Monday, March 27, 2006

An amazing lady

Photo by Cynthia Burgess

A few days ago I posted a quote from someone known simply as Peace Pilgrim. I didn't know anything about her and so looked her up. Here's what a website dedicated to her memory says:
From 1953 to 1981 a silver haired woman calling herself only "Peace Pilgrim" walked more than 25,000 miles on a personal pilgrimage for peace. She vowed to "remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food." In the course of her 28 year pilgrimage she touched the hearts, minds, and lives of thousands of individuals all across North America. Her message was both simple and profound. It continues to inspire people all over the world.
I thought I'd share something she said that is particularly sobering:
There are those who know and do not do. This is very sad. I remember one day as I walked along the highway a very nice car stopped and the man said to me, "How wonderful that you are following your calling!" I replied, "I certainly think that everyone should be doing what feels right to do." He then began telling me what he felt motivated toward, and it was a good thing that needed doing. I got quite enthusiastic about it and took for granted that he was doing it. I said, "That's wonderful! How are you getting on with it?" And he answered, "Oh, I'm not doing it. That kind of work doesn't pay anything." And I shall never forget how desperately unhappy that man was. But you see, in this materialistic age we have such a false criterion by which to measure success. We measure it in terms of dollars, in terms of material things. But happiness and inner peace do not lie in that direction. If you know but do not do, you are a very unhappy person indeed.
If we are meditating regularly and correctly then we have lots of practice in letting go. This will make it possible for us to make peace with ourselves and not be taken hostage by the part of us that grasps and clings like the man Peace Pilgrim describes above. There is truly nothing more wonderful than doing what honestly makes us happy. I wish that with all my heart for everyone reading these words.


  1. Thanks for reminding me that true happiness comes from following our vocation of "deep delight". At age 69, I am just getting to know myself well enough to discover what that is for me today. Much of my life was spent in roles of wife and mother and community volunteer. Societal norms had a lot to do with choosing these roles, although I enjoyed and found them fulfilling, Now it is time for living that comes from my inner wisdom. Meditation supported by St. John's Center for Spiritual Formation and a personal Spiritual Director are wonderful guides on my way.


  2. I had in my possession some years back a small chapbook about or by the "peace pilgrim". I don't know where it is at this time, but at the time I was reading it, I was spending most of my time in a rundown farmhouse on the outskirts of Cheney, Washington, reading and meditating and trying to get my life together after a divorce. I was reading Bradshaw and listening to tapes and reading all manner of spiritual books. My current wife is a Buddhist, the ones who chant, "Nom yo ho renge kyo". I know! It's badly spelled. Anyhow, you're one of the few people who actually makes entries here on Isn't it amazing how many people fire up a blog, make an entry or two, then disappear into the night? I'm a poet myself and a retired machinist and have always known that writing is a solitary and reclusive activity. Most people, sadly, have no idea about the intellectual life and imagine it to be thrilling and adventurous, which it is, if you like your adventures into the interior of your own self.


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