to wage war against democracy, poke a finger in the eye of NATO’s expansion and in his words, to ‘de-Nazify’ Ukraine.
As in all wars we see the usual projection of one’s own Shadow onto another people, for as the whole world can see, the one who is behaving like Hitler is the KGB-trained Putin himself. Over twenty years of being president, a monster has gradually marinated inside him and all his actions now proclaim the truth of Lord Acton’s remark that ‘power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely’.
I am so glad that Biden, who has been so effective in arranging the coalition against Putin, is President and not Trump, as Trump admires Putin’s ‘manliness’ and strength as do many other Republicans. Indeed, it is not impossible that in 2024, Trump or a Trumpite – someone equally deranged and fascistic only much more intelligent – returns to power bringing with them their own brand of autocratic insanity, and that a country whose aim has been to champion democracy in the world, finds itself gradually becoming an authoritarian state?
Here, we keep our fingers crossed that this will not come to pass. Perhaps world events are showing everyone that demagoguery is not the slightest bit attractive and that it has a very, very dark face!
To return to the issue of war, I am so glad that the world has responded so strongly to Putin’s enormous mistake. Today, I attended an anti-war group in the square of our little Mallorcan town and I felt great kinship with everybody present. I felt my own heart open and realised that, on one level, this terrible tragedy is serving to open up the collective weeping heart of humanity and is also releasing a tremendous power of camaraderie on the planet.
I am glad that the strongest of sanctions have been levied on Putin and on his henchmen who have enabled him over the years. Sadly, his people – the vast number of Russians who don’t want a war – will have to pay a price, as will we in the West, as the effects of the sanctions will soon start percolating back. I am half Russian and I have many Russian friends and I can also feel their pain as well as that of the Ukrainian people. I ask myself: will Russians rise up against Putin? I mean, if millions take to the streets, surely they can’t all be arrested….
All wars have a similar tragic pattern to them. Violence and killing is let loose. Huge lies are told. Soldiers and civilians, women and children die, people are tortured and a vast
amount of trauma and suffering is generated for all concerned. Yes, wars start for very specific reasons, but essentially ‘a space’ for them to emerge also lies in the fact that so much hostility, hatred, trauma and anger lies inside so many of us. Many people in the world today are very angry at the system and at the impossibilities they face in trying to improve their lot. But as the Dalai Lama put it:
If we use violence in order to reduce disagreements and conflicts, then we must expect violence every day.
So what can we do to help the situation?
My answer is: Plenty!
1) If we want peace, then we must take this opportunity to find peace inside our hearts and work to heal the conflicts inside ourselves. This must include meditating on peace, as the more we access and work with this quality, the more it will come alive inside us. Having a peaceful heart is a powerful activistic stance and if millions of us start resonating with peace, it will begin dissolving the war bubble.
2) We can get into groups and send healing energy to the peoples of Ukraine and visualise circles of protective love around them and that they be successful in defending themselves.
3) We can send funds and supplies and there are many aid agencies we can connect with.
Wars are undoubtedly an expression of evil and here we also need to ask ourselves why evil exists.
The great Indian saint Sri Ramakrishna was asked this by a disciple and replied ‘To thicken the plot’! Evil has always existed and conflict between good and evil or dark and light constitutes the initiations that we human beings are called to confront to help us grow our humanity.
Looking at Ukraine, I am deeply, deeply touched by the courage this country is showing and how unified it is becoming. We also see how Putin’s evil is actually serving to unite the world in a way that Covid absolutely failed to. The NATO countries are becoming closer than they have ever been.
Put simply, conflict, crises and the existence of ‘oppositional forces’ seems to be built into the way we human beings seem to evolve. For example, if the evils of the apartheid system never existed, a great soul like Nelson Mandela would never have had the chance to emerge from the woodwork. If injustices and suffering were not present, what would our Mother Theresa’s who aim to ‘bring the Christ to the poorest of the poor,’ do? Perhaps there is a perverse truth in the words spoken by Mephistopheles in Goethe’s Faust when he tells us that ‘I am forever evil who does forever good’! We must also not forget that evil is not just ‘out there’ but that it also exists inside ourselves. In Rumi’s words: ‘If thou hast not seen the devil, look at thine own self’.
Here are five ways to address evil which are also relevant to world events today.
1) Choose to live as wholistically and as lovingly and harmoniously as you can. See there is nothing inside you subscribing to evil. If you find you have a part inside yourself that desires to control and wield power, then address it.
2) Don’t hate the darkness but light a light. i.e., we open our hearts. This was the approach of S.t Francis of Assissi in his famous ‘where there is darkness may I bring light’ prayer.
3) Expose evil and name and shame it. Here, we smoke it out of its lair and broadcast information about it so it has nowhere to hide. This is currently happening and Putin’s lies, megalomania and delusional thinking are being portrayed by the world media so the whole world might see him for the deranged person that he is.
4) Cut out the offending evil with a scalpel. We cut out the cancer so it does not spread. Obama did this with Osama bin Laden. Putin is the cancer. Maybe one of his judo partners will break his neck by ‘mistake’ or one of his generals shoot him.
5) Make it difficult for evil to survive. This is happening with all the sanctions now being imposed.
Let’s get out there and create some Peace!