What to do about today’s war of words?

Today many observers of international relations are pointing to the dangerous impact of the ongoing war of words at the highest political level between North Korea and the United States. Indeed, words are energy. Language is power and has the potential to hurt as much as to heal. In fact, many people are becoming conscious of the connection between the public discourse reflected in our media daily and the way they feel generally. Many of us are therefore “turning off,” mindful of the fact that words are not abstract, disconnected entities used only to transmit information. They are transmitters carrying powerful feelings. What we hear and say is affecting our physical and emotional state as much as our thoughts.

We are effectively taking flight mentally–lifting off–at best seeking a different perspective, but often escaping, freeing ourselves from the energy carried around. We feel the urge to break free mentally when we experience new insights. Mentally, we feel constrained by habitual ways of thinking. Emotionally, we may experience the need to shake up the power of blockages, such as fear. Spiritually, we may be called upon to escape beyond the boundaries of our world in its current form and state. Taking flight is always an expression of opening up to new ways, opening our minds, hearts, and ourselves to new patterns.

However, increased awareness and opening up to new ways is insufficient for healing. Healing requires transformation. Without transformation, healing runs the risk of repeating negative patterns, and even reinforcing them through repetition. We may understand how we feel and why; that is enough to turn off from the news. But we do not know what to do about it in order to shift fundamentally how we feel and avoid a repeat of the story the next time we hear the news, or the next time we face conflict. To transform the impact of any war of words, let us remember Einstein, who said: “we cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.”

It is not by mental construct that we will ultimately find solutions to the way we feel. We may have to create mentally a wall around us for protection. Such defensive methods may actually ensure that we survive emotionally and physically through challenging and threatening times. But time will pass and we will feel safe again. However, the same walls and mental constructs we’ve created will sabotage our future. The wall will no longer be needed, and yet it will remain as a force of habit. The stories we continue to tell ourselves will only fortify the wall. Let us invent new stories with heart and spirit.

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