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Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

I create these islands of silence in all kinds of places in my life. They are a respite. They are places where I can listen. They are havens where I can stop talking — to myself or others. They are places where I can see clearly, where I can feel safely.

I’ve done this all my life. I have been “Faithful to the Quiet, Finding the Silence that Soothes my Soul.”

One of these places is sitting quietly in Centering Prayer. I had the great blessing to be called to this contemplative “non-talking” practice of prayer. And greater yet, I had the honor of knowing and working with Father Basil Pennington OCSO who taught and wrote many volumes on Centering Prayer.

This is how you go about taking up this prayer and what it is, a simple, humble being to God.

“Silence is God’s first language. Everything else is poor translation.”
Thomas Keating

Silence may be God’s language but most of us have difficulty in fluently speaking silence. We live in a hyped-up, super fast and crazy noisy world and we tend to bounce around in the noise. Words often equal noise for us. Spoken words, silent words present as thoughts, and noises of the environment and living spaces in which we live all conspire to equate to noises that block the passageway of Spirit. Words more often block communication than facilitate it. Words get in the way of our ability to listen, when listening is what is truly called for.

There is a simple prayer. A prayer of only one word. A prayer which only uses that one word when other words and thoughts are trying to interfere with the prayer. This prayer is Centering Prayer, brought to Western Christianity from the ancient practices of the Fathers in the Desert contemplative practice. You may practice this prayer by yourself or you may find a group that meets in silent prayer time.

It is a simple prayer of attentive love, encouraged to be practiced twice a day for twenty minutes. It is a silent way of possessing inner peace so that we can bring it to others. It is a contemplative prayer of the heart – a prayer of “being to God.”

While this is a simple prayer, it is to many not an easy prayer practice to enter into. Sometimes first reactions are an extreme uneasiness to being quiet and doing nothing for twenty minutes, which seems like much more than that. Do not worry if your first attempts are much shorter than twenty minutes. Give over the amount of time you can do comfortably and return to it later. Your effort will add up. This is not really a technique to master, but a willingness to give yourself over and be in a mindful presence to the divine.

 

However, there are a few general guidelines to take into this practice, if you should decide to try this way of silent grace in your day.

1. Choose a sacred word as the symbol of your intention to consent to God’s Presence and action within.

2. Sitting comfortably and with eyes closed, settle briefly and silently introduce your sacred word as the symbol of your consent to God’s Presence and action within you.

3. When you become aware of thoughts, return ever so gently to the sacred word.

4. At the end of the prayer period, remain in silence with eyes closed for a couple of minutes.

Very often in a group setting of Centering Prayer, a facilitator will end the session with the group saying the Our Father aloud softly and slowly together to bring you back and ground you to time and place in the real world.

You can do this in your private practice as well. The Spirit, as God’s Presence, is working within you during the time you give yourself over to Centering Prayer, and this gives your psyche time to readjust to the external senses and to enable you to bring the atmosphere of silence into your daily life.

Centering Prayer is a very powerful prayer when you choose to make it a practice. It is not just during the twenty minute period of time of silence that it works. The graces of Centering Prayer become evident to you in the rest of your life as well. Contemplative prayer is the opening of the mind and heart – your whole being to God, the ultimate Mystery. It is divine union.

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I saw this title on Amazon and what amazed me was the name of the author — Thich Nhat Hanh, one of the best known Zen teachers in the world today and a pacifist who encourages  Peace is Every Step.

In very brief meditations, he offers insights on how to turn our disagreements and conflicts into opportunities for growth and compassion.

If we see killing something or someone as a violent thing, this author has a comment on the violence of killing.

He says the Buddha was asked if there were anything he would kill.. “Yes”, said the Buddha. “Killing anger removes suffering and brings peace and happiness. “We ‘kill’ our anger by smiling to it, holding it gently, looking deeply to understand its roots and transforming it with understanding and compassion.”

And I wonder how long does that take and just like the 70 x 70 times we must forgive our fellow human beings and self, how often must it be repeated.

 

I think of Yoda as the Thich Nhat Hanh of Star Wars!

 

There is another practice of repetition. If smiling at our anger is too difficult for the moment, we can turn to an easier, softer way as long as we are willing to release our anger. We can employ, short and sweet phrases that are called mantras, saying them aloud or softly to ourselves.

He lists six mantras.

  1. I am here for you.
  2. I know you are there and I am happy.
  3. I feel your pain and I am here for you.
  4. I am suffering, please help.
  5. This is a happy moment.
  6. You are partly right.

I see the power in the sixth statement in particular.

I like this way of fighting.

