Manataka American Indian Council










 By Kirsten Bolwig





“The only way to bring peace on earth is for each individual to become a center of peace.”


Quest for Unity’ is an account of a journey that had its beginnings in the Ventana Wilderness of California, the mountainous home and sacred grounds of the Esselen Tribe of Native Americans. But what started as a psychological and spiritual journey towards personal wholeness, was transformed into a real life quest when, by obeying the instructions of a mysterious voice, Kirsten found an ancient stone axe-head.  That  discovery, in strange circumstances, of the neolithic axe head at least 6000 years old, led to a quest to the other side of the world.  An account of a journey, inner and outer, when mind-expanding life-changing things happened to an 'ordinary' woman. 
The following is an extract from a recent article on peace written by Kirsten Bolwig for the Ministry for Peace, a governmental department in the process of being set up within British Government.


Apart from ‘Love’, ‘Peace’ is perhaps the most misunderstood and misused word in the world.  We have come to view it as an absence of war and to accept the idea that it is a state to be imposed by armed forces and maintained by peacekeeping troupes. There is a worldwide acceptance that it is something for which one can fight with countries going to war to preserve it.  Even within the anti-war movement the concept of conflict is present with the peaceniks seeing themselves in opposition to the warmongers.

Everyone has a tendency to see conflict and therefore its solution as something outside themselves. Looked at holistically, lack of peace is being out of synch and out of balance with the whole, whether it is within the microcosm of the individual or on the macrocosmic level of a civilization. Those people we consider highly evolved in their understanding of peace: Ghandi, Jesus, Buddha, Martin Luther King, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela - role-models for humanity –understood it to be “a dynamic power within the individual and the nation. The only way to bring peace on earth is for each individual to become a center of peace.”


True Peace Is Inextricably Linked With Respect

The attraction of Native American spirituality for many today is because it puts us back in touch with elements missing from our lives. There is an emphasis on living in rhythm, in harmony and respect. Native Americans emphasize the interconnectedness of all things.  They speak in terms of “all our relations”.

A powerful Native American messenger Chief Seattle stated, "Whatever befalls the earth, befalls the sons of earth...the earth does not belong to man, man belongs to the earth...all things are did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it...whatever he does to the web, he does to himself." 

Western Civilization has lost this understanding and it is essential we regain it if we wish to find peace within ourselves.

Civilized man – agricultural man - developed a conqueror mentality when he gave up his hunter-gatherer ways. He lost his connection with Nature as he sought to bend the environment to his will. Modern civilization has come to live an illusion of peace in the artificially created surroundings of urbania, governed by man-created rules as a means to survive. They view nature and anyone living according to different rules as alien, the enemy to be excluded, conquered or destroyed.

It is to the hunter-gatherers, many of whom are on the point of extinction, we should now turn for answers to some of our problems, for among them are those that have much to teach us about the nature of peace and peaceful co-existence. True peace is inextricably linked with respect. True respect is, in turn, inextricably linked with Love. It embraces recognition and deep appreciation of the value, the place and vital role played by all things in keeping balance and harmony. Because of this, as Palden Jenkins writes in his comprehensive and thoughtful book ‘Healing the Hurts of Nations’, those people we consider under developed or under privileged people “are far more efficient and productive energy consumers” with “well honed survival skills” through being so well tuned to the planet.


The Same Laws And Principles Govern All Existence

A branch of science, Quantum Physics, may yet prove to be the greatest single influence in causing us to shift our understanding towards a new paradigm for peace as, through their quest for understanding the universe and through the discoveries they are making, they are moving closer and closer to the thinking of the great mystics and the essence of spiritual philosophies that have underpinned all the world religions. Through them we may come to understand the inter-connectedness of all things and regain reverence and respect for life. We may at last come to accept that we are subject to the same universal laws and principles that govern all existence. It is our general lack of awareness of this inter-connectedness and these universal laws that has created such disharmony and such a perpetual absence of peace on the planet. Through our lack of understanding we have put ourselves out of step and out of rhythm with everything, the restless tension, the confusion and conflict reflected everywhere as a result. 



A New Paradigm Is Needed

This period in the world’s history requires from us the establishment of a new philosophy using terminology that has to date made politicians and corporate management wriggle with embarrassment; a paradigm that is based on fundamental human and spiritual values, that expresses a new level of consciousness that will help us determine what we must do and how we must do it to ensure our common well-being. As Albert Einstein said, A problem cannot be solved at the same level of consciousness that created it.”


Professor Ervine Lazlo, Founder and President of Club Budapest says, “ Today’s society reflects the consciousness that dominates the mind of today’s people…. (It is) dominated by market ideology where material goods create value, and value creation is guided by the perceived interests of egocentric people, self-interested companies, and self-centered countries.”


