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the war inside of me

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I complain about many things, including politicians bribing us with our own tax money prior to an election, environmentally hip [ha!] people adding endless water bottles to the global garbage heap, and the neighbour’s cat using my garden for a toilet. What am I to do? Do I keep muttering to myself and grow into a curmudgeon? Or do I risk turning the spotlight inward to see what’s going on in my heart-mind?

Zen Buddhist monk and Viet Nam veteran Claude Anshin Thomas travels the world, saying that “I cannot think myself into a new way of living. I have to live myself into a new way of thinking.” In his memoir he writes that–

claude.jpg“Peace is not an idea. Peace is not a political movement, not a theory or a dogma. Peace is a way of life: living mindfully in the present moment. … It is not a question of politics, but of action. It is not a matter of improving a political system or even taking care of homeless people alone. These are valuable but will not alone end war and suffering. We must simply stop the endless wars of rage within. … Imagine, if everyone stopped the war in themselves–there would be no seeds from which war could grow.”

source: Thomas, C.A. (2004). At hell’s gate: a soldier’s journey from war to peace. Boston: Shambala.

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