An inspiring article written by Maeve Lankford. Thanks a lot Maeve for sharing with us your valuable ideas and insights to assist peace and loving kindness in these difficult occasions! 🙏 With love and gratitude, Vero & Peter
There may be a lot occurring on the planet in the intervening time that causes consternation and overwhelm and sometimes deep disappointment. We see a lot now on our screens, we are able to establish with folks caught in essentially the most horrific of circumstances and we are able to in a short time develop into overwhelmed or offended or bitter in regards to the state of the world and our seeming incapacity to impact constructive change.
We discovered so much throughout the current Covid pandemic in regards to the significance of preserving ourselves knowledgeable and about being knowledgeable by reliable sources. It helps us to really feel extra in command of our state of affairs and reduces overwhelm. That recommendation can also be sound recommendation throughout occasions of worldwide turmoil brought on by conflict.
To that finish, I’m sharing two sources of data that I personally discovered useful in current weeks. First is that this Ted interview with Yuval Noah Harari (historian and creator of ‘Sapiens’ and ‘Homo Deus’) in regards to the state of affairs within the Ukraine. It’s about an hour lengthy however for me at the very least it was value each minute.
And in the event you would favor some written content material, that’s a lot shorter to digest I provide these hyperlinks to articles by Andrew Cottey within the Irish Examiner and the Echolive respectively. Full disclosure: Andrew is my husband and has been finding out and writing about East Central Europe since I first met him as a grad pupil in Peace Research in Bradford within the Nineties. For these of you dwelling in Eire you’ll additionally usually hear him converse on this battle and associated matters on Irish radio.
You’ll be figuring out a theme right here already in at this time’s weblog – it’s as much as us, to every of us individually, to learn and to decide on and handle our responses. And that may be a tall order! So I wished to take a while with this weblog to share with you some concepts that may maintain us presently. All of the solutions right here assist us to reconnect with our greatest selves, to ask, what would love do right here and reply to no matter is occurring in our lives with love. It’s only then, I imagine, that we’ll actually be making a contribution and can actually be effecting constructive change.
So buckle up, it is a barely longer weblog than common that I belief will serve you as we as soon as once more see unprecedent occasions unfold in our time.
I’m drawing on sources from a number of religious and religion traditions on this weblog and I hope that it contributes to our perception that we’re all primarily the identical and are being guided on the identical path, it doesn’t matter what background we might have been raised in.
The primary perception I need to share is to assist us perceive that all of it begins with us, individually. To create peace in a time of conflict, it begins with creating peace in ourselves. A while in the past I participated on a course with the fantastic Peter Harper aka The Drunken Monk on Zen koans.
To provide the heads up first, the Huffington Submit explains koans as follows:
“Koans might seem to be paradoxes at first look. It’s as much as the Zen pupil to tease out their that means. Usually, after a protracted and exhausting mental wrestle, the coed realizes that the koan is definitely meant to be understood by the spirit and by instinct.”
The koan I share right here now could be The Empty Boat:
The Empty Boat
A monk determined to meditate alone, away from his monastery. He took his boat out to the center of the lake, moored it there, closed his eyes and commenced meditating. After a number of hours of undisturbed silence, he all of the sudden felt the bump of one other boat colliding along with his personal. Together with his eyes nonetheless closed, he felt his anger rising, and by the point he opened his eyes, he was able to scream on the boatman who had so carelessly disturbed his meditation.
However when he opened his eyes, he was stunned to search out that it was an empty boat that had struck his personal. It had in all probability develop into untethered and floated to the center of the lake.At that second, the monk had an amazing realization.
He understood that the anger was inside him; it merely wanted the bump of an exterior object to impress it out of him.
From then on, every time he got here throughout somebody who irritated him or provoked him to anger, he would remind himself, that the opposite particular person was merely an empty boat, the anger was inside him.
I really like this story as a result of it helps me to do not forget that what I’m pondering and feeling isn’t in response to what’s occurring round me. These ideas and emotions are in me already. And I’ve dominion over what’s in me, I get to decide on my ideas and emotions and my response. Even after I really feel anger or overwhelm or bitterness, I can nonetheless select to dial that down and to reply with kindness and love. I imagine that’s what we’re all the time being known as to do.
