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World Saved? Or Armageddon?—Doris Wolz-Cohen

  • “The world will be saved by the Western woman.” (Dalai Lama, Vancouver Peace Summit 2009)
  • Armageddon (Republican “self first” war culture will devour the world)

If you can’t decide, read on.

Could the Dalia Lama be right? Could we (Western women) save the world?

Since women birth life they are Soul’s womb. And, since the earth receives bodies that housed souls, she is Soul’s tomb. That’s why, when we honor women and the earth, we connect with Soul, the quintessential power behind Life. The Soul is everyone’s true Self. She is our spiritual Mother. Her power can heal and unite us so we won’t destroy life on earth.

The earth has endured humans since the beginning of time. She carries the memory of everything that women and men have repressed, denied and destroyed. This image above, “Earth Re-Members War,” depicts the collective war trauma and death culture she holds in her belly for us.

When we don’t deal with historical wounds, we repeat wounding behaviors and miss opportunities to awaken and create a better world. Can people across America today recover from personal and collective war trauma—given so many of us were exposed to Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs)¹ growing up?

“So here we are with an administration … that often uses bullying to try to get its way instead of respectful negotiation, responds to decisions it doesn’t like with threats instead of respectful disagreement, describes events it doesn’t like by saying they didn’t happen, and is enacting some policies that harm children and families,” writes Jane Ellen Stevens in “The practice of ACEs science in the time of Trump.”

To heal, Stevens suggests we become familiar with the dynamics of ACEs:

“ACE’s science is clear: bullying, losing a parent (to divorce, separation or deportation), emotional abuse, racist or religious discrimination, physical abuse and witnessing others being hurt—along with several other types of adversity—harm children and adults.” The science of Adverse Childhood Experiences “shows us very clearly that there is no “them and us.” We’re all in this together. We’re all human; …It doesn’t matter if you’re rich, poor, black, brown, white, left, right or middle, born in Asia, Africa, South America, Australia, or Europe—if you experience many types of adverse childhood experiences, and are unlucky enough to be provided few resilience factors, your brain will be damaged, and you will suffer the consequences. Only in how we express our adversities do we differ. But the good news is: …our brains are plastic and our bodies want to heal. So, if we’re all in this together, then working together to create communities that provide environments for children and adults to heal is our only path to success.”

Leaders who channel violence and create fear in us are not our prophets and visionaries. They can’t create a new sustainable world with us, because they are under the spell of repetition compulsion² and the karma not awakening generates for them.

It’s time to pull together and remember that we don’t have to repeat history. Instead, we can awaken and choose to heal historical wounds. Leaders who channel violence and create fear in us are not our prophets and visionaries. They can’t create a new sustainable world with us, because they are under the spell of repetition compulsion² and the karma not awakening generates for them.

History only repeats itself for those who refuse to feel the emotional and spiritual impact of their actions on other people and the earth. To transform repetition compulsion, we need to experience (fully!) what we compulsively repeat in our daily lives. This requires our willingness to experience the whole continuum of human feelings It requires learning to feel all our feelings without being disturbed by any of them or blaming and shaming anybody for them. Such is the path to experiencing our deepest and truest Self.

The reason why (I believe) we haven’t manifested Soul life on earth is because most people are invested in leading Ego-centered lives. Ruled by Ego and disconnected from the Soul they can’t be present to, and contain, “the whole continuum of human feelings” that arises when humans interact. In emotionally challenging moments, most of us feel so overwhelmed that we either act out or shut down. That’s how we stay stuck. It’s not how we can transform repetition compulsion and become free of karma.

To transform repetition compulsion and step off the karmic wheel, we need to invite Soul connection and become bigger containers. But how?

One way is to not act out or shut down when daily life overwhelms us, but to practice feeling how intensely painful all relationships are when they are ruled by Ego. It may also help to us Comic Introspection: “Being fully aware of your own foibles while still loving yourself tenderly and maintaining confidence in your ability to give your specific genius to the world. To paraphrase Alan Jones, Dean of Grace Cathedral: following the Byzantine ploys of your ego with compassion and humor as it tries to make itself the center of everything, even of its own suffering and struggle.”

Pema Chördrön invites drawing from your love tor the world to inspire you to practice Tonglen “for a world that’s falling apart.” Devotional practices (such as art, dance, chanting, drumming, poetry and devotional service³), can help your body become Her dwelling place. By inviting Soul connection, you invite Soul life to root in your body. By honoring and applying women’s wisdom in our lives, we invite Soul life to root in our families and communities.

