How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days

How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days

How ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ stopped a brutal war for nearly two days
— Read on opentheword.org/2018/12/24/how-silent-night-holy-night-stopped-a-brutal-war-for-nearly-two-days/

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Judging Others

A friend of mine on Facebook posed a question about whether the concern about judging others, a relatively recent human ethic, had any value or whether judging could even be avoided. Here was my reply.

Practically speaking, it’s impossible not to judge things. I used to tick mark the number of times each day I did it and it was many. That process did make me more aware and reflective about it. Our minds seem hard-wired to judge, evaluate, and compare. It’s the way this tendency is so easily manipulated and the ready access to a place to “shout” those judgments that has made us a coarser society.

That said, this is an area we could all work on. I think there is a valuable ethic to be had here. The genesis of that ethic is the dilemma eloquently posed by Jesus. “Let be who is without sin cast the first stone.”

What I’ve noted over time is that hypocrisy and a lack of compassion are often huge components of judgment. That’s what Jesus was saying. Who among you has moral standing to judge someone else?

Tolstoy wrote, “Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks about changing himself.”

Judgement, especially overt judgment, is often about deflection and dereliction of the one duty we have in this life….to better the mind and the heart we occupy.

Not judging at all may be beyond us. Judging less harshly, with compassion, and an understanding of the places we have fallen short may be the goal to aspire to.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is an author, founder of The Affirmation Spot, and co-founder of 6 Sense Media.

His current latest novel is Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com – founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race. He’s life-long history buff and holds a B.S. in History Education. He’s always been fascinated by alternative views of history.

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous. 

52 Reflections on “Us” vs. “Them”

There is a dangerous virus that pervades many minds on this planet. It is s0 woven into the fabric of our conditioning that many don’t even recognize it in themselves. The assumption that “We’re right” and “They’re wrong” is a given to many people on this planet. There are the true believers who believe that their race, religion, political affiliation, nation, ethnic group, or point of view are unquestionably superior.

This virus is ancient and it is persistent. Do you remember this scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey? How different are many of our actions today from this primitive display?

Then there are many who fall into this mindset simply from conditioning of one kind or another. They come not see its bias and to assume it is perfectly natural. There are also those otherwise happy, positive people who, because of some traumatic or horrific event, have found justification for giving another group globalized characteristics. There are some who just flat believe humanity cannot change.

To me, this mindset limits us, keeps us in perpetual cycles of fear and violence. We feel justified, even righteous in shouting down or shooting down “Them”. I don’t pretend that this post is going to change all of this. My goal is to simply make you reflect on the degree to which you subscribe to an “Us” vs. “Them” mindset in your life.

These are a combination of Tweets from the past few years and some new thoughts as well. May we all continue to grow and transform this mindset in our lives.

