“Internal peace is an essential first step to achieving peace in the world. How do you cultivate it? It’s very simple. In the first place by realizing clearly that all mankind is one, that human beings in every country are members of one and the same family.”

– The Dalai Lama

Great quote by the Dalai Lama and it rings wisdom in light of the Orlando shootings. Still, it’s not that simple is it? 49 people are dead and there are fingers pointing to religious extremism and also gun control in America. I also strongly believe our Western Mideast policy which involves greedy corporations, oil and the backing of various governments is a bloody cursor to all this – but no one ever talks about that (and this is not a political blog so I will leave it there).  The fact is,  I am not going to be able to sum up this tragedy in one blog post, but we can try and begin to understand it all:

Lets step away from gun control and foreign policy for a moment and focus more on religious extremism.  I truly think  one of the major problems is “belief”.  Belief in cultural differences  and more importantly belief in religious ideals that have no scientific or philosophical bearing on society.  Specifically religious beliefs born on blind faith; sometimes radicalized. Blind faith is defined as belief that is not based on reason or evidence. All major religions, excluding Buddhism fall under this definition.  As you know I am not a big fan of organized religion and it is crucial to point out that Buddhism and the Dalai Lama is not religion but a philosophy. Buddhists do not worship idols or believe in blind faith. A Buddhists energy and karma lies firmly on reality, their own shoulders, thoughts and actions and not on blind faith or a mystical god.. Further, people tend to draw their “beliefs” from religion and that is where much of the problems lies. People do not need belief or faith in a religious dogma to know what is wrong or right. I have raised my son completely free of religious dogma and he knows right from wrong. He knows what feels good emotionally from a karmic standpoint and he understands how his thoughts, actions and reactions can either benefit and or hurt himself and others around him. My son is a 15 year experiment in parenting and a non-religious upbringing that proves a simple point. You do not need religion to know right from wrong and you do not need religion to live a well balanced, spiritual life. I personally have found god and True Nature through my own devices and nothing is more powerful. When you find the concept or definition of God within (with self-discovery) you have something special, unadulterated and unique. When you rely on others for God outside your own energy footprint it opens up the person and situations that abide with too much variability. It can invite in radical ideas and levels of ego that are not healthy.

I think it is interesting how all of us are born as innocent little infants – our minds a clean palate – it is society/politics and especially religion that colors that palate and with cultural variability, social status, ego, politics, religion (blind faith) and societal pressures. The common denominator is people  exhibiting all levels of crazy. I do not think people need to have the same belief in regard to cultural values. Our diversity is what makes us beautiful. I think the disconnect is forgoing basic, fundamental human rights before religious and cultural values. There lies the problem. If we put religion second to human value we would all realize we are not that different. When we understand that all of us struggle; that we all suffer. That we all have similar DNA. When people worldwide understand that we all also love and dream. Well, we are not that different at all. As Ram Dass has stated eloquently, “we are all just walking each other home”….

John C. Bader is a photographer, wellness advocate and consultant specializing in spiritual self-evolution, meditation, and bio-energy healing. In his writing, he bridges science with spirituality and provides steps to encourage more mindfulness in daily life. His new book, The Responsive Universe – Illumination of the Nine Mandalas is a step by step process on how to begin your very own Hero’s Journey.

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