By Steven Hodes, M.D.
Physician to Meta-Physician
We living under a Grand Illusion, and the illusion of our fear-based culture is making us sick.
Our news and media outlets stridently blare the poundings of guns, rockets, explosions, crumbling buildings, lifeless bodies, torn limbs, shattered hearts. Another paroxysm of hatred, unleased upon the world has spent itself, temporarily. It is all about fear and it is the source of our existential dis-ease. Is it not obvious that we literally feel sick when we experience such overwhelming destruction?
Why do they hate you? What did you do to them? You exist– and that is sufficient. Their sense of inner emptiness, of desolation, of unworthiness leads them to seek out others , leaders, dictators, immans who offer them salvation, a sense of their own worth. Such doctrines require YOU to be the source of their fear and sense of inferiority. It is the classic, pathetic but dangerous capacity of mankind to create a ‘scapegoat’ upon which to lay the blame for all fear.
They fear your very existence, you are the cause of their suffering. Out of their own sense of worthlessness and fear they have created a culture of hatred that inevitably leaves them with no other choice than to seek your death. They risk losing their soul to eliminate you. The grand delusion of killing is to believe that this will free them from fear, to bring them a sense of joy or peace.
Peace, joy and inner equanimity can never result from hatred. It is as simple and basic an understanding of the nature of reality as the force of gravity. To deny it is to continue to live a delusion. Certainly the paroxysm of war, the bravado of claims of victory offer a rush of satisfaction somewhat akin to a rush of glucose after a sugar load. But this is always followed by the hypoglycemic collapse. Like any addiction which denies the underlying source of pain, fear returns even more powerfully. This leads to the need to continue the process of destruction of the perceived source of fear–the ‘other’. It is like drinking salt water when one is desperately thirsty. The first rush of wetness may seem to revive, only to be understood that this is poison.
Joy and a sense of equaninity can never come from outside of oneself. It can only emanate outwards from a peaceful heart to others. Those who love are those who are free from crippling fear. Those who recognize this are enlightened.
There is a Buddhist legend about a great warrior emperor Ashoka who lived more than two thousand years ago in northern India. Known as vicious and blood-thirsty he walked the battlefied after a successful campaign against his enemy. Stepping over the dead and decaying bodies of man and beast he felt nothing but emptiness and great sadness. Shocked by his own feelings he came upon a simple Buddhist monk who was walking through the battlefield with an expression of peaceful equanimity. Inquiring as to why the monk looked at peace he was suddenly and acutely struck by his own grand delusion. Acccording to the legend he abandoned his lust for war, power and fame and followed a path of peace and compassion. His reputation for kindness and consideration for those he ruled became his legacy.
Is this fable any more than a grand delusion itself? Is there hope for any of us whether as a citizen of a nation or as an individual tripping through our own mundane existence to find inner peace? Does it even make sense to seek a path of lovingkindness for all beings in the face of those who desire our immediate extinction?
There are brief, cherished moments when I can meditate on the power of love to heal the emptiness of fear. There are these fleeting glimpses of a higher level of reality in which the blue sky of joy peak through the dark clouds of hatred and animosisty.
I know that the practice of lovingkindness, of seeing every living being, even Hamas, of Hezbollah, of the most hate-filled Islamist as an extension of myself is the ultimate path to peace. When will my enemies recognize that my slain brother is their brother, my son their son, my mother, their mother? When will man recognze that war is fratricide, matricide, ultimately suicide? What is more pathetic than the delusion that destruction will ever eliminate the underlying fear which robs us all of peace.
My soul knows this to be true. Yet, in this incarnation I must honor the physical being that I am. I feel stronger attachments to those close to me. I cannot help but seek to eliminate the source of my own fear–the enemy who threatens me and all that I hold dear.
This is the vicious cycle of fear–hate that can only be broken by a higher awareness that only love will being ultimate peace and joy. When will such an awareness be recognized and by one and all? This is my question to the Universe. It is the only prayer which seems of value to me. When will this truth dissove the grand delusion under which we presently exist?
© Steven E. Hodes, MD., 2006
Steven E. Hodes, M.D. is a board certified gastroenterologist with over 25 years private practice based in Edison and Old Bridge New Jersey. He also has a degree in Religious Studies and teaches Contemporary Metaphysics at Brookdale College as well as lecturing and writing on Kabbalah and Healing, the Jewish View of Afterlife and on Near-Death Experience. Visit him at his Blog, Physician to Meta-Physician at www.meta-md.com