Since former President Mubarak caved to popular pressure and stepped down from power on February 11, 2011, Egypt has been struggling to define the terms of a new democratic order.
After six decades of misrule—beginning with the wholesale nationalization of the Egyptian economy in the 1950s and ’60s by Gamal Abdel Nasser and the dispossession of minority groups, particularly the country’s Jewish merchant class—Egypt is broken and exhausted.
The economy, which tumbled amid the uncertainty of Mubarak’s overthrow, has yet to achieve meaningful signs of recovery. The nation’s infrastructure is failing and there is no money, let alone a master plan, to rebuild it.
The rate of tourist arrivals, the country’s most important source of hard currency, is at rock bottom, and the threat of a currency devaluation is keeping foreign investors at bay. Subsidies, some of them legacies of the Nasser era, are wasteful and biased toward industry at the expense of public goods and services. Banks choke on discarded government debt, even as small to midsize businesses—the backbone of the economy—are starved of capital.
Despite a free and fair legislative election in January and an imperfect but conclusive first-round presidential ballot in May, Egypt’s transition to civilian rule is far from certain.
It doesn’t look like it by today’s standards, but Ancient Egypt is considered to be one of the most peaceful of ancient civilizations — so peaceful, in fact, that they did not have a proper army until the invasion of the Hyksos during their 15th Dynasty!
For over two centuries the Egyptians fought against the Hittite Empire for control of lands in modern day Syria. The conflict gave rise to bloody engagements like 1274 B.C.’s Battle of Kadesh, but by time of the pharaoh Ramses II neither side had emerged as a clear victor. With both the Egyptians and Hittites facing threats from other peoples, in 1259 B.C. Ramses II and the Hittite King Hattusili III negotiated a famous peace treaty. This agreement ended the conflict and decreed that the two kingdoms would aid each other in the event of an invasion by a third party.
Ancient Egypt and its people went from being very religious and peaceful to needing to keep their lands free of foreign hands. It worked well for them for a while, at least, but with the invasion of Alexander the Great and his army, Egypt never quite regained what it had been before.
The Egyptian-Hittite treaty is now recognized as one of the earliest surviving peace accords, and a copy can even be seen above the entrance to the United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York.
It should be noted that only when political institutions that guarantee and recognize human rights are restored, so too will a dimension of human flourishing also be restored even if victims experience no restoration of health, possessions, or other things of value that they lost when their rights were violated. That dimension is respect.
We interact through communication and the quality of the communication directly affects our relationships. At the same time, the quality of our relationships impacts our communication and so the cycle between these two continues. In conflict situations our communication with others is poor, which feeds into the continued deterioration of our relationships and respect.
These destructive processes lead us further away from any potential constructive outcomes and have a direct impact on the social worlds within which we live. In order to change this direction so that we improve the quality of our relationships and social worlds leading to constructive outcomes we need to transform the nature of our communication.
There is no real healing without a transformation of consciousness. We create our current life situations. This is true of our entire experience of life: financial, career, material, emotional, relationships, and our health. Realizing that we are the creators of our experience offers us a tremendous opportunity to create the experience that we want to have.
After all, only if we have the power to create our experience can we have the power to change it. If our experience now is one of sickness, by taking control over the experience we can re-create a state of health.
The problem is that what people believe about situations affects their behavior. Though individuals do not always act according to their beliefs, those beliefs do have some impact. When there is an ideology, a coherent belief system, which has reasoned violence as necessary to attain important goals, then people who hold that ideology are more likely to commit violence or support others in doing so. This is true for practically every set of soldiers ever assembled.
Many people do not want to believe that grotesque unfairness happens because they must then fear being the victim of such injustice. However, if these people believe the victims are to blame for their own victimization, they can be more mentally comfortable that they will never be similarly victimized because they are not doing blameworthy things.
The just world view is a psychological attitude whereby people interpret violent and other unfair events in such a way as to maintain a belief that the world operates in a basically fair way To protect their minds from the fear that they can become victims.
