Is Peace Possible in the Middle East (1)

Is Peace Possible in the Middle East, (Part One of Four)


It’s become abundantly clear, especially with the current horrendous conflict in this area, that peace is inevitable in the Middle East. It will come, either because every single human being dies, which removes the warring consciousness that has turned paradise into hell, or because enough combatants embrace a peace consciousness. Those well schooled in Middle East history would say, “Don’t hold your breath.” And, as a recent post on the situation advised: “Jews and Arabs are deeply suspicious of one another and do not agree on the fundamentals that could make peace a reality.” 1

Let’s pause on the word “suspicious.” No doubt suspicion is based on past performance. Promises have been broken. Motives are questionable. Betrayal is centuries old. So, what can possible change this? Certainly, each side waiting for the other to demonstrate reliability has not proven effective. There will always be wild cards, individuals who defy agreements and sabotage any peace accord that leaders broker and most of those on both sides agree with. What happens then? Reprisals, usually. Then it’s rinse and repeat all over again, just as it’s been, seemingly forever.

Suspicion ends when suspicion ends. Period. It takes absolute commitment, on the part of someone, a bunch of someones, that can demonstrate an irresistible model others could be inspired to follow. This will only happen when not being suspicious becomes more important and more appealing than being suspicious, and when those modeling this new behavior are obviously benefited by it. Who’s going to start that movement? Well, who’s reading?

The same post offers this cautionary wisdom: “Paradigms are difficult to change. Sacred paradigms are especially difficult to challenge.” 2What is a “sacred paradigm?” Simply put, it’s any belief clung to beyond reason. It needn’t be religious. One can believe in democracy, for instance, and demonize socialism or communism. Regardless of different beliefs, what all sacred paradigms share is myopia and blindness. If you’ve ever held a penny up to the sun you saw how that tiny coin eclipsed the mighty sun. It has to be close to you, which is what those rationalized beliefs always are, and held a certain way, to cause the blindness.

What can successfully challenge a sacred paradigm is urgent need. For instance, a Palestinian committed to hating Israelis who needs immediate medical care to save the life of his infant daughter might accept help from the enemy. An Israel living in daily fear of Hamas might shift that belief if some act of extraordinary kindness was committed by some representative of “the devil.”

Peace is possible in the Middle East. But it will take local leaders, not politicians, modeling new paradigms of belief and behaviors. They all face the choice T.S. Elliot described between “fire and fire.” They can continue down the current warpath and burn to death, or they can choose the path of peace by burning their old consciousness.

1, 2 –

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All-Pervading Peace

All-Pervading Peace

 Take any situation–let’s just take your current situation of the present moment–and recognize it is flooded with space, completely permeated by, and saturated with, space, down to the minutest subatomic particle, down to the very constituent points.

Open to the feeling tone, or felt sense, of space, as one of all-pervading Peace. This is ever-present Peace, not vulnerable to the wear and tear of changing times and circumstances. It is not vulnerable to anything that could ever happen in space. It is the Peace of Sacred Space. It is not just in some isolated sanctuary somewhere else, but is everywhere, all-pervading, right here and now in this space. Recognize that, be open to that.

 Now feel everything releasing into free and open Sacred Space. Feel every knot unraveling, every tension easing–into Peace, All-Pervading Peace. Experience the opening of your own body, then breath, then life force, then emotions, then mind, then self-sense. Release it all into the Peace of Space. 

Then when you are ready to move back into the world,  consider how this Peace wants to move in the world, in this situation and beyond. Then feeling this Peace embodied in you on all levels, move as the expression of Peace.

Ed Hirsch resides in Ashland – contact him at:


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In defense of peace

“That since wars begin in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men

that the defenses of peace must be constructed.” 

The above is the preamble to the UNESCO Charter adopted Nov. 16, 1945

If wars begin in the minds of men then it is the minds of men that war must be undone. 

The path to inner peace and world peace means changing the minds of the men and women of the world and that includes yours and mine. 

