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By the time those three young men, in a state of violent delirium, leapt out of a van and proceeded
to destroy countless lives, we had already failed. We had missed the boat and lost an opportunity to save the innocent victims. As it was in Manchester and Westminster, as it will be the next time. These men were pawns, fodder, for the great chess game being played out by powerful and hidden forces. The ideology, the people, the States and the organisations that drive and fuel these attacks is where our focus must turn. The suggestions I offer here, may not stop an attack next month or next year, but if we fail to destroy their motives, their propaganda, their icons, and fail to update the way we protect ourselves, then Saturday night’s attack will become as normal here, as in Beirut, Baghdad, Kabul or Islamabad.
These 6 suggestions may help to prevent that future.
1. Follow the money!
Saudi Arabia and Isis are the same thing. If isis were to achieve their aims, the whole Middle East would be run under the same laws, the same scripture, the same ideology as Saudi. They provide a constant supply of weaponry, technology, money, (wages) and hard drugs, directly and indirectly to Isis and isis led groups. Our government is in bed with the enemy. We have to let this truth in. We need a complete re-set of our relationship, that is congruent with our values and that demonstrates our rejection of their barbaric way of life. Osama Bin Laden was a Saudi, 911 was committed by Saudi’s, They are committing genocide in Yemen and we have to watch our prime minister bending and bowing and trading with these state criminals. A barbaric and insane regime that lets its kids watch public beheadings in the street, right here under the duvet! It’s almost sickening. Two things we can do immediately – first, we must suspend all arms trading with the Saudi Kingdom until further notice. Second, we must destroy the network of supply chains to isis. They are stuck out in the desert. Who is providing the food, medical supplies, water, ammunition, weaponry and cash to keep this war going? Someone is. We need to attack those lines of supply, both diplomatically and yes, militarily as well. Supplying weapons and training to Saudi is making the UK part of the problem instead of the solution. If the Saudis then choose to ‘divest’ in our economy, then so be it. There is no price or ethical economic gain that is worth the loss of our integrity and decency.
2. End the reward of infamy!
Immediately end the media exposure of attackers. Their identities and images should not be released. Their religion should not be revealed. Their motives and back stories should be ignored. They should be remembered only as anonymous killers. Their actions should remain unconnected to any struggle, to any cause. To do otherwise is to validate their martyrdom, is to elevate their prestige in the eyes of the misled, is to inspire others to follow in their footsteps, driven to be a dead ‘somebody’ instead of a living ‘nobody’. There can be no reason for the media or government to publish these facts other than to support a political agenda or to sell papers. It would also assist the police to carry out their work without the pressure to give away this information. Yes, report the facts, release the names of victims, report the gory details if we must, but never again show the faces or release the names or motives of these murderers. It achieves nothing, promotes racial hatred and energises copycat wannabes.
3. A 21st Century Police force.
Fund our security services up to and beyond what they need. From local policing to international collaboration. Arm all our police with sidearms. This is a way that we can immediately reduce the loss of life and injury without any loss of freedoms to the general public. All police should be trained in weapons use and should carry a semi automatic pistol side arm at all times. This has been commonplace for decades across Europe and the world. The most liberal minded countries including The Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain,
all arm their police force and no one is concerned. I would feel much safer seeing all police carrying side arms. It’s time to get real and dump the romantic notion of the bobby on the beat with his little truncheon and cuffs. It’s 2017, the world is much more volatile and uncertain. Give our Police the means and training, so that the first responder can take decisive action to end an attack and save lives.
