Guest Contributor David Hazen writes about his passionate affair with peace.
I’m feeling a bit tipsy, intoxicated, drunk with the energy of peace and love — a societal sin to be so falling-down infatuated with what normal people consider to be unrealistic, impractical and wishful thinking! This wild feeling reminds me very strongly of the energy of sex, sexual attraction, sexual engagement, sexual union. Wow, really? A peace orgasm? Well, almost. Why not! When peace becomes Mission Possible in my mind and I become aware of all the implications of passionate adherence to that mission, I get aroused, plain and simple. My blood vessels expand, my heart beats faster, my pupils dilate, and I can’t stop thinking about it. My heart sings, my feet want to dance, and my mind starts racing. I’m in love. I want to get married to peace as if she were a woman, have sex with peace and generate peace babies.
Think about it. All the similarities are there. When we first meet an attractive potential partner no matter if it be a person or the embodiment of peace, the initial reaction might be anxiety: am I good enough, smart enough, strong enough, attractive enough? Will they like me or leave me? At this first meeting, we so desperately need reassurance. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, and all people want peace, they are just so freaked about it not happening that they forget their terribly beautiful souls. Yeesh. This is the non-sexy part of it, where the caterpillar has no clue that it is doomed to dissolve into a butterfly. The reality is that sexual union destroys individual identity, ha-ha-ha! Once the peace pilgrim tastes the honey, the wine, of true peace, there is no going back. Good enough reason to run screaming from the sirens of peace. Ever done that? I sure have!
When we get past the first barrier and move towards increasing intimacy and trust that this relationship might work, there comes the stage of contact improvisation, where everything done or said has to be authentic, uncontrived, unplanned, intuitive. It becomes like a game of running naked past the snarling dogs of fear, laughing. We didn’t volunteer to suddenly become naked, yet becoming naked is pretty much a requirement if you want to have sex with another person or the embodiment of peace. Ai-yi-yi! Letting go of our exterior image like this is a little hysterical, and we often put on the brakes so we can catch our breath. We are in uncharted territory where anything might happen next, and it does so with relentless and bewildering speed. Sometimes the acceleration is exhilarating and pleasant, and sometimes the uncertainty about the ultimate and very real consequences — pregnancy, children, infections, poverty, failure, or expansive health and security — just burns us out, and we become unreasonable and irritable without knowing it. No more sexy adventure for us!
Yet this is where the juice of life exists, the eros that makes sex sexy, tantalizing, exciting, and literally addictive in a healthy way for the survival of the species, and makes peace sexy, tantalizing, exciting, and literally addictive in a healthy way, also for the survival of the species. Is that clear, or am I stretching the analogy too far? Let’s go back to the contact improv. When we engage in a dance like that, we have to be willing to instantly respond with our entire being to our sense of the situation in the moment. Our emotions become the source of our motion because there is no time to carefully think about our next move, and we literally move into the consciousness of “no time, no position, no contradiction.” We get into the flow, and our curiosity about what might happen next becomes overpowering. That’s sexy.
Today I define peace as “the unconditional willingness to engage and remain in dialogue to resolve conflict with curiosity and respect,” which implies letting go of all preconceived ideas, witnessing the evolutionary nature of the process, being present in the moment, and doing whatever is necessary to heal the wounded, reactionary inner child that has learned to use violent thoughts, words, and deeds to protect itself from the surrounding culture. This is a commitment to marry peace, surrender to the needs of peace, for life. What could be more essentially juicy than that? If you have anything better to do, go do it now!
Just in time to keep this partnership with the sexy spirit of peace intact, we find support groups, coaches, counselors, teachers, mentors, concerned family — a team of like-minded leaders willing to share their experience, strength, and hope. Very few marriages survive isolation. Teamwork builds bridges from the “sexual peace partnership” out into the community and short-term practice sessions, workouts, of lesser intensity than the primary relationship. Lessons learned are brought home and tested in real time behind closed doors. Woo hoo! Do you trust me to be true to you, O Sexy Peace, when other concerns have flirted with my attention? How can I stay with you and be popular, keep my job, have a nice house and lots of dark chocolate? Why does it have to be so hard? What is the template for success? What does a successful and sexy relationship with peace look like, anyway?
The team lets us know we’re not alone with these issues and that practice, practice, practice wins the day. Other people have gone before us and survived, even won gold peace medals. The people who fall and break their metaphorical self-supporting peace legs, they get lifted back up. The errors they made are recorded and studied. The entire team moves forward as a group with everyone helping each other, and they become powerful, unstoppable, achieving extraordinary things. Scientists have discovered that “by forming cooperative groups, sperm can increase their swimming velocity and thereby gain an advantage.” How sexy is that?
Someone, maybe Marshall Rosenberg, said that all human beings have a need for sexual expression, and perhaps the same is true for the need to express peace, to make it real. Freud would probably say that working for peace is a sublimation of our sexual desire, and Gandhi for sure was celibate to increase his potency for nonviolent conflict resolution. Every year on the December Solstice, there is an organized Global Orgasm for Peace. During an orgasm, we lose control, we allow the orgasm to take over our body and mind, we surrender. Global Orgasm says, “It’s all about the gap, where the conventional mind just gives up and evaporates for just a moment, and in its place is bliss.”
Peace is not about fixing things that are broken, controlling other people or situations, or being the strong person helping the weak. It’s about anxiety, nakedness, improvisation, burn-out, renewal, self-healing, teamwork, and committed, unconditional surrender to bliss. I like it. It’s very, very sexy.