Tag Archives: peace

Cultivating Gratitude

 

"Gratitude is an inner connection with us, God and the entire universe."-Amma, Mata Amritanandamayi

This summer, I attended some retreats with my spiritual teacher, Amma, or Mata Amritanandamayi. One of the topics she talked about was about cultivating gratitude. She said that “Gratitude is a decision just like happiness. . . Gratitude is an inner connection between God, the entire creation and us.”  She reminded us that everything we are receiving is due to the work of countless people living now and in the past, Mother Nature, and unseen forces. We are indebted to the world. Nature is our mother.

Other notes I wrote down:

Life is a blessing. Gratitude is a prayer that opens and enlarges our hearts to receive more. Appreciate life with each breath we take. Accept all situations with discernment. It is man’s nature to notice what we don’t have, instead of seeing all the good around us. Replace “mine” with “O God, everything is yours.” Help others without expecting anything in return. Remember that the next breath may not be ours. Remember God constantly. Our real success in life lies in unity.

Some time ago, I used the header image to make a greeting card. The positioning of the clouds, opening up in freedom, reminded me of Thich Nhat Hanh’s teachings about embracing our feelings. So I wrote these words:

inner skies widen
as each breath is observed
as each feeling is embraced
with arms of compassion

 




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Walking for Our Ancestors and Future Generations

 

Walking For Our Ancestors and Future Generations

“All our ancestors and all future generations are present in us all the time. Happiness is not an individual matter. As long as the ancestors in us are still suffering, we can’t be happy and we will transmit that suffering to our children and their children. When we walk, we can walk for our ancestors and future generations. Maybe they had to walk with sorrow; perhaps they were forced to march or migrate. When we walk freely, we are walking for them. If we can take one step freely and happily, touching the Earth mindfully, then we can take one hundred steps like that. We do it for ourselves and for all previous and future generations. We all arrive at the same time and find peace and happiness together.”—Thich Nhat Hanh




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Evening Prayer

 

Evening Prayer

Some friends came over tonight to sing/chant.

One of the first chants we did was something I heard at the Mercy Center in Burlingame, California:

“O Word of God, come into this space.
O Word of God, come send us your grace.
Open our minds, show us your truth.
Transform our lives anew.”

May all who are suffering be comforted.
May all be healed.
May all be happy and at peace.
Deep peace.




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Power of Prayer

 

power of prayer

Many years ago, when we first found out my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I was suffering from much worry and anxiety while sitting in his doctor’s office. Suddenly, I felt a deep peace descend upon me, calming my anxiety, enabling me to breathe. I took a look at my watch. Later, I found out a friend was saying some prayers for us the same moments I felt the peace in the doctor’s office. Proof to me, the palpable power of prayer, that peace beyond understanding… If we are enjoying peace, happiness, we can offer the fruits of our prayers to others. If someone is having difficulty breathing, we can think of them as we breathe peacefully. As we are all linked, this will help on some level.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”—Philippians 4:7

“Life is filled with suffering, but it is also filled with many wonders, like the blue sky, the sunshine, the eyes of a baby. To suffer is not enough. We must also be in touch with the wonders of life. They are within us and all around us, everywhere, any time. If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we cannot share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace. Do we need to make a special effort to enjoy the beauty of the blue sky? Do we have to practice to be able to enjoy it? No, we just enjoy it. Each second, each minute of our lives can be like this. Wherever we are, any time, we have the capacity to enjoy the sunshine, the presence of each other, even the sensation of breathing . . . I would like to offer one short poem you can recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling.

Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh, “Being Peace”




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Essence

The Indwelling One is our prosperity. We can water the seeds of peace in ourselves and others so it may prosper and flourish.

 

“O people of the Light, awaken to the knowledge that lives within you! Do you know your destiny- to be a light unto the worlds, a bearer of peace and harmony?”—Psalm 107

 

We are made, the scriptures of all religions assure us, in the image of God. Nothing can change our original goodness. Whatever mistakes we have made in the past, whatever problems we may have in the present, in every one of us the uncreated spark in the soul remains untouched, ever pure, ever perfect. Even if we try with all our might to douse or hide it, it is always ready to set our personality ablaze with light.”—Eknath Easwaran, p. 260, “Words to Live By”, Nilgiri Press




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Washing, Blessing and Anointing

When I was in New Mexico one summer, I saw a shape in the rocks that reminded me of Jesus washing and blessing his disciple’s feet, an anointing of a sort. In his example, we are encouraged to serve others.

In a recent gospel reading (John 12:1-11), Mary anoints Jesus with costly perfume and nard. St. Scholastica Retreat Center (on Facebook) posted this:

“Look around you today to see what needs your anointing. You can anoint with a glance of love, a smile, a word, an embrace, a piece of affirmation, or, of course, with oil. Pour out your love today in some kind of anointing.”

 

“The world will change because of your smile…To sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them—these form the basis of peace work.”—Thich Nhat Hanh




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Nourishing Rain

 

Oh how we still need the rain here in California!

I was sitting outside with a few others during a meditation. At first I was cold, but after I got a blanket to throw over part of me, I began to enjoy the peace of being outdoors, the calm generated by everyone meditating, and yet the cold drops awakening my skin.

“Let the rain kiss you. Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops. Let the rain sing you a lullaby.”—Langston Hughes




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Watching

 

Can’t say I’m very good at the art of witnessing, but one time when my mind was especially turbulent, and my thoughts seemed to whirl by at 100 miles per minute, I suddenly found myself as if inside a golden bubble, and able to watch my thoughts go by without being attached to them, as if I were someone else. It was incredibly peaceful to watch these thoughts, as if my thoughts were a movie, not part of me. Seeing my thoughts, but not being yanked by them, not judging them. Wish I could make this happen when I want it to, but, unfortunately it was a one-time event, pure grace. But it got me thinking about practicing watching my thoughts…

 

“The mind and its thoughts come and go. They are unreal and impermanent. They are like the ephemeral clouds of the sky and the waves of the ocean. They cannot touch your consciousness. Beyond the surface, your consciousness remains pure and untouched. That Pure Consciousness, which is eternally aware of all that happens, is the Witness, the Sakshi, of everything.”

—Amma, “Awaken Children, Vol. 7”, p. 56

 

“Don’t chase after your thoughts as a shadow follows its object. Find joy and peace in this very moment.”

—Thich Nhat Hanh

 




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