This view helps maintain the status quo even when the situation is clearly unjust. By reinterpreting unjust situations to make them seem more just efforts for needed change are avoided.
There is something highly paradoxical in the modern man’s relation to war. Ask all our millions, north and south, whether they would vote now (were such a thing possible) to have our war for the Union expunged from history, and the record of a peaceful transition to the present time substituted for that of its marches and battles, and probably hardly a handful of eccentrics would say yes.
Those ancestors, those efforts, those memories and legends, are the most ideal part of what we now own together, a sacred spiritual possession worth more than all the blood poured out. Yet ask those same people whether they would be willing, in cold blood, to start another civil war now to gain another similar possession, and not one man or woman would vote for the proposition.
The Great Seal of the United States illustrates a founding principle: ”The power of peace” is superior to the power of war. The American Eagle looks toward the olive branch held in its stronger right talon.
The concept of peace is a very important one in cultures all over the world. Think about how we greet people. In some languages, the phrases for greetings contain the word for peace. In some cultures we greet people by shaking hands or with another gesture to show that we are not carrying weapons – that we come in peace. And there are certain symbols which people in very different cultures recognize as representing peace.
In modern eyes, precious though wars may be they must not be waged solely for the sake of the ideal harvest.
It was not like this in ancient times.
Modern man inherits all the innate pugnacity and all the love of glory of his ancestors. Showing war’s irrationality and horror is of no effect on him. The horrors make the fascination. War is the strong life; it is life in extremis; war taxes are the only ones men never hesitate to pay, as the budgets of all nations show us.
But, in the post September 11 world we have come to realize the changing nature of warfare and the changing definitions of peace. No longer sufficient are the definitions of war as violence between nations, or peace as an absence of declared war between nations.
Violence can come within society, within groups, and within individuals. In modern society, with all its vulnerabilities, the full cruelty of war can be perpetrated be a small group of dedicated terrorists and can be delivered with a speed and efficiency we did not anticipate possible. Our existing models for war and peace changed on September 11, when we all realized that out motivations for aggression had to be considered on a different level.
Our understandings of war can no longer be only through the fields of international relations and the military. The motivations for today’s warfare can often be traced to deep psychological feelings of ethnic identity, animosity and an acceptance of violence as an effective way for small groups or even individuals to confront what they see as aggressors.
The war against war is going to be no holiday excursion or camping party. The military feelings are too deeply grounded to abdicate their place among our ideals until better substitutes are offered than the glory and shame that come to nations as well as to individuals from the ups and downs of politics and the vicissitudes of trade.
Peace may be defined as the absence of war and violence in a mutually beneficial, harmonious relationship among relevant parties, including within an individual or between individuals, groups, or countries. This definition of peace is assumed to have two separate dimensions.
On the first dimension, war, violence, and strife are at one end ( war is a state of open and declared armed combat between entities such as states or nations) and at the other end are settlements, agreements, and common understandings that end or avert hostilities and violence. On this dimension, if war and violence is absent, then peace is assumed to exist.
On the second dimension, discordant, hostile interaction aimed at dominance and differential benefit (i.e., winners and losers) and characterized by social injustice is at one end, and mutually beneficial, harmonious interaction aimed at achieving mutual goals and characterized by social justice is at the other end. On this dimension, if the relationship is characterized by positive relationships, mutual benefit, and justice, then peace is assumed to exist.
Humans are constantly striving to fulfill that reality of being at peace. The quest for abiding peace is synonymous with the quest for abiding happiness; they mean the same thing, attaining the state of the Higher Self, and being at peace (healthy), regardless of what is taking place at the moment in one’s practical life. When a person talks about being happy, they are saying in essence they want to be at peace. They want health. Being at peace, transforms all states of pain, sorrow and disharmony.
Disharmony, pain and sorrows are the result of disharmony of mind and body. Once the psycho-physical system is out of harmony, peace (optimal health) is being hindered. “Healing and health maintenance is not just a matter of providing medications. It requires the individual to restore and maintain harmony with the universe.
