A Mini-Volume on Peace

A small collection of peaceful thoughts, some previously shared here, some new.

In peace, kindness, and remembrance. May they bring you comfort.

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A gunman carrying a handgun and an assault-style weapon opened fire at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., early Sunday (June 12, 2016), killing at least 50 people and wounding at least 53 others.

It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.

Read more at NPR.

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peace
Martin Richard, 8-years-old, was killed in the Boston Marathon Bombing, April 15, 2013.

 

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“The Good News” by Thich Nhat Hanh

They don’t publish
the good news.
The good news is published
by us.
We have a special edition every moment,
and we need you to read it.
The good news is that you are alive,
and the linden tree is still there,
standing firm in the harsh Winter.
The good news is that you have wonderful eyes
to touch the blue sky.
The good news is that your child is there before you,
and your arms are available:
hugging is possible.
They only print what is wrong.
Look at each of our special editions.
We always offer the things that are not wrong.
We want you to benefit from them
and help protect them.
The dandelion is there by the sidewalk,
smiling its wondrous smile,
singing the song of eternity.
Listen! You have ears that can hear it.
Bow your head.
Listen to it.
Leave behind the world of sorrow
and preoccupation
and get free.
The latest good news
is that you can do it.

Thich Nhat Hanh

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“Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye

Before you know what kindness really is
you must lose things,
feel the future dissolve in a moment
like salt in a weakened broth.
What you held in your hand,
what you counted and carefully saved,
all this must go so you know
how desolate the landscape can be
between the regions of kindness.
How you ride and ride
thinking the bus will never stop,
the passengers eating maize and chicken
will stare out the window forever.
Before you learn the tender gravity of kindness,
you must travel where the Indian in a white poncho
lies dead by the side of the road.
You must see how this could be you,
how he too was someone
who journeyed through the night with plans
and the simple breath that kept him alive.

Before you know kindness as the deepest thing inside,
you must know sorrow as the other deepest thing.
You must wake up with sorrow.
You must speak to it till your voice
catches the thread of all sorrows
and you see the size of the cloth.

Then it is only kindness that makes sense anymore,
only kindness that ties your shoes
and sends you out into the day to mail letters and
purchase bread,
only kindness that raises its head
from the crowd of the world to say
it is I you have been looking for,
and then goes with you every where
like a shadow or a friend.

– Naomi Shihab Nye, “Kindness,” from Words Under the Words: Selected Poems.

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“The Peace of Wild Things” by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry, “The Peace of Wild Things” from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry. Copyright © 1998.

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“A Vote For the Gentle Light” by Charles Bukowski

a vote for the gentle light
burned senseless by other people’s constant
depression,
I pull the curtains apart,
aching for the gentle light.
it’s there, it’s there
somewhere,
I’m sure.

oh, the faces of depression, expressions
pulled down into the gluey dark.
the bitter small sour mouths,
the self-pity, the self-justification is
too much, all too much.
the faces in shadow,
deep creases of gloom.

there’s no courage there, just the desire to
possess something––admiration, fame, lovers,
money, any damn thing
so long as it comes easy.
so long as they don’t have to do
what’s necessary.
and when they don’t succeed they
become embittered,
ugly,
they imagine that they have
been slighted, cheated,
demeaned.

then they concentrate upon their
unhappiness, their last
refuge.
and they’re good at that,
they are very good at that.
they have so much unhappiness
they insist upon your sharing it
too.

they bathe and splash in their
unhappiness,
they splash it upon you.

it’s all they have.
it’s all they want.
it’s all they can be.

you must refuse to join them.
you must remain yourself.
you must open the curtains
or the blinds
or the windows
to the gentle light.
to joy.
it’s there in life
and even in death
it can be
there.

“A Vote For the Gentle Light” by Charles Bukowski from What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire (Available on Amazon HERE) published by Black Sparrow Press.

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“Amazing Peace” by Maya Angelou

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft.   Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound.
We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, and comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We, Angels and Mortals, Believers and
Nonbelievers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace.  We look at each other, then into
ourselves,
And we say without shyness or apology or
hesitation:

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.

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“There is a saying in Tibetan, ‘Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength.’

No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful experience is, if we lose our hope, that’s our real disaster…

When we meet real tragedy in life, we can react in two ways–either by losing hope and falling into self-destructive habits, or by using the challenge to find our inner strength.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

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“Every day, think as you wake up, today I am fortunate to be alive, I have a precious human life, I am not going to waste it. I am going to use all my energies to develop myself, to expand my heart out to others; to achieve enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. I am going to have kind thoughts towards others, I am not going to get angry or think badly about others. I am going to benefit others as much as I can.” ~ Dalai Lama XIV

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NEVER GIVE UP
No matter what is going on
Never give up
Develop the heart
Too much energy in your country
Is spent developing the mind
Instead of the heart
Be compassionate
Not just to your friends
But to everyone
Be compassionate
Work for peace
In your heart and in the world
Work for peace
And I say again
Never give up
No matter what is going on around you
Never give up
~ Dalai Lama XIV

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“Being Peace” by Thich Nhat Hanh

You may read Being Peace on-line in pdf format here.

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Dove of Peace, 1949 by Pablo Picasso
Dove of Peace, 1949 by Pablo Picasso

 

7 thoughts on “A Mini-Volume on Peace

    1. Naomi “said” it so well:

      You must see how this could be you, how he too was someone who journeyed through the night with plans and the simple breath that kept him alive.

      Sent from my iPhone

      >

      Like

  1. mishedup

    yes….naomi says it perfectly, that poem is a touchstone.
    thanks for this.
    there’s a unitarian universalist church around the corner from me and i went, just to be somewhere. i believe in community and how that can bring peace and change….and it was, helpful? IDK what is truly helpful in these situations, horrible.
    xo

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Christy Anna Beguins

      It’s terribly sad. I have been trying very hard to stay in the light. So easy to get pulled into despair. But despair helps no one. I think the best way we can help right now is to just try to be a light, a candle, in a sad and dark world. It’s hard sometimes though. Very hard.
      xo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s hard to believe in a world that takes from us this savagely.

    Life IS a jump. Every single life. A jump. Into the wherever of what comes next for us, on the other side of that jump. It’s scary as fuck to think about this world, in this new normal way we have been given.

    I want the day before yesterday back. Again.

    Words help.These words.

    I’m taking some Marley with my coffee again tomorrow morning.

    Love and peace C

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I thought about you yesterday, I know how these world tragedies impact your gentle and kind heart. Everything feels out of control and helpless…thank you for putting some peace in our corner of the world.
    I printed Berry’s poem when you first shared it. His words, and yours, give me hope.
    Thanks for sharing this today. Xo

    Liked by 1 person

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