Allen Roland
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Allen Roland

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This reflection is entitled...

The Silent Scream

Silent ScreamTHE SILENT SCREAM is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ~ and at least one out of every six American soldiers in Iraq has it or
will experience it.

This past week PBS aired
A SOLDIERS HEART where a physician on that show reported that every soldier in Iraq is forever emotionally changed after serving in combat.

This can actually become a hardening of the heart whereas the soldier eventually becomes seemingly incapable of giving and receiving love and retreats into a lonely and impenetrable shell.

So, in essence, this is a Post Traumatic Heart Disorder, and many people suffer the same symptoms when they have been
rejected,abandoned or hurt in a love relationship.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life. But, I would argue, people can suffer these very same symptoms when they are seemingly separated from love.

The PBS film, A Soldiers Heart, depicts a Marine Sergeant who opened fire on and killed an Iraqi civilian woman who was reaching onto her bag for a white flag as she approached their checkpoint. When he realized his mistake he broke down crying and was emotionally unable thereafter to carry out his duties. This is not an unusual incident.

P.T.S.D is occurring now at an alarming rate in Iraq and the military can no longer sweep it under the rug by calling it battle field stress or cowardess.

There is only one logical explanation for this phenomenon and it is this ~ deepest in our hearts we have a need to love and be loved and it extends to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Longfellow called it The thread of all sustaining beauty that run through all and doth all unite.

When we take someone else's life in combat ~ we destroy a part of our own heart in the process and we may never psychically recover from this incident on a soul level.

The same things happens when we consciously hurt someone we love or consciously withhold love from someone we love. We, in essence, are saying no to our heart in the process and we can suffer significant psychic damage on a soul level.

But when we kill someone ~ our heart becomes hardened with guilt and it is almost impossible to accept or give love carrying this burden ~ which many of our Vietnam and Iraq combat veterans now bear.

I experienced something similar after a nine month cruise as
an all-weather Navy fighter pilot on the USS Ranger in the early 1960's.

I was never in combat but I was trained to kill on command and would have fired my lethal missiles at a Chinese MIG if ordered to ~ without hesitation.

When I returned I had lost much of my innocence, my heart had hardened to some degree and my loved ones noted it.

Eventually my heart opened but it may never had if I had taken someone's life.

Perhaps we have reached the point in our evolution where we will begin to see all men as our brothers and realize that nonviolence must be a universal spiritual practice ~ if we are to further evolve.

Martin Luther King Jr said it best;

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of the spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.


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