Western Baul Podcast Series

War: What Is It Good For? (Bandhu Dunham)

June 2, 2022

When there is misunderstanding, hostility, and aggression, the question is, “Why?” We would like to think that we are not capable of such things as occur in war, but we can consider that “what’s going on out there is what’s going on in here.” There are qualities such as vigilance that are needed in war that are also needed in spiritual work. A feeling of self-righteousness tends to go along with aggression; it can be like being possessed. The practice of self-observation is perhaps the most powerful thing we can do in our work. Internal conflict is a universal experience. One way to appease ego is to project our conflict onto others; then we don’t have to think about the negativity in ourselves. We tend to seek the resolution of a final solution, which can make us easy to manipulate. The way to try to build a world without war is to take responsibility for our aggression and be the change that we want to see. It can be helpful to recognize that much of what we feel may come from the world outside of us. Also, hurts that we’ve buried from childhood can continue to have power over us. We can rely on our practice—whatever that is for us—to help us get through. In this way, we can become more sensitive to subtle forms of aggression. Aggression can arise out of fear. If we’re going to evolve, we have to be vulnerable, present with fear, willing to endure discomfort with others who are different from us. We have more opportunity to practice at times when things are not going smoothly. Self-observation is about becoming conscious and out of consciousness, our choices change. If our hearts are connected to the suffering of others, it gives us a bigger view and keeps our reactions in perspective. The real way of a warrior is to prevent slaughter; it’s the art of peace. Bandhu is author of Creative Life and an internationally recognized glass artist and teacher.

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