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by Jim Brinkley

As the possibility of war with Iraq appears to loom ever nearer, we are hearing and seeing more and more anti-war protests. It seems as if almost everyone wants peace. So why don't we have peace?

I have recently received some E-mails asking me to express my opposition to the coming war with Iraq and even to join some protests against the war. While the intentions of the senders were above reproach, I do not believe that their methods are the most effective ones to achieve peace. The very fact that they talk about the "coming war with Iraq" means that they are convinced that war is inevitable. Since our beliefs shape our reality, the more people who believe that war is coming, the more likely it is to come. Protests against war and even opposition to war are in themselves forms of conflict. I believe that promoting peace is far more effective than protesting war.

We often place the terms war and peace together, as if they were opposites. They are not. War is armed conflict but peace is much more than the lack of armed conflict. Peace is a state that exists within an entity (person, family, community, or nation) when it is in harmony with all its parts and in harmony with all other entities with which it is connected. Since everything is connected, a person or other entity is at peace when it is in harmony with the universe. This is a state that the Hawaiians call ponopono. Hence, a term used for the traditional kupua form of family therapy is ho'oponopono - to create harmony.

War is never the best answer. All wars are fought from fear.

Recently I had lunch with my cousin at a lovely outdoor cafe on the water. As we sat watching the sailboats pass by, she asked me if I had given any thought to a possible war with Iraq. When I replied that I had, she asked me if I thought the dissenters in congress were wrong in urging caution and restraint.

"No," I said. "I think they are perfectly correct."

My cousin then said that I must believe President Bush to be wrong in advocating the use of force if Iraq does not immediately offer evidence that it has divested itself of nuclear, biologic, and chemical weapons.

"No," I said. "I think he is absolutely correct."

"How can two opposite views both be correct?" she demanded.

I then discussed with her what I believe to be one of the most important laws of spirituality: the Law of Relativity. Einstein taught us that in the physical universe certain things that we previously thought to be absolute, such as velocity and position, are in fact relative to the point of view of the observer. (To those of you with scientific minds, I humbly ask your forgiveness for such a gross oversimplification.) There is a similar law in the spiritual universe. Right and wrong are not absolutes; they are relative to the point of view of the observer. Hence, the seventh principle of Huna: Effectiveness is the measure of truth.

The primary job of members of congress is to represent their constituents. War would not only put some of their constituents in harm's way but would also significantly impact the quality of life of those left behind. It is natural for congresspersons to be cautious.

On the other hand, the primary job of the president is to protect our national security. Our current president is the first one in almost two hundred years to have experienced an attack on American soil during his watch. This is only the second time in our history that such a thing has occurred and the very first in which thousands of innocent civilians were murdered. Furthermore, as we all know, this attack was not carried out by a nation but rather by a network of terrorists who have virtually no respect for human life, even their own. Many of these terrorists devote their entire energies to trying to destroy our nation. Is it not natural for our president to be concerned about a possible future attack and to do anything in his power to prevent it?

War is never the best answer. All wars are fought from fear.

When he must deal with a nation ruled by a dictator who thinks nothing of murdering his own people and who actively supports the financing, sheltering, and training of terrorists, it is not difficult to understand how and why our president fears for our nation.

Last week I had a conversation with a long time friend. My friend is a retired physician, who practiced internal medicine and oncology for almost forty years. His reputation is one of compassion and integrity. He was able to combine the latest in western medicine with complementary techniques whenever applicable. He was not only a Board Certified internist but also a teacher of acupuncture at a renowned medical school. He also used Huna techniques with his patients on many occasions. He is a very spiritual man and a superb physician in every sense of the word.

When possible war with Iraq came up he said, "I cannot understand all these people who are protesting against President Bush's proposed course. It is clearly the lesser of two evils." My friend sees war with Iraq and removal of Saddam Hussein from power as the only means of preventing another terrorist attack on our people. Clearly this man of peace believes that in this case war may be the best option. Everything is relative to one's point of view.

War is never the best answer. All wars are fought from fear.

So how can we best work for peace? First, rather than criticizing those who see war as the only way to protect our nation, we can pray that they find inspiration to protect it through peaceful means.

Second, we can be people of peace ourselves. The world is what you think it is. Your world is a mirror of your thoughts. What you think about your world is what you project into it and what you project into it is what comes back to you.

I end each day with a short inspirational reading. Three days ago the reading was very timely. It was entitled, "I draw upon the wellspring of peace within me to create peace in my world." This is something that each of us can do, every single day.

Many people who cry out the loudest against war are not people of peace. Are you a person of peace? It is easy enough to find out. Ask yourself a few questions.

Do you see your world as a place of strife, where you must act swiftly and sometimes ruthlessly to get your share? If someone else gets something that you wanted, do you react with anger or jealousy or do you recognize his good fortune as a sign that the world is a place of infinite abundance where health, prosperity, joy, and peace are each person's natural inheritance?

Do you begin each day by giving thanks for your many blessings? Do you truly appreciate your health, your friends and family, and the beauty that is all around you?

Do you greet the plants, animals, and people you encounter with courtesy and respect? Are "good morning," "please," and "thank you" some of your most frequently spoken words? If another driver wants to squeeze into the lane ahead of you, do you allow her to do so with a smile and a nod of recognition?

Whether this questioning leads you to discover that you are indeed the person of peace you aspire to be or not, the path to more peace in your life and in your world is right before you. Bless everything you see that is peaceful and harmonious. In particular, bless all signs of harmony between people. This is very easy for me because I work in a place where there are people of virtually all races, sexes, colors, and religions. We not only work well together but in a sense, we are a family. Our world is a world of peace.

We are a microcosm of what your world can be. Even if you are not in a similar situation, you can visualize one. Do it frequently. Bless it. Bless the people who love our nation yet fear for it so much that they would lead us to war. Bless the people who are willing to actually go to war for our nation. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to love your country enough to serve it in a place of horror while your fellow citizens mock you for it.

If you are not intimately familiar with the art of blessing, please read the "Aloha Spirit" booklet, which can be found on the home page of this web site.

We each create our own reality. Create peace in your world. Create peace in the world. Aloha a me malu.

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