4. End the politically correct notion that we cannot criticise religious belief.
The right to physical safety on our streets must supersede the right to express religious lore and doctrine. We need to push back against violent extremist propaganda, at least as hard as it is pushing against the values and laws of our society. Many senior Imams have publicly stated in the last couple of days, their intention to cleanse UK mosques of extremist and jihadist influence. A noble and long overdue commitment but this process needs to be formalised, overseen and properly actioned. We must appoint an Imam that is devoted to peaceful worship in every mosque who would be accountable to a government ministry for action against hostile influences. If the Muslim community were to express concern about victimisation, then we would reassure them that as soon as people start blowing up teenagers and stabbing innocent revellers in the name of Jesus or Yaweh or Buddha, then those rules would certainly apply to all churches, temples and synagogues. This leads on to the next suggestion.
5. Rats in the Kitchen!
Re-set and redesign the ‘PREVENT’ programme so as to frame it in a new way that enrolls and enables Muslim communities to protect themselves and fellow citizens through community coherence and a shared vision. The Muslim community should have the opportunity to see Prevent as not an attack on their communities but more like a support and shared sense of purpose. It must be recognised that there is a problem within their faith, within their mosques, within their homes. Islam has been infected by extremism. It is suffering from an infestation of unholy, un-islamic and irreligious influence. They don’t want it, no one wants it. Lets approach this like you could say, a pest exterminator being called in because there are rats in the kitchen. together we can smoke them out and deal with them.
6. Prison. A Hotbed of Radicalisation.
Set up a muslim led and controlled committee of oversight to investigate and deal with radicalisation in prisons. Separation of extremists and muslim youth in prisons. It is so easy to turn a young man against the system, against the government and against the society, while he is suffering punishment at their hand. We need peace-promoting Imams in every prison, working to help young muslim men to feel hope, respect and dignity. When someone values their own life, they will not take it from another. When we feel recognised, valued and well treated, we are far less likely to be drawn into dark and violent groups with propaganda designed to attract the hopeless and un-seen.
7. No More Wars for Oil, for gas Pipelines and American dominance!
End the policy of intervention and destruction of states in the Middle East and Africa. Assist all territories including Syria to combat terror organisations as described in suggestion 1. This will both dampen the fire of extremist power in the region and also reduce the dreadful suffering and humanitarian crises and mass refugee movement. No more following The US into wars for gas, oil territory and currency control. We have lost our way and are on the wrong side of history. Stability, democracy and the rule of law is what we must support and facilitate in the region. It will not be easy, there is more hate and distrust of the west than we are ready to accept. It will take time to undo the nightmare we have unleashed on the millions of people living in that region.
These are suggestions that came from thoughtful consideration once the anger and dust settled. We need a fair, just but un-inhibited approach to end the terror on our streets. Yes indeed, enough is enough, but we need to be tough and smart if we are to succeed. Failure is not really an option.
When I connect with my inner child, seeking to heal and grow, I sometimes wonder, who is really doing the healing? Am I saving my inner child or is he saving me? Have the skills, resilience and experience that I have gained as an adult, come at the cost of childhood’s long lost qualities?
Qualities like Spontaneity, courage, wonder, trust and curiosity. The thirst to learn and experience new things. A purity of spirit, sensing life as an enchanted and magical experience. These all still existwithin the deepest part of my being, my uninhibited and unrepressed self. In connecting to my inner child, I am looking not just to reassure and reconnect with what may be a lot of fear and repressed emotions but also, to reconnect with the wonderful simplicity of being a child and bringing that essence into my adult life.
I was never a ‘difficult’ child. I was not a troublemaker, but I was a rebel. I questioned authority and power, even when, with great resistance, I would comply with demands and instructions.
I would do as I was told, eventually, but often my inner disagreement remained. In school, I was excellent at subjects I enjoyed, but crap at those that I found too demanding or simply boring. I would confront teachers and staff without hesitation if I felt that I was being called out for irrelevant or pedantic issues like school uniform or losing interest in their mind-numbingly boring classes.
Perhaps, being raised by very alternative thinking parents, instilled in me a sense that the whole education thing was about conditioning me to become a pawn in society’s game and was something to be wary of, something to push back against, to preserve my natural dignity as a perfect being. I don’t know.