A mind that has chosen peace as its goal is always “aware” of the thoughts contained within:

Does the thought reflect peace or war? Joining or separation?  Love or hate?  Here are some statements that could be used in “defense” of peace:

Today I choose peace

You and I are the same

I am you, and you are me

Whatever I see in you, also is in me

I am responsible for how I see and think

I choose to have an open mind

I refuse prejudice wherever it dwells

I exclude no one from my love

This world is an illusion but love is real

Love is all there is

I am One with all Humanity

I honor all Religions and Faiths

More thoughts on inner peace:

What are other statements that would be in “defense” of Peace?   Please post them here. 


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Happy Interdependence Day

Happy Interdependence Day

by Will Wilkinson

July 4 has come and gone. This year, I celebrated Interdependence Day, inviting my on-line subscribers to expand their understanding of the holiday. See for details.

July 4, 1776 marked independence from Great Britain, which symbolized freedom from enslavement. Enslavement looks different today. There’s no distant country and its rulers telling us what to do. We have our own – career politicians chronically disconnected from the will of those they are paid to represent.

So, authentic leadership falls to us, ordinary people who do care about each other. One way we demonstrate this is to simply be neighborly. Sadly, too many don’t even know their neighbors. We’re too busy, rushing to and from “work.” Well, let’s pause that tape and, wherever you are, whoever you are, whatever you are doing, take a moment to celebrate each other. We need each other! In so many ways. But first, let’s start with this simple acknowledgement – we’re all in this life together, facing similar challenges – and think up some simple ways to show those around us we do care.

You know the stories about people paying the toll for the driver behind them. Leaving huge tips. Hiding money around town. Etc. But there are less dramatic ways, like being more considerate to our family members. How radical is that? Actually, it is radical because it’s the simple things we most often overlook. Like, put down the paper and share breakfast with your wife, your kids, your dog…

Happy Interdependence Day, every day, a celebration of each other… which makes the world suddenly a very different place.


Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

and website at:


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Peace for the Middle East & at Home

His Holiness the Dalai Lama speaking at the University of Oregon in May 2013, said:

“Peace must come through inner peace.  First inner peace starts from each individual and not society.

We change society when each one makes an attempt to change themselves – then society changes.

The Individual is most important.  Society must change to a peaceful society.”

What would the world be like if every individual no matter what their faith, practiced a form of inner peace?  Would we have bombs flying back and forth from Israel to Gaza?  Mass shootings at movie theatres, colleges, gang violence, teen bullying or domestic fights? 

We witness the tragedy of the Middle East and our own mass shootings on a daily basis.  His Holiness speaks of every individual being responsible for their inner peace.  If we take responsibility and look at our grievances and explore what we hate and why and then realize how miserable we are, we can chose to find another way.   We would each find a place of understanding within ourselves that would reflect on others and out into the world.  When we give compassion to ourselves it extends to others and hate disappears. 

Choose Peace!  It is a minute by minute choice.  For more thoughts on living a life by choosing  inner peace.



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Speeding Up

SPEEDING UP by Dorothy Vogel

I’ve heard of a new app for smart phones called PAY.  With it, you will be able to waft your cellphone over a store’s scanner and your money flies from your bank through cyberspace into the pocket of the vendor. 

Shoppers will no longer wait in line behind a senior who struggles in his wallet for his card, takes three attempts to pass it through that charge thing, then waits to sign the receipt. ZIP.  Next, please?  

Things are speeding up. 

We know that Inner Peace means Tech-Simple.

The above is excerpted from  “Tech-Simple is worth a try” - Ashland Daily Tidings Inner Peace Column Saturday, July 5th issue.

Dorothy Vogel is the author of a new mystery that takes place in southern Oregon, “The Timber Mill Action,” available on

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Listening from a Peace Place

Listening From a Peaceful Place by Will Wilkinson

In a fascinating post called, How to Make People Like You: Six Science-Based Conversation Hacks by Eric Barker, the author lists as number one: “Encourage people to talk about themselves.”

He suggests that this “gives their brain as much pleasure as food or money.” For the full article go to .

I wonder, do people really like to talk about themselves that much or is it also that they like to be listened to? We all know how good that feels, regardless of what we may be talking about.