We can no longer continue with our compartmentalized thinking never viewing the whole picture. The time has now come to start weaning society away from an ego-bound consciousness where the individual is not concerned for anything that is not directly related to it and energetically promoting instead the inclusiveness of the ‘whole system’ model – the understanding of the interconnectedness of everything.  


We cannot talk of peace from any other standpoint but from this one. Inclusiveness is fundamental to peace.


We can find unity in our diversity and within that diversity find creative solutions

There can be no peace where there is separation. One of the greatest perpetuating misunderstandings in the world is that our differences separate us. Looking at the ‘whole system’ model one can see huge diversity in all its richness. It becomes possible to understand that we can find unity in our diversity and within that diversity find creative solutions to solve the planet’s problems.  


In his book “You Can Change The World” Ervine Lazlo says, “Evolving consciousness is not something we do just for ourselves. We do it for ourselves and for others, for all others, and for the Earth itself.”  


We need to start applying greater intelligence in how we solve the problems of our country and the world, taking the principles of psychology and applying them in areas of political and social unrest. Anyone with an ounce of intelligence knows that anger increases if your voice isn’t heard. One of the greatest problems in the world today is the increasing anger and resentment of people in the Third World who feel unheard and excluded. The first rule of psychiatry and counseling is to listen attentively and show a client that he is heard. There is acknowledgement that what is being expressed is important to the individual. Much of the anger that is being expressed today in terrorist activities would diminish dramatically if these same principles were applied on a global level.



We Need To Educate Our Children To Become Visionaries

We also need to show greater intelligence in how and what we teach our children and educate them to be visionaries - to see far into the future introducing new subjects to the curriculum that apply the new philosophy for change and which generate hope and hopefulness. We need to introduce the understanding of stewardship of the environment. Mikhail Gorbachev former President of the Soviet Republic says, “The future that confronts us now is an open future and all of us can do our bit to decide it.”


Love Education should be part of the curriculum in schools. Not the abstract love as promoted by religion; not the fuzzy, mushy, sentimental love of glossy films, but a promotion of the understanding of the quality of Love, its power and how to use it in day-today life-how it can be used to form the base from which to practice civil discourse and respectful dialogue when seeking resolution to controversial issues. Part of the school curriculum from infant school should be to provide our children with lessons in communication and experience in conflict resolution; how love and respect can be used to form bridges of understanding in place of walls of separation. Within the new paradigm our children would be encouraged to see love as the way to improve the health of the individual, their family and the society they live in.


Development With A Human Soul

As the receiver of the International Peace Award ‘Lifetime Ambassador of Peace’, Alfredo Steir-Younis, said in an address, “It’s a paradigm where economics, my profession, plays a minimal role in terms of the values that are guiding education, and we give to education values of caring, of sharing, of love, of quality and self-identity…This paradigm has to move beyond ‘development with a human face’.  It has to be development with a human soul.”


The evolutionary cycle that led away from unity to separation has just begun its return. There is a grass roots revival of the principles that have been absent for so long from national and global policy making. The enthusiastic reception that has been given to the development of The Ministry for Peace attests to that. The prodigal son, Western Man, is returning and there are a few glimmers of acceptance of the need to change from short sighted, self-seeking, greedy exploitation of the planet’s resources, to social and economic justice and human rights.  


When we understand and accept that the route to true peace is inclusiveness sharing everything in a win-win situation, when we develop respect and appreciation for ourselves, each other and all life, then we will understand peace and the expansive sense of freedom that results. Then the brief moment of global unity that we experienced as we entered the New Millennium, of being part The ‘Family of Man’, will become an everyday reality.


We can look at the unresolved issues in our own lives and create changes within ourselves and our relationship with those around us


Ultimately, however, we need to heed the message of great spiritual teachers and understand that the starting point for peace has to be in our own hearts. Conflict and separation, the abuse created by greed and exploitation will never end until we understand how to love ourselves and heal the separations with our own psyches.  


Using the premise of the inter-connectedness of everything, we can turn back to ourselves, look at the unresolved issues in our lives, create the changes within ourselves and our relationship with those around us – family, friends community, workplace – knowing that in the process, we are each doing our bit to make this beautiful planet of ours a better place - a safer, healthier place - for future generations. As John Paul Lederach, Professor of International Peacebuilding said, “Let this be the decade that is remembered as the time when the beginning of the end of human warfare happened.”



Kirsten Bolwig works as a transformational healer/therapist in the field of complementary medicine. Her twenty-five years experience, comprehensive training and unique blending of skills has enabled her to work comfortably alongside two doctors' practices and a hospital unit in Bath, England, helping hundreds of people spiritually, psychologically and physically with a broad spectrum of personal difficulties and health problems.  Bolwig comes from a background of science, open spirituality and human rights activism and describes herself today as a spiritual activist.  

Published by StarDrum - ISBN 0-9544956-2-4    $13.77 plus P+P



Read Lee Standing Bear's Formula for Peace