Friday, September 02, 2005

A friend emailed me this prayer and it seems an appropriate thing to share.

From Khwaja Moinuddin Chisti:
"Love all and hate none.
Mere talk of peace will avail you not.
Mere talk of G_d and religion will not take you far.
Be a blazing fire of truth,
be a beauteous blossom of love
and be a soothing balm of peace.
With your spiritual light, dispel the darkness of ignorance;
dissolve the couds of discord and war
and spread goodwill, peace and harmony among the people."

Peace on your weekend all-

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Placing Blame

The latest estimates on the death toll for hurricane Katrina is that there are over 126 confirmed dead in New Orleans alone and that the death toll could go into the thousands. So much attention has been focused on the suffering of those in New Orleans, I have stopped noticing numbers for Biloxi, though those people are hardly better off.

Reading blogs, news articles, and websites, watching the news on television and discussing with friends, it seems that deep down everyone wants to place blame. I read in the local paper that one man blames the liberals with their godlessness for the storm. Liberal reports are that George Bush cut funding to the programs that would have shorn up the levees and seawalls. Intellectuals are laying the blame at the feet of the founder of New Orleans because what was he thinking placing a city on land that was below sea level?

All the while we are blaming, people are dying. People in the United States, which is by any standards a very rich, very industrialized nation, are dying of hunger and thirst because they don't have any food or water. For the most part these were the people too poor to evacuate, though some were perhaps a bit more stubborn or had family who couldn't evacuate--perhaps at a hospital--and now they are being forced out of the city. They are walking in hot temperatures and sleeping on the highway and they are not being given any water.

I realize there is not much water to be had there and the problems getting it to the people who need it are many. It does not change the fact that people are dying. As these people die, not because of a direct hit from a hurricane that no one would could prevent, but because we as a nation are unable to act in any coordinated way, we should all feel a small part of us die as well. These people are dying. They are part of our community--as residents of New Orleans, Lousiana, as citizens of the United States, as fellow human beings--and we are letting them die because the rest of us can't work together.

There are rays of hope as I continue to read. One such place that is pulling something together is It's devoted to pulling together links to other sites for people who want to donate to the human and animal victims of the hurricane as well as sites to help those looking for assistance in the aftermath of Katrina. Granted it won't reach those in the most dire straights but it can some others.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Pema Chodron

One of my favorite Buddhist authors is Pema Chodron. She writes a lot about Buddhist thought. I really enjoyed her book When Things Fall Apart.

In my collection of her work is a set of cards that are to be drawn and have a thought for the day.
The one I drew today:

"Don't seek others' pain as the limbs of your own happiness."

It's the sort of quote that seems to speak both to the peace inside ourselves and making our peace with others. Something to think about for the day.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Compassion starts with ourselves

In creating peace within ourselves, we need to remember to be compassionate with ourselves. Most of us are our own worst critics. Our inner voices say things so hurtful that we'd never even think about saying such a thing to another human being. When it comes to our innner self talk, we say those same hurtful things to ourselves day in and day out.

Sometimes the hardest piece of compassion is offering it to ourselves, particularly when we've messed up. If we fail to get the promotion or raise we had hoped for, we tend to judge ourselves very harshly. We often feel it is our fault that we didn't get that promotion or that raise. It could be that we are not meeting the standards for the promotion. If we aren't, does that make anyone less of a person? However, we may not have gotten that promotion for any number of OTHER reasons which we tend to quickly reject.

When we have allowed ourselves to hope and those hopes get dashed, instead of judging ourselves, perhaps we should instead hold ourselves with compassion. If we had a child and they didn't get a place on the team, would we yell at them for not trying or for being a poor athlete? I doubt it. Instead we might hold them and let them be disappointed and reassure them that there will be other opportunities.

Our inner world is a very dear child. If we could offer that kind of compassion for our external child, then why can't we offer it to ourselves. Yes, we can all buck up and do better. Yes we are all bad to the bone. Remember, though, that is true for most everyone. It doesn't make anyone any less of a person. If we are all bad to the bone, as they say, then perhaps we are good to the bone as well. Sometimes it's important to honor that part of ourself.

Monday, August 29, 2005

I'm not a saint

The problem with writing a blog on creating peace within ourselves and the world is that you can start sounding preachy. I'm not a saint. I don't have all the answers. I'm quoting things that I've read before and make sense to me.

I try and put these ideas into practice. I try and create more peace in my life. I try. I believe that is the bottom line. If we each make an effort and think about these things, once or twice or even three times a day or week or month and then push them aside for awhile, we can make a difference. Each time we think about any idea the roots grow a bit deeper and it starts coming easier and easier.

I hope that as I write this out, and keep writing about how can we create peace in ourselves and then perhaps create peace in the world, the ideas will come easier and easier. I'll be more creative. I'll learn something for my life. In doing so, if I can help someone else in theirs, so much the better.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Interpretation and misinterpretation

I have been having a discussion with a group of online friends about the concepts of evolution and creationism. There are some interesting points that I would like to share, none of which have anything to do with evolution or creationism. What I find interesting is are the things each of us reads into the posts of the others when perhaps the writer didn't intend to say that at all.

It's not that any of us are wrong or ignorant. In fact, I think the opposite is true. However we each have different values and different backgrounds. When it comes to the concepts of how the world was created, we all have very different systems of belief or unbelief. Therein lies my point. How often do we take offense at what someone else says without ever checking out if that was what the other person meant? We often think that because this word has a bad connotation to me that it should to everyone. This is not the case.

When we listen to others it becomes important to listen to what they are saying as much as how they are saying it. If we hear something that we are bothered by, it is important to clarify that that is what they meant. Some people are not that astute with words. Very often we drop into the emotion of hurt or anger at words that we hear and the things we infer. If we can stop that just for a moment and perhaps clarify the meaning behind the words, perhaps we can come to a greater level of understanding about what the other person is trying to say. We also have the added bonus of perhaps expounding on our point of view so that the other person continues to listen.

We all have so many words and buttons that can be pushed. Often the people around us seem to push those buttons the easiest as they know us the best. Listening and reacting little can be the hardest thing to do. However to create peace, in and around us, it is worth practicing this to see if perhaps we are the ones misinterpreting the words that we are hearing. I am not advocating avoiding feeling our feelings or avoiding having our own truth spoken, I am merely pointing out that perhaps we don't have to react so quickly.

So here perhaps is a wonderful place for this disclaimer. The words in my blog are my opinion only. If you have further questions or seek further enlightenment, there are many teachers out there who can help you. I do not propose to have all the answers. I am merely using this corner of cyberspace to speak the words that feel truthful to me.