“When the path ignites a soul,
there’s no remaining in place.
The foot touches ground,
but not for long.”
It happens often on Sunday morning. I get up, get ready to proof read today’s post, read something else and then have to put the planned post aside and start over.
This morning I read two very different pieces. Separately they do not seem to be related. But they are.
One article was Listening Deeply for Peace by Thich Nhat Hanh and the other was by Shaun King, writer for the New York Daily News.
Thich Nhat Hanh writes about the possibility of peace. Shaun King writes about a boycott to bring an end to the killing of Black people.
I am sure that about here some of you will stop reading. And therein is part of the problem.
“Without deep listening and gentle loving speech it is very difficult to move towards peace. Peace will only become a reality, says Thich Nhat Hanh, when world leaders come to negotiations with the ability to hear the suffering at the root of all conflicts.”
“This week, I have received one question more than any other – from my wife, from my children, from friends and family, from colleagues, from college classmates, and from thousands and thousands of you.
“Shaun – what are we going to do about police brutality and racial injustice in America?”
“When one country attacks another, it is out of great fear and a kind of collective ignorance. ” TNH
This is the same for the way we treat and attack one another (physically and verbally) on an individual basis in this country. Out of fear and ignorance.
“All violence is injustice. We should not inflict that injustice on ourselves or on other people.” TNH
We live in a highly militarized country with highly militarized police. We have chosen this over clean water, renewable resources, addressing global warming, childcare, quality education, updated infrastructure, equal pay and equal rights, gender equality, religious freedom, freedom of speech, freedom to protest …..an endless list.
If you read my posts with any regularity, you know my thoughts on most things. You also know I put great effort in coming to terms with and understanding the balancing of “Be Here Now”, world peace and Black Lives Matter (and many other things). Sometimes I struggle so profoundly I reach out to “teachers” for guidance. Often I cringe when people ask “Why worry so much?” or comment “It’s not that bad.” or, parrot “All lives matter.”
You would also know I work with young children. Over the years I have see change in their play, in their words and role play. Some are “positive” changes. Other changes worry me.
I have children of my own who put great thought into whether they want to bring a child into the world as it is now. It is a profound inner turmoil for them that brings confusion and sorrow.
I think about things many of you don’t. I am a little older now. My life moves a little slower than it used to. I have discovered a part of me that had to wait to be nurtured. Seeds were planted many years ago by my parents, role models, friends, teachers, experiences. They lay dormant through the fantasy world of childhood, the emotional flurry of the teen years, the rebellious years of college, the floundering of young adulthood, the tender years of parenthood and the softening of these years. Now I make the time to tend to them so that they can grow.
I am not hesitant to say out loud I believe we must achieve peace in the world and that it can be attained. I am proud I stand with Black Lives Matter and all issues of social justice. I believe our country and culture has become too militarized and not only does it hurt us, it hurts people around the world. I do not hide behind my upbringing of Christian teachings and say other religions are wrong, not of value, unimportant, or “not true”. I am not very “religious” now. Most religions teach of compassion. However, many religions now are a source of division and intolerance.
“As long as we allow hatred to grow in us, we continue to make ourselves and others suffer. As we look deeply at the wars in our recent history, we have to transform our hatred and misunderstanding into compassion.” TNH
“The antidote to violence and hatred is compassion. There is no other medicine. Unfortunately, compassion is not available in drugstores. You have to generate the nectar of compassion in your heart.” TNH
We all listen to what is in our own hearts.
We have to begin to listen to others.
Listen deeply. Begin by listening to the words and hearing what is being said. There are people crying out in suffering and pain. Then, let’s reach out to heal.
**Please click on the This Week tab at the top of the page to check out this week’s readings.