The recent flare-up of hostilities in the Middle East comes as no surprise. As any Boy Scout or forest ranger will attest, smoldering embers can easily erupt into a raging inferno when fanned by even a gentle breeze. Separating the antagonists by means of a politically negotiated settlement has nothing whatsoever to do with peace, despite the flowery rhetoric and well-meaning intentions of those who believe otherwise.
Millions of people all around the globe pray for peace, light peace candles, hold peace vigils, conduct meetings, and issue peace proclamations. The U.N. Security Council declares resolutions for peace. But still hostilities sprout all around us like mushrooms after a rain. These efforts have failed, and they will surely continue to fail so long as peace is their objective. For peace is not a commodity to be brokered or haggled over, nor is it a state that can ever be achieved between two dissenting parties. Peace is nothing more (or less) than a by-product of love. So long as the true love that leads to the realization that we are all One remains undiscovered, there can only be separation – the bridgeless void that divides us and them.
Ironically, even the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize has its roots in conflict and dissension. The money for the prize comes from the fortune amassed by Alfred Bernhard Nobel, the Swedish chemist, arms manufacturer, and inventor of dynamite. It is said that he set up the annual awards program in response to seeing his own eight-years-premature obituary printed in a French newspaper: “Le marchand de la mort est mort – The merchant of death is dead. . . . Dr. Alfred Nobel, who became rich by finding ways to kill more people faster than ever before, died yesterday.” Nobel apparently did not want to be remembered through the ages as an agent of war, so he aligned one of the awards endowed with his fortune with what he thought was the antidote to his perceived legacy: peace.
A cursory look at recent Nobel Peace Prize recipients’ abysmal success rate in achieving peace, however, should give us pause. For the most part, the well-meaning men and women who have received the prize nevertheless worked within the very system that fosters the separation they sought to heal. Until they shift the point from which they choose to view, they too can do little of consequence to shift the world to real peace.
If peace is not a realistic goal in and of itself, then how do we end the separation and divisiveness that breeds hostility? The answer is wondrously simple and remarkably accessible.
Love is the only answer. Peace in the absence of love is a total impossibility. When love is present, the illusion of separation dissolves and the question of peace becomes irrelevant. I was reminded of this earlier this week when I received an email with the subject line: “As my soul guides me, Jean-Claude, my name is Catherina Rodrigues. I have been guided to share with you my intention to be an instrument for ‘LOVE’ in this world of ours today. All my love, Catherina.”
Catherina, it turns out, is a young mother living with her husband, Randall, and her seven-year-old daughter, Madeline, in the Blue Mountains outside of Sydney, Australia. On July 14th, the same date celebrated by the French as Bastille Day, ironically, a day remembered for its violence in the name of freedom, Catherina came out of her morning meditation with the unequivocal message: “Think Love.” She was “instructed” to create a graphic design that embraced the essence of these words, and “told” that this design should be posted on T-shirts, placards, note cards, coffee mugs, and anything else that would help imprint this message into the human psyche.
Within minutes Catherina had created a simple line drawing that perfectly captured the visual representation of the message. When I saw it in her email, I was hooked. (See a copy of her email at: www.prismhouse.com/thinklove.) A slew of emails and phone calls quickly followed, and I came to know this incredible being who has taken on the role of single-handedly doing what all the Nobel laureates before her have failed to accomplish. Through love, Catherina and those who choose to join with her will at last, spread true peace to the world.
Her vision is as clear as it is bold: to invite every single person who sees her design or hears of her mission to become an active, willing participant. She plans to turn “Think Love” into a global movement that overrides all national, religious, and philosophical boundaries. To see what this remarkable woman has achieved in less than one week, visit: http://www.catherinarodrigues.com/ThinkLove.html. Each of us is welcomed as an ambassador of love and invited to reach out to humankind, not merely to cease hostilities and embrace detente but to transcend the uncertainty and fears of old wounds and outdated thinking and embrace our former enemies as ourselves.
Catherina knew her purpose in life very early on. “Since the age of four I would tell my parents that I will travel the world and talk to people about God. . . . My soul knew then, as it knows now, that I am here to speak of LOVE!!! Love is all there is to speak about.” Her message to the world, “Think Love,” tells us that it is time to depose the intellect as our sovereign. We need to follow Catherina’s lead and learn to love with our minds and think with our hearts.
Jean-Claude Gerard Koven is a writer and speaker based in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. He was a featured weekly columnist for the UPI (United Press International) Religion and Spirituality Forum and is the author of Going Deeper: How to Make Sense of Your Life When Your Life Makes No Sense, recipient of both the Allbooks Reviews Editor’s Choice Award and the USABookNews.com Award for the Best Metaphysical Book of the Year.
©2004 – 2017. Jean-Claude Gerard Koven / All Rights Reserved.