Almost done! And it’s pray for peace time.

Cottage Garden Bouquet, Laurie Rohner

The art is here with Laurie’s permission.  You can check this one out here and wander through the gallery here.

I spent a lot of the day working on the cover for the e-book I’m about to put out.relating heart cover creator cover_edited

That’s my top pick of the ones I’ve done so far.  What do you think?

I also did some editing.  It’s close!  So glad to be finally moving.

Lately things are picking up for Collective Prayer Sundays on Twitter and FB.  I love to feel it growing.  This is your chance to pick the prayer or chant or meditation or ceremony or vision for peace that feels best to you and join others in practicing for a minimum of 10 minutes every Sunday.  The next challenge will be posted this next week.  Please add your energy to the movement toward world peace.  As always comment here or on the Facebook page if you want to start a conversation about your experience.  Or write a post and link to this post and tag it CollPraySun.

I’m looking into how to create a “hangout” on Google where some of us can chant together — if anyone knows more than I do or can point me to a good “how-to” on line, I’d appreciate the help!  In the meantime there’s a recording on the CPS page that lets you chant “with” me any time you want.

Have a peaceful Sunday!  Namaste, Leigh

World View: Full, Empty, Better, Worse…

Alan Liefting on Wikimedia

I’ve been thinking a lot recently about the world and the different ways people view and deal with its problems.  A recent blog post (and I’m terribly sorry — can’t remember whose post) contemplated the glass half full/half empty syndrome.  It led me to think about how positive thinking is often equated with the half full outlook and pessimism or negativity with the half empty.  She pointed out that actually such a glass is half full of water and half full of air so the glass is completely full.  So a third way of looking at it.

That got me pondering a difference I keep encountering among me and my spiritual journey friends.  I know lots of people who believe in keeping up with the news and who get hot under the collar over many issues and also talk a lot about the terrible problems of the world and how we have to do this that and the other thing to “fix” it/them.  I spent many years as an activist so I not only get that point of view but my knee jerk reaction often leans that way.

I’ve written in other posts (here and here) about my changing beliefs; that I now question the answers we’re always dreaming up to solve other people’s problems and that I am less enthusiastic about working for change.  I want to be really clear that this is my answer for myself to these questions.  Lots of people open their hearts and work hard for what they believe is right and I am not dissing that or saying they’re wrong and I’m right.  I believe in a world where there isn’t one right but one where many paths and choices can all be right at the same time.

I really believe that thoughts create reality or, in more current lingo, that we attract things to our lives and into the world by the nature of our thoughts and the feelings behind them.  So for me, if I read the news and think constantly that the environment is being destroyed, cruel people are constantly mistreating others, wars are endless, etc., then I feel like I’m drawing more of those things into the world.

And the thing is I see a different world.  I began noticing when I started taking Yoga Journal not long after I began yoga in 1986 that a sub-group exists that could be seen in the ads and articles quite readily.  A world of businesses and services that reflect a different way of doing business and that provide products desired by people who want to be healthier and live greener and find peace, etc.  And over the 27 years since then I’ve watched that sub-world grow and grow.

Now I see it every day in blog posts from around the world that seek peace, enlightenment, a different way.  In painters and sculptors, composers and musicians, dancers and poets whose art reflects a world of spirit and journey and divine peace.  I see more and more meditation centers and yoga studios.  I see a world in which millions of people are seeking peace, finding brilliant answers for environmental questions and social issues, doing heroic things to help others.

When people tell me I need to face the “real” stuff that’s in the newspapers, I think, “aren’t we real?  The significant portion of the world that’s living this new paradigm is here and living and breathing and real.  If we’re not in the news what does that say about the ‘reality’ of the news?”

I think that every person who clears away anger, fear, hatred, etc. from his or her own life and raises his/her vibration contributes greatly to the world and to peace.  So while working for social change or volunteering, etc. is one way to contribute, I don’t believe it’s the only way.  And for me, right now, until I see more clearly a way to know for sure that the answers I might push on other people are right in the divine sense, I prefer to see the side of the world that’s already transforming and to celebrate its reality.

