Peace Offering: “… Give us the wisdom to teach our children to love, to respect, to be kind to each other so that they may grow with peace in mind. Let us learn to share all the good things that you provide for us on this Earth …” ~ Native American Prayer for Peace

“… Unity is the reality; separateness the illusion. The nearer we come to reality, the nearer we come to unity of heart. Sympathy, compassion, kindness are modes of this unity of heart, whereby we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. These things are learned by desiring to learn them …” ~ Yoga Sutra of Patanjali

“… From oneness We derive peace. From peace We derive oneness …” ~ Sri Chinmoy

peace offering thich nhat hanh black elk

In the quiet moments of the current daily life, peace – as a topic – seems to always be bubbling up from within … so, more often than not, it ends up “driving” the theme for the poetry post … and so it is today 🙂

Of course, another motivator is to balance out the most unfortunate rise of hatred and divisiveness … especially since the emergence of the covid pandemic and the intensity of resulting mayhem …

So, today’s balancing theme is about peace offering … through two luminaries: Thich Nhat Hanh and Black Elk …

Peace Offering: Moment to Moment

“… When we look at an orange tree we see that season after season it spends its life producing beautiful green leaves, fragrant blossoms, and sweet oranges. These are the best things an orange tree can create and offer to the world.

orange tree thich nhat hanh

… Human beings also make offerings to the world every moment of our daily lives, in the form of our thoughts, our speech and our actions. We may want to offer the world the best kinds of thought, speech and action that we can—because they are our continuation, whether we want it to be so or not. We can use our time wisely, generate the energies of love, compassion and understanding, say beautiful things, inspire, forgive, and act to protect and help the Earth and each other. In this way, we can ensure a beautiful continuation …”  ~ Thich Nhat Hanh

Thay’s “continuation” is our ongoing moment to moment offering … that can be further deepened through the practice of the metta sutta which is a deeper form of peace offering. Turns out it is a regular practice at Thay’s Plum Village practice centers “… as part of our daily sitting and chanting sessions …”

“He or she who wants to attain peace should practice being upright, humble, and capable of using loving speech. He or she will know how to live simply and happily, with senses calmed, without being covetous and carried away by the emotions of the majority. Let him or her not do anything that will be disapproved of by the wise ones.

“(And this is what he or she contemplates:)

“May everyone be happy and safe, and may all hearts be filled with joy.

“May all beings live in security and in peace — beings who are frail or strong, tall or short, big or small, invisible or visible, near or faraway, already born, or yet to be born. May all of them dwell in perfect tranquillity.

peace offering tranquility thich nhat hanh

“Let no one do harm to anyone.  Let no one put the life of anyone in danger.  Let no one, out of anger or ill will, wish anyone any harm.

“Just as a mother loves and protects her only child at the risk of her own life, cultivate boundless love to offer to all living beings in the entire cosmos.  Let our boundless love pervade the whole universe, above, below, and across. Our love will know no obstacles. Our heart will be absolutely free from hatred and enmity. Whether standing or walking, sitting or lying, as long as we are awake, we should maintain this mindfulness of love in our own heart.  This is the noblest way of living.

“Free from wrong views, greed, and sensual desires, living in beauty and realizing Perfect Understanding, those who practice boundless love will certainly transcend birth and death.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh’s translation of the Discourse on Love from the Metta Sutta, Sutta Nipata 1.8.

Yet another form of Peace Offering comes from Black Elk’s famous remarks – a powerful reminder as to what truly matters … and that we can cultivate peace through the simple, yet profound, recognition of our “oneness” …

The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka (“The Great Mystery” or “The Great Spirit” or “The Divine”), and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.

peace offering oneness sunrise black elk

This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.

~ Black Elk

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India is undergoing a humanitarian crisis brought upon by the ravaging resurgence of COVID-19 … if you don’t know about this or want an update, here is a recent New York Times post detailing What to Know About India’s Coronavirus Crisis … so, to do our small part to help, we are providing THREE vetted sources that can be used to help provide relief to India … we have donated personally and also as Stillness Speaks to PATH, CARE, and some of the GoFundMe campaigns below …

Despite the financial challenges that are amongst us all, if your situation allows you to donate then please visit one of the following sources … and contribute whatever is possible …

… Deliver oxygen where it’s needed the most through PATH – a global team of innovators working to accelerate health equity so all people and communities can thrive …

… Provide essential hospital services, more health workers, additional beds, oxygen supply, and much more through CARE (and their CARE India chapter) – for 75 years, CARE has led the way to a better life for the world’s most vulnerable people ….

… Donate to India COVID-19 fundraisers on GoFundMe – all fundraisers have been verified by GoFundMe’s Trust & Safety team and will be updated as new fundraisers are created and verified. All GoFundMe fundraisers are backed by the GoFundMe Guarantee which ensures that all funds on this page will go to those affected by India’s COVID-19 surge …

Helping those in extreme need is the “order of the day” …

THANK YOU!

=== ==== ===

May the above peace offerings … illuminate your everyday life …

May you remain safe and healthy as you navigate these troubling times.

 

Opening quotes: Native American Prayer from Prayers for Peace, Harvard Divinity School, Yoga Sutra from Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Sri Chinmoy from Sri Chinmoy Quotes.
Thich Nhat Hanh’s quote under section “Moment to Moment from The World We have by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Metta Sutta from Plum Village, Sutra/Discourse on Love.
Black Elk’s remarks from Wikiquote.
Images: (edited and logo added): Featured and 1) Autumn. Fall nature scene by Subbotina, 2) Oranges on Tree by inaquim, 3) Dramatic sunrise over the river. Orange sunrise by Photor1985, 4) Aerial view of two kayakers on Mobile Bay, Alabama at sunset by gtd7. All purchased from depositphotos, for use only on our website/social channels (these images are not permitted to be shared separate from this post).
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