"It's not a spectator sport!"

I have been dog-sitting a couple of dogs for a friend who is out of town. I'm a real dog lover, but have not had my own dog for some time now, so I am really enjoying their presence. The best thing about them is how they are just dogs all the time. They don't worry about how they act, or what they do, they just hang out and be dogs. Watching them and playing with them it has occurred to me that humanity is the only being on the planet with the capacity to disapprove of itself.
Isn't that odd. Our opinions of ourselves make us so complicated.

I would like to point out the discrepancy of being "against" violence in this issue of the Mystic Dance Letters. I agree with the general thought that it would be a great thing if less people were violent. But I want to point out that it will take a jump from the nature of the mind to make this come about. Simply being against violence is not going to do the trick.

Being against anything is a violent act in itself. Standing against something means that you are battling against it, whether that be with words or sticks and guns. If you are taking a stand in the world that you are against violence - how are you going to back that stand up?

It becomes even more complicated if you are against violence in yourself. Then every time a violent thought arises you have to stuff it down and pretend it did not happen. You have created a split in yourself between what you are and what you want to be. It is this split and the repression of violence which eventually makes a violent act or word explode out.

Let's go back to the dogs which are basically violent creatures. Out in the wild canines live by killing other things. They are very good at it. They live in packs and have learned to hunt together to make their violent way of making a living more efficient. Within their own societies they take violent stances against each other to establish rank. Yet even with this violent nature they live in harmony with their environment and with each other.

A dog's societal behavior, though basically violent, insures that peace reigns most of the time. If a dog in authority challenges another dog, that dog has the choice of rolling over and acting like a puppy. If he does this, the challenging dog will immediately stop attacking. On the other hand, the dog with the lesser ranking can go ahead and fight if he thinks he can win. One way or another there will always be a top dog and everyone knows where he stands. So in dog society sometimes there are fights, and sometimes there are not fights. The violence itself creates a lasting peace in the dog world.

Dog packs in the wild also live in harmony with the environment even though they are killers. They help to keep control over populations of rodents and herbivores. If the dog population gets to big and they eat too many of their fellow creatures, then the dog pack dies off of starvation until the meat source can grow back up again. It�s a dog eat dog world.So my point is that being against violence is a useless occupation. Violence is going to keep being there, and you are going to have to keep fighting it. All you've done is create more violence. Being for non-violence is a little bit better of an idea, but it still creates a split between the way the world is and they way we would like it to be.

So what I would like to propose is to follow an ancient Chinese saying: To hold the truth firmly before you, never be for or against. I would say to look deeply at violence itself until we fully understand the nature of it. Understanding this will help us to know our own nature. Then when we are faced with violence either in the outer world, or inside of us, we will be able to have an appropriate response.