And yet, only as we do acknowledge this realm, and learn to remain within it as our primary foundation for living, only as we learn how to actually be, underneath all of our doing and saying, will we let go of the traditional world-at-war.
This shift will be exceedingly difficult to make. It flies in the face of history, of the "progress" we have made in the last 300 (or is it 10,000?) years.
A beginning has already been made -- on the conceptual level. Critical analysis of the Cartesian "I think, therefore I am" (and by implication, "therefore only my mind exists") and the popular phrase "mind/body split" have, over the past 20 years, inspired an entire literature devoted to the pathology of Western Scientific Culture. The more perceptive of these writers notice that the systematic disparagement of our bodies extends to both women and nature: all three participate, somehow, in a lower, more instinctive, primitive realm. A realm therefore less valuable than mind, and, hopefully, subject to the mind's control.
This is the way our culture automatically and unconsciously works: any interpretation we give to our feelings must fall into a two-slot dualistic framework: we are either for or against one side or the other, either for Good or for Evil.
This explains the automatic mental images of sporting events, of being on the winning team, which accompanied the bodily surges I felt at the onset of the war. In this context, note the many commentators who are pointing, with surprise and horror, to the language of sports and games in which this war is being couched. And deeper: note the unusual emphasis on the specifics of hardware and machinery in this war, how it finds its parallel in the machinery of our internal programming, and therefore, our extreme susceptibility to governmental propaganda. Although the conceptual freedoms we have as Americans are continually emphasized, as long as we act and think mechanically, we are not free.
If, on the other hand, we were to notice our feelings in the energetic dimensions and remain there, in our feelings, without having to interpret them conceptually, what would happen? What could happen?
Let's look at this same example, my initial reaction to the onset of the Gulf War. Those initial surging feelings can now be understood energetically, as a release of tension.
This is important. For the tension I was feeling was not just mine. It was ours. My body came from dust and will return to dust. Our bodies are composed of Earth, they participate in her mysterious substance. As our personal portions of Earth, our bodies have been resonating like tuning forks, from thousands of miles away, to the mounting tension in the Middle East.
If we understand what is happening in the Middle East from within the energetic dimension, we can interpret the situation nonpolitically, nonideologically. That is, we don't have to polarize things by taking sides. A biological understanding of Earth is instructive here. For if Earth is a living body, then the Middle East is a site where toxins have collected and condensed over thousands of years, creating a boil, a pressure from these toxins under Earth's skin.
During the second half of 1990 that boil grew to enormous size, stretching the skin unbearably. "Something," as my friend put it, "had to happen." My own restlessness, my weeping, and the surging within me are all responses of one of Earth's minute cells to what was happening elsewhere on her surface. The onset of hostilities then was the release of energy, the boil bursting.
I can remember, back in those last weeks before the January 15 deadline, hoping against hope that the situation could still be resolved peacefully. And yet, when I tried to imagine all 500,000 allied forces and their hardware actually backing up, leaving the area, it felt impossible. The dynamics of the situation simply wouldn't allow it. At this time I didn't know how or why I knew this. Now I do.
Energetically, just as the energies that create boils do not recede, but continue to build tension until there is the explosive release of toxins, so too the build-up of tension in the Gulf was such that it also had to release in some kind of explosive manner.
To view the war purely from the energetic level is to begin to make sense of why so many people "rally around the flag" and turn so patriotic once a war actually begins. They feel their bodies' release on an energetic level, and as I did, they move immediately to the conceptual level, interpreting that release automatically in a polarized way, as enthusiasm for the cause. From then on, in order to remain enthusiastic, they shut their bodies down, so as to numb themselves to the carnage.
Were we to remain open to our bodies' unerring sense of what is happening energetically during a war, we would feel not just the initial release of tension, but descend into sympathetic participation in the "hellacious" suffering it causes on all sides. Were we, as a culture, to remain open to our feelings during a war, we would no longer allow war as an acceptable way of releasing tension.
To view war energetically is to cut to the core of the problem. We no longer waste time wondering "Why is this war being fought?" by inventing reasons, excuses and rationalizations for the feelings of tension and the pressing need for its release.
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