Throughout the holiday season, the phrase ”peace on earth” is an oft-repeated trope. We can choose to respond to it with an unconscious, “yeah, right;” alternatively, we can allow the phrase to serve as a bell of mindfulness. When you hear those words, imagine that someone has invited the Sangha mindfulness bell to sound; take a moment and return to your breath. “Listen, listen: that beautiful sound brings me back to my true home.” Then we can practice in the manner of the Order of Interbeing thus:
I’ve arrived and I am home,
In the here, in the now.
I am solid, I am free;
In the Ultimate I dwell.
This is a deep and healing practice, very enjoyable and a sure way to regain your balance in the midst of the rush. Peace lies deep inside every one of us and all around us, no matter who or where we are. To realize peace on earth, a critical mass of Bodhisattvas must practice touching and watering the seeds of peace and joy within them, for the benefit of all sentient beings.
The heart of reality is non-duality, nondiscrimination. When I realize that the suffering of my neighbors are my own sufferings; that my family’s joy is my own joy, the walls between conscious beings begin to crumble. In that glorious, pregnant pause in the endless parade of cravings and aversion, real peace can be made. It’s the only way to create peace– to take advantage of the rare lucidity that accompanies true insight and introspection. After sitting with that reality for ten, twenty, or thirty minutes, you are more than qualified to step outside and put your peacemaking skills to use on behalf of all other conscious beings without discrimination.
Peace on earth indeed, a joyous Solstice, and happy holidays to all!
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