True peace is always possible. Yet it requires strength and practice, particularly in times of great difficulty. To some, peace and nonviolence are synonymous with passivity and weakness. In truth, practicing peace and nonviolence is far from passive. To practice peace, to make peace alive in us, is to actively cultivate understanding, love, and compassion, even in the face of misperception and conflict. Practicing peace, especially in times of war, requires courage. Thich Nhat Hanh, from “Creating True Peace”
At this moment I’m wishing for healing and ease for those torn apart in Boston. When I was there a month ago attending a mindfulness in education conference, people offered me so much kindness and support; alleviating my lostness, helping me feel welcome. Sending them loving-kindness from the heart. May we all feel safe to live our lives free of anger and fear, and know true peace. A chant for feeling safe with each other, I feel safe with you here.
Over the weekend fellow members of Thich Nhat Hanh’s Northern California core lay community came together to cultivate true peace, harmony and understanding; for their personal benefit, and the benefit of all. Happiness, sadness, relaxation and insight, experienced with brotherhood and sisterhood in the supportive environment of Sonoma Mountain Zen Center. I’ll let the images and this insight poem that doesn’t rhyme reveal more.
I presume every other cat knows Zen
even without a zendo.
Dwelling peacefully in the present moment
as natural as this purr;
a chanting from my heart,
with lightness, humor and sincerity.
Ahh, the sun is warm here on the grass
and here on the welcome mat.
Meeoowww, stretched, it’s gone.
Was that a silly thought that just passed?
Probably not, but
the opposite could be true.
With clear mind, beholding
dimensions of time and space.
Seeing and being fully seen, heard, smelled, touched.
Getting to know you and all about you.
Nearly overwhelming with connection
to all perceived;
deer, raven, frog, hawk, lizard
call and response of hoot owls,
sun, wind, rain,
the small rodents, insects, reptiles and birds
to prey upon.
Otherwise food placed, just so,
at the right time
in my bowl.
In gratitude to the universe
for this food
and litter box.
Diligent humans hope to one day
experience this cat’s nirvana.
Feeling peaceful harmony within
and without my fur
97% of the time.
Written as exultation of N. California Community of Mindful Living’s Order of Interbeing retreat at Sonoma Mt. Zen Center.
remembering Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche