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Resources for Peace

There IS Hope for Mideast Peace

How Can We Make a Difference for Israel/Palestine?

Click to download: Supporting Cultural Creatives in Peacebuilding.pdf

Is it possible to make a difference in an intractable conflict half way around the world?

Things on the ground in Israel/Palestine are filled with despair: families have lost loved ones to violence, governments create and perpetuate policies that do not serve peace, fear and hatred are common. Is there anything we can do?

The old ideas, the old ways of being no long work and they do not serve the end of creating lasting peace. What are the old ideas?

  • Monologue

  • In an intractable conflict, it is possible for a side to win.

  • Blame the other.

  • I tell and retell my story, my people's story, our understanding of events.

  • Peace is a distant goal.

These old ways of thinking and the systems that perpetuate them enable the status quo. Perhaps for some there is a benefit in perpetuating things as they are, but most of us recognize the need for things to change. Albert Einstein said we cannot solve a problem using the same mindset that caused the problem in the first place.

So it is time for new ideas, a new mindset. What are the new ideas?

  • Trialogue - beyond you and me, there is an us.

  • For there to be peace, some of us most transcend the notion of sides all together.

  • Fear blocks peace. We must overcome fear.

  • I learn to tell your story and my story with compassion and honesty. I join you in becoming the keeper of your story, and you become the keeper of my story as well. Peace requires great sacrifice.

  • Peace is a process and a way of being.

These "new" ideas are not new to the mystics of the world. The mystics have long understood that beyond identification with self, group or nation, there is a place of oneness and identification with all of life, a place beyond dualities of right/wrong, yes/no, good/bad and us/them. That place is the well spring of peace.

The Sufi poet Rumi wrote, "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing,
there is a field. I will meet you there."

One part of the process of creating peace is nurturing those who can hold this broadest vision of oneness and humanity and creating opportunities for greater numbers of potential peacebuilders to experience mystical oneness.

A new view of "two track diplomacy" might mean working internally and externally, simultaneously.

The Jewish Palestinian Living Room Dialogue Group of San Mateo, CA, has created a very helpful PDF packet in which they follow this process. They write, "Our survival depends on expanding our identification to include the largest frame of
reference, the whole of humankind, even our ženemies.Ó Realizing that we are neighbors forever with a shared, yet diverse, humanity, we can begin building our common future."

They cite the Stanford University studies that tell us when just 5% of the society accepts a new idea, it is žembedded.Ó When 20% adopt the idea, it is žunstoppable.Ó What is important from the Stanford studies is a new model for where our focus must be in creating peace.

Normally we try to address or convince the most intractable parties, those clinging to the old ways of thinking. The Stanford model suggests that if we can join, nurture, broaden and publicize the work of the innovators -- the cultural creatives -- we can eventually create an unstoppable wave of peace, good will and new ways of relating.

So what can do, right now, right here to help?

Learn about the projects and individuals who, often without fanfare or government support, are running successful, people to people grass roots projects. By bringing your support (sending an email to say thank you or express appreciation, going to a program, making a donation, joining, training to be a leader or speaker on behalf of organizations you believe int), you become part of the unstoppable wave of peace, love and harmony. The PDF above has some examples of some of my personal favorite projects.

Spend time with your local cultural creatives -- people who are offering creative ideas, new solutions, different points of view. Go and learn.

Read the book Beyond Bullets and Bombs: Grassroots Peacebuilding Between Israelis and Palestinians edited by Judy Kuriansky. There you will find many profiles of substantive efforts that working right now to build connections between people.

For the inner part of the process, consider being a part of broadening the quotient of oneness and expanded identification (beyond the self, home group or nation) from where you are right now. Recognize interconnectedness with other people and also with the planet. Peace will not be separate from planetary well being. How can you do this? One way is to experience a short meditation I created based on Jon Kabat Zin's raising meditation. This short (20 minute) and simple meditation is a real eye-opener about physical interconnectedness. If you would like a copy of the meditation on CD, please email me and I send it to you for $12.

Above all become a student of oneness -whatever your tradition or background. Ethical trascendence is not limited to any one tradition, creed or culture. By more and more deeply experiencing the oneness, peacefulness and bliss that is the center of your being and all being, by that singular act, you will be part of the light of peace.