Monday, February 28, 2005
7:57 pm est
Buddhist Monk Thich Nhat Han invites his listeners to practice "walking meditation." This is a very conscious and slow,
thoughtful movement in which every step is acknowledged with full awareness. Perhaps two steps are taken to each in breath,
and two steps to each out breath.Whatever is comfortable for you. The hands may be folded in front of oneself or rest
comfortably at the side. Walking meditation is a practice which helps one to slow down and become aware of
what is happening in the moment. Practicing walking meditation for any length of time you can make room for can provide insight,
calmness, and understanding of, as Nhat Han says, "what is going on in the present moment." Walking meditation can be
done anywhere. It can be done alone or with others. It is available to you any time you would like to experience
more personal peace. You may find out more about yourself and "what is going on right now" by slowing down and practicing
walking meditation every day. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Believe It or Not
8:49 am est
Forgiveness is a difficult process. It may seem easier to carry the baggage of anger, and self-righteousness with you
than it is to actually let go of it. Have you ever seriously asked yourself why this is so? When you come to the point where
you yourself experience foregiveness you may begin to appreciate the enlightening and life renewing effect forgiveness can
have. Forgiveness can be a lightening of a burden and the opening of new possibility for friendship,
or at least a lessening of the pains of estrangement which, like a sigh of relief, can help one move on in one's life.
Shifting one's perception from self-righteousness to generosity not only releases old baggage which serves
no one, but it also creates a space for peace to move in and for new opportunities to develop. You have the opportunity to
create more peace in your life, and in your world, by practicing forgiveness. Believe it or not. Peace to you this
Thursday, February 24, 2005
Take A Break
9:14 am est
Perhaps you have heard a great expression which appeared not so long ago: "Too much information!" This is sometimes
coupled with the outstretched hand facing away from one and the comment "Tell it to the hand."
How often have you felt like that? On a given day many of us feel that there is literally too much information available
now. It is important, additionally, to recognize that too much information is not necessarily a good thing. Where
there used to be three major TV channels, now there are hundreds. Where there used to be AM radio only, now there is FM, shortwave,
and XM (satellite). Now we carry our phones with us in cars, to meetings, in restaurants and everywhere they are not banned.
The amount of information we can access through the web is countless, and while much of this technology is extremely valuable,
how much information do we really need? How ,we may wonder, did we manage before the barage of portable electronic communication
devices came to be?
A professor of mine years ago worried that the coming of the electronic age would spell the end of our tactile engagement
with the world and the life of the imagination. He argued that with the onset of these tools our thought would be reduced
to a linear and calculating rather than an inquiring and creative engagement with life. He wanted to make sure that
we remembered how valuable it is for us to experience the natural world first hand rather than through an electronic medium.
Have you taken a walk in a woods or by a lake or stream lately? Have you noticed the brilliance of the stars on
the cold Winter nights? Have you heard an owl call or watched a sunset or sunrise over the ocean in awhile? Just by remembering
the feeling you experienced during one brief moment such as these, you bring the feeling and the experience back. In
that moment you have returned to the tactile world and you have taken a break from "too much information." You have also
perhaps renewed a sense of peace living in your heart. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
9:00 am est
Changing one's priorities and one's life to welcome in peace does not require an inner revolution. Often it is just a
case of making some small change or two very gradually. Shifting one's thoughts from reactions of anger, fear or righteousness
to a broader vision and perspective can begin, over time, to bring that quiet inner revolution to pass. Next time you find
yourself enraged at another, or at a situation you are concerned about, ask yourself if there is another way to respond to
the situation than mere immediate reaction. Giving yourself the "step back" and time to consider other alternatives allows
a cooling off period and time to make a more thoughtful response. Peace is more than revolution. It is a way of life to begin
to enter into. Just making this small change. Taking the pause. Counting to ten. That's no small change at all. When more
of us to do this there will be more peace in our lives and in our world. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, February 22, 2005
7:52 am est
A friend who is a counselor once said that she has always felt close to trees. She continued, "When I hug a tree I always
feel something coming back." Trees give her a sense of peace and strength. When I was in grade school and walked from
school at the end of a rainy day, I often felt the close and in some ways mysterious quiet presence and strength of trees.
I remember thinking, "as long as there are trees there is no need to feel lonely."
How do we become as noble, as strong and as peaceful as trees? Perhaps just by appreciating them in all their variety
and beauty and in every season. Their constancy and presence return us to our own deep roots and strength.
