One sunny Sunday in November I left for work as I usually do. While I was gone, someone walked onto my property and cut down all the trees in the front of my yard. Their green bodies were dumped all over the lawn. After I recovered from the initial shock, I spent the evening in quiet reflection and gratitude for my foliage friends. Some of them had traveled with me for years, waiting for a permanent home where they could put down lifetime roots. Once planted, they grew rapidly these past four years and provided much needed shade and privacy for this haven, my first home. I mourned their loss and the feeling of sanctuary that now felt violated.
The local police promptly responded to my Monday morning call and were even quicker to explain the limits of their legal jurisdiction. While they felt this destructive act was “impolite” it wasn’t criminal. Loss of landscaping is simply a matter of “sentimental” value, I was told. I listened respectfully and asked pertinent questions. Walking away I heard one of them laugh and say, “I thought this was going to be something serious.”
Was it serious? You bet. In my life I’ve learned that no act of aggression — toward another person’s property or body — is ever just impolite or insignificant. When left unchecked, violence always escalates. Now it’s become the default position in our society, and no longer the last and final course of vengeful action. Used to be that you could talk to people, understand their grievances, and work towards a resolution. Not anymore.
The times they are a changin’ and I’m grateful that I’ve changed, too. When I was younger I simply accepted the angry outbursts, the violent actions as a normal part of life. I thought I was safer if I just kept quiet. But now silence is no longer an acceptable response. And anyone who’s moved from silent victim to outspoken activist knows it’s a journey of a thousand steps taken only after a fundamental change in thinking.
What was that first step? A self-defense class? A protest march? Signing a petition? No; it was meditation.
I sat on my meditation cushion for over fifteen years while I learned how to reconcile my faith with my feelings. I calmed my soul in countess spiritual retreats because a peaceful future can never emerge from a mind filled with anger. I discovered how to be spiritually motivated and socially activated, all the while reaching for an expanded state of compassionate awareness.
Buddhist teacher Jack Kornfield reminds us that, “Sometimes we need to shout out the truth, march, protest, do whatever is necessary to protect the lives of others.” But first we must be still, and centered in the loving kindness that is the natural foundation of the universe. My work is to be a conscious channel for Life, and to be a voice that articulates the highest and best of our diverse humanity. I can’t think of any more important job given our current political climate.
In the midst of memories of long lost friends and ideals this prayer has helped me stay centered these last couple of months. Maybe it can support you as you find your grounded center and place to stand in our world.
In this moment of perfect stillness, at the threshold of a bold new world, when the entirety of creation seems to be holding its breath, I will reside in the power and the presence of a divine Spirit. In this moment when darkness seems about to descend, I am willing to stand in the void and call forth the good from deep within the ancient wisdom of my soul. I have been here before, and I know that I must stand, I must remember, and I must surrender my small self until the luminous light of peace radiates from every cell and pore of my being. I willingly and lovingly release everything that I see with my physical senses – every effect, every structure, and every form – and only look inside for my truth. I take a deep breath, I raise my awareness, and I behold the miracle of Life recreating Itself. I AM the High Watch, and I know this is a moment of ever present goodness that is the only thing that is real. I remain in the space of gratitude and well-being. In my heart, in my mind, and in my prayers, so be it. Blessed be.
I do not know who committed the cowardly crime on my property. I do know the inner turmoil that would cause them to lash out at the world, so I keep them and all suffering beings in prayer. And yes, that includes our president and members of government. As always I say, “May peace prevail on earth“.
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Through her ministry, “Doorway Into The Infinite”, Rev. Maria holds the vision for the transformation of the consciousness of planet earth. She is a spiritual change agent committed to… educating people in the process of healing… empowering the world one creative thought at a time… and experiencing peace in our lifetime. Her articles, essays, and meditations have been published in various magazines. She has self-published numerous books and manuals, and released two recordings of guided meditations. She’s created a variety of classes, workshops, and spiritual performance pieces, where she expresses her profound interest in spirituality and peace. For more information, she can be reached at her website: www.be-the-change.com or at her e-mail: RevMariaS@aol.com