The Dalai Lama places it this fashion:
“That is my easy faith. There isn’t a want for temples; no want for sophisticated philosophy. Our personal mind, our personal coronary heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”
So what can we do to reply with kindness at a time of conflict? A technique is to make use of this Loving Kindness observe to assist our self-compassion first after which to carry love and compassion to all others. We will’t give what we don’t have, so it should begin with ourselves. We generate compassion for ourselves, for the darkness that’s inside in addition to the sunshine, compassion for getting overwhelmed, for feeling anger. We fill ourselves up with loving kindness after which we prolong that to others.
You should use the phrases right here or adapt them with phrases that really feel best for you. Both which method, you employ the identical wording to ship loving kindness to all.
First, you assume loving kindness in the direction of your self:
Might I be crammed with loving kindness, Might I be properly, Might I be peaceable and comfy, Might I be completely happy
Then, you prolong loving kindness in the direction of others. Finally, we need to prolong it to the folks we discover most tough to like, however we are able to construct up our religious muscle to be higher in a position to do this. Usually, the observe is to now assume towards one other, somebody you recognize and discover simple to be loving in the direction of and prolong loving kindness to them:
Might you be crammed with loving kindness, Might you be properly, Might you be peaceable and at simple, Might you be completely happy
Then, assume towards one other, a impartial particular person. Somebody you’ve seen within the information or examine, you don’t know them however you want them properly. Use the phrases above to increase loving kindness to them.
Then take into consideration somebody with whom you’ve had some problem. Now, repeat the meditation towards this particular person, in the identical method you stated it towards the one you like.
And eventually, carry to your thoughts somebody whom you discover very difficult to like and prolong loving kindness to them, utilizing the identical phrases once more:
Might you be crammed with loving kindness, Might you be properly, Might you be peaceable and comfy, Might you be completely happy
Generally it is rather difficult to increase loving kindness in the direction of that final particular person within the sequence specifically, though it might be difficult at any stage within the course of. To assist us with that, A Course in Miracles, says one thing very attention-grabbing:
“Each motion is both an expression of affection, or a name for love, no matter how unskillful it might appear.”
The invitation right here is to separate the being that we discover so difficult to like from the behaviour itself. Our observe is to be taught to see previous the one who is doing the behaviour into the essence of who they’re. This is similar observe each for ourselves and others.
Every one in every of us is an infinite religious being having a human expertise. And everyone seems to be doing the very best they will from their present stage of consciousness. Take into consideration the ability of getting dominion over how we’re perceiving others and having the ability to separate their beingness from their behaviours. If we’re in a position to see each act – no matter how unskillful it might seem – as some facet of affection, that very view generates compassion and permits us to reply with love.
I do know for a lot of at a time of conflict this will likely appear simply naive. In response, all I can do is provide these phrases from Theillard de Chardin:
“Sometime, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we will harness for God the energies of affection, after which, for a second time within the historical past of the world, man may have found fireplace.”
Lastly, I need to provide a device that is a little more lively. For a few of us, particularly once we are distressed or offended, we would like to have the ability to do one thing. So staying with the intention to reply with love, I need to share what I imagine is a good looking, loving Irish custom of lighting a candle for somebody.
Usually that is one thing that individuals would do in a church, to gentle a candle for somebody’s intentions, for restoration from sickness, for achievement in love or enterprise or in exams. And infrequently occasions we do it in our properties. My Mum, for instance, has a statue of Mary and lights candles there. All of us imagine within the energy of her prayer and sometimes ask her to ‘gentle a candle for me’ in occasions of problem.
Equally, I’ve an area in my workplace the place I set down my intentions and routinely gentle a candle for shoppers or associates and now, for folks within the Ukraine and Russia, sending love and lightweight to information their path.
Extra lately, I got here throughout the gorgeous Quaker observe of holding folks within the gentle. Whenever you maintain somebody in the gentle you image them in your thoughts and picture that they’re surrounded by a heat, glowing, therapeutic gentle. You may consider this because the gentle of God, or the gentle of affection, or the gentle of hope and good needs.
I invite you to see this observe as a method in which you’ll be of service to others presently. Let’s take a look at what that may appear like to place into motion.
Take the chance throughout your day to increase your consciousness and convey it to others in your circle of care and connection who’re struggling. What’s the struggling that’s occurring in my household, for different folks in my friendship circle and in my bigger group? What’s the struggling that’s occurring internationally, not simply within the Ukraine or Russia, however in all areas which can be conflict torn? Maintain these people or teams in the gentle as you image them in your thoughts and picture that they’re surrounded by a heat, glowing, therapeutic gentle.
