I am sure most of us are following the Russia-Ukraine situation. And that probably brings up a range of emotions from fear to outrage, disbelief to despair. For me, I cannot get over the fact that we have humans (like you and me) in this day and age who believe that marching tanks into the middle of a city, bombing nurseries, killing other humans (like you and me) are even possible. It is such a primitive and barbaric act that my mind cannot grasp that it is actually happening today on our planet.

Map of Russia/Ukraine with Occupied areas

Another part of me is thinking of all the problems in the world today – is this the one that is worth spending resources on? In another few years, we may not have a planet left to live on. There are kids in this world who are dying because they do not have enough food or medicine. We live in a society where people are mean to others because their skin colour is different. And what about how we are letting technology run our lives. Seriously, of all these things that we could work on – one amongst us decided that it was essential to protect an artificial line on a piece of paper called border?

OK, I will move past the incredulity (disbelief) of the situation to get to the crux of the blog. And talk about how each of us is responsible for what is happening with Russia-Ukraine. Does that come as a surprise to some of you? I believe that the inner world reflects the outer world – and what is happening in Russia-Ukraine is a reflection of what each of us goes through every day. So, how is it a reflection?

I sat down to meditate this morning, and I had a thought-storm. So, I decided to focus on my breath. And as I am breathing, thoughts keep coming up, and my first reaction was to suppress the thoughts with anger. Thoughts like – ‘that thought should not arise. I have been practising for so long, and still, I cannot focus.’ This right here – is an act of war. The internal conflict that rages within all of us – about food, exercise, being better at work, money, kids.

Quote from Geshe Gyatso – stating that outer peace is not possible without inner peace

And then, I realized that I could accept that the thought had arisen with kindness and continue to focus on my breath. I can be present in the now. And not be dragged down by the baggage of the past and let the thoughts arise. This right here is acceptance of what is – the thought has occurred, and getting angry over it will not make a difference. The wise thing to do here is to invite the thought willingly and continue to focus on the breath. Why does it have to be one over the other – both can co-exist peacefully.

This is what all of us desire – inner peace, whether we know it or not. We all go about doing sorts of stuff, hoping that we will get there in the future. But, it is all right here, right now. Anytime you have a thought that causes you to stress, worry, anxiety – notice the thought, acknowledge it is there and then move on. It is just a thought!

And with this acceptance of reality as it is – there will be peace inside, and sooner rather than later, it will reflect in the world outside. Are you willing to stop the war inside to stop the fight outside?

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