Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

It is time to try something different.  Military forces can be seen as a study in cultural rigidity. In a military conference I attended this year, a session on encountering child soldiers, trauma, PTSD and moral injury, the response alluded to ”mental health briefings” as a solution to what may lead to depression or suicide. In a strong warrior culture with the suicide rates being what they are (20 per day in the US among military veterans) belies the effectiveness of briefings. “Killing is killing” and anyone doing so, for just cause or not, encounters a traumatic event. The only question is – will they then be traumatized? This is part of what I am trying to address as a peace professional in first nations work and in a current peace and reconciliation project in the Tamils and Sinhalese diaspora, who have severe trauma issues and a child soldier problem.

There is a saying regarding all this, “one cannot drink the word water”. One does not create strong soldiers by talking about push-ups. One needs to exercise and go running every day. The same can be said for mental or trauma resiliency. Briefings are insufficient without strong military life practices. This means adding or changing certain military service practices and their acceptance in military culture. This would take courage because such practices in some ways may run counterculture to a warrior ethos that is not well suited to real independent and critical thinking and living values that are necessary for wellbeing, such as compassion, inner peace and equanimity. A rebalancing of military culture that blends mental health and resiliency with military ethics certainly begins with serious thinking about “military meaning and purpose” in war and conflict. If the trauma issue is to be seriously addressed, military culture should evolve to include continuous practices of wellbeing, mindfulness, breath practices, presence, and meditation. Military culture must understand the nature of suffering and trauma from the perspective of impermanence and that there are alternatives to victimization and depression. Mental wellbeing and causing harm or violence have a fundamental incompatibility. This is a significant and maybe an impossible challenge in a military culture. Good luck to us, or the consequences will be just more suicides and trauma.




May the seven grandfather teachings guide us in our work today …

We will honor the seven grandfather teachings. Each person is on a life’s journey and must find the balance that lies in living in harmony with all creation. 

  1. Wisdom:  To cherish knowledge is to know wisdom.
  2. Love:      To know love is to know peace.
  3. Respect:      To honor all creations is to have respect.
  4. Bravery:      Bravery is to face adversity with integrity.
  5. Honesty:      Honesty in facing a situation is to be honorable.
  6. Humility:  To know yourself as a sacred part of      creation.
  7. Truth:  Truth is to know all of these things. To      speak it. To live by it. 
  • To the benefit of all people, may we be strong and committed to these words today. 


May our shared values guide us in our work lives today. 

  1. May we put the values of honesty and integrity foremost in our conduct today
  2. May we put compassion and respect for others foremost in our relationships today.
  3. May we be committed to our responsibilities and strengthen the reputation of our good name.
  4. May our relationships with stakeholders be lawful, fair, courteous and free from conflict of interest.
  5. May we respect our obligations for social responsibility involving integrity in governance, environmental responsibility, economic sustainability and benefit to the society and the communities we live in.
  6. To the benefit of our livelihood, ourselves and our relationships, may we commit to these values today.  


May the wisdom of our highest values guide us in the work we do today. 

  1. May we commit to non-violence and the respect of the human rights and dignity of others.
  2. May we put aside our fixed views and seek to understand the needs and views of others.
  3. May we put the relief of suffering foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  4. May we put the reduction of conflict foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  5. May we put the avoidance of harming others foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  6. May we put the welfare of our grandchildren foremost in our decision making and agreements.
  7. May we not refuse to do the good that we can do.
  8. In the cause of peace, may we be resolute and committed to these words today.

 In peace

Paul Maillet