As you increase your consciousness across the circle, bathing them in gentle, you’ll be able to increase your consciousness to what are their most essential wants? Quakers are sensible folks and, because it was defined to me, could be inclined to take care of wants after cautious consideration of tips on how to greatest do that and whether it is acceptable.
What wants for emotional assist do my household and associates and group have? What wants for assist do others in my consciousness want? What sensible assist can I provide?
The place may you are taking a while to offer emotional assist? It could be encouragement, it could be a telephone name the place you’re giving folks emotional assist to assist them get via the day proper now. If it’s the conflict specifically that you’re holding in your consciousness, maybe there are folks in your area people who’ve household and associates within the battle areas – may you provide emotional assist to them?
What about sensible assist or monetary assist? Within the context of the conflict within the Ukraine, can you place collectively provisions or donate financially to assist companies or charities which can be in a position to present the form of assist on the bottom that resonates with you as a option to make a distinction. You may additionally have folks in your native circle of care and connection. What would sensible assist appear like for them? Perhaps you might share a college run, prepare dinner a meal, donate to native causes?
And, right here’s the factor. You may not be capable of give all the pieces that the world wants, however you’re going to begin to really feel like you’re a presence on this world who’s making a distinction when you find yourself responding to the struggling of others with service, with care, and giving what you’ll be able to with love.
So let’s carry this one in to land: take a second proper now to make a listing of the service you could decide to for the following week. And if it might provide help to to really feel accountable, be at liberty to share your listing of companies with me or one other.
When there may be such enormous turmoil on the planet, we expect we are able to’t make a distinction, however you completely could make a distinction. And also you’re going to begin to really feel your personal grief or anger raise and your self increase as you do your personal inside work after which let your consideration increase to be with others, as a presence who’s assembly struggling with service, with empathy, with braveness, and with love.
I’ll end with Thich Nhat Hahn’s phrases. He says far more succinctly than I’ve right here what it takes to create transformation:
“To be a buddha—to get up—additionally means to get up to the struggling on the planet and discover methods to carry aid and transformation. This requires an amazing supply of vitality. Your sturdy aspiration—your thoughts of affection—is that immense supply of vitality that helps wake you as much as the nourishing and therapeutic beauties of nature and to the struggling of the world. It provides you a whole lot of vitality to assist. That is the profession of a buddha. And in case you have that supply of energy in you, in case you have the thoughts of affection, you’re a buddha in motion.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh, The Artwork of Residing
PS – I need to acknowledge that it may be a lot simpler to implement these sorts of practices when in group. I discussed Peter Harper above because the instructor who introduced me to Zen koans. Peter is doing an incredible job presently to supply a every day alternative for Peace & Grounding, roughly half-hour of guided meditation that will help you to launch nervousness, discover the grounding and to ship love and peace to the Ukraine with the intention to finish the conflict. You may take part dwell through Instagram: @the.drunken.monk or you’ll be able to watch all recordings on Peter’s Youtube channel: https://youtube.com/c/ThedrunkenmonkUk or his web site: https://the-drunkenmonk.com/
PPS – a colleague, Marcy Nelson-Garrisson shared some info at this time about Oleysa Hudyma an incredible artist in Ukraine. That is Oleysa’s work: Angel of Peace.
Oleysa and her kids have left their house and fled to the western a part of Ukraine. She needed to go away behind her house and her studio, years of work and all her supplies. She prays that she is going to be capable of return. When Marcy requested what would assist they got here up with the concept to make Oleysa’s portray obtainable as a downloadable print. Within the spirit of Worldwide Ladies’s Day, I’m sharing the hyperlink right here to buy a print of Oleysa’s Angel of Peace. All of the proceeds go to the artist.
One suggestion is that you might put your print in a window as a present of assist for Ukraine. I’m doing that with mine and I invite you to do the identical.
AUTHOR: Dr Maeve Lankford
With over 25 years expertise of working in folks growth and human potential, Maeve is a sought-after coach, speaker, facilitator and coach. Specialising in management and self-leadership, crew growth, resilience and wellbeing, she can also be an advocate for gender equality, significantly in Larger Schooling.
You may be part of her packages and join together with her right here: https://maevelankford.com/