Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Happy Birthday, Like, Like, Like

"Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world."
Etty Hillesum

I decided months ago what I would give up for Lent this year. If anything, it's more of a gift I am giving myself, than a sacrifice. What will be hard is breaking the habit. What will be hard is resisting the urge. What will be hard is the FOMO.

I'm reading the story of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu's week-long communion in Dharamsala, THE BOOK OF JOY. It's an antidote to all the fear and hate that abounds. It restores hope. It is not complicated, we just make it so. Peace begins with us. There is suffering, the First Noble Truth. What we do in response to that suffering, is our choice. If we were to be pierced by an arrow, we would feel pain. To remove the arrow and keep stabbing ourselves with it, would be ridiculous, but mentally, that's what we do.

I'm teaching a little class at church for school-aged kids that are going to be baptized at Easter. We are talking about Lent - a dedicated period of time in which we increase prayer, giving and fasting. Over the years I've fasted from coffee, alcohol, one year I even fasted from Target. This year, I'm going to fast from social media, and with the time I would ordinarily spend on that, attempt to spend that same time in prayer.

With all that's going on in the world, in this country, and even in my own neighborhood, I am aware just how much I'm taking those "arrows" and stabbing myself over and over and over again with them. I am clear that this isn't working, and that if all this turmoil doesn't call me to action, it's wasted turmoil. I know I can't solve all the ills of the world. I know that I can't react and respond to every cause. How and what I do in response, needs greater contemplation. Greater clarity. Greater peace within myself.

For all of you having a birthday, happy birthday. For all of you posting cute pictures of your kids, pets, vacations and loved ones, know that I "like" them. For all of you posting what's on your mind, the outrage, the opportunities for action, the galvanizing of forces, know that I support and appreciate those efforts.

I am Peace, surrounded by Peace, secure in Peace
Peace protects me
Peace is in me
Peace is mine - All is well.
Peace to all beings
Peace among all beings
I am steeped in Peace
Absorbed in Peace
In the streets, at our work, having peaceful thoughts,
Peaceful words, peaceful acts.
                                                         Buddhist meditation