In Ancient Africa this meant discovering and maintaining a connection with the cosmic forces of nature from which every living being derives sustenance and vitality.
The Ancient Egyptians did not look at health just from the perspective of physical discomfort, but from the point of view of understanding the source of the discomfort. The agitation, restlessness and discomfort are the result of not understanding your true Self.
The misidentification of your true self causes a void, a space that needs to be filled, which can only be filled through the understanding of and identification with the Higher Self, and the harmonization between the Higher and Lower Self.
When there is no peace, the immune system is in a defenseless state.
Many people do not understand the meaning of health.
Health is the state in which the body and mind do not distract the vision of the Higher Self. Ill health is any condition (physical, mental or otherwise) which renders the human being ignorant of his or her true nature and thereby causes that personality to be susceptible to the miseries of life.
With these definitions it must be understood that health is an issue that goes beyond the physical body, although it includes issues of the physical nature of a human being. Therefore, the physical constitution of a human being cannot be the sole criterion for the determination of whether or not a person is enjoying good health.
For example, a person may be physically fit and yet be tormented with mental complexes such as worries, stress, anxieties, craving, passions, etc. This is not good health. Conversely, another person may be very ill and yet be internally joyous, experiencing the fullness of life, peace and spiritual awareness.
This person is healthier than the one mentioned earlier.
Even a person who has contracted a hereditary disease and work to overcome it with a positive attitude is in better health than the one without physical disease, but living discontent. This is because there is a mental and spiritual dimension to health, which needs to be taken into account
One who is not in tune with himself or herself is open to stresses, anxiety, depression, and mental disorders of many degrees. Because of unhealthy mental states, the world has becomes very intolerable for many people. According to the World Health Organization in 2004, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States of America for individuals ages 15 to 44. The doctrine of looking for the Self, or abiding peace in things on the outside of you is a doctrine of materialism.
Because it cannot bring true peace, health, happiness and satisfaction, some commit suicide as a way to escape the impact of materialism. Under that doctrine, your health is compromised. True abiding Peace cannot be found in things outside of the Self. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, “Each year roughly 30,000 Americans take their lives, while hundreds of thousands make suicide attempts.” “Mental illness, disability, and suicide are ultimately the result of a combination of biology, environment, and access to and utilization of mental health treatment.”
“Despite modern treatment and rehabilitation for emotional mental health disorders, “even economically advantaged societies have competing priorities and budgetary constraints.”
The ancient Egyptian philosophy of health shows that true health resides in peace. The mind or the heart must be in a state of contentment and satisfaction. Peace in the continuation of life, health and vitality.
When one is in the state of balance and harmony, one is in the state of health. “People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in the bad times as well as the good.
In order to improve your emotional mental health the root of the issue has to be resolved.
Recent evidence from the World Health Organization indicates Mental illness affects nearly half the population worldwide.
That’s because many people look at health just from a physical stand point. They are led to believe that having a healthy body is all there is to health. The mind and Spirit are left out of the equation of optimal health.
But, optimal health must include the mind, body and Spirit complex. Many people, although having healthy bodies, suffer from mental and psychological problems. Most people are not aware of or recognize their Neurosis or Character disorder.
Life becomes a problem for them. Their mentality is of blaming the world and people for their behavior. The mind which is the source of happiness and disease (dis-ease) can and does develop deep melancholy, depression, and self-destructive behavior.
The source of the personality is the mind. Therefore, the condition and contents of the mind is what infuses the body with either negative or positive energies. Health therefore is not just a physical thing, but constitutes the consideration of the mind, body and Spirit complex. When these components are not dealt with in an integral manner, then there is very little health, because there is no peace.
The ultimate aim of every human being is to attain everlasting peace, happiness and merge in the Bliss of Eternal Entity, the Absolute. This is attained by every seeker through the wisdom of Self Awareness. This perfect understanding and realization of one’s Self can be the permanent solution for all problems of any individual and humanity as a whole.