What I do know is that it did not win me many friends. In fact, I suffered chronic bullying all through my school career, due to my being an unusual type of person, with a different take on life, living in a fairly provincial, small minded environment.
I have always loved my rebellious nature. It feels intrinsic to me, something that I brought with me into the world. I did not learn it or cultivate it. It is a part of what I am. Honestly, I have always had this feeling that I am somehow meant for greatness. Destined for something meaningful and important. For better or worse it has had me on occasion, act with an entitlement and audacity that can leave those around me a bit shocked. I’m not saying that I am special, but somehow I act as if I am. I admit it, I fancy myself big time and yes, I have come down crashing on many occasions. I have to really work at accepting criticism and often fail, especially if I feel judged as well. But at the source of that is a strong energy. A force of wisdom and understanding within me, my inner child is not going to take any nonsense and I love him so much for that because, often he did have to take it and just put up with being abused, accused and targeted.
Born of this innate quality, there has arisen in me a realisation; an understanding that has changed my inner state, more than any practice, epiphany or insight ever has. It takes the form of an intention. A statement. I have decided that I am through with feeling scared about life. Yes, I learned to feel fear as a child but I also learned to find courage in the challenges of youth.
As a ten year old, I remember the first time I jumped from the highest diving board at my local swimming pool. I recall having to mentally force one foot in front of the other as I slowly approached the edgeof the board, looking down at the water and just freezing with fear. It was so much higher from up there. My heart thumping, feeling totally petrified. One half of me frantically trying to find a way to back out without looking a coward in front of my friends, the other half knowing that this challenge was actually doable and that I would survive.
I had to do it. But how could I gather the courage? In the end it came down to a moment – a single moment of commitment. I had to push myself to go beyond the point of no return and just trust. With my toes touching the edge and looking down at the distant water, I knew that all I needed was to feel strong enough and brave enough for just one second in time. One instant to change everything!
Forcing myself forward, fighting against my survival reflex, I jumped. Dropping… gasping in as I pinched my nose shut.
I slammed in to the water, a chaotic bomb of bubbles and noise. I sank all the way to the bottom, pushed off and headed back up. The moment I surfaced, fear was replaced with an elation and empowerment that only comes with a major victory against a perceived limitation. Almost like a birth – a new part of me. A released capacity, a new self-appreciation. The realisation that I can do this thing and from now on, I will always be able to do this thing!
That memory and many others from my childhood and teenage years have helped me to understand more about how fear moves in my life today. How it affects the choices I make and the consequences of those decisions. It has become such an essential tool for breaking out of my comfort zone.
So I cultivate and encourage this two-way relationship within me. As much as I seek to heal that young boy, I also seek his council, his courage and together we push through our barriers. It is not a denial of fear or a delusion that I have no fear but more of a joyful rebellion. It’s a bit like calling the bluff on the automatic fear response. When it comes, I immediately connect with the boy. I reassure him that all is well. I talk to him with tenderness and love, never criticising, never judging, just loving and accepting. Then my inner child gets his face on. He steps up and says, “Is that all you’ve got? Bring it on!”
His courage and audacity empowers me to take the next jump.
Now, in the work I do in The Trinity Process, using the extraordinary tools that Osho created, I find the greatest joy and fulfilment in helping others to build this special relationship, to both heal and be healed by the child within.
From Seriousness To Sincerity!
JoinThe Laughing Rebellion!
Do we have to be angry to have strong feelings?
Do we have to be upset to show that we care about the madness of the world?
And do we have to inhibit our humour and joy, to show that something is really important to us?
This tension, this apparent contradiction in our lives, when we feel the pain of those suffering, both around us and in distant lands, and yet we know, that to dive into that space, makes us feel dark and contracted, heavy and negative. We feel guilt and shame and frustration. So we look away, we scroll down or we switch off and get on with our lives. But inside, we still care, we still ache.
