As I write this Ebook review, tens of thousands of human beings have died so far this year in armed conflicts around the world. Syria is in civil war. Wars in Iraq and Afghanistan continue to exact a toll in blood and treasure. The war against narcotic cartels in Mexico and Latin America claims the lives of ever escalating numbers of victims of violence and terror.
Wherever you look in the world, violence is too abundant and peace too elusive. As a single person among 7.6 billion others, it is easy to look upon this madness and adopt an attitude of apathy or resignation. If one summons the courage to do something, it is very common to seek political solutions. Who hasn’t thought: If only the politician that I vote for is elected who has promised to make a difference, then I will have done what I could do.
But there’s a more radical, effective, and satisfying approach to winning world peace. Instead of merely voting for a better Senator, you can become devoted to higher Self. Through spiritual wisdom, it is possible to obtain an inner peacefulness that changes everything about your perceptions and infectiously spreads peace everywhere you go.
If this sounds too unrealistic to be true, then I suggest you read After the Wrecking Ball, an Ebook by Lynn C. Fuentes which articulates Ten Principles for Finding Peace Amidst Conflict. Fuentes carries an unusual lineage in integrative spirituality (she says Ken Wilber is her favorite philosopher) as well as a varied career as a lawyer, mediator, journalist and university professor. One of her specialties is conflict management, so her Ebook contains wisdom born out of a decades-long quest to obtain equanimity of the self, peaceful family relations, healthy and balanced communities, and a nonviolent world.
I don’t want to make it sound that Lynn is only applying ideas from her higher education or work experience into a spiritual context. In fact, the source of her Ten Principles might astonish you. She writes that in her forties she experienced multiple formidable challenges that made her feel helpless. And then something remarkable happened:
Help came from a direction I didn’t expect and didn’t even see at first. Slowly and almost imperceptibly, beginning in Thanksgiving, 1995, ten guiding principles “dropped” into my mind. They were accompanied by an electric ‘felt’sense (a feeling I have sometimes that heightens my awareness and powers my body in some way) along with a ‘knowing’ that these were absolutely true and very significant to me. Over the years after their appearance, I began to apply them to the issues confronting me and gradually found that my life and the life of others around me was getting better.
She had sought answers to her problems, and she received them in a remarkable spiritual “download” that gradually set her to cook up a spiritual path that would put conflict resolution on the front burner. She says she was unconscious of how it was all taking place because her learning was very gradual, but eventually she came to a new level of understanding of “the energetic movement of thought and feeling that gave rise to, complicated or defused, resolved or didn’t resolve disputes, discord, and painful states of being, both internal and external.”
What sort of a spiritual download did Fuentes receive? She puts each of the Ten Principles in each of ten chapters beginning with “Love Is The Only Transformative Thing” and ending (full circle) with “Be Love”. Her teaching is autobiographical, not preachy or dogmatic. She even explains that as some of these Principles appeared in her own mind, she was skeptical or puzzled. Nevertheless, she attempted to apply them in real life and thereby began to realize their truth and wisdom for herself. She describes some of her frustrations in attempting to put them into practice amidst ongoing difficulties with her marriage, her youngest child’s health, and her career.
In Chapter 7, “I Am The Hands of God”, she synthesizes perspectives from her experience as a caregiver, a reader of spirituality and philosophy books, and her mystical experiences of listening as contact with “the flow of the universe”. She writes:
It’s easy to hold beautiful beliefs, to sit and wait for God to act, to tell ourselves that ‘if it’s right, it will happen,” to think that someone else will do it, when all along, we are the instrument by which those beliefs will manifest, the hands through which God will act, the ones who will make right happen. Whatever iT is we feel called to do, or to refrain from doing, is something we can commit to. If it is right for us, we will feel it in our bodies. Acting in this way takes us into flow with the universe. We are not bucking the tide or forcing things; we are not imposing our will. Instead we are giving naturally what is ours to give and allowing others to do the same.
Lynn’s talents as an educator are quite apparent. Although her Ebook is only 62 pages long, it manages to distill some of the “greatest hits” of a spiritual perspective infused with common sense, a compassionate soul, and a mind capable of a genuine Integral embrace. There is refreshingly little jargon that might get in the way of comprehension and yet there is real depth to the wisdom. It is a book an Integralist could easily buy for a parent or coworker or friend without fearing that it will be too difficult to comprehend.
Perhaps the Ten Principles are most challenging when they confront readers with teachings that demand a radical inner peacefulness. Anyone convinced that they must change the world through controlling others is told that every truth contains its opposite. Anyone sure that they are right is told that peacefulness is obtained through both/and thinking, not either/or thinking. And warriors are given the firm counsel to “Be Defenseless” (But Not A Doormat).
My only real criticism of After the Wrecking Ball is that as a memoir it may have erred by abbreviating too much of Lynn’s personal story of crisis and redemption. She gives us the Cliff’s Notes version of her story only, leaving some hanging threads. As well, one may want to hear more about how she applied the Ten Principles in her work in conflict mediation (there’s only one chapter on “Living the Principles”).
Reading After the Wrecking Ball is a crash course in how to obtain greater inner peace after life’s disruptions. If you’re ready for it, herein is everything you need to become a force of inner and outer reconciliation that is so much needed in the world today.