It’s a busy world and it’s easy to feel swallowed up by it all. Then someone listens. They give you their full attention. You feel heard, seen, that you matter to them. It makes a difference.

Communication professionals advise that the listener controls the conversation. That’s counter-intuitive but true. So, what is the quality of our listening? One subtle but powerful listening technique is to listen from a place of inner calm. Being peaceful, while another person is speaking – about themselves or anything under the sun – sets up a positive entrainment. It’s been scientifically proven that we do rub off on each other. So, what a positive influence we can have, simply by listening with a compassionate ear.

This may seem like a tiny strategy but who knows what kind of difference it could make in a person’s life, in fact, potentially life changing!

Will Wilkinson is a local author, filmmaker and director of a Happiness campaign.

and website at:



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Being in conscious Presence or Peacefulness


 I have read that we have 90,000 thoughts a day. A majority of these thoughts are habitual or what some have called our ego or conditioned mind. Too often we find ourselves controlled by what happened in the past or what we expect or hope will happen in the future.

 So, since we cannot stop thinking, how do we prepare or guide our always chattering mind? Many people read or view positive affirmations from their favorite spiritual thinker several times each day. On the physical form level; this is an attempt to get beyond mind (thinking) by using the mind. This is impossible, but that is not to say that one cannot get some meaningful insights. But our purpose in life is to become presence or conscious by a very simple alert watchfulness. These conscious seeds (peacefulness) can be sowed (expected) in any experience or activity.

The last several weeks I was sick because I was unconscious. And I was getting a bit testy over being sick for seven weeks. It started out as a cold, then the flu. Each visit to the Immediate Care clinic left me with a new illness. First, it was whooping cough or bronchitis, and then it was pneumonia.  I have gone through one antibiotic and codeine cough syrup and am on my second dose of a stronger antibiotic.

What brought me back to health or easiness was two simple recent experiences of being consciously present while cleaning the house and making supper. Before these experiences, I thought if only I read enough spiritual books or listened or watched DVD’s or videos of spiritual sages or meditated often; I would learn how to be in this conscious presence. Another name for this is to be in the stillness or peacefulness. But, after ten years of searching; I found myself no closer to this ultimate spiritual experience.

I guess the simple things in life do bring the most happiness or peacefulness; because it was the simple, making supper and cleaning our house that brought this conscious presence that had eluded me for so many years. My beloved gently explained to my 12 year old granddaughter, and myself the specific tasks of chopping onions, peppers, making the tomato, brown sugar mixture for the meatloaf, plus how to slice the red and yellow potatoes to be placed in the glass cooking dish immersed in garlic butter. There was no impatience, hurrying or authoritarian directions. Each of us got a turn at chopping, stirring in the onions, peppers with our hands. Even the organic green salad preparation was a shared cooperative effort. We sat down with no television on. Oh, what a feast! We finished off with my beloved surprising us with a treat of strawberry short cake from our beautiful Rogue Valley.

Cleaning the house has always been a very challenging domestic task that very often ignited both our egos. I have always felt obligated and very reluctant as we did this weekly duty. My grumbling to my wife that our cleaning was far too detailed resulted in her very pointed question, “Where is that love you speak of so often?”

This time she told me how much she appreciated my help giving all the tasks of raising our 12 year old granddaughter. There was a shift that I cannot explain, but there was a quiet peacefulness; a cooperativeness that enveloped our polishing, dusting, vacuuming, cleaning. We found ourselves anticipating and helping each other. It was amazing that this presence (peacefulness) lingered throughout the evening and into the next day.  


Jim Hawes, a retired Medford school teacher has published Ageless Child, Balboa Press. or Barnes and Nobles and is working on his second book, Consciously Growing Older.



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“Spirit is forever taking form and forever deserting the form which it has taken….any form which is not of the original harmony is subject to change. Spirit is changeless reality. It is never bound by the form it takes, and is not affected by any apparent cause of condition, but is forever free.”   Ernest Holmes


I am so grateful for the changeless, the invisible and unseen that is always there, back of everything. This changeless reality is Love, is Peace, is Harmony, is Divine Right Order, and is to be counted on! It is always accessible to us when we pause or have a “timeout” and we go deep within. There, the changeless abides, there I find peace and bliss and serenity. I am deeply grateful for these qualities of Spirit, that are part of me, as my Divine Inheritance.