It is only human to feel empathy, to go into an experience of another’s pain, in order to know it and be there for them. It is a loving act but, it also feels like it spreads the pain out. It expands the very suffering that we anguish over.
This vicious cycle can be so overwhelming, that many of us choose to avoid or ignore the reality of life as it is for us as a global village, as a species, sharing our beautiful little blue ball hanging in infinite space. Its just too much to let it all in. The corruption, the cruelty and torture, the suffering and the despair of our fellow humans and creatures of this paradise.
We struggle to even work out how we got to this point, let alone where we go from here.
What we do know is that we are in a serious situation.
But are we served by making that state of affairs our state of being? Is our seriousness actually empowering us? Or does it send us into a state of collapse, of defeat, of resignation?
How can we not cry tears of sorrow? How can we not hang our heads in despair?
When we face our greatest fears, the loss of our life or the lives of our loved ones, the loss of our liberty or maybe even worse, the loss of our very hope, then what are our choices? Where is our power?
What happens if in that moment, we decide to let go of seriousness and yet, remain deeply sincere in our truth? What if we can stare fear in the face….and begin to laugh, really laugh, to know that at our deepest core we see the truth and choose to remain free?
Laughter is so often seen as a lack of capacity to understand the gravity of a situation.
Its frivolous, its selfish, its a sign that you’re not getting it!
But when we really try to understand laughter, when we get real about what laughter and a sense of humour actually is, then we begin to see that it is, in its purest form, the greatest expression of understanding that we have. Laughter is our bodies reaction to a moment of ultimate clarity, it is how we express the recognition of truth itself. It is what makes satire both deeply funny and deeply moving all at once.
This is because laughter is Intelligence! It is the ultimate expression of rebellion!
A rebellion against guilt, against shame and self doubt. A rebellion against fear itself.
A rebellious person is a dangerous person. Dangerous to the system, to the status quo. They will not be easily controlled and they will not be easily silenced.
Un-hindered by the fear of condemnation and judgement, the rebel is not playing by the book. Not keeping to the script. A rebel will laugh in the face of their own fear, even their own demise. But an intelligent and awakened rebellious and joyful person is always, always sincere! They are led and guided by a bigger picture, a bigger perspective. and that creates an immense freedom. The laughing rebel lives a liberated life. They live an authentic life and a life of courage and truth. Laughter relaxes us, it unites us, it connects us and it heals us.
That is why we must move from seriousness to sincerity. From emotional enslavement to personal power, where we can care, more than ever before!
We can desire and fight for justice, equanimity, and dignity for us all and we can stand strong against the headwind of corruption, against the mass insanity and indoctrination, that would have us on our knees in a state of futility, worn out by the sheer size of the challenge.
The dark forces of this world want us to take it all very seriously.
When we are serious, we are open to their message of hate and division. Open to the script of tribalism, nationalism, religious separation and isolation. When we are serious, we are open to dis-ease and disinformation. We can be controlled, because seriousness is fear. It is blind faith and blind action. The serious and scared are easy to control. They are easy to manipulate and indoctrinate.
So if we want to be a part of creating a new world, a new way of living, then we have to renounce seriousness and embrace the power of humour and laughter as a force of vision, of perspective and as an expression of our true authentic being.
Laughter is the expression of this powerful state. It is the manifestation of our deepest truth. That is what the sages and great mystics of history have always taught. Laugh in the face of fear, celebrate, dance and sing in gratitude, because that generates power and conviction in ourselves, it engenders individual thought and values and right now, more than sorrow, more than sympathetic sadness, this world needs sincere, laughing, courageous rebels!
Ha ha! Ha ha haaaaaa!!!
Most would claim that Meditation, (commonly imagined as sitting silently, becoming aware of the present moment or of ones breath), brings about a greater sense of calmness, clarity, serenity, and contentment. A break from the incessant chatter of the unstoppable inner voice clanging around in our heads. This of course is absolutely true. And then, there are all the benefits to our health, like reduced blood pressure, stress release, increased oxygen levels… it’s a long list, and all of it good stuff.
