Trauma Healing and Nonviolence 3 Aug 2015

August 4, 2015

I was thoroughly pleased after yesterday’s sessions on the roles of Trauma Healing and Nonviolence in the process of peace building, because these are two topics that I strongly resonate with.

By emphasising the level of personal healing that must take place after communities of individuals are witnesses to – and perhaps also perpetrators of – violent offences and traumatic events, Dr. Hirsch effectively communicated the reality of a concept we’ve been returning to over again over again throughout these weeks: that the “structure” is composed of human beings. Because of my academic background in Psychology, and my personal interests in healing to promote peace and wellbeing, I sometimes experience difficulty feeling totally committed to political and economic strategies for peace building, simply due to the sheer size of institutional establishments that will need so much funding, rallying, and popular support to mobilize. While I do not wish to degrade the significance that structural change from the top bottom can have on peace, it is my preference to focus on grass roots change, because I believe that when the individuals of a given society are at peace with their neighbours, and themselves, then the political changes and economic changes will naturally reflect that state of the community.

Mr. Kazu Haga’s lecture on the nature of Nonviolence was a powerful ‘sequel’ to end the day with. I was struck by the truth I felt when he made the point that the Justice of the Universe is not always “good”; to paraphrase, if a PoC is shot and killed by the police in America, then that, unfortunately, is a Just consequence of all the time, money, and emotional capital (energy) we as a society invest in racist and violent institutions. I think this is an important truth to keep in mind when I proceed with my daily actions and my efforts to peace building, which also ties in beautifully with Dr. Hirsch’s key point about weight of each Individual’s role in creating and perpetuating societal systems. By allowing for my life to be universally loving, compassionate, and unconditionally inclusive in Forgiveness, I play a role in constructing a portion of the world that reflects this peacefulness. Furthermore, I open the possibility for countless others of whose life I am a part of to walk through this same door to Nonviolence, and the Power of Love.


Rancho Cielo 30 Jul 2015

July 31, 2015

It was such an incredible experience to see a tangible example of peace building in action at Rancho Cielo. Most of the lectures we have been attending are largely theoretical and partially discussion based, and generally, in a purely intellectual environment it is becomes easy to fall into a continuously critical or even pessimistic mode. Being at Rancho Cielo, however, was uplifting. I will not pretend to claim that it is a perfect institution – I can easily forecast critical attacks on such aspects as its largely privatised funding, its collaboration with the police force (especially due to much of the recent discourse on police violence in America), and so on. However, just because peace building projects can never be perfect in the sense of satisfying every theoretical opinion, does not mean that they 1) should not be attempted, or 2) are not worthwhile. From the beautiful garden, to the immaculately constructed houses, the grand amphitheatre and the impressive kitchen, it was clear to me that the Salinas youth involved in Rancho Cielo built the infrastructure of their new community with prideful effort. This, and the numerous individual and interpersonal benefits that are implicated by it, was a striking example of how peace building is multifaceted, certainly achievable, and profoundly life-altering for many who are involved.