I have heard from another friend who has a son who works with a crew trimming trees that those who work on
trees often are respectful and appreciative of them. They recognize that trees give us as much as we are open to receiving.
Trees. We take them for granted, but they present us with much more than wood for our homes and warmth from fires. They
can invite us to and be resources for a sense of deep peace and strength in our own daily lives. Peace to
you this day. Peace.
Monday, February 21, 2005
10:14 am est
What do you do when you have run out of hope? Do you look within to draw on and discover new reserves, or do you look
for comfort outside of yourself--in companionship, in food, travel, books, or music? Knowing where you turn when you find
yourself in a crisis gives you insight into your state of awareness and the state of balance in your life. There are times
when inner reflection is the most significant place for you to turn--meditation, prayer, personal writing
and inner dialogue with your deepest spiritual values reacquaints you with strengths and resources you may have
temporarily forgotten, dismissed, or simply discounted. Time away in personal reflection can renew and restore compassion
and strength as well as belief and faith in yourself.
At other times, it can make a tremendous difference to turn to companions and friends or support groups of many kinds
to give you deeper awareness and appreciation/resources for facing your challenges. Listening to one another's concerns
and trusting another with one's deepest thoughts and fears can be an important release of those fears. New insights
which others provide can give one the sense that s/he is not alone on the journey. Just as peace is important in both
the personal and the social realm, resources for daily life are deep within as well as in social connection with
others. Make space in your life for both today. Peace to you. Peace.
Saturday, February 19, 2005
9:15 am est
There are occasionally times when we experience a strong feeling or interest which intrigues and pulls
us in a new direction, but then we reconsider and think of all the reasons why we should/could not move ahead toward it. It
could be a new job, friendship, or creative venture. We then count and ennumerate the reasons why we could not do or
accomplish this, and we lay the notion and idea aside, dismissing the possibility and energy it has brought to us.
How often do we do this? What if, just for one day, you decided that you would overrule all of those reconsiderations,
and you would just move ahead with that intriguing energy and inviting feeling? Why not risk something new and energizing?
Why not believe in the feelings and creative energies which called to you? Why not give it a try? You have those feelings
and energies for a reason. They are a foundational part of who you are. So go for it when you experience them pulling you
forward. Take the risk. Peace lies in your trust in and embrace of those feelings. Peace.
Friday, February 18, 2005
You Are Welcome
8:48 am est
The Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Han, often invites listeners to shift their awareness from distractions and personal crises
and concern to a deeper awareness of silence and peace which is always present and within all of us. He has sometimes likened
our awareness to that of a television set,with many channels. When we focus on the disruptions and distractions of our daily
life, he suggests, we are tuned to the "Bang Bang" channel, but we have these other many channels we can turn to, and by shifting
our attention to them we release the distractions and return to a more pleasant and focussed channel and state. One
listener referred to the more pleasant channels as "The Buddha Channel." Nhat Han smiled and said, "The Buddha
"Well, if you like, you are welcome." Peace to you this day. Peace.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Relax, You Have Plenty of Time
8:50 am est
Some years ago while visiting Santa Cruz, California, I used to enjoy going to a Bakery which sold wonderful whole grain
muffins. Above the door to the Bakery was a hand carved sign that read, "Relax, You Have Plenty of Time." That saying
itself has a calming effect if we take it to be true. But if we resist and argue otherwise, we lose the effect and create
more stress. I have often since then thought back, in times of stress and challenge, to that sign, and so I have visited the
bakery many times since then, though without the calories contained in those delicious muffins. I invite you to join me the
next time you find yourself feeling pressured and in a frantic rush to finish all the things you have to do. Meet you at the
bakery, we'll have a cup of tea and "Relax, You Have Plenty of Time." Peace to you this day. Peace.
Wednesday, February 9, 2005
1:20 pm est
Sometimes we feel that in order to make a contribution we have to do something profound. If we waited to do something
profound we would never do anything, though. It is often just the small things during the day that make the most impact and
impression. Helping someone to load groceries into the trunk of their car will probably bring that kindness to mind every
time that person goes to the grocery. Stopping to notice geese fly in formation above; watching them, makes others aware that
more is going on in this world than what is on their calendar. Dropping a handwritten note to a friend is rare now,so when
you do take time to think of someone and send them a note you are making a statement about them and yourself that few experience
anymore. Nothing profound is necessary. Just the thoughtfulness to do what needs to be done. And in the thoughtfulness there
is something profound. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Tuesday, February 8, 2005
Make It Count
10:09 am est
Your life is an opportunity to experience something more than just accumulation. We live in acquisitive times. So much
of our self-appraisal and that of our culture is contingent on the kinds of possessions we have accumulated. At the
end of the day, is our worth and our life measureable by the kind of car we drive, the brand of clothes we wear, the part
of town we live in? We blend in, we acclimate, we are conditioned by our culture, but do we ever "own" our life as a result,
or are we merely part of the larger picture of our accumulative culture? Does peace come from acclimation?
