Lately, I've been feeling like my daily practice and prayer has not been working for me. I suppose that I'm feeling like I have too much to do.
Shocker. That is true. Most of us have too much to do. And right now, I am experiencing the reality of what Taylor Gould describes as:
"Part time ministry is a full time lie."
Yaas! And I have two full time lies. And I'm working on my PhD. Blarg.
Therefore, it is time to simplify my meditations. So I have decided to focus on sharing philosophies, readings, and writings from the things I'm reading for my PhD program. Partly because it is pretty interesting to me and partly because there is a core truth that I believe in.
The only person you can change is yourself.
The program I am in is a Leadership PhD program. One of the philosophies of the professor teaching my current class is that leaders lead themselves.
The program I am involved in to change the justice system, Peacemaking Circles (from the Tagish Tlingit First Nation Peoples), has as a core belief, the only person you can change is yourself.
This is the opposite of everything we do. We spend most of our lives trying to change other people and other systems. It seems so wrong to release our energy that we hold that focuses on changing others. After all, I just said, I am working to change the justice system! But we are not doing the change by asking the justice system to change, we are doing this by first changing ourselves.
The truth is, when you change yourself and heal yourself, the people around you have no choice but to change.
This can go in two directions. Either others will see the invitation to enter into their own healing or others will flip out and move towards violence.
I think we are seeing the truth of this today. Big systems are either moving towards healing and transformation or they are lashing out in violence. Violence towards people or the earth.
The stance to hold in opposition to violence, for me, is peacemaking and nonviolence. These are not passive activities. Often times, peacemaking and nonviolence will cause you to put your body on the line.
"Nonviolence is the personal practice of being harmless to self and others under every condition. It comes from the belief that hurting people, animals or the environment is unnecessary to achieve an outcome and refers to a general philosophy of abstention from violence." (wikipedia)
It is something I'm continually working at. Right now, I'm focusing on getting violence out of my food chain. This is a process of changing myself and becoming strong enough to not eat food that comes from a chain of violence. This will lead to changes within my family because I know that they do not want to NOT feed me!
By changing myself and what I eat, it influences those close to me and leads to change within the family unit. This leads to changes within our buying system which may lead to changes within the food chain.
I would like to add, this is a privileged position to take. Violence free food is expensive.
There is a lot more to say about what nonviolence is and is not. Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most brilliant executors of direct nonviolent action we have ever witnessed in the United States. And we know that as they became more nonviolent and strong, the system erupted in violence. Eventually, the system did change, but it was hard. And individual hearts had to change in order to get there. Whether it was a change out of belief or a change out of political expediency, there was change.
So, today, I suppose I will just will myself towards more peacemaking and more nonviolence. That is the personal change that I will make.
What will you change today?
The complete practice today includes:
- centering with BIBO,
- breath prayer,
- music from k.d. lang
- a reflective quote from Albert Einstein
- links to scripture in the Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim traditions
- prayers for the world, and
- photo by Dana Vollenweider on Unsplash
Let my heart rise up to meet mercy, my voice to meet compassion, my hands to meet action.
BIBOLOVE: Breath In, Breath Out--hum (repeat for one minute)
Breath prayer (repeat 3-5 times):
(inhale) Winds of change,
(exhale) Transform me.
Buddhist Daily Reading: Daily Zen
Jewish Daily Reading: Daily Study from Chabad
Christian Daily Reading: Revised Common Lectionary Daily Reading
Muslim Daily Reading: Daily Verse from The Only Quran
Please bring your own sacred readings to the daily pattern. If there is something else you'd like to see, please share!
The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking. -Albert Einstein
Weekly prayer focus comes from the World Council of Churches prayer cycle. We know the world needs to be surrounded with prayer and positive thought. This allows us to work through the world country by country. We focus on one set of countries per week with the same prayer, lifting them up. I encourage you to fill this in however you see it.
Let us pray.
We know that we fail to live up to being makers of peace. Let us bring in rather than push out, be invitational rather than confrontational--seeing signs of life while mourning for the desecration of hope.
This week we pray for the countries of Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela.
For signs of hope and peace, we pray for
the mercy workers caring for the many affected by violence
those faithful who practice nonviolence
the rains that come to refresh the land
the water protectors standing strong for the earth
For the oppressed and weary, we pray for
those seeking food and shelter, especially the Rohingya
those affected by hurricanes, especially Puerto Rico
those who have been harmed by violence, especially those in Las Vegas
those who suffer in systems of domination, especially the earth
For those we love, those we hate and those we are indifferent to, we pray.
For the transformation from ME to WE, we pray.
Let peace prevail on earth.
So mote it be.
Translation by Neil Douglas Klotz, Sufi
O Birther! Creator of the Cosmos,
Focus your light within us— make it useful:
Create your reign of unity now-
Your one desire then acts with ours,
as in all light, so in all forms.
Grant what we need each day in bread and insight.
Loose the cords of mistakes binding us,
as we release the strands we hold of others’ guilt.
Don’t let surface things delude us,
But free us from what holds us back.
From you is born all ruling will,
the power and the life to do,
the song that beautifies all,
from age to age it renews.
Truly— power to these statements—
may they be the ground from which all
my actions grow: Amen.