Tag Archives: Peace

A safe place …

… is a place where we are welcomed and included in all our being; physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually. A safe place is a place where we can fully be ourselves and express, share, give insight to the brightest as well as the darkest places of our soul; here we can portray the pattern as well as every little detail of the landscape that lies within us.

It takes commitment, participation to include ourselves. It takes humility and empathy to be able to include others. It takes contemplation and self-awareness to develop these qualities; they are all essential group ingredients to provide a safe place, a place for peace to develop, a place for us to lay down our weapons, our armour, our shields of protection and fully open ourselves towards change, embracing our whole being.

Painting by Monica Giglio

Talking to the mind

We are today what we were thinking in the past and we will become what we are thinking today (see also).

Our plastic mind makes this possible. It always takes on the form of what we are thinking. When we think of an apple, our mind is an apple; when we think of a dog, our mind is a dog; when we think of light, our mind is light.

This experience can teach us how to change our character. Whenever I think “I don’t want to be an angry man”, my mind creates this image of an angry self. Only when I think of myself as being peaceful, my mind becomes peaceful.

I observe, that every thought is preceded by a concept or a term, which I create, through previous experiences; this ends up creating pattern, pattern of the mind that repeat themselves.

Can I use  prayer, acceptance, training in positive thinking to create new pattern, a positive mind frame for myself?

Creativity

Facing South, I call the element fire into the circle, asking for inspiration and creative strength. I turn towards the youth movement engaging in a way forward, into a better, more creative and resilient future based on values and collaborative social structures. I open myself for renewal, new promising visions and ideas.

Have you ever asked yourself what the inside of a seed might look like? Have you ever planted a seed in a bit of soil, given it water and sunlight? Have you seen what grows out of it? A sprout, a couple of leaves on a tiny little stem. Have you ever wondered how a seed of such small size can bring forth a tree, stingily rooted in the earth, reaching up to the sky, giving shade, fruit, life for hundreds of years to come? I’m amazed It seems like something that goes beyond; there is an inherit order of things that is larger than me, bigger than me.

Creativity is the nature of the universe. Everything works, everything constantly creates and deconstructs to create again. Can I even grasp it? How can I bring my creative power into being, into true existence, join the forces of nature and be an instrument for peace in this world?

When I sit in meditation, practicing mindfulness in the moment I am practicing peace within myself. When I practice walking on the earth I become aware that I am a part; a part of the whole, of the process of becoming. I make the whole complete. When I walk into empty spaces can I fill the void? Can I bring that creative presence, be that missing piece that makes the space complete? The landscape, the trees and me. The picture forms as I walk. Does it exist without me?

I am letting go of the idea that I need to be and I become. My intention is peace; peace is the seed that I sow; it will grow as I paint the landscape within; I paint the landscape without.

I am one …

… with the earth. She is my larger body. I am an organ in her system: one self-organised, semi-autonomous entity, one part of a whole which in its own turn is a part of a bigger whole. We depend on each other. I wouldn’t exist without the earth; the earth wouldn’t exist without me. Hurting the earth, i hurt myself.

Everyday I touch the earth in gratitude, take a few breaths, look at the sky in gratitude, I smile, taking a few breaths. Here i am, the next step that I take is one step further towards peace; everystep that I consciously take is guiding my whole being one step closer to being one with the earth; every step that I mindfully take is taking every being one step closer to being one with the earth and the universe.

Painting by Matteo Bertelli

Painting by Matteo Bertelli

Mindfulness

Facing East, I’m calling the element Air into the circle, asking for the power of the sun, sharp precision and focus in my undertakings. I find peace through clarity, the innocence of the infant as the wind blows through the deepest valleys of my being. May purity and truth guide our inspiration and intuition in every moment, in every step.  

It is a miracle to walk on water. The Vietnamese Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh says that the real miracle is to walk on the earth. We all can do that, can’t we? But have we ever actually been present walking on the earth? How do the feet feel on the ground, the wind on our skin? Have we ever been aware of that… and appreciated it? Are we aware of the sensations that a smile brings to our bodies? Have we ever fully listened to one of our fellow human beings, our friends, our children? Have we ever eaten a tangerine?

Adding a handful of loving kindness and compassion to awareness gives us mindfulness – the Buddhist dharma of being lovingly present in every moment and in whatever we do. Visiting Buddhist temples inThailandandCambodiawe often encountered stair steps that are leading to the Buddha statues double or triple as high as the ones in a normal house. Why? I asked. It is not an easy walk to reach the highest, the Buddha, I was told – it is a walk done in full awareness and participation. Every step is a step in mindfulness as we climb the steps of realisation. Every step is of equal importance, is the next possible step, the present moment, … every step is peace.

Only in realising the universality, the interconnectedness of every step in life, only when we put our feet in front of each other in full awareness, in full participation, we’ve actually done a step.

In this way mindfulness is not an idea that is practiced in meditation alone – mindfulness is the tool that lets us be, that makes us live in every moment, that connects us to our surroundings, the world and the people. We can practice mindfulness in every moment: when we breathe, breathing in, I know I’m breathing in, breathing out, I know I’m breathing out; breathing in, I’m here in the present moment, breathing out, this is a wonderful moment. It is the breath that in a subtle way connects us to the outside world, from the moment we’re born until the moment our body passes away. We can practice mindfulness while walking: I’m breathing in and I’m breathing out, I have arrived and I am home, in the here and in the now, I’m breathing in and I’m breathing out.

When the Buddha explained the idea of mindfulness to a group of kids, he gave them a tangerine and made them feel it with their hands while peeling it, feeling the sensations on their tongues while eating it, every sensation in the mouth and through the body. How does it feel to eat a tangerine in full presence and participation?

Another way to practice mindfulness in the modern world is through listening – what Thich Nhat Hanh calls deep listening. Deep listening is practiced by his followers and others all around the world. In our modern world of distraction and individualism can we really deeply listen to each other? Are we able to hear what another person is telling us without building our personal opinion in our heads, already thinking of what we’ll say next? Can we hear what our friend says, can we hear what our bodies say, what the earth says with every movement she makes? To listen is to understand. Can we breathe in understanding, walk in understanding, be in understanding? Can we walk the earth in peace, reconciling with every step we make? Can we be in loving awareness, in full participation, in mindfulness?