By Pema Chödrön
There is a key moment, says Pema Chödrön, when we make the choice between peace and conflict. In this new teaching from her program Practicing Peace in Times of War, she describes the practice we can do at that very moment to bring peace for ourselves, for others, and for the world.
If we want to make peace, with ourselves and with the world at large, we have to look closely at the source of all of our wars. So often, it seems, we want to “settle the score,” which means getting our revenge, our payback. We want others to feel what we have felt. It means getting even, but it really doesn’t have anything to do with evenness at all. It is, in fact, a highly charged emotional reaction.
Underlying all of these thoughts and emotions is our basic intelligence, our basic wisdom. We all have it and we can all uncover it. It can grow and expand and become more accessible to us as a tool of peacemaking and a tool of happiness for ourselves and for others. But this intelligence is obscured by emotional reactivity when our experience becomes more about us than about them, more about self than about other. That is war.
I have often spoken of shenpa, the Tibetan term for the hook in our mind that snags us and prevents us from being open and receptive. When we try to settle the score, we cover over our innate wisdom, our innate intelligence, with rapidly escalating, highly charged, shenpa-oozing emotionality. We produce one hook after another.
What are we to do about that? We could say that this emotionality is bad and we have to get rid of it. But that brings problems, because it’s really the same approach as getting even with other people. In this case we’re basically saying that we have to settle the score with ourselves, get even with ourselves, as it were, by ridding ourselves of our emotionality.
Since this approach will not work, what we need to do is to neither reject nor indulge in our own emotional energy, but instead come to know it. Then, as Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche taught, we can transmute the confusion of emotions into wisdom. In simple terms, we must gain the capacity to slowly, over time, become one with our own energy instead of splitting off. We must learn to use the tools we have available to transform this moment of splitting in two. *Splitting in two* is the moment when peace turns into war, and it is a very common experience.
***Especially if you’re “biracial”***
Really, Frontline? Really!? Negroid? Whatever, PBS. Not sure why that caused me intense irritation, but it did. Moving on… This strikes me as something that should be common knowledge.
Was This Britain’s First Black Queen?
by Mario de Valdes y Cocom
“The suggestion that Queen Charlotte was black implies that her granddaughter (Queen Victoria) and her great-great-great-great-granddaughter (Queen Elizabeth II) had African forebears. Perhaps, instead of just being a boring bunch of semi-inbred white stiffs, our royal family becomes much more interesting.” (The Guardian, March 12, 2009)
With features as conspicuously Negroid as they were reputed to be by her contemporaries, it is no wonder that the black community, both in the U.S. and throughout the British Commonwealth, have rallied around pictures of Queen Charlotte for generations. They have pointed out the physiological traits that so obviously identify the ethnic strain of the young woman who, at first glance, looks almost anomalous, portrayed as she usually is, in the sumptuous splendour of her coronation robes.
Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House… Six different lines can be traced from English Queen Charlotte back to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, in a gene pool which because of royal inbreeding was already minuscule, thus explaining the Queen’s unmistakable African appearance.
Queen Charlotte’s Portrait:
The Negroid characteristics of the Queen’s portraits certainly had political significance since artists of that period were expected to play down, soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subjects’s face. Sir Allan Ramsay was the artist responsible for the majority of the paintings of the Queen and his representations of her were the most decidedly African of all her portraits. Ramsey was an anti-slavery intellectual of his day. He also married the niece of Lord Mansfield, the English judge whose 1772 decision was the first in a series of rulings that finally ended slavery in the British Empire. It should be noted too that by the time Sir Ramsay was commissioned to do his first portrait of the Queen, he was already , by marriage, uncle to Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the black grand niece of Lord Mansfield.
Thus, from just a cursory look at the social awareness and political activism at that level of English society, it would be surprising if the Queen’s negroid physiogomy was of no significance to the Abolitionist movement.
Mulatto Queen: Black Grandmother of Queen Victoria
by Gary Lloyd
History reveals two curious details about Queen Charlotte Consort to George III: First, her official coronation portrait shows a woman with distinct mulatto features. Second, the Royal Physician to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, wrote about her in his memoir: “She had a true mulatto face.”
But if Queen Charlotte was a mulatto, who was the black man who fathered her? And if Queen Victoria became the “Grandmother of Europe” would not her black African great-grandfather be the great-grandfather of virtually every Royal house in Europe?
Mulatto Queen unravels this mystery. Along the way we meet Voltaire, Samuel Johnson, Czar Peter the Great, Liebniz, and finally, the black African rumored to be Queen Charlotte’s biological father.
No stodgy historical drama, Mulatto Queen is a hypnotic, farcical romp through King George III’s England. Think: The Da Vinci Code meets Roots …
The characters are heroic, cowardly, desperately funny, disturbingly neurotic. What with their wedding-cake high wigs, court gowns, rampant alcoholism, bloodlust for public executions, addiction to snuff, penchant for gluttony, the appearance of a 17-year old mulatto girl and King George’s instant attraction to her caused a scandal and a cover-up that persists to this day.
Buy the book HERE