Johnson A. Ikube, Managing Consultant/CEO, JI Global Solutions Ltd, Lagos, Nigeria was at his very best. The event was a one-day public seminar packaged Lagos zone of The Rosicrucian Order, AMORC.
The seminar with the theme: Rethinking National Peace, Stability and Progress had in attendance Dr (Fr) Kenneth Idiodi, grand administrator of the order as special guest of honour.
Speaking on the sub-theme: Understanding God – Imperative for Individual & Societal Peace, Ikube said that across the globe, there has been an appreciable improvement in technology, communication, agriculture and education.
However, despite the coming into being of the modern age, our world still remains and possibly increasingly challenged greatly.
Global warming, World financial crisis, failed and failing nations, threat to self-destruction occasioned by nuclear arms proliferation, global terrorism, heightened insecurity, significant decrease in the respect for and value for human life are some of the scary challenges facing our world today.
According to him, our world seems to be concerned globally about these developments and is making efforts to address them. It appears we are not making much progress in this direction.
All the wars have led to more war potentials and wars. All the fight against terrorism is breeding deeper and more unpredictable dimensions of terrorism. All the technological advancement is leading to greater impoverishment and oppression of the many.
It is becoming apparent that the more we increase our efforts at reducing these manifest human experiences, the more challenging our problems become.
These experiences present challenges and raise significant issues with clearly predictable consequences for all at individual, family, community, societal, national, international and global levels.
Rising insecurity will very readily top the list of the most major concerns of today’s world. That is peace, in the face of rising conflict, is at the heart of the human concerns today.
These trends are on the increase despite significant attention to and massive investments in these directions. Something must be and is wrong.
What can it be? Can it be that there is a disconnection between what we seek to achieve and the methods by which we seek these achievements?
My answer is yes and thus a rethink to our understanding and our ways and methods to peace becomes inevitable.
This rethink is the subject matter of this seminar. In the rest of my presentation, I shall approach this rethink resting my conclusions of two facts and finding answers to three questions.
The two conclusions are that no one can give what he or she does not have and that you cannot resolve an issue by focusing on its effects alone.
Effects are not causes. Effects indicate but causes determine. We shall then then answer the following three questions:
What is Peace and why is it elusive?
·What should we do and how shall we proceed?
·Will reassessing our understanding of God make a difference?
What is Peace?
Ladies and gentlemen, peace can be described as a state of harmony and internal calm. Peace is an attribute of UNITY or ONENESS. PEACE is a state of BEING. It is generally described as a feeling resulting from the experience of internal harmony and calm. It is not what we acquire, it is what we attain. We cannot do peace we can only be at PEACE.
In our world of relative existence, there is inner and outer peace. Outer peace depends on inner peace. No one can give that which he or she does not have. If do not have inner peace, you cannot manifest outside. Inner peace is the integration of peace of the body, mind, heart and soul. This is an individual responsibility.
Outer peace is how we touch the world with our inner peace. Anyone who has peace within will not thin of committing suicide, will not think of killing a fellow human being, will not think of hurting his neighbour, will not think of looting our treasury.
Anyone who has peace within will appreciate and understand that behind our seeming differences is our oneness of source and therefore whatever you do to others is actually done to yourself.
What goes round comes around. All who have peace within have rededicated themselves to selfless service in the achievement of the common good of humanity. He or she will know that the life in him or her is the same as that in all of humanity.
All who have peace within will know that living is using the opportunity provided by the life that we all have in common to advance the purpose of our creation and common goal of humanity.
In relation to levels, peace at its lowest level is personal and at its highest level is Universal. The Universe, diverse as it is, is a unity of interconnected, interrelated and interdependent parts functioning harmoniously for its continuing insistence. With harmony comes the experience of peace. Unity cannot be in conflict with itself and is therefore at peace. Universal peace therefore already is.
Thus, the challenge for us, at the individual, family, group, national and global levels, is how we realise the peace that already is and not how to bring Peace into existence. Yes, in our diversity is the potential for conflict.
However, whether or not conflict actually manifests depends on how the diverse units recognise, understand and play their roles in supporting the harmony of Unity.In this hall in the last 4 hours, there has been peace despite our diversity.