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Martin Luther King’s daughter, Bernice King, offered this wisdom on her Facebook page:

‘When you post or talk about him, don’t assign his actions to him, assign them to “The Republican Administration,” or “The Republicans.” This will have several effects: the Republican legislators will either have to take responsibility for their association with him or stand up for what some of them don’t like; he will not get the focus of attention he craves; Republican representatives will become very concerned about their re-elections.’

It’s brilliant advice.

By referring to the Republican Party as a whole, we’ll see, most quickly, where individual Republicans stand on issues. Surely, they can’t all want Armageddon.

"Germany First" showed us what hell on earth can look like. The world was not saved then. Bodies were burned. Hearts were broken. How can we move today from the dangers of “America First,” which is the slogan of a few power hungry “self first” Republicans, to an “America United” today, which is a prayer I believe most Democrats, Republicans, and Independents hold in their hearts.

Hard to believe as it is, Republican leadership has moved from a position of “everybody for themselves,” which promotes personal responsibility, to one of “self first,” which promotes the denial of a person’s true Self, one’s Soul.

Individual Republicans may not be aware that a “self first” milieu allows Ego to create a delusional world wherein a few people end up controlling and destroying the masses, and earth, by keeping humanity’s Soul exiled.

To re-direct this, each of us needs to take individual responsibility for the power hungry parts in our inner world by recognizing areas where we too, prefer to control others and put ourselves first. Transforming where our Ego abuses power in relationships with others (and ourselves) is essential to creating an “America United.”

The Bhagavad Gita says in chapter 6, verse 5:

“Lift up the self by the Self
And don’t let the self droop down.
For the Self is the self’s only friend
And the self is the Self’s only foe.”

When “the self” (one’s Ego) serves itself, the true Self (one’s Soul) gets forsaken and cut off. Weakened and blinded by this disconnect the person craves unequivocal power over everyone, and everything. In a futile attempt to replace self-realization they become driven by an insatiable power hunger and “search for glory.” BUT, a self-serving Ego can never possess glory, because glory belongs to “the Self.” So chronic dissatisfaction and rage are creating the emotional violence that leads to war. To experience the glory of “the Self,” one’s Ego would have to serve “the Self.” There is no way around this.

Many American hearts want to live in world of Truth, Justice, Liberty and peaceful communities. Only a few dissatisfied and troubled hearts are consciously (or unconsciously) planning war. To actively support the “many hearts” will require recognizing and re-educating the part within all of us that resists or refuses to serve “the Self.” Our work is to study and transform the human tendency to put our “self” first and to cultivate our desire to show up willing to serve.

Again, practices such as Tonglen, devotional art and devotional service can help us open ourselves more and connect with these, and other, antidotes to the war culture we are learning to understand. Instead of fearing war and Armageddon, we can prepare (through prayer, dance, drumming, singing hymns to “the Self” ...whatever will open us…) our bodies and minds to become Soul’s dwelling place on earth.

We can choose to repeat history and create more karma, or we can vow to burn karma and create a soulful world. To burn karma and heal from collective trauma we have to create healing settings where we can feel our feelings, cry our tears, and share our passion to awaken together. Yes, a war culture is growing around us. We fear war and (given the sophistication of today’s war machine) Armageddon. But need we forever chase after Soul’s power to awaken us and never taste it, because a few people are at war with themselves and their true Self? We don’t need to repeat war and earth plunder history, but we need to transform the part of ‘self’ in us that may unconsciously promote war, because we feel unworthy and are even more afraid of love than death.

Lao Tzu said, “the mother of all things… brings freedom from the fear of death.”4 Can She also bring freedom from the fear of love? I believe She will, when we honor Her (in all) and offer ourselves to be Her dwelling place on earth.

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Doris Wolz-Cohen

  1. Traumatic events that can have negative, lasting effects on health and well-being
  2. Repetition compulsion is a psychological phenomenon in which one repeats traumatic events over and over again.
  3. Devotional service means activities performed for the pleasure of Spirit with devotion, and ultimately not mixed with any desire for personal pleasure.
  4. From the Tao Te Ching (Lao Tzu); translated by Gia Fu Feng and Jane English