What does your life mean? Have you considered that question? Have you experienced your uniqueness and value? Have you
explored your imagination since childhood? What do you believe you might still be or become? Can you redefine your priorities
and your life once you are past adolescence?
Every day and every moment we have is a blessing and an opportunity to more fully comprehend and express the priorities
we have. In risking change and daring to live our concerns we make our lives count for ourselves and for our world. We have
become acquisitive beings because we have stopped being inquisitive spirits. We can make a shift any time we decide
it is important enough. Peace may follow naturally from that process. Peace to you this day. Peace.
Monday, February 7, 2005
What's In It For You?
1:12 pm est
We have all had the experience of giving our time, money and experience
to ventures which didn't have any return for us, other than the satisfaction of allowing us tocontribute to a cause, situation
or person we wanted to help. Often we have reevaluated our involvement in these situations and asked ourselves what we are/were
getting out of helping. That is no doubt human nature to do so. Its worth noting that often when we begin
to get into a helping situation we don't ask these questions, we just see that something needs to be done and we do what we
can. It is generally later, when we start to calculate the personal cost and challenge as well as the change in our own priorities,
perhaps, that we start to ask, "What's in this for me?" At that point we are more consciously aware of the costs of our
involvement ,and we may then decide to adjust our priorities accordingly.
When it comes to peace, we tend to ask the question of our investment before we get
involved. We understand that working for peace may be a time-consuming and demanding effort, one which we may not be able
to fit into our busy lives and our crowded daily agendas. Peace work then becomes an add on;. something we will work in around
the edges, but not something that we accept as a first priority.
What if we rethought this and recognized that without peace nothing can be done,
whether personal, professional, national or international. If we recognize that peace is the ground of being, the foundation
of possibility, we may give it a higher priority in our lives. We know then that what's in it for us is not recognition, appreciation,
or accomplishment, but every single aspect of our lives. That's what peace represents.Peace is the foundation upon which all
is built. We invest in peace and justice work together in recreating a society and bringing about a world
in which there are more possibilities for creativity, hope, and life. And that's what's in it for all of us.
Peace to you today. Peace.
Saturday, February 5, 2005
1:04 pm est
While working on one's own life and outlook are critical for bringing about a more peaceful world, active support of
and engagement with those who are also committed to peace is essential. Seek out groups and networks of those who are invested
in peace and justice. You may find these groups through personal contacts you know or hear about. Try out a meeting and ask
about the kinds of causes they support/care about. Ask about the opportunities for volunteering. Don't wait for an invitation.
Check out websites in your community or those on a national level which are working to bring about peace with justice.
Getting involved is not something we can put off, particularly in these times of militarism, destruction of the environment in
the name of capitalism and rampant consumerism. Take some time today to find at least one meeting you might be able
to attend and make the commitment to attend it just to demonstrate our concern. Educate yourself by doing some research at
your library, bookstore, or on the web. What do you care about? Can you demonstrate some activism in its behalf? Knowing that
others are working with you toward resolution of issues you care about can also bring you some peace. Peace to you this
Thursday, February 3, 2005
Back to Basics
9:25 am est
You have no doubt often heard how important it is to set and work to attain reachable goals if you are to be successful.
What is success, as you see it? Is it recognition and fame? Is it wealth? Is it job security? Good health? There are so many
ways to define success that it is as individual as we are, and yet there is also a given culturally assumed definition of
success that we are all invited to participate in if we are willing to go along with it. Have you asked yourself the question:
How do you define success? What would give you a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction? The question of personal
and professional success is so basic to our sense of our selves that it is worth taking some thoughtful time for clarifying
our own values and objectives. Write down some of your own versions of success for yourself, for your work, and for your community.
That will give you some ideas for developing a plan to establish your personal and professional objectives. Where does
personal and professional peace fit in to your concerns? That may seem a foregone conclusion, but comprehending how you see
peace as an indicator of success as well as an objective to work for can be enlightening. Getting back to the basics of your
beliefs and goals can give you clarity and, in the long run, potentially, some personal and professional sense of peace. Peace
to you this day. Peace.
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