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Awake in the World

Can you imagine a world without conflict and war? Paul Chappell can. He has been a warrior much of his life and yet his mission is to write about ways to conquer conflict. His insights in his new book, Peaceful Revolution: How We Can Create The Future Needed for Humanity’s Survival, open up a new perspective and take us on a deep inquiry  Chappell writes of the ways that people arrive at conflict and killing – dehumanizing them by not seeing them as people but instead portraying them as numbers, hiding their faces and viewing them as machines. He offers up many solutions from listening to one’s conscience, practicing empathy and learning to love unconditionally. As an Iraq war veteran, he considers love, sacrifice and discipline – keys to the warrior’s code – to be essential to doing one’s duty.

Drawing on reflections from Albert Schweitzer, Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa, Peaceful Revolution becomes an invitation to explore human nature and ways that we can question our own and create a war-free zone. “Just as people must learn to paint, sculpt or play music, we must learn how to love,” Chappell writes. “Love is a skill and an art, and our canvas is the world. As a child the messages I received from television and society taught me how to be competitive and selfish, but not how to love.” Out of empathy grows unconditional love and the much needed solidarity we need to create a peaceful society. This peace begins within one’s own heart and it takes effort.

As a West Point graduate and an experienced soldier, Chappell’s voice echoes loud and strong. He’s not advocating that we do nothing in the face of challenges. Instead he appeals to the heart and mind revealing that humans are not naturally violent and that we have keys to reflect on. Hope, empathy appreciation, conscience, reason, discipline, and curiosity become muscles to develop as steps to a world without conflict. “A strong muscle of appreciation allows us to savor the present moment,” he writes. And he reminds us of the simple pleasures that we take for granted every day, like a hot shower in the morning. After deployment in the desert, he noticed how even small things like walking freely with friends for an evening out became great moments of pleasure. Peaceful Revolution holds words of wisdom that ring true and right. If enough people begin to listen and take the messages to heart, it may just transform our world and this, more than anything is Chappell’s aim, to get us to wake up and make a difference by being the change we wish to see.

 Bio: Debra Moffitt is author of Awake in the World: 108 Practices to Live a Divinely Inspired Life. A visionary, dreamer and teacher, she’s devoted to nurturing the spiritual in everyday life. She leads workshops on spiritual practices at the Sophia Institute and other venues in the U.S. and Europe. Her mind/body/spirit articles, essays and stories appear in publications around the globe and were broadcast by BBC World Services Radio. She has spent over fifteen years practicing meditation, working with dreams and doing spiritual practices. Visit her online at http://www.awakeintheworld.com.

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