Meditation practice is not just about quieting the mind and cultivating states of deep peace and relaxation, although working towards and attaining these experiences are major aspects of practice.
But in many ways learning to quiet your mind and heart and body so that states of deep peace can develop are preparation steps for what Theravada Buddhists refer to as Insight Meditation practice.
Insight Meditation is the practice of directing the mind to reflect on any one of a wide range of subjects. The goal is to penetrate to a true understanding of whatever is being considered. This can be engaged at any point of practice whether the mind is calm and clear or not. But it is especially effective when the mind and heart are very calm and the body is very relaxed.
In last week’s post and in this one I am proposing that one such subject for reflection is the current state of the official policy of the United States regarding nuclear weapons. For those who live in other countries that possess nuclear weapons, or those which are seeking to develop nuclear weapons, I suggest they focus on the policy of their country’s leaders regarding nuclear weapons.
For those of us who are Americans, engaging in this reflection will reveal the depth of unreality and hypocrisy of many government and church leaders.
In 1996 the UN General Assembly approved a Comprehensive Ban on all nuclear weapons testing. This was a major step forward from the 1963 Partial Test Ban Treaty which still allowed for underground testing. By calling for a ban on all nuclear testing the new treaty is a good step forward towards limiting the proliferation of nuclear weapons and the upgrading of existing arsenals.
President Clinton signed the treaty in 1996 but the Republican controlled senate under the leadership of Bob Dole refused to ratify the treaty. Perhaps if Mr. Clinton was not a chronic adulterer he would have had time and focus to make a better effort.
President Obama said he would aggressively campaign for senate ratification but has not done so. Now he may well lose a democratic majority in the senate. We will know later this week if that is the case. In defense of President Obama his efforts in 2009 with the START Treaty in Russia is a step forward as it lowers the number of nuclear weapons and called for new ways to inspect Russian arsenals. Also, in defense of the US Senate they ratified this treaty by a strong margin of 71-26 in 2010 although in this case it was led by a democratic majority.
But why has the President failed to follow up on getting the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty of 1996 ratified by the US Senate?
In defense of many church leaders, both progressive and conservative, the US Conference of Bishops and the National Association of Evangelicals supported the new START Treaty. But why have they not followed up with visible and vocal support for the 1996 Comprehensive Ban on Nuclear Testing?
When it came to fighting federal policies requiring Catholic organizations to provide insurance benefits that would pay for birth control measures for women the US Conference of Bishops launched a campaign in every parish in the country.
Why have they not done the same for the further reduction of nuclear weapons and for the support of the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty? Is the question of whether women get insurance coverage for birth control devices more important to the US Conference of Bishops than further controls of nuclear weapons?
Here is the reflection:
Be aware of the stockpiles of nuclear weapons possessed by America and the other countries of the world (see last week’s post for approximate numbers).
Be aware of how little commitment many government and church leaders in America and around the world have regarding the goal of full nuclear disarmament. After all not only has America not ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty, but China, Pakistan, India, Iran, North Korean and Israel have also refused to ratify the treaty. Russia, France, and England have done so.
Be aware of the devastation nuclear weapons would cause if exploded in major cities.
Imagine 1000 bombs in 1000 cities.
What do we need to do to create a world free from all Nuclear Weapons?
This is an interesting reflection.
I am not saying there are any easy answers. What I am saying is that there are answers.
Let me know what you are thinking. All constructive comments will be posted.
Will Raymond Author of “The Simple Path of Holiness” host of Meditationpractice.com.
will at meditation practice dot com (Spelled out to limit spam)