  1. When the labels start, the critical thinking has stopped.
  2. Those who live in a world of “Us” vs. “Them” never contemplate that they are someone else’s “Them”.
  3. How arbitrary and fate-driven are the things that divide us. How conscious and choice-driven are the things that unite us.
  4. There is no greater impediment to the world we seek than the refrain, “But they…”.
  5. The tribe says, “Pick a side”. The wise say, “Been there. Tried that.”
  6. As long as your mind is divided into “Us” and “Them”, your world will be too!
  7. Those who divide the world into “Us” vs. “Them” miss the point. It always “Us” vs. “Us”
  8. Leaders who use “Us” vs. “Them” to secure their power deserve neither leadership, nor power.
  9. Hatred is a fire and its first victim is the hater.
  10. “Us” and “Them” are tyranny’s two favorite constituencies.
  11. “Us” vs. “Them” is a fear-centered world. A fear-centered world disempowers all of us.
  12. “They started it!” Two-year-olds in the sandbox or the mantra of world leaders in the “Us” vs. “Them” paradigm?
  13. The borders in our minds and the borders in our world are built of fears.
  14. Labels are toxic mental residue masquerading as critical thinking.
  15. There is no difference between a fundamentalist “Us” and a fundamentalist “Them”.
  16. “Us” vs. “Them” is a dead end mindset…literally.
  17. Whatever anger rules, anger destroys.
  18. Every time you think of the world in terms of “Us” vs. “Them”, you are empowering the dividers.
  19. Who you are born is fate. Who they are born is fate. Who we become is a choice.
  20. Many a king has kept “Us” together by creating a frightening “Them”.
  21. Those who divide the world into “Good Us” and “Evil Them”, must always avoid looking into mirrors.
  22. “Tastes Great” vs. “Less Filling” politics only conditions the mind of the people, robbing them of half their right to vote.
  23. The divisions we grow in our minds are the divisions we find in our world.
  24. We label what we refuse to understand.
  25. We live on a tiny blue ball in a great black vastness. How do we manage to convert that into division, rather than togetherness?
  26. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, peace is impossible and war is inevitable.
  27. But for fate, “They” would be “Us” and “We” would be “Them”.
  28. Every dogma that you hold, holds you. Every grudge that you hold, holds you.
  29. When you look for evil in others, you find it. When you look for goodness in others, you find it. That change is not in them. That change is in you.
  30. Labels are mental blocks that stifle discussion and critical thought, beginning in the mind and continuing out into the world.
  31. Open your mind to “Their” perspective. Walk a mile in the “Their” shoes. Read something you don’t agree with.
  32. Focus on seeing the “Us” in “Them” and the “Them” in “Us”. Soon you forget who is who.
  33. The unconscious superstructure underlying “Us” vs. “Them” is that I am part of “Us”. That, by default, makes “Us” right and “Them” wrong.
  34. As long as there are borders in our minds, there will be borders on our maps.
  35. See the world as “Us” and “Them and it is. See the world as We and it is.
  36. In the mindset of “Us” vs. “Them”, their evil justifies ours.
  37. Never was a greater money maker devised than war. Never was a simpler trigger for war devised than “Us” vs. “Them”.
  38. Every division on this planet is human-made and can be human-unmade.
  39. Let us transform fear into love and division into common purpose.
  40. Let us come out from behind our masks; come out from behind our labels; and live in peace as human beings.
  41. Let us create a world where fearing each other is ridiculous and loving each other is as expected as the next breath.
  42. Let us create a world where the adjective we are all most proud of is human being.
  43. Let us create a world where we love each other for our commonalities, rather than despising each other for our differences.
  44. Let us create a world where kindness is seen as a strength and violence is seen as a failure.
  45. Let us create a world where living in peace is as expected as the next breath.
  46. Let us get beyond our petty differences and move on to life’s bigger questions.
  47. Let us create a world where respecting our differences is as expected as the next breath.
  48. Let us each listen to our own heart and to the collective heart; both of which are calling us to greater things.
  49. Let us be quicker to love and slower to judge.
  50. Let each of us commit our lives to mending fences, rather than building walls.
  51. Let us live according to our hopes for each other, rather than our fears of each other.
  52. Let us remember the commonality of our human predicament and the things that connect us rather than those that divide us.

Follow your bliss. Experience your bliss. Become your bliss.

Ray

Ray Davis is the founder of The Affirmation Spot and an advocate for the potential of the human race.  He’s the author of the breakthrough novel Anunnaki Awakening: Revelation – order your signed copy today at AATrilogy.com

anunnaki_cover_full_colorAnunnaki Awakening: Revelation is turning heads and opening minds. Humanity’s past is checkered, secret, and dangerous.

White House Correspondent Maria Love is on to the story of her life and with the help of an Anunnaki leaders seeks to unravel and reveal history’s biggest conspiracy. The Awakening has begun!

We Got To Have Peace – The Affirmation Spot for Saturday August 15, 2009

Ray’s Daily Affirmation:

“My world is what I make of it and I CHOOSE to make it a peaceful place to be. Your world is what you make of it and you choose to make it a happy place to be.”
(Choose from 100s mp3 affirmations at The Affirmation Spot)

Peace is an age-old dream of humanity. Yet our greed, our anger, and our need for control of our fellow human beings has led us often to kill, to steal, and to destroy. We need to get a clear understanding the violence and war are not givens for humanity. Peace is possible. PEACE IS A CHOICE.

Let’s be clear about that. When we don’t have peace (within ourselves or in the world) it is because we have failed to choose it. We have failed to think the thoughts and take the actions that would bring it about. We are snared by “Us” and “Them”…..”Me” and “Mine”.

Here a beautiful musical expression of these sentiments and this wisdom by the great Curtis Mayfield.

The great teachers have all implored us to achieve. Why not today?

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth… Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy… Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” ~ Jesus (Matthew 5:5-9)

“Few know that our purpose in this world is to live in harmony. Those who become aware of this cease their quarrels immediately.” ~ Buddha (Dhammapada)

“The taking of one innocent life is like taking all of Mankind… and the saving of one life is like saving all of Mankind.” ~ Qur’an, 5:33.

“Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal.” ~ Martin Luther King

“What is hurtful to yourself do not to your fellow man. That is the whole of the Torah and the remainder is but commentary.” ~ Talmud, Shabbat 31a

“Non-violence is not a garment to be put on and off at will. Its seat is in the heart, and it must be an inseparable part of our being.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Stay inspired!

Ray

2009 Affirmation

“This year I am absolutely committed to being the person I came here to be!”

