Sunday Meditation: 10 a.m. Service 10:30 a.m.
Wednesday's Wisdom 7 p.m.
1201 Puerta Del Sol, First Floor
San Clemente, CA 92673
Most people are against violence and yet they do not experience peace in their lives. Mother Teresa once said that she would never attend an anti-war rally but if you gave a rally which was for peace, she would attend. This makes sense to us as metaphysicians. We know that whatever we put our attention on will increase in our lives. If we want more inner peace then we need to focus on peace. Attention comes from intention.
In his heart-warming book, Creating True Peace, Vietnamese Buddhist monk and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, reminds us to sow and water seeds of peace. He also reminds us that we all have seeds of non-peace in our consciousness and to be certain that we are not nurturing them.
This month our spiritual practices will be establishing and maintaining our inner landscape of true peace. Thich Nhat Hanh writes: "The spiritual teachings of all traditions help us cultivate the seeds of compassion, nonviolence, inclusiveness, and reconciliation. They show us the way out of fear and conflict: Hatred cannot be stopped by hatred. Violence should not be responded to by violence. The only way out of violence and conflict is for us to embrace the practice of peace, to think and act with compassion, love and understanding."
The reasoning mind can grasp this principle readily and yet we are still engaged in personal as well as collective acts of unforgiveness, intolerance, blame and war. Not only do we often engage in these actions with others, but also we are often unkind, uncompromising, cruel and rigid with ourselves.
Yet the Truth that will set us free is within us here and now. The Buddha admonished his students: "Be a lamp unto yourself." And Jesus told us: "To love our neighbor as our self." Having the knowledge to do something, and actually practicing it on a daily basis, are often worlds apart. However, we can start right where we are now. We can commit to action.
The place to start is in our own minds and hearts. Are you at war with anyone including yourself? Are there any seeds of hatred, intolerance, or fear that you have planted or watered? Inner peace starts in you. Fill your heart with loving-kindness and mindfully go about your day. That practice is the beginning of inner peace.
I guess it boils down to what fascinates you? What captures your attention? Is there something that someone said to you years ago that still pops into your mind. These are the seeds of war. Caroline Myss says that as adults we are being run by "six second conversations" that took place long ago. I remember one time when I was eight years old and happily chattering away to myself in the back seat of our car. It was raining and now I suspect the roads were treacherous but all I heard at the time was my normally kind and patient father saying, "Hush up, Heather!" It was a very short conversation but deeply wounded me; for many years I would hear that scolding voice in my head. It is time for me to accept that conversation as being about my dad and not about me. When I do I will have planted a seed of compassion and dug up a seed of war.
Let's peacefully practice building inner peace.
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Contents copy; 2008 Center for Spiritual Living, Capistrano Valley