 

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Tom and I are fans of Hawaii 5 O. Me, more for the scenery than some of the stories, but we watch the show fairly often. It is where the “Book ’em Danno” line came from. We  visited the beautiful islands of Hawaii on our 40th wedding anniversary in 2007, and now I have met beautiful Emma Thompson, who creates wondrous healing herbs and essential oils from nature there.

Several years ago, I started this website blog with the intention of highlighting books that interest me, or that I have read, or that I know the author that wrote them or also the authors I am having wonderful conversations with who are writing wonderful books.

This fell to the wayside for many reasons and many moves since I started it.

However, it is back now!

I intend to learn how to build audience for this site and also to take submissions for guest blogs and information on the writing life.

Feel free to contribute to me at   sue.hajec@gmail.com

https://bookmdanno.wordpress.com/

 

Here is my entry for today on http://www.bookmdanno.wordpress.com

 

 

REIKI, LOVE, JOY and PEACE
October 11, 2017 by napkinwriter | Edit

New Reiki Book
Great Holiday Gift Idea!
Reiki Love, Joy and Peace
A Reiki Healing Anthology
by William Lee Rand
$29.95
Full Color Trade Paperback
336 pages – 8 1/2″ x 10 7/8″
The 67 articles in this anthology were written by William Lee Rand, one of the world’s foremost practitioners and teachers of Reiki. They first appeared in the Reiki News Magazine and will provide you with unique insight into every aspect of Reiki practice. Also included are the adventures William experienced as he traveled to the ends of the earth to promote world peace. This is a great book to thumb through and read the articles you feel guided to read. This book will provide inspiration and instruction on how to get the best out of your Reiki practice.
Purchase in web store and save 10%
U.S. Residents Special Shipping Rate!
We’ll ship this book for $7.20 to anywhere in the contiguous U.S.
The International Center for Reiki Training

center@reiki.org
http://www.reiki.org/

 

 

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August 21, 2017

On this date, several years ago another miracle occurred in my life. I gave birth to my second daughter. I love her with all of my heart. I have snuggled with her, played with her, laughed and cried with her. I have witnessed her two miracle births and wondrous young children, my grandchildren.

This is a fully open heart occurrence in my life; one that beats through every moment of my life with gratitude and sheer wonder — yes wonder — that the life given me is filled with the awesomeness of being a tender-hearted mother, who enjoys life focused on family.

This is what love is…not always understanding, not always quiet, but always resolving how we are in relation to one another and how the love that beats below the base line centers us and creates our purpose.

Today in a few hours, MOTHER EARTH will experience a Total Eclipse of the Sun.  This mother has been having a tough time of it lately.

She knows and I know that much of humankind have open, loving hearts and intentions that serve her lands and waters with respect and care. But the SHADOW side of humankind is right now getting all the attention.

SHADOW likes to argue, cause ruckus, destroy, intimidate, hate…yes even take pride in being hateful…claiming the right to BE hateful….SHADOW’s time appears to be NOW in the turning of the planet.

I am not versed nor educated in the astrological physics, but I think I understand that there is a principle that’s been in existence since the Big Bang and that is that our Universe is continually expanding.  I have studied further that we are in the universe and that the universe is in us. Meaning that the same atom particles of the exploding stars are the same materials found in the human body that have existed since the beginning of time. (or was there a beginning?)

So, today, I want to think about this. If the universe is expanding and I am expanding, I choose to expand with all that looks and feels like LOVE.  I choose to leave behind and cut myself away from the shadow of anything that inhibits that free flow of love within me so that this expression can enhance my own life and the life of others.

THAT MEANS, to me, to continue to do things I’ve been learning all along to do: forgiveness of self and others is primary. Then working in harmony to accomplish what is mine to do. I can think small in order to accomplish big things…a simple smile, a word of grace, establish orderly living, and free myself for time into creative endeavors I feel called to.

This will be my Total Eclipse of the Heart. My intention for living in this manner. I hope, that like the sun that will once again shine through after the passing of the shadow moon, my life will contribute to the light of the world.

I do believe the darkness will never overcome this light.

 

 

GUEST BLOG:

from

Mark Kolack.

THIS ECLIPSE IS AN EJECT BUTTOM FROM UNIVERSE

Beloveds,
Tomorrow between 1:22pm – 4:17 pm Florida time, peaking at 2:54pm on August 21, 2017, people across the USA will see the Sun disappear behind the Moon, turning daylight into twilight, causing the temperature to drop rapidly, and revealing massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the silhouette of the Moon. On this day, America will fall under the path of a total solar eclipse.

This is the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental USA in 38 years. It is the first Total Solar Eclipse in 99 years to be visible in its totality across the lower 48, and the first in 1500 years to be ONLY visible in totality across this region.