Changing Our Minds, Changing the World – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday March 4, 2008

Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. What do you think? Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

April and I are reading A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose. This is the latest Oprah’s Book Club selection. Oprah and the author Eckhart Tolle are hosting a 10-week online course covering this book began last night Monday March 3. They recommend reading the book before the class. You can register for free at Oprah.com



Big March MP3 Affirmation Sale!

Take your positive thoughts with you wherever you go. During the month of March Download any two mp3 affirmations from The Affirmation Spot.com and get a third mp3 affirmation free. There are no limits! You can download 20 and get 10 free. Simply type the word “blog” into the coupon field at checkout. Thanks for getting your audio affirmations at The Affirmation Spot! Click here to view, hear excerpts, or download affirmations.

Today’s featured affirmation is:

“I make my world. My world is what I make of it and I choose to make it a just place to be.”
Download an audio mp3 version of this affirmation right now.



Someone recently asked me what I thought some of the biggest challenges are to changing the planet. I think among the greatest challenges we face in changing the world (at least in the United States) is our federal government and the mainstream media.

Motives are always difficult to infer, but results can be analyzed. It has become clear to me is that there are people in powerful places who have a vested interest in keeping all of us divided, disempowered, and dependent upon them. The biggest tranquilizer they use to keep us frozen is fear.

Certainly, there are individuals in this world who seek to terrorize others, there is a global warming trend happening, and there is always the threat of a global pandemic. The problem is when “leaders” overstate the threat to keep people in a constant state of panic. As the peoples’ power weakens, the leaders’ power grows. It’s a simple formula and one you should consider before giving your power away in exchange for some promised benefit – health, security, or others.

bush.gif“Knowing these realities, America must not ignore the threat gathering against us. Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof — the smoking gun — that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”
~ President George W. Bush, October 6, 2002 making the case for attacking Iraq

However, our friends in government and the media like to seize on these realities, magnify them immensely, and use them as a mechanism of control. This can only happen when people respond with irrational fear.

If we can train ourselves to take the next step and ask the next question; we can return reason, wisdom, and thoughtfulness to the discussion of these issues. We can determine just and sound courses of action.

“When we’ve finally gotten serious about global warming, when the impacts are really hitting us and we’re in a full worldwide scramble to minimize the damage, we should have war crimes trials for these bastards — some sort of climate Nuremberg.”
~ David Roberts, Grist Magazine Staff Writer describing what ought to happen to people who deny global warming.

First, serious conversation about serious change cannot happen in an environment where this kind of incendiary rhetoric is the core level of the discussion. Whatever motives people have when they say these things, the net result is to discourage debate, disempower people to think or act for themselves, and force ill-considered solutions — that generally require more insitutional control of our lives.

No one in human history has ever been more empowered by giving their power and freedoms to government for safekeeping.

My own feeling is that, if we are to unite and change the world, we first have to empower ourselves by taking back control of our own thoughts. We must be more unwilling to be manipulated by the constant influx of fear-mongering that streams into our consciousness 24/7. We must be less willing to believe the fear merchants who sell us chicken little along with miracle pills and minivans.

This constant diet of fear warps our minds towards isolation and makes it impossible to evaluate real threats. It also creates dissention and dehumanizes other people, groups, and ideas by globalizing the threat represented by a few.

We can short-circuit their ability to control us by becoming strong, empowered individuals. This represents a first step towards uniting to change the world. Without that element, we are simply a large group of disempowered dependents clinging to each other in a world we do not believe we have the power to change.

The second thing we need is compassion. We have to understand that even after we “get it” not everyone else is going to right away. It is easy to become frustrated at the pace of change and give up. We have to allow others to wake up at their own pace. You cannot force these things and sometimes trying only makes it worse.

Here are a few practical ways to stop the fear merchants in their tracks and maintain the integrity of your own thoughts and common sense.

  1. There are at least two sides to every issue – find them research them and come to your own conclusions.
  2. Ask what the speaker has to gain by spreading the fear? What are his or her interests in having you believe there is a dire threat?
  3. Think for yourself. Make it a habit not to just believe something because everyone else believes it. This kind of herd mentality is a form of control and is the arch enemy of your ability to think for yourself.
  4. Take active steps to combat the fear with hope and positivity. Affirmations, meditation, prayer, or just a few quiet moments help you to calm your mind and replace the fear advertising with thoughts you want to think.
  5. Look at the past. Have those spreading the fear been right in the past? What is their track record of credibility?
  6. Know who you are and be who you are. A strong person who is certain of their own mind, their own goals, but willing to let other be the same is the most powerful agent for change there is.

