Seeing any form of violence in the world disturbs us, as it goes against the very nature of our being. Whether this is towards a country, as Ukraine is experiencing right now, or whether to an individual, animal or life on our planet, it is shocking, deeply sad and can generate anger and fear that in some situations can take us over.
I remember as a teenager walking our dog, Patter, in the park and seeing a man being violent to his pet Alsatian dog. I remember to this day how upset I was, not only to witness the violence, but also thinking that I could do nothing to protect and defend the animal, as I felt scared by the violence. In fact, that is what has stayed with me the most: My fear, anger and sadness at my inability to help.
I remember many years ago reading the WWI poem for my O’ Level English Lit exam, Dulce et Decorum est, by Wilfred Owen, and being dreadfully upset by the actions that human beings made at that time, on both sides of the trenches.
However, what I have come to realise is that whenever any stressful emotions arise in me, I must address them in me before I take any action, or decide not to take action. Any feelings of fear, anger and frustration at my seeing inability to do anything, must first be felt and acknowledged in me.
I do this by simply being present to the feelings that I feel in my body and not making anything wrong with my mind. By being the gentle witness to our own emotional pain, we can then take our own right action, for we find that the emotion, whatever it is, dissolves of itself, leading to a deeper inner peace. It is from this point of balance, harmony and peace that we can then take any steps we are guided to take.
This is the activity of Grace at work. For we are divine beings having human experiences. Not human beings striving to be perfect and getting upset when we do not experience this. It is a profound difference.
As we practise being present to what, in us, is in the way of peace and right action, we know what is ours to do and we can do it. This is what Jesus taught to those around him. The story of The Samaritan comes immediately to mind.
Right action can be in any form. Again, it is not about reacting because something is wrong, but responding from the inner point of balance and peace.
I believe action is required, even if it is simply addressing our own hidden violent thinking, for we live by example. Again, Jesus is the perfect example of this. Whatever happens to one person affects all of us. This is the human experience of being one with everything and with God. There is no hiding from this.
So perhaps, what is happening between Russia and Ukraine right now, is giving us, on a very personal level, the opportunity to heal our inner anger, fear or emotional pain. For as we each address this in us, the world will be changed.
Let us hold Ukraine and all world leaders in prayer. Let us affirm oneness, right action and peace in us and the world. And let us do this as a united front, together.
Unity in the UK