One benefit of sitting next to my daughter study American history this semester is that this immigrant is also learning some important bits by osmosis. Her course’s current focus is on the American Civil War of the 18th century and all the battles that were fought between ‘North’ and ‘South’. Many of the war’s stories are stark reminders of the cost of war in general — the cost of human disagreements gone greatly awry.
Some of the ‘greatest’ wars that humans have engaged in are perhaps the ones which incurred the greatest casualties and deaths. Some are deemed ‘great’ because they were fought to gain freedom, to preserve freedoms. Others are considered ‘great’, even termed ‘world wars’, because their conflagration spread across nations and continents.
And then there are the wars that us humans have fought, even fight today, because we deem that ‘our’ religion is superior to ‘theirs’. Or that ours is the only ‘true’ spiritual path to ‘liberation’ and all others paths are ‘false’. Millions have died in wars to assert religious superiority — to what effect, one has to wonder?
There are those who will assert that war is sometimes essential to maintain peace, to enable and ensure the practice of religious and other freedoms. Yes. History is full of examples of power gone berserk in the hands of those whose greed and ambition know no bounds. If we all were to evolve to the point where we could regulate our own selves well, examine and limit our wants and words, love and give more, then war would become an anachronism.
Until we get to that stage where all war becomes unnecessary, the greatest respect that we can perhaps pay to veterans is to acknowledge and respect their ability and willingness to go to battle, to suffer the pain and horror of war on our behalf.
In return, may we practice constant remembrance — to use the time, space and freedom gifted to us by them, to involve into spiritual veterans. Perhaps the result of our daily, hourly, minutely spiritual practice can be to honor and cherish the truths of joy, love, light and kindness in thought and action.
Maybe we can give new meaning to ‘remembrance’ on every future Veterans Day. By working toward a sustainable inner peace, by supporting those who work for peace, we can create new kinds of heroes. Through constant remembrance of peace, our spiritual work and practice can help create an alternative to war for future generations.
P.S. Join our weekly gathering on Twitter – Sunday, Nov 10 at 9amET/ 730pm India in #SpiritChat ~ Namaste – @AjmaniK