Ayurveda & Terrorism, Extremism, Peace and Love

“My heart goes out those who died or were injured in the Paris attack as well as their families and friends. Shock and outrage was my first reaction. Bewilderment. Not sure what to do. How do we deal with such an atrocity? Clearly something must be done. Hate has caused so much pain. I lit a candle and prayed.
Now what? Politicians will call for “a wall” to keep out foreigners. Fear leads us to believe many are terrorists. Perhaps. Other politicians say “if we all carried guns the terrorists could have been killed.” Perhaps. Still others will say that we need more military action to combat ISIS, “more troops on the ground and massive air attacks.” Perhaps.
It is easy to over-react; Paris, Boston, New York, London, Tel Aviv. We’ve seen thousands die at the hands of Muslim extremists over the years and many more wounded. Tens of thousands more directly affected. But consider this. Today alone cancer killed 17,000 people world-wide. 1600 were in the United States! Each year more than 6 million are killed! Let us also consider this. More than 7 billion people made it through the day. Many experienced love. Others experienced playful joy. What happened in Paris is a tragedy. But, let’s not over-react and live in fear and anger.
Over-reaction can make us the extremists we fear. A wall built from fear imprisons those on the inside just as much as it protects them from those on the outside. When we all carry guns, people will get hurt. When we are angry, depressed or unstable, we will use those guns inappropriately. Drunken bar fights will turn real ugly, real quickly. Already 86 people die from gunshot wounds everyday in the United States. If we step up the war, what will the collateral damage be? How many innocents died in Iraq. How many have died already in Syria?
While the authorities need to take reasonable actions to keep us as safe as possible, extreme reactions will only make us less safe. Along with taking reasonable actions, we also need to take actions that promote peace and love around the world. Only love can truly counter hate. What would Jesus do? If we spent 1 dollar to promote peace for every dollar we spent fighting those who wish to hurt us, imagine what could be done. Worldwide, we spend nearly 1.7 trillion on the military ( International Institute of Strategic Studies) . The US alone spends more than 600 billion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Military_budget). By contrast, the US will spend only 23 billion on international humanitarian aid (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanitarian_aid) and 5 billion on Cancer Research (National Cancer Institute). That’s not a small amount but look at it this way. Proportionally, 97% is spent on war , 3% is spent on world peace and less than 1% on cancer. Something is wrong. What would happen if the numbers were just a little more a balanced? How many more lives would be saved?
These are difficult times. Let moderation be the path of wisdom. Let love be the path of healing.” ~ By Dr. Marc Halpern
Marc Halpern is the author of “Healing Your Life: Lessons on the Path of Ayurveda” and the CD, “Yoga Nidra and Self Healing.” President of the California College of Ayurveda, he has dedicated his life to removing the cause of suffering.