Why? Because each of us appreciates, respects, commits to and actually plays our roles to support the common purpose that is back of this occasion. We have brought the peace within us to touch this occasion positively. This is as it should be for the collective to attain peace.
The universe, visible and invisible, is a unity, an attribute of which must be harmony and peace. Diverse and different we may be but behind all diversity is unity.
It cannot be otherwise and unity cannot function holistically without peace. In the human understanding, everything is from the unity that is God, Allah, First Cause, Absolute Being, Olodumare, Chukwu, Jehovah, Oghene or its equivalent in all languages. God, our creator, is unity but extended itself in diversity. The role of diversity lies therefore in its pursuit of Unity. This pursuit is the path of Integration. To unite we must integrate despite our diversity.
For as long as individuals do not understand and address themselves to these for so long will peace elude us. The consequence will be increasing pain, insecurity, oppression, terrorism, militancy, etc. It is stated that a house that is divided against its self cannot stand. Only peace can guarantee that this happens. Each person as a unit of diversity must attain peace at the personal level and radiate it to all for his or her sustained progress as a platform for collective peace, stability and progress.
Why is Peace Elusive?
Peace is elusive because we are focusing our attention more on the effects of absence of peace. By our actions we destabilise the peace that already is.
We believe we can tackle insecurity without addressing the fundamental destroyers of peace. Insecurity is an effect and not a cause.
We must shift our focus from effects to causes. Individual peace occurs when our feelings, thoughts, words and deeds are aligned with our most accurate conception of the true nature and purpose of our being and our deepest experience of the reality that is behind the existence of nature and man.
If there is conflict between these we cannot be at peace. Individual peace results from a harmonious integration of all aspects of our being – physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.
Humanity must not continue to destabilise peace. At the individual level, our deepest sensations and feelings of reality, our thoughts, our words and our deeds must be aligned. At the national level we should not be guilty of the many destroyers of our national peace. These include but not limited to the following:
Not recognising that leadership is an opportunity to make a difference positively will lead to wastages and abuse of positional authority with adverse consequences for peace
·Intolerance is a destroyer of peace. We must respect and recognise the rights of others to differences of opinion. Differences should not lead to conflicts. We are not mechanical entities, we are humans.
·Discounting, destroying and detesting our fellow human beings because of status, tribe, nationality, race, religion or other acquired elements rather than relating to the humanity in all of us is a destroyer of peace
·A belief in the existence of a just, equitable, loving and perfect Almighty Creator but in the inferiority of the Created is a destroyer of peace
·A belief that the amount of happiness we have is tied to the amount of material wealth we acquire is a destroyer of peace. The wealthiest are not necessarily the most healthy, happy and peaceful.
·A belief that where you come from should determine what you become at the national level will delicately destabilise peace
·A belief that the law should be determined by the strength of the offender and not the nature and strength of the offence is a destroyer of peace.
·A belief that man should serve religion and not religion to serve man is a destroyer of peace
·A belief that what you do secretly does not matter, just because no human sees you, is a destroyer of peace. The effects will ultimately show for of course, God and collective humanity see you.
·The belief that any nation can be independent of the world is a destroyer of peace
·A belief in the survival of the nation without a productive capacity or effective alliance for production is a destroyer of peace
·A belief that the orientation of the survival of the fittest is superior to that of the survival of all is a destroyer of peace
·Greed, corruption and similar traits are clear destroyers of peace
What should we do and how should we proceed?
At the individual level, we must eliminate all the destroyers of our personal peace. These are the incomplete understanding of the nature and purpose of our being which create the unhealthy thoughts and inappropriate actions that we hold and take as we live. Our feelings, thoughts, words and deeds must align with a most accurate conception of the true nature and purpose of our being. We eliminate intolerance, greed and corruption from our individual psyche. Nature has enough for us all. Scarcity is our own making. Any thoughts and actions otherwise will cause us significant individual and collective pain ultimately.
At the national level, eliminate those actions that breed conflict. We must move from the survival of the fittest to the survival of all. Give all Nigerians true knowledge and pride. Provide opportunities and enablement for Self Respect. It is time to focus on National Spirituality harnessing the nature and purpose of the mystical Nigeria in all its ramifications. This is not about religion; it is about the unity that lies behind all religions, our spirituality.
