Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will also be in our troubled world.
– Etty Hillesum
I am not a Christian or (for that matter) a Catholic but I read this prayer from St Francis this morning and I liked it so I am sharing it.
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, hope;
Where there is darkness, light;
Where there is sadness, joy.
– St. Francis of Assisi.
I feel like this is especially relevant today with all of the hate that seems to be pervasive lately. I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the practice of cultivating kindness. I feel like the world needs more kindness right now.
A few days ago someone shared an article at The Onion about a Buddhist extremist cell threatening to unleash peace and tranquility on the West. Being both Buddhist and a fan of satire, I thought it was hilarious.
Then I thought, “you know, this isn’t a bad idea.”
I am weary of all the hate and violence in the world, especially at the moment. I am tired of us hating each other and killing each other.
You can’t fight hate with more hate.
So I am going to unleash a torrent of love on the world.
The month of December will be a meditation on love.
I am going to start here, with this thought:
In Zen Buddhism, when we come together as a group and meditate we “give away” our merit at the end by dedicating our meditation to those that we know (or don’t know) who are sick and those who have passed on. This idea of giving away merit is an interesting idea. I have been doing this not really knowing what it means until very recently. I always thought it was a beautiful part of our meditation session, but now that I know what we are doing I really like it all the more.
Meditation is one way of earning merit in Buddhism. I guess you can look it as earning good karma points, or something sort of along those lines. when we earn this merit we don’t hold onto it. We give it away. The idea is that it is unleashed into the world and relieves it of suffering.
I like this idea of giving away these things once you have them. This is love, don’t you think? When you have it unleash it out into the world. Don’t hold onto it.
“Only love can conquer hate.”
Here is an up-close picture of the peace sign carved into the sandstone.