Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Gratitude for the gift of peace

Photo by Bill Miller

Yesterday, I brought you a passage from John Dear's book, Living Peace, on silence. Today I want to share with you something he has to say about mindfulness:
The sun is setting and a fog bank rolls in over the ocean as I write these words in a hermitage on Block Island off the coast of Rhode Island. The sky blends with the ocean and fog to create an atmosphere of peaceful beauty. I am surrounded by pine trees and woods inhabited by birds, several deer, one magnificent quail (who keeps watch over the hermitage at sunset each evening), a pond, and directly before me, down a cliff, the awesome Atlantic. All is peace. The silence of this solitude is soothing. I breathe in, with gratitude for the gift of peace. I breathe out, sharing the spirit of peace. I breathe in the spirit of life. I breathe out, sharing that spirit with all humanity.
As I practice mindfulness, I am not undertaking my own private spirituality. I am not forsaking the world or turning my back on action for justice and peace. On the contrary, I am helping the nonviolent transformation of the world led by the spirit of peace.
In this passage, John Dear is recognizing that we're all connected. When we meditate in solitude that is, interestingly enough, not really a merely private act because it benefits others through our connectedness. As we cultivate peace within, we are able to have an affect outside ourselves as well.

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