Dove with Branch
June 30, 2008 Insights From the Dean of Peace
Notes from the Dean's Desk

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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, Thank you for another excellent newsletter. As to your message about things we don't like: accept it, leave it or change it, I would like to add that if a person chooses to stay in a job because they really need the money, I would suggest they find all the things they can to bless and be grateful for. I treated for someone years ago who hated her boss, but by staying in the job and recognizing all she was learning from this woman she became more peaceful about the job and the things she learned and eventually took to a new job. It took me awhile to convince her of her opportunities and to bless them but she did and it all came out fine. It was a good lesson for me, too! Thanks for your wonderful insights and sharing. - Rev. Shirley in OR

Dear Rev. Shirley, Thanks for your comments and your insights in helping your client. When we decide to accept what we have decided we must do, then we are able to get the best out of it. - the Dean

Dear Dean, My spouse is a very poor cook. I tell her what I want for dinner and she never seems to get it right. What can I do to make her fix things the way they should be cooked? - Reggie in IN

Dear Reggie, Your wife is not here to be your servant. If you are not satisfied with the meals she prepares you always have the option of fixing them yourself. You most likely would find your meals prepared better if you compliment her, even when they are not. The more you compliment her for her successes the more she will be motivated to cook your meals the way you want them. Beside that, she will be more loving to you as well. When you complain about burnt toast something else is apt to not turn out the way you want. - the Dean

I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: P.O. Box 535, Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.

Law, Politics & Society ... As I see them
  Globe Magnify Glass

We have developed a way of thinking in our society which I refer to as partisanship. This means that we choose up sides, and then do our thinking on the premise that whatever supports our side is what is right. When we make the decision of which side we are going to support we tend to give up our own independent thinking and accept the thinking of the group as our own. We no longer trust our self enough to do our own thinking. We agree because belonging seems important to us.

This also means we resist whatever the other side says. We no longer try to understand their position. We no longer seek compromise. We feel we must prevail because we are right, and they are wrong. It is like being elated when our team wins the World Series - and depressed when they don't. We forget it is just a friendly game. We support it with our emotional life.

If we are aware we have this tendency, then we can pay attention and catch ourselves when we have this feeling. We are not going to be able to live well together, unless we are as caring and friendly with the people of our neighboring state as we are with those of our own state. Give up the idea that the other team - the other fans - the other country - the other religion - the other society, are the bad guys.

Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

It is not the triggering event itself that produces our anger; it is what goes through our mind when prompted by the trigger. Our emotions result from our perceptions, and our perceptions result from our observations plus our preconditioning. Our preconditioning includes our belief system, the way we are trained to respond, and what already exists in our memory file (past events and judgments). Understanding what this process is and how it works helps us to be able to make changes.

We train ourselves to respond to potential anger-inducing events in a different way by learning to process information differently. Once we choose to respond in a different way, it becomes a matter of updating our operating systems with the new material so we will get new results when we receive information into our brain.

In a computer, we have to put in new information and delete the old. We do the same with our brain, but it is much more difficult to delete the old unwanted information. The more we practice this process, however, the more adept we become.

Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: I think about how I would like things in the world to be.

Tuesday: I think about how things in the world actually are.

Wednesday: I accept that it is okay for the world to be the way that it is.

Thursday: I decide what thing in the world that I may help change in some way.

Friday: I decide what new idea would be better for the world.

Saturday: I develop my concept of how I can get the world to pay attention to my idea.

Sunday: I dedicate myself to making a positive change in the world.

Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of A Peaceful New World and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:

Additional Notes

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