Collective Prayer Sundays page is up

cloud for bluegrass blogContinuing with my Collective Prayer Sundays idea, I’ve created a page for it.  I’ve also created an e-mail address just for this:  collpraysun at gmail dot com

There’s also a tag, CollPraySun, to use if you want to blog about the experience of participating in prayers for peace so everyone can read it.  Please also tag with B4Peace (Kozo’s Bloggers for Peace) as posts about praying for peace will fit right in with Bloggers for Peace!

Journeying Back to Oneness–Where Peace Lives?

On Waking Spirals, Gary Rosenberg’s posts recently have been exploring questions about how to balance spirituality and compassionate action, positive thinking and knowing what’s wrong so that you can help. This is territory to which I return often in my journey. I keep coming back to the same answers for myself – I don’t claim to have the answers for anyone else.  I’ve appreciated that his posts are causing me to think it through again.

I was a hippie a long time ago—well really I still am in many ways—and became politicized and radicalized by the Viet Nam War. Over the next couple of decades I marched for solar power and against apartheid, spent my short-lived legal career as an anti-nuke lawyer, volunteered at environmental organizations; well, you get the picture. Activism and me, bff’s.

Before I even started exploring spirituality I started observing that often my activist friends seemed to be very good at working on behalf of the faceless masses but weren’t all that nice to the people in front of them. And then, as I listened to conversations in which they mapped out the best solutions for people in far away places I marveled that they felt they knew what these people needed without ever asking them. They seemed startled that I even questioned it and the attitude seemed to be “of course we know the right thing to do.”

Soon I was meditating and searching and I drifted away from the activist scene. But wars and violence and injustice kept on happening and I began to struggle with how to fit my new spiritual viewpoint with the liberal/left, let’s get in there and fix it attitude that automatically arose. For quite a while I convinced myself that the righteous sense of righting wrongs went hand in hand with being spiritual—of course you’d fight for the downtrodden, etc.

But as I wound my way into Buddhism and vipassana I became more uneasy about how that balance could work. In the lead-up to the Iraq War several things came together to really change my view. One was the degree of vitriol in the many e-mails I received from various groups to which I belonged that purportedly aspired to peace. Words of battle, fury at anyone who disagreed, they felt like they breathed hatred and bitterness into my being as I read them. I questioned how all that anger could help. I questioned how I could imagine that I know from my human vantage point exactly what is right and what is wrong. And, even assuming that I know how God would define what’s right, how can I presume to define solutions for others?

My intuition started nudging me to the lovingkindness chant*. I’ve written a longer post about this elsewhere but to make it short, several weeks of chanting for President Bush and Sadam Hussein, et al., shifted me into a different space. I could feel their hearts and sense our connection. Suddenly the idea of the web of all life meant much more to me.

Around the same time, I read David Hawkins’ Power vs. Force. His theories about the scale of energy that exists among humans and the power of those who have achieved high levels of energy being able to balance thousands or tens of thousands of others (depending on the level of energy) helped me to see the web, or oneness, in the light of what space each of us holds within it.

If you clear yourself of anger and bitterness and raise your vibrational level to 500 or more** you can hold a space of peace strong enough to be a counterbalance to as many as a million people (again depending on how high the level). So enough people who even get to 540 (his level of “joy”) could tip the balance of the whole world to a higher energy. And if there are too many people living in anger and recrimination and battles and struggles relative to those who counterbalance, then the world descends into more chaos and hatred.

I believe that everything is energy and that in spite of all our evidence that we exist as separate beings, the reality of us is that we are all one. We are all part of the same web of energy that is all life. Because of that I believe that the most important work anyone can do to create peace and justice is to do everything possible to raise their own vibration, to learn to be peace. So for me, that’s the journey. Find my way back to seeing that any thought that separates the world into a “me” and a “them” is an illusion because we are ONE.  I like action like Buddhist’s who sit and meditate in the midst of protest.  But I haven’t really figured out if there’s more that works for me.  I’m not peace yet, so I figure that’s my work for now.

*The version I use: “may I be filled with lovingkindness, may I be well, may I be peaceful and at ease, may I be happy”.  I often make it an affirmation “I am filled…”

** I accept that his theory is true, I’m more skeptical as to whether his precise scale will someday be proven correct. But I do believe there is a scale of energy.

This post is for Jenny Matlock’s AlphabeThursday, which is “J” and for ABC Wednesday, which is “B”.  Tenuously connected, I know.  But they are in the title…