At the spiritual level, we are all one brotherhood under the fatherhood of God and the motherhood of Nature. Thus our humanity instead of our humanness should be our reference point for our thoughts, words and deeds. This way, we can and will all attain and realise the inherent universality within us.
Reassessing our understanding of God – Will it make a difference?
All the destroyers of peace take their roots from incomplete understanding of the nature of and the relationship between God, Man and Nature. As we improve this understanding, the potential for the realisation of peace significantly increases.
·Man has said that God is our Creator and this is a generally accepted conclusion. Live with it
·The profound illumination to do anything comes from recognizing and accepting that we are all from one source, God and thus united as one large family. Live by it
·God has no religion. Religion is a human creation is his efforts to understand and play his role in realisation of the purpose of his being. Work with this understanding that religion may serve you.
·In God must be the answer to all of life’s mysteries. Seek these answers through a more accurate knowledge of and understanding of God. There are indeed answers.
·To understand God, read more of those books which no man has written. These are the books of nature, man and of the unity of man and nature, God. The books that no man has written can be more appropriately studied deploying an integrated approach of orthodox science with mystical science. As you read and understand these books your understanding of all secondary books, i.e. books written by men, will improve or change
·The mystics’ way is an integrated approach is one sure way to read and understand these secondary books. Observe, concentrate, contemplate, visualize, meditate and attune with the source of all through the domain of self. This way is non-religious and is at the core of all true religions. There are Judeo – Christian, Islamic and Buddhist mystics, amongst others
·Nature has abundance. Scarcity is our own making. Do not be greedy, do not be corrupt. God is unlimited abundance. Material wealth is good but the road to and our attachment to it is where disconnection lies. Connect with the unlimitedness of God’s abundance and supply.
·Life is much more than the physical. Focus on why you were created and then why you are in this world. Here lies your road to profound peace.
·Health, Happiness and Peace are states of being. They are older than material wealth. All matter must return to nature for matter is transient. Focus more on the permanent; your character and personality. What will you take with you when you draw the last breath in each incarnation?
·God is closer to you than your thoughts permit you to comprehend. Move from your head to your heart and experience the pulse of humanity and the universe. In its depth you will connect with the light of divinity and experience the peace that has always been. You will then be a true agent of God; co-creating in a smaller sphere as creation is in the larger sphere.
In the search for National Peace, Stability and Progress, we must focus more on what is common between us and less on our differences. There is only one way: focus humanity on the way of spirituality. This is the way of the Mystics.
Our values must change. Our actions must move from the survival of the fittest to the survival of all.
As each person attains a heightened inner consciousness of his interrelatedness and interconnection with all, he or she becomes more easily at one with the self of all. This, in turn leads to a deeper sense of and inner commitment to the collective good.
This will drive our efforts and increase our ability to reconcile contradictions at increasingly higher levels of existence. At its highest level, where all contradictions are understood and reconciled, we will become intensely conscious of our humanity as we detach from our humanness.
Then, the world will become a more harmonious platform for our progress along the path of spirituality and illumination for the experience of profound peace; peace of the body, peace of the mind, peace of the heart and peace of the soul, individually and collectively.
Our hearts must feel and respond to the pulse of humanity for our thoughts, words and actions to touch lives more positively. Selfless service is the strongest weapon for the realisation of the goal of man’s existence and the attainment of peace.
Selfless service is a movement from the head to the heart. The Great and Illumined Master Jesus in that extraordinarily profound Sermon on the Mount preached thus “Blessed be the pure in heart for they shall see God and blessed be the peace makers for they shall be called the sons of God”. Purify your heart of wrong feelings and wrong thoughts and you will quickly be at peace with yourself. Then and then only can you truly be a peace maker by touching lives with peace within you.
Ladies and gentlemen, remember every day to say to yourself; let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me. Peace is a state of BEING.Be the PEACE that you wish to SEE and then touch your family, our society, our nation, our world, our globe with that Peace.
I thank you all for your time and attention and more importantly for inspiring me.