Monday, April 13, 2009

Practical Techniques for Creating a Nonviolent World

We have had terrible violence erupt in this town recently.

The community wants to understand this.
The community wants to heal.
We want to prevent this from happening again.

Because of my crisis, about two years ago,
I went on a search for a) the causes of violence
and suffering, and b) technologies which are
proven to help.

The sources of violence are clearly:
  1. unmet needs
  2. unacknowledged pain
  3. feelings of powerlessness, being trapped
A huge contributing factor is the false cultural story
that violence can make conditions better.

Clint Eastwood: "Go a'head punk. Make my day!" Charles Bronson made a fortune on a series of vigilante-revenge movies.

These were icons of the popular culture-bearing stories of my time. And I hate to sound like a fuddy-duddy grown up, but look at the games our children play today!!

Yes, we all played bang bang cops and robbers games. But have you seen the ultra-realistic First-Person-Shooter video games our children are playing??? They come home from school, and this is what they do for 2-3 hours before dinner is ready.

These games and stories are most harmful, as there are a kind of psychological conditioning, a normalization of violence.

What problems does violence really solve? Nothing!
Nearly always makes matters worse in the long term!
What needs will violence meet? None.
Does violence bring lasting happiness? No.

I was discussing the Binghamton shooter. w/my dear friend and teacher
Vera the other day. It was so funny! She related it to a sexual orgasm:

``OK, Opening fire on a room of people and letting loose
with a bloodbath... bang bang bang .. a blaze of glory!
nobody's innocent. SURE! I've wanted to do that too!!
Kill them all! Why not? We've all had that fantasy.

But the question is:
Did this spree bring lasting happiness to Jiverly Wong?
YEAH! For about 2 minutes!! ... before he puts
a bullet in his own head.

It's like sex. 2 minutes of bliss... and then what?
Then you're not happy again.``

In order to transform our culture, make a peaceful world,
it seems most critical we must
  1. Create new an better cultural stories which serve life
    and speak the truth, that violence doesn't meet needs,
    solve problems, or bring lasting satisfaction.

  2. We must create learning institutions where practical
    techniques for peace-making is studied and taught.

    SIDE PROJECT: Does anyone want to help promote the
    idea of creating a School of Peace at Binghamton University?

  3. We must all learn the skills to help people in trouble, and give them real help,
    meaning empathy, conflict resolution help, and give training on how to
    deal with our passions: anger, fear, sadness, etc.

    And we must absolutely stop the barbaric + harmful practice of treating
    these normal human states of mind as pathologies to be "treated"
    with prescription pharmaceutical drugs, and worse. The psychiatric/pathology
    model denies the reality of the human condition, and fails utterly to fix the root problem.

  4. I have learned that if we want to have a non-violent world,
    it is absolutely critical that we work on ourselves.
    This has a so much more larger effect than trying to fix THEM.

This last point is what I want to write about today.

to help create a peaceful self and a peaceful world.

Before I do, I want to here suggest looking into the life and work
of a woman called Peace Pilgrim. She was the first person I heard
elucidate this truth so plainly: that we must change ourselves in
order to
transform the outside world. You can get her book
free of charge.

Here is the list:

  1. Communications (NVC)

    A very useful, practical system.
    A very simple model. Clarifies so much about communication.
    Clearly shows how much violence is caused by thinking we "see"
    things which are not really there!

    Please look into this.

    The book "NVC: A language of life" by Marshall Rosenberg will be discussed at the SEW Book Club, River Read Books, Saturday May 2, 11am.

    Also, consider taking week-long intensive training on NVC here in Binghamton in June:


    If you think yoga is about exercise, you are missing about
    7/8 of it.

    Raja yoga is defined as being a path to meditation.
    Postures is just a small (but important) part.

    Nonviolence (ahimsa) is the first rule of conduct, in the first
    of the Eight Limbs, so PEACEFUL ACTION is considered
    of great importance to yoga.

    More than just postures, yoga is a complete way of living,
    a moral system, a psychological system for mental health.

    Yoga is like an owner's manual for your body, mind, and soul!

    There are also:
    Bhakti, the yoga of Devotion, Praise, and Love.
    Jhana, the yoga of the intellect and study
    Karma, the yoga of action and service.

    Find a local yoga instructor! There are several good ones
    in almost every town!

    I recommend finding an instructor who teaches postures, meditation, and breathing.
    We even have nearby residential and teacher training at Himalayan Institute.

    Contact me if you need recommendation for a local teacher.

  3. Buddhism know many people believe Buddhism is a religion.
    This can be a very limiting view.

    Some people may feel, "I am of a different religion. I don't want to convert."
    Or, "I don't like any religions!"
    I encourage such people to examine Buddhism regardless of such thoughts.

    Buddhism is in many ways, not like any other religion.
    I consider it a "science of mind".
    Buddhism is a technology to avoid suffering, and to create peace! It is very practical, very simple system.
    It is so easy to understand!
    It provides immediate benefits, like a medicine.

    You can remain a Christian, Jew, Hindu, Muslim, etc.
    and still get incredible benefits from Buddhist meditation.

    As SN Goenka says,

    ``There is no Christian breath, no Jewish breath.
    There is no Hindu suffering, no Muslim suffering.
    Breath is breath! Suffering is suffering!
    All will benefit from this technique.``

    Buddhism appeals to me because

    • It is 100% consistent with logic.

    • There is no dogma, no need for faith.

    • It does not deny the truth of one's personal experience.
      In fact, it encourages one to investigate the truth for oneself!

    • The message of Nonviolence is front+center,
      absolutely clear, without doubt or contradiction

    • It provides a detailed, practical map for self-transformation,
      the elimination of suffering, and creating peace and happiness!
      What could be better than this!

    • Buddhism is non-dual, meaning, there is no class.
      Everyone can be free! Everyone can be happy!

    It is said that Buddhism is both study, and meditation,
    but meditation is 80% of practice.

    So, I encourage everyone to check out the
    two Buddhist meditation groups in the area:

    This group, taught by an ordained Buddhist nun, meets Saturdays in May,
    at the UU church on Riverside Dr., 10am-noon.

    There is also the Binghamton Buddhist Meetup.

I hope this information helps someone.
May all beings be happy!


Bill Huston
Binghamton NY
Phone: 607-321-7846

Email: WilliamAHuston at gmail

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