Peace On Earth
As we prepare for the celebration of Christmas at the end of the month, we might want to reflect on the traditional and creative meaning of this holiday beyond the hustle and bustle of our conditioned consumerism and rush into more frenetic activity. We might want to slow down rather than speed up, do less rather than do more, remain within while going out and ponder what it feels like to be pregnant with unconditional Love. We might also want to connect in some conscious and active way to those who have no one to hold them, love them, feed them, cradle and comfort them. Hmm. . .
I was with a family the other day whose matriarch was dying. Her daughter and son, their spouses, grandchildren and great grandchildren were also there. They were a family of different races, tribes, classes and national perspectives and yet they were united as one. Their perspective was that of a human community bound together by loving, companioning, caring and concern for one another and all who were connected to them in visible and invisible ways. Within the chaos and confusion there was peace, acceptance and Presence.The advent of dying seemed to create a new awakened Life.
Gautama the Buddha said: “If your compassion doesn’t include yourself, it’s incomplete.” Jesus the Christ said “Love your neighbors as yourself.” I assume that loving and having compassion for yourself and others includes listening and respecting both while discovering a reverence, respect and appreciation for the Life we all share. From a deep spiritual perspective we’re already One and when we wake up to this reality, everything changes. God becomes the mystery of relationships that are bound together and preserved through Infinite Love which happens in every moment.
To have a world or cosmic perspective requires embracing both the darkness and light that live within each of us and within any given situation. I remember an experience I had while on retreat. I was in a chapel in the middle of the night. There was one candle lit beside and behind the altar. As I focused on the light, the darkness didn’t seem nearly as dark. Then, the candle burned out and the whole room went dark. The fear that immediately struck me began to dissipate as I closed my eyes and entered the darkness within. In the midst of the inner darkness a light appeared that felt like Home.
In the stillness of that moment it became clear to me that the light I continually looked for outside was infinitely inside, in the depths of my Being. It never went out. It was always here but I was not. My conditioned self was always outside searching, striving, performing, acquiring and missing the very substance of Life that lived here within all form. Here I discovered a ‘knowing’ within a ‘not knowing’ that was beyond words, beyond darkness and light, beyond all understanding. It was a revelation/illumination of profound peace ever present within the Ineffable Presence of Now. . . .
In times of significant global transition such as we’re presently in, it’s imperative that we awaken to the Divine Light that shines within every cell of the global community. The greatest gifts we can receive and give are those that bring Life to life for each other and the whole of creation. Interspiritual author and teacher Mirabai Starr speaks – “I have been drawn to the living heart of every spiritual tradition I have encountered. . . What I found irresistible was the essential unity at the core of all that diversity; each faith tradition was singing the same song in a deliciously different voice: God is Love . . . .”
The list of those who have sought peace on earth spans the centuries. Today, however is our day, our time. If indeed “God is Love” and that Love dwells within the heart and soul of every everything, we need to ‘wake up’ and live into this Love. As we sit in the darkness and look ‘out there’ for the Light, let us open our hearts to discover the Light and Life within. It’s where we’ve come from, where we’re going, why we’re here and it takes place one kindness at a time beginning with you and me. Do you see what I see?
- As you walk through your days between here and the end of the year, reflect on the Light that is within you and all those you interact with. Look beyond the forms you encounter into the Essence of their Being. See through the illusions of the conditioned minds and behaviors into the Heart of the matter while sending and receiving Love. . .
- Open up significant reflection time, compassionate time for yourself each day to experience the Light that’s within you. Consciously breathe deeply for a few minutes every hour. Close your eyes and see the Light in the darkness. Allow this Light to guide you, comfort you, inspire you. . .
- Ask yourself at least three times a day, “What makes me come alive?” and listen for the answer. In hearing it, find a way to engage this in whatever way possible within the situation you’re in. Be bold, gentle, and gracious with yourself and others. Live more consciously into the Love that’s always here. Change the world one smile, one kindness, one conscious moment at a time. Cultivate inner peace and give it away. There’s an infinite amount of it wherever you are and wherever you’re not.