But what happens when we leave the cushion? When we roll up our mat? When the commentary in our heads starts running again? We are back in our thoughts, anxieties, and judgments. How quickly we lose our serenity and sense of ‘one-ness’. How easily we return to business as usual. Here is where we could be missing the greatest benefit that Meditation actually has to offer.
Let’s use the analogy of going to the gym or doing yoga, martial arts, or whatever physical pursuit scratches our itch. We do our workout, our practice or exercise. During and just afterwards, we often feel a nice warm rush in our bodies. Our bloodstream is flooded with yummy dopamine and we’re glowing and maybe even a bit high. Great feeling, but we know that it is not this immediate ‘hit’ that motivates us to keep going. What really gets us to commit to our practice is an understanding that over time, we are building and training our muscles to feel stronger, our heart and lungs to be more effective, increasing our physical ability and developing our body to work at its optimum. Making it as capable as possible of handling what modern life throws at it. We know we will be more able to deal with unexpected physical stress and strains, we’ll have less aches and pains.
We can dance all night, and do…other things.. all night. We feel less fatigue, more awake, sharper and fitter. In short, we become healthier and have a better quality of life.
Applying this understanding to Meditation is what will give us the secret superpower that is almost always overlooked.
When we meditate on a daily or very regular basis, we are in fact strengthening our ‘presence muscle’. That is to say, we are building our capacity to become present and aware when we really need it most – not on the mat or cushion, but when our sore points, our vulnerable places, are triggered in our ‘normal’ day to day activities.
When all is smooth and wonderful in life, we are mostly content, happy and connected. But when the shit hits the fan, when we are triggered, by our parents, our partners, our children, friends or work colleagues, it is in these moments of ‘reaction’ that we ‘lose consciousness’.
This moment is where we snap. It’s where we defend, rationalise, attack, manipulate and either act ‘out’ in aggression, or act ‘in’ through passive anger, punishment or just total shut down. This is when we actually feel the sting of abandonment, resentment, envy and fear in real-time and space. This is where we damage ourselves and others.
Meditation’s greatest gift, is that it can train us to expand that moment. It allows us to stretch that nano-second of time, just as we are triggered, offering to us an extra split second of hard-won presence and awareness. A capacity built over time, as we cultivate our ability to witness our thoughts and emotions from a higher perspective.
This little gap, this fleeting blink of an eye, is where the practice of Meditation manifests its most profound benefit.
In that extra interval lies the greatest power available to us. The capacity to choose how we will deal with the rush of pain, fear or anger welling up inside. It gives us the capacity to slow down time, take a breath and allow the emotional charge to subside, so that we can make a conscious decision about how we want to respond. This shift enables us to move from automatic conflict, towards resolution. From judgement to compassion. From anger to forgiveness. From fear to love.
It should though be understood, that this fundamental ability, this knack, is by no means easy, nor is it always welcomed by those around us. When we develop this capacity, we become uniquely empowered, as we step out of ‘character’ and no longer follow the scripts that have been playing out in the theatre of our lives. Others who are used to being able to trigger and control us, are suddenly left having to deal with their own thoughts and feelings, because we are no longer playing along and feeding the fire. We have learned to take each moment, each criticism, each comment that once had us lashing out in desperation and rage, and see it for what it really is…someone else’s inner world, their reality, not ours. We no longer take it personally.
This does not mean that we are no longer capable of hearing a valid criticism or are unable to receive feedback about where we can change, learn and grow.
We can in fact, remain more receptive, more discerning and better placed to make a healthy judgement as to whether we take on, or dismiss what comes our way from others.
With less fire and smoke comes clearer vision and understanding.
In the coolness of presence, we respond from our deepest, true nature.
This is real inner power.
This is ‘spiritual fitness’.
This is the secret superpower of Meditation!