The material world, in contrast, is always in a state of flux. Like Holmes said, it is constantly shifting and taking form, then deserting that form. It is so apparent in Nature – leaves shedding themselves from deciduous trees, caterpillars to cocoons to butterflies, the dramatic seasons, weather, and the death of sentient beings though I know death is truly transitioning to another world we cannot see.

Relationships shift and change, children grow up, people age and jobs start and end and people move to other places. As one of my students recently said, “We humans should be taught in school early on that life is all about change.” Then maybe we wouldn’t fight or struggle so much as divorce happens or illness comes or graduations happen. We would accept it better knowing how natural it truly is.

I know as I have become more spiritually mature, it is easier for me to know that change can possibly hold promise, rather than be the end of something, and be a reason for grief or sadness. Still, I sometimes get stuck. Change can definitely knock me off center at times.

Change that can rock my world to varying degrees includes my computer breaking down since it is a primary source of income and communication; realizing a break-up is necessary after so many years; watching someone I love dearly battle with a terminal illness and then leave this world; moving when it’s called for; losing jobs; estrangement with family; and the worst I can think of, suicide by a young family member. And there is change that is chosen to enhance one’s life, it is not always thrust upon us, thankfully.

What holds me together when my stable world gets rocked by a seismic change is the knowing and connecting to the Truth of me, to the Truth of all life, which is that we are eternal beings, and it helps to remember “This, too, shall pass” and guess what? It always does. It helps to let my essence be an observer and know on deep levels that this life on earth is temporal – that I can be like a river and flow with the changes that will always be around the bend.

Accepting, allowing, going with the flow. Letting myself meditate so I can feel that peace that passeth all understanding, the bubbling bliss, the serenity that IS there as I touch into my eternal being. It is the changeless dancing with change!

It’s not always easy remembering this. Sometimes I sink into fear or despair over life’s transitory nature but then I do remember, and remembering bring solace and inner peace, and helps me meander down the river of Life, without fighting the current. To know all of this is wisdom which has come to me with the aging process, and I am in deep gratitude for all the changes in my own life which brought me here, to a greater understanding.


“If the doors of perception were cleansed, everything would appear to man as it is – Infinite.”    William Blake

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My morning responsibility

Responsibility for seeing is up to me……each morning!

I am not responsible for what others do but I am responsible for how I see and how I re-act.  This is our responsibility:  How do we “respond”, how do we react; judge; understand; perceive; or think about the things that happen each day?  This has nothing to do with whether or not  something will turn out in our favor but everything to do with the decision ahead of time as to what I want. 

You can have a great day no matter what happens in the world or in our lives.  We think that our peace depends on something outside of us, a situation or an outcome that is in our favor.  However, what if it turns out not to be in your favor?  What if you don’t get what you want?  Can you still have peace?  Can your change your mind?

You can, if you decide as soon as you get up in the morning and are awake enough!  Turn to your decision making right mind and decide the kind of day you want.   

One goal might be: I want a day of peace; or I want to see love everywhere; I want to forgive everyone; or I want to see the Love in everyone. These are a few but they are all based on the content of peace in the mind and not anything in the world of form like “I want to win this law suit,” or “I want to win the lottery.”

Whether something turns out to be in your favor or not you will remain peaceful because you have already determined the day you want.   You will overlook the ego’s interpretation of “ happenings” or  let “things” upset you or push your buttons.   No matter what happens or how things turn out, you will have peace.  You have a powerful mind.

Try it!  Test it out!


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  • About This Blog

    The Inner Peace blog is a place to share wisdom about peace practices and inspire, learn and explore all aspects of inner peace. A team of writers will discuss varied qualities –€” intuition, courage, fearlessness, friendship, forgiveness, gentleness, giving and receiving, tolerance, faithfulness and kindness –€” that help us all through the tough times, the challenges, the joys and the sorrows with inner peace as the ever-shining goal. Whether 2 or 92, your inner peace is up to you.
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