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Prayers for peace

hands in union

Yesterday marked 8 years since the tragedy of 9/11. I hope that we (as a world full of beings) have grown, at least in some small way, in our understanding and acceptance of other cultures and faiths. I’m not a political scientist or historian, I don’t know enough facts or statistics to speak about them with any kind of authority. In my experience as a citizen of earth it seems that there is always the element of humanity that is extreme in its identity and willing to fight, kill and destroy for that identity. Belief is such a powerful thing. When we truly believe that we ARE something, there are usually things we truly believe we ARE NOT. Surely most of our beliefs have their roots in good intentions, often those intentions are forgotten amidst the struggle to prove we are right.

It’s easy for most of us (myself included) to say this about other beings; politicians, fundamentalists, dictators, family members… But usually it’s not so easy to say these things to ourselves, to reflect on our tendencies to extremism, irrational belief, and attachment to our ideas of who we are. It’s not easy to actually observe the smallest acts of violence that we may commit on a daily basis, in effort “to prove a point”.

One of the (many) gifts of yoga as a practice is that it teaches us to find balance between extremes. As we work the balance of our bodies; leaning a little this way, a little that way; adjusting this, relaxing that; exhaling, inhaling… We learn also to work the balance of our mind. As our practice evolves we have to consistently let go of what we thought it was, and in that process re-examine who we are in relation to it.

Ultimately, hopefully, we learn to do this with other beings and the world in general by developing the capacity to examine and observe our tendencies to identify either in relation or in opposition to “the other”. Developing this capacity to observe, we will eventually develop the capacity to discern, and choose our actions accordingly without acting in blind faith as a slave to our ideas of “who we are”.

Richard Freeman says, “When two things meet it’s right there at their conjunction that yoga occurs; when day meets night, when inhale meets exhale. In that initial communication, in that process, each system has to get off of its identifications, off if its baggage, off of its techniques… All those temporary things, those limited things it has identified its essence with. It has to drop back to its true nature in order to experience the other. Through connection or through yoga (union) with the other, we find ourselves.”

As we commemorate an event that was born from and bred further extremism and violent identification, lets find our own revolutionary act in observing and changing these tendencies in ourselves. From one to all, all is one.

Here are a few more thoughts worth pondering in the quiet of your soul today.

Lord make me an instrument of Your peace. Where there is hatred let me sow love. Where there is injury, pardon; Where there is doubt, faith; Where there is despair, hope; Where there is darkness, light; And where there is sadness; joy.” – St. Francis of Assisi

Be not overcome by evil but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:21

The seed of God is in us. If the seed had a good, wise and industrious cultivator, it would grow up to God whose seed it is, and the fruit would be equal to the nature of God. Now the seed of a pear tree grows into a pear tree, a hazel seed into a hazel tree, and the seed of God into God.” – Meister Eckhart

Conquer the angry man by love. Conquer the ill-natured man by goodness. Conquer the miser with generosity. Conquer the liar with truth.” – The Dhammapada

Hear O Israel: the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE; you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength and you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” – Mark 12:29

Your task is not to seek for love, but merely be it. I died as a mineral and became a plant; I died as a plant and rose to animal; I died as animal and was a man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Yet once more I shall die as man and soar with angels blest. But even if an angel I must pass on: all except God perish. When I have sacrificed my angel soul, I shall become what no mind has concieved.” – Rumi

When one looks past our human skin we find the essence of God that dwells within.” – Anonymous

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