Dove with Branch
April 6, 2015

Insights From

the Dean of Peace

Notes from the Dean's Desk

Dear Peacemaker,



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Ask the Dean?
Dean Van Leuven   Global Struggle

Dear Dean, My husband smokes in the house. This makes the house very unpleasant. It is unhealthy and is not a good example for our children. How can I get him to stop smoking? - Delores in TX


Dear Delores, Unless he made an agreement with you not to smoke before you married, the question should be, "How do we get him to stop smoking in the house?" He has a right to smoke. He doesn't have a right to expose you to it. You could leave the house; or even the marriage. Hopefully you can find a better solution. If he is unwilling to go outside, or into a certain room alone, you are left with a difficult choice. Look for alternatives until you find the one that works for you. - the Dean


Dear Dean, Regarding your ask the Dean about dealing with a difficult day at work: Another choice is to take a few minutes somewhere between work and home, even if you have to pull off to the side of the road, and just take the time to relax and get centered before you go home. - Ryan in CA


Dear Ryan, Good suggestion! The main point is to learn to avoid negativity, but the most important thing you can do when you experience it is to take action to remove it. So many just continue on and allow the negativity to poison their future conduct. When we find we have a problem the best course is to deal with it immediately. If we are unable to deal with it successfully then we should take the time to examine it more closely and to learn new ways to deal with the problem. - the Dean


I welcome questions and/or comments from our readers. Send your Ask the Dean questions or comments to: 90022 Sheffler Rd., Elmira, OR 97437, or visit to submit by e-mail.


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

We often think about and debate the concept of biological evolution. A concept that seems even more evident and easier to accept is that of social evolution. There are those who feel that our society is condemned to repeat its mistakes and may even destroy itself. It is possible that we may have huge setbacks because of unfortunate mistakes. However the evidence is clear that we are making great progress in our ability to interact, communicate and live together.


Review the progress we have made in education and communication skills and you will marvel at the great progress we have made. The advances in our educational system have transformed our society in many more ways than just the advance of technology. Our increased understanding has allowed us to solve many of our social problems. Advances in the field of human rights have been amazing in recent history. Once we realized that our well-being was affected by the well-being of all others it became possible to create a social order that was more joyful and peaceful.


Perhaps the next great step will be to reduce war from a tool of diplomacy to one of last resort for our preservation. When we do that then war will result only when we lack the imagination to solve our problems. Eventually we will possess sufficient imagination in solving our social problems that war will disappear completely. We humans will always choose in our own self-interest. As soon as we realize that our self-interest includes positive relationships with other people we will learn to make more effective choices.


Creating a Peaceful New World
  World Peace

We feel upset when we don't deal with unfinished business from the past. As we continue to hold onto our anger, our unforgiving thoughts become the cause of our suffering, and we continue to hurt. The only remedy for this pain and resentment is forgiveness. We can be free of suffering by letting go of the past. Becoming a happy person is really not possible until you free yourself from your anger and forgive.


If you find yourself fearful that what has happened in the past will happen in the future, try taking the opposite attitude - that things will be better now that you have learned the lesson inspired by the negative experience. Which attitude is the most productive- holding onto anger and being miserable, or practicing forgiveness and learning from the experience? Why not consider the person who "wronged you" as a teacher? If you look upon them as a teacher of one of life's lessons it will be much easier to forgive them. Be thankful for the lesson. View the situation from the perspective of how you dealt with it rather than what was done to you.


To decide not to forgive is to decide to suffer. By shifting your perspective and refusing to blame others, or to carry any resentment, you open yourself to a happier existence. Forgiveness is letting go of all hope that we can somehow fix the past. We have all been hurt by the actions of others. It is always easy to justify your anger, but even with the strongest of justifications, you will never be happy if you hold onto the anger. The anger will have won out, and you will have lost, no matter how strong your "case."


Tips for Peaceful and Joyful Living
  Left Arrow

Monday: Think about the people that you have not forgiven for something they have done.


Tuesday: Find a new way of thinking about them that forgives the past behavior.


Wednesday: Think about all of the things that have happened in the world that you are angry about.


Thursday: : Find a new way of thinking about them that releases your anger.


Friday: Think about the things you have done that you have not forgiven yourself for.


Saturday: Resolve to look at your past mistakes as lessons and release them, being thankful for the lessons.


Sunday: Choose to always forgive others, and yourself, for any poor choices that they or you make.


Dean Van Leuven is a psychologist, conducts workshops and is the author of Life Without Anger and many other books dealing with quality of life issues. Contact him on the web at:


Additional Notes

The World Emotional Literacy League in conjunction with World Without Anger and Lumbini Buddhist University has taken on the task of introducing emotional literacy training in the educational system of Nepal nationwide. In support of that program I conduct workshops throughout the United States and Canada. These workshops provide an introduction to the emotional skills training program as well as an introduction to establishing emotional skills training programs in your local area. The program and my workshops are based on my textbook "Emotional Intelligence - Taking Control of Your Life."


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