The evolutionary biologist Theodosius Dobzhansky once said, “All species are unique, but humans are uniquest.” Humans have long taken pride in their specialness. But the study of other primates is rendering the concept of such human exceptionalism increasingly suspect.
Some of the retrenchment has been relatively palatable, such as with the workings of our bodies. Thus we now know that a baboon heart can be transplanted into a human body and work for a few weeks, and human blood types are coded in Rh factors named after the rhesus monkeys that possess similar blood variability.
More discomfiting is the continuum that has been demonstrated in the realm of cognition. We now know, for example, that other species invent tools and use them with dexterity and local cultural variation. Other primates display “semanticity” (the use of symbols to refer to objects and actions) in their communication in ways that would impress any linguist. And experiments have shown other primates to possess a “theory of mind,” that is, the ability to recognize that different individuals can have different thoughts and knowledge.
Our purported uniqueness has been challenged most, however, with regard to our social life.
Like the occasional human hermit, there are a few primates that are typically asocial (such as the orangutan). Apart from those, however, it turns out that one cannot understand a primate in isolation from its social group.
Across the 150 or so species of primates, the larger the average social group, the larger the cortex relative to the rest of the brain. The fanciest part of the primate brain, in other words, seems to have been sculpted by evolution to enable us to gossip and groom, cooperate and cheat, and obsess about who is mating with whom. Humans, in short, are yet another primate with an intense and rich social life — a fact that raises the question of whether primatology can teach us something about a rather important part of human sociality, war and peace…
The Arabic word salaam (سلام) (“secured, pacified, submitted”) has the same root as the word Islam. Salaam refers to not just a peaceful greeting, but a deeper peace that is beyond the day to day external appearance and state of physical health of the individual. It refers to the nature of the Higher Self or Soul (with a capital “S” referring to the Universal Soul) or Spirit of the individual which is abiding peace, and which is the true essence of everyone.
By abiding peace, we mean a peace that is not disturbed or affected regardless of what is going on outwardly in one’s life. So, if you can discover and get in touch with your Higher Self or Spirit or Soul, you will experience this abiding peace, and will find that you are able to maintain this inner peace even in adverse circumstances that cause other people to become upset.
Therefore, when the word Salaam is used, it is like a reminder or affirmation reminding the individual that his or her true nature is abiding peace, and that he or she must strive to attain and maintain that state, because that state is the state of true health.
The greeting “As-Salaamu alaykum“, favored by Muslims, has the literal meaning “Peace be upon you”.
“Shalom” and “Salaam” mean “peace” in Hebrew and Arabic respectively.
The series of prophets and messengers coming from God throughout the ages call the people again towards their innate identity of love and friendship.
The good life according to Islam is in submitting to God and in worshiping Him as The Creator and The Master and to recognize the innate nature of man. The individual who will recognize his true nature on which every person is created will be able to live together in society with peace and affection to each other.
One of the terms meaning peace and peacemaking in Arabic, sulh, which is used in the Quran, is also the root of the word islah denoting development and improvement.
This term is used to refer to peacemaking.
Inner peace is the source of all peace. When a person is at harmony with himself, he is able to live in harmony with others.
In the Qur’an, we encounter the word “self” being used in the context a group of people. Indeed, it is from the depths of the self that peace radiates forth.
Inner peace requires that a person’s relationship with himself is clear, and that his goals and objectives are understood and at harmony with his inner being. Indeed, after knowledge of the Lord, the most important thing for a person to have knowledge of his self and how to perfect it and purify it.
He needs to be sensitive to his own gifts and talents, aware of his weaknesses and strengths. Would he describe himself as patient or hasty, forthright or timid, tenacious or easily bored?
A person needs to know the truth about himself so he can go make good progress in a direction where he can best capitalize on his strengths and potential.
It is quite possible for a person to become acquainted with the dimensions of his personality, his latent talents, and his true nature. He can then use this knowledge to help him toward what is good and to safeguard him from misfortune.
