The most fundamental aggression to ourselves, the most fundamental harm we can do to ourselves, is to remain ignorant by not having the courage and the respect to look at ourselves honestly and gently.
This leads to a bigger underlying issue for all of us: How are we ever going to change anything? How is there going to be less aggression in the universe rather than more? We can then bring it down to a more personal level: how do I learn to communicate with somebody who is hurting me or someone who is hurting a lot of people? How do I speak to someone so that some change actually occurs? How do I communicate so that the space opens up and both of us begin to touch in to some kind of basic intelligence that we all share? In a potentially violent encounter, how do I communicate so that neither of us becomes increasingly furious and aggressive? How do I communicate to the heart so that a stuck situation can ventilate? How do I communicate so that things that seem frozen, unworkable, and eternally aggressive begin to soften up, and some kind of compassionate exchange begins to happen?
In the different voice of women lies the truth of an ethic of care, the tie between relationship and responsibility, and the origins of aggression in the failure of connection.
There are historic situations in which refusal to defend the inheritance of a civilization, however imperfect, against tyranny and aggression may result in consequences even worse than war.
This interpretation of animal aggression as being restrained and formal can be disputed. In particular, it is certainly wrong to condemn poor old Homo Sapiens as the only species to kill his own kind, the only inheritor of the mark of Cain, and similar melodramatic charges.
Saying that spiritual practices train our minds, shape our consciousness and mold our character can sum this up. We undertake spiritual practice in order to change in some way, even if it is only a change of perspective. In more traditional language we undertake spiritual practices because they bring us closer to God’s will.
How does this work?
Spiritual practices including meditation (whether the object of attention is set at the breath, bodily sensations, a visualization, a mantra, a prayer or at floating open attention), and mitzvoth like Shabbat, Kashrut, and Torah study, and conscious non-harming speech share a similar technology.
One commits to a particular action as the focus of one’s energy, attention, time, and behavior. One articulates this intention. Then one waits. Soon, the obstacles appear. In a sitting meditation practice we may intend to follow each in breath and each out breath. No sooner do we begin then thoughts rush in or we find ourselves nodding sleepily or in a state of anxiety regarding the pain in our knee or lower back. Or we have decided to observe the Sabbath and an invitation comes our way that is irresistible. Or we promise ourselves to observe kashruth and a strong desire arises to taste the forbidden. Often rationalizing thoughts obscuring the clarity of the original intention surround these temptations.
The training occurs in the next step, the step of renunciation or returning. We see the temptation. We acknowledge it in a non-judgmental and non-personal way realizing that we are seeing forgetfulness in the human mind. As we bring attention to the temptation we see that it has no substance. Each time we do this, the ability to choose is strengthened. Each time we return from distraction or obstacle, the power of habit and unconsciousness is weakened. In this process we begin to see the nature of our minds and the nature of reality itself. We increase our ability to pay attention. And what do we begin to notice? We observe the arising and passing away of thoughts, sensations, sounds, desires, feelings, and moods just as daylight passes and evening comes. We see the consequences of various forms of contraction in the mind or body like fear, desire, suppression, judgment, anger, and aggression. We see the consequences of various forms of expansion like, trust, ease, relaxation, acceptance, generosity and gratitude.
I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father's protection.
I no longer count as one of my merits that I always tell the truth as much as possible; it has become my metier.
It is easy to see that the ego is that part of the id which has been modified by the direct influence of the external world.
The first human being who hurled an insult instead of a stone was the founder of civilization.
The time comes when each one of us has to give up as illusions the expectations which, in his youth, he pinned upon his fellow-men, and when he may learn how much difficulty and pain has been added to his life by their ill-will.
No man has greater confidence than I have in the spirit of the people, to a rational extent. Whatever they can, they will.
Our liberty cannot be guarded but by the freedom of the press, nor that be limited without danger of losing it.
Article 8 - The United Nations shall place no restrictions on the eligibility of men and women to participate in any capacity and under conditions of equality in its principal and subsidiary organs.
Four Approaches to Growing into Silence - Be precise, accurate and totally present with everything that one does. Expose oneself as much as one can to nature, to the universe, all that is not man-made. Be a disciple of one's own understanding. Keep the body and brain sensitive, alert and sharp.
When awareness of the totality, of wholeness, dawns upon the heart, and there is awareness of the relationship of every being to every other, then there is no longer any possibility of taking an exclusive approach to a fragment and getting stuck there. As soon as there is awareness of wholeness, every moment becomes sacred, every movement is sacred. The sense of oneness is no longer an intellectual connection. We will in all our actions be whole, total, natural, without effort. Every action or nonaction will have the perfume of wholeness.
A bird will not fly with one wing.
I can understand J. Edgar Hoover, because he wasn't inaccurate.â€¦ He said that we were the main threat. We were trying to be the main threat. We were trying to be the vanguard organization. J. Edgar Hoover was an adversary, but he had good information. We were plugged into all of the revolutionary groups in America, plus those abroad. We were working hand-in-hand with communist parties here and around the world, and he knew that.