Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Nurture peace

I continue to hear lots of pain, angst and confusion following our U.S. presidential election. So many fears were raised, lots of insults were hurled; and most of us are wondering how we can possibly heal the divide—much less know exactly where we as a people are headed.

So when I read these words in Pema Chodron's book, When Things Fall Apart, I took notice: "Right now—in the very instant of groundlessness—is the seed of taking care of those who need our care and of discovering our goodness."

Groundlessness. That does describe what many seem to be feeling these days. If Chodron is correct that the seed is there right now, it seems to me that our job will be to nurture that seed. Our work will be to do those things that don't sow division but rather that heal. We can listen to others. We can try to understand their fears and feelings. We can speak our truth—and do so in ways that simply owns our truth rather than beats up others with it. We can reach out to others who are especially vulnerable right now. We can commit to causes, not just with money but with time as well.

The following comments appear in Chodron's book just two pages after the above quote, and they are good questions to ask ourselves: "Every day we could think about the aggression in the world, in New York, Los Angeles, Halifax, Taiwan, Beirut, Kuwait, Somalia, Iraq, everywhere. All over the world, everybody always strikes out at the enemy, and the pain escalates forever. Every day we could reflect on this and ask ourselves, 'Am I going to add to the aggression in the world?' Every day, at the moment when things get edgy, we can just ask ourselves, 'Am I going to practice peace, or am I going to war?'"

In a season in which we think about peace on earth, perhaps this is a good time to think about how we might nurture peace.

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