Tag Archives: Peace

In the middle of nowhere

For many years I was longing to be at a place in the middle of nowhere. In my head it was a calm place, with me in some sort of a wooden cabin, surrounded by nature, with not many distractions so that I could really feel and hear and sense myself. At peace with myself.

For a few weeks I actually was more in the middle of nowhere than I ever was.

At my last voluntary place. There were not many people and -without a car- there was not really somewhere to go. After a few days I realised that I actually didn’t like it as much as I imagined. I already read a few books in those days. Because of the rain and the winterdark evenings there I didn’t feel much like exploring in the evenings and my days off.

I actually didn’t feel as awake and alert as I imagined myself in a situation like this.

Life enrolled as it did, and after a month there, I came back to Dzogchen Beara. Compared to my former city life in The Netherlands it is pretty much in the middle of nowhere. With the Atlantic ocean on one side it feels like you are at the end of the world. Such a spacious feeling!  Buf there are also staffmembers, employers, volunteers, guests and bypassers around. And lifts and easy-to-hitchhike routes to things like a supermarket, cafés, a nearby beach and lovely teahouses. More my kind of middle of nowhere, I discovered.

And while I was reading the book ‘Living Beautifully with Uncertainty and Change’ from Pema Chödrön I read this sentence about meditating and (not) hanging on to your emotions:

The place of not rejecting or justifying is right in the middle of nowhere. It is here that you can finally embrace what you’re feeling.”

I felt touched by it.

Maybe the middle of nowhere that I was looking for all these years is not to be found in a specific place. Maybe it is to be found in myself. In the purest form of who I am. That’s where I can find more peace of mind.

And I do think that the place where I am now, with this view, the people, the meditations and the retreats will help me to find my more peaceful middle of nowhere.

 

The power of Loving Kindness

I believe that thoughts are some kind of energy. Negative thoughts will bring more negative in the world. Positive thoughts bring more positive in the world. To simple? Maybe to some people, but it is a fact that you can only have one thought at a time (although it may seem like more if you have a busy mind, I know how that can feel..). And as a human being you’re almost always having thoughts anyway, so why not choose to have more loving ones once in a while?

For the last weeks I had the opportunity to be more online and I followed the news and Twitter more than the months before. A bit was inspirational and for the rest I felt sometimes powerless and overwhelmed about a lot of things that are happening around the world. And with people. Big things. Small things. Just lots of things. Until i suddenly remembered the Loving Kindness meditation. Yes, that’s what I always can do! Send more positive thoughts into the world. I have a reaction anyway, and at least I feel better myself when I make it a more positive one.

During my stay as a volunteer at Dzogchen Beara -Buddhist retreat center in Ireland- I got to know the power of Loving Kindness meditation. I had to get used to it, and after a whole weekend retreat about it, realised how loving and powerful it is. For myself and others. What it is?

It is a timeless spiritual truth that we all have an immeasurable treasury of love within us. 2,500 years ago the Buddha taught his disciples the meditations on Loving Kindness as a way to reconnect with that inner wealth. In modern times these meditations still provide gentle yet powerful tools for opening our hearts and minds. (source: Dzogchen Beara site).

To simplify it: the basic form is to sit quiet, connect with the universel love -or a holy person that you feel connected with- and repeat phrases like: ‘May I be well, may I be happy’ to yourself in your head. You can later expand it by saying ‘May you be well, may you be happy’ to other persons. (I’m not an instructor, so if you really want to know more about it, go follow a good course, or read a good book about it, like this one from Sharon Salzberg).

So instead of looking at the news and feel annoyed or flabbergasted by someone or something, I send Loving Kindness to that person. ‘May you be well, may you be happy’. And if I feel that a whole group of people are acting in a way that I don’t think of as loving to others (or themselves), i’ll say something in my head like: ‘May you all be well, may you all be in harmony with each other’. In this form I don’t sit down to meditate for a while first, I just focus on those sentences.

If anything, I feel better myself if I choose to do this, instead of being grumpy or angry or fed up with others. And if I feel better, than I am developing me inner peace and bit by bit that also leads to a more peaceful world. And the most powerful thing for me is: there is always a choice. You can always choose how to react on things and people. Isn’t that a wonderful and strong idea in a world were we get so much information all the time!

“Every good thing you do, every good thing you say, every good thought you think, vibrates on and on and never ceases.” Peace Pilgrim

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Overcome hatred with love

“This is the way of peace- overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love” – Peace Pilgrim

Did you ever notice how news is delivered? It mostly negative, zooming in on what’s going wrong and what’s not working somewhere in the world. Lots of people think that this is a good representation of how the world is. I am not so sure about that.

I do believe that the world is how you look at it. So if you think the world is mostly a bad place, you’ll find loads of examples that match your view. And if you think that the world is mostly a nice place with good people in it, you’ll find proove of that everywhere.

A few weeks ago the book of the Peace Pilgrim came into my life, while browsing books at a secondhand market. And I love every word of it! She decided to walk for peace -and ended up doing that for almost three decades, walking more than 25.000 miles. Her motto was: “I will walk until given shelter and fast until given food, remaining a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace.”

I am so moved by her words and actions, that I will share a few of my favorite parts of the book. This is one tiny small act of bringing more love in this world. And I do believe that all tiny and big acts of all people together go a long way. So why not go a peaceful way?

“When enough of us find inner peace, our institutions will become more peaceful and there will be no more occasion for war.”

“If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a defeatist or negative thought.”

“The situation in the world around us is just a reflection of the collective situation. Only as we become more peaceful people will we be finding ourselves living in a more peaceful world.”

“I am not concerned with racial or ethnic background or the color of one’s skin; all people look to me like shining lights!  We people of the world need to find ways to get to know one another – for then we will recognize that our likenesses are so much greater than our differences, however great our difference may seem.”

 “The medicine this sick world needs is love. Hatred must be replaced by love, and fear by faith that love will prevail.”

“Every good thing you do, every good thing you say, every good thought you think, vibrates on and on and never ceases.”

Want to read more? You can download her book -for free- on the site about her.