Sunday, August 28, 2011

Holding Peace in Our Hands

I never go to a retreat with Thich Nhat Hanh without buying a lot of books (mostly his). This year I found in one of those books a poem that he wrote during the war in Vietnam after the U.S. Air Force bombed an entire town 'to save it from Communism.'


I hold my face in my two hands.
No, I am not crying.
I hold my face in my two hands
to keep my loneliness warm --
two hands protecting,
two hands nourishing,
two hands preventing
my soul from leaving me
in anger.


When I sent it to a friend, she responded: “This is sort of how I feel every day in our violent, isolationist, emotionally armored culture.”

She is right, there are many reasons to feel anger, fear, despair. Still, if we can but be still; breathe into calmness; hold our faces in our two hands, it may very well be possible to restore peace and compassion at least within our own spheres of influence. And, possibly, let that peace gently ripple out to the very edges of the cosmos.

May it be so.

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