This applies even to the Prophets and Messengers when they acted according to their instincts and their natures, for they were human beings, no more and no less.
Abraham (peace be upon him) had sought after knowledge and desired to be acquainted with the true nature of things. This was just to satisfy his natural, human curiosity. When Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “I would have complied with their demands” he was alluding to our natural, human love of liberty and freedom and our loathing of being confined and having our potentials held back, especially for a long period of time.
Moses (peace be upon him) knew himself well, and he was frank about his feelings, speaking about them unequivocally and without shame. He spoke about his natural fears when he said: “And I had fled from you when I was afraid of you.” And: “Our Lord! Truly, we fear that he will fall upon us or transgress against us.” When a person knows himself in this way and accepts himself, it keeps him to what is within his natural capacity and his abilities and defines for him his goals so he can go forward with a clear vision.
Our submission should be to our principle and values in our heart, the values by which we relate to our Lord, and according to which we should speak and act. These true and established values should be the basis of our conduct. Otherwise, by always seeking to please this person or avoid that person’s displeasure, our lives become nothing more than perpetual pretentiousness and flattery, in surrender to those around us so that we lose our individuality and our independence.
One aspect of inner peace is for our inner selves to be in harmony with our outward conduct. What we profess should be reflected in what we do.
This requires us to be upright and correct in our approach.
Many failures take place and reversals take place because of the abysmal state of those who live lives of outward piety accompanied by inward wretchedness.
Inner peace requires our wants and aspirations to be in keeping with our abilities and with what is possible for us.
This applies to everything.
No one of us can expect the whole world to respond positively to what he advocates, nor is it right that it should.
Inner peace requires being at peace with our own unique dispositions. A person cannot compel himself to assume what is alien to his nature or at conflict with it. He must be in harmony with himself.
We must recognize our unique personalities and come to terms with them. We cannot force ourselves into pretence of denying our individual qualities and temperaments.
Being fair and just is also an important factor in attaining inner peace. This requires us to do away with selfishness, vain desires, and avarice.
When some of us disagree with one another, why do we not try to put ourselves in the other’s place and try to see things from their point of view, and accept that for them at least what they accept for themselves?
The power to create one’s experience is what is often called ” personal power.” It is cultivated by taking responsibility. Real power begins with responsibility. Only by taking responsibility does anyone gain the ability to respond. When we shunt responsibility on to others or onto factors outside of ourselves, we become disempowered. We become the victims of factors that are out of our control.
We are all “Creators.”
We do it every day and most of the time we keep re-creating the challenges we experience again and again. We do this subconsciously, ignorant of how to work with the power of creation. Stuck in a circular path of re-creation, we figure that the cause of our illnesses and unhappiness must lie outside of ourselves.
The cause must be the pathogens, the government, the boss, the employees, the kids, the parents, the corporations, etc., etc.
The cause is inside. That is the only cause that makes a difference.
Most people shy away from taking responsibility. After all, who wants to be responsible for illness and suffering? This is because most of humanity is very JUDGMENTAL. When judgment is added to responsibility it becomes BLAME. No one wants to be blamed for anything. We are quick to accept responsibility for the good in the world and just as quickly shield ourselves from the blame for what goes wrong.
There is no reason to ever accept blame. Take away the judgment and there is only cause and effect. This is the law of KARMA, and karma is nonjudgmental. It is a reflection of past actions. If you do not like the effect, put new causes into action. Create new effects!
To be effective in helping people accept responsibility for their level of health and peace of mind two things are necessary. First, take responsibility for your own.
That’s right; begin today and stop blaming others. Second, practice non-judgment. It’s not easy, so practice on yourself first before practicing on others. Watch what happens. You will begin to feel something special you may have never felt before. That special something is “unconditional self love.” When you have enough of it, you will naturally begin sharing it.
You won’t have a choice, your cup will overflow.
Live and Learn. We All Do.
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