If we are the master of our own thoughts, empowered, and compassionate, we can, indeed, change the world. We can be our own person and not get caught up in “The Matrix” being spun every day by our leaders in government and the media.

We the people are and must be the source of power in this world…not government, not media, and certainly not an unaudited commercial scientocracy.

Be peaceful Be positive Be prosperous!

Ray

The Affirmation Spot.com

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Truth: A Matter of Perspective – The Affirmation Spot for Monday February 25, 2008


Thank you for visiting The Affirmation Spot. Your comments on the blog or this article are always welcome. Please click here to comment on today’s blog.




ray_launchpad.jpgWhat Ray’s reading right now:

A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose (Oprah’s Book Club, Selection 61)




Download a free mp3 affirmation from The Affirmation Spot.com.



Today’s affirmation is:

“I am transforming judgment into understanding. I am the source of change in my life, in my group, and in this world.”

mushroom_cloud.jpgHow you see the world is really a matter of perspective.  Your absolute conviction in the truth as you see it, can be absolutely rejected by the next person with the same absolute conviction. When these views collide conflict often ensues. That is, when we insist upon our way or no way.

The fact is that we are beings living in a world that none of us completely understands. We can hide that fact beneath layers of belief in some ideology, religion, or even scientific certainty. The fact remains; we never have all the facts to pass the judgment we are often too ready to pass upon others.

In a world being shrunk by technology and proliferating civilization ending weapons, we might be wise to take stock. Given our permanent state of uncertainty, maybe, just maybe, we should think about giving the other guy a break.

This can be as simple as, “live and let live.” You don’t have to agree with the other person. You don’t have to endorse their behavior. You simply have to understand that you can never completely understand his or her perspective and he or she can never completely understand yours.

The world watched this week as Slavic nationalism was stoked by the declaration of independence in Kosovo. Turkey has become emboldened to start a low-grade war with the Kurds in Iraq. We have the ever-present monotheistic struggle for dominance in the middle east. The problem shows itself everywhere.

Narrow-mindedness and tribal group-think were luxuries humanity has lived with, despite the brutal consequences, throughout its history. We have reached the point now where it is about to the break budget for our survival on this planet.

Saddest of all, there are forces on this planet who have powerful control over information outlets and government who thrive and profit by stirring the conflict that generates wars and foments hatred. They have played the masses like a fiddle to keep us divided and powerless. For our world to take the next steps, the people must see the manipulators for who they are and negate their ability to lead us around by our collective noses.

The alternative, should we persist in our unwillingness to take this approach in world affairs, is the destruction of us all. Who will be right then?

Albert Einstein is famously quoted as saying, “The world’s problems will not be solved by the level of thinking that created them.” We are a world in desperate need of a new level of thinking. We need a level of thinking that is not so sure of our group’s perfection and the other group’s evil. We need a level of thinking that sees people as the human beings they are and not subhumans summed up by the term “them”.

We have the power to change our perspective and mend our ways. We can and we must! We have it within us to say, “enough”. It all begins with “live and let live”. Until we are willing to do it, we walk on dangerous precipices.

Back in 2003, I wrote the following simple dialogue between a student and his teacher to illustrate this point to a friend during a discussion. I used a non-human thing to take the emotion out of it and help focus on the concept.

Student: Master, why do people not seek truth?

Master: People do seek truth, but they confuse personal truth with universal truth.

Student: Master, what is the difference?

Master: Do you see the rock over there?

Student: Yes, Master, I see the rock.

Master: How are you different from the rock?

Student: Master, I have intelligence and wisdom. I can change and grow. I offer more value to the world than the rock.

Master: So you are more important than the rock?

Student: Yes, Master, I believe I am.

Master: What do you think the rock thinks of you? Do you think the rock sees its place in the universe as more important than yours?

Student: Perhaps, Master, but that is the rock’s point of view.

Master: Ahh, your truth puts you at the center of the universe. The rock’s truth puts it at the center of the universe. WHOSE TRUTH IS CORRECT?

Student: Master, I know not.

Master: When you have attained universal truth you will no longer be concerned with my question. You and the rock will live in harmony rather than conflict; he with his truth and you with yours.

Be Peaceful Be prosperous!

Ray

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Mind, Body, Spirit, Beautiful – The Affirmation Spot for Tuesday January 29, 2008

Today I’m sharing a first. It is a “video” version of one the most popular affirmations on The Affirmation Spot. Click the image to link to the PowerPoint presentation to view or download it.

christian_woman_praying.jpg
Mind Body Spirit Beautiful Video Affirmation
 (3.3 mb)


I’m looking for feedback. So, please leave your comment here.

Be peaceful Be prosperous!


Ray

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