What does this eclipse mean? Reset: this celestial event will wipe the slate of your life, past, shadow, clean and set a new direction in your life parallel to what intention, vision, direction you set for it. What we visualize and focus on will be set into motion for years to come!
Make the choice to go deeper: admit what you really want and believe you can have it: face what you have been running from, good and ‘bad’ and embrace them both so they manifest and dissolve respectively. Ask God as yourself to free you and to fulfill your heart’s desires. Pray this into the vortex between 1-4pm.

On a psychological / metaphysical level a Total Solar Eclipse (TSE) blots out the conscious mind and allows the unconscious (INTUITION, as well as repressed emotion) to emerge. This is one of the best uses of the energy of a TSE: allow your ego to be blotted out and allow your Divine Knowing/Intuition to be revealed! We do this through prayer and affirming that this is what you are intending, what you are doing, and then it is what is happening! Then ask and listen and reflect.

On the flip side, any skeletons in your closet will dance when the moon (unknown, subconscious, repressed shadow material) takes over, but this is for the best. Dance with your shadow remembering that what you choose to release under an eclipse will disappear forever. It’s an eject button from the Universe.

This is a time for centering, visualizing, believing, asking, affirming, decreeing, commanding, surrendering and being grateful. Imagine if you were given a series of wishes from a beneficent genie: and all she required was that you got real with yourself, touched your heart; admitted what hurt you, asked to have it removed: and then asked for what your heart truly desired:

This is what this eclipse is: on a grand planetary scale of personal and epic proportions. Get real. Admit what’s up with yourself. Pray and affirm it into the eclipse vortex. Then go in peace.

We are going through the eye of the needle into the New World tomorrow. Don’t bother packing. Only self-love can fit. Leave the rest. Unhook your seatbelt for maximum effect!

Fly!
Eternal Love and Blessings,
~mk~

 

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Part of my prayer practice includes writing something positive, something uplifting, something worthy of thinking about — I am sad that far too many have been a response to horrific prices to be paid by family and loved ones who have been taken from this earth in a violent action by someone who is AGAINST something.

Yet, the common media response is to highlight even more, the violent and disrespectful responses of those AGAINST something.

It is said that “Problems cannot be solved on the level at which they were created.”

I AM FOR EVERYONE DOING THEIR BEST TO RISE TO A NEW LEVEL in their own personal lives. It is my commitment to do so in my own life, in every way in which I know how. I welcome company in doing this.

My friend was returning from an appointment yesterday and saw police cars racing toward the county courthouse. This is her response.

A letter from Katherine Hempel, writer-friend, resident in Berrien County, Michigan

“I love this space for here is a place where I feel the conversations, prayers and contemplation so needed in the world today are actually being had and encouraged and, thanks to our wonderful Abbess and Prior, taught and studied.
My update on the situation with our shootings and resulting tragedy, effecting so many here in SW Michigan, is long.
I thank you in advance for your prayers and love for a world, though in crisis, that is so worthy of our tenderest vigilance.
Update: our neighbor was not one of those killed or injured. Yet little to celebrate as our beautiful and peaceful Berrien County awakes knowing such can happen “even here.”


I come back again to a realization that we live on a world focussing in large part on all it is against…all it doesn’t approve of. It seems warped, away from any normal thought pattern, but I find myself relieved that the pigment of this man’s skin was not darker…and yet that of the deputy he shot was…why does my mind even go there. Recent events, of course, but I can’t help but wonder, would this ‘no history of violence’ shooter have been taken from his cell uncuffed were he black?


His ex-wife has made the statement that he had gotten involved with the wrong crowd. This is not an impressionable teen we are talking about here but a fully grown, closer to middle-aged man. How does one live that long and still be seem as one to be swayed “by the wrong crowd?”


Which brings me back to my pet peeve. For 8 years we have had a Congress working ‘against’ rather than ‘for.’ In the upcoming election few, either running or (hopefully) preparing to vote speak of what they are ‘for’ but rather what/who they will vote against. Ask individuals what they stand for and often the response is a litany of what they ‘hate.’ Is it any wonder weeks like this past one drifting over into this one now have exploded in the news?


It’s hard to imagine much will change until each of us as individuals begin to talk about what we do want, what we appreciate and take a stand…a well-considered stand, the result of quiet contemplation away from FOX and CNN…a stand that reflects our hearts and not just our fears. Only then, it seems to me, do we create a momentum forward. Only then, do we have any right to protest, in any balanced way, those things we are against and hope to come up with any positive solution to the darkness in the world. For it is only light…even the dimmest of lights…that can show us the way out of the darkness of this tunnel vision of negativity.

So…in the spirit of encouragement…what do YOU stand for? Let’s talk about that.”
(end)

*********
From Napkinwriter:

When I studied with futurist, evolutionary spiritualist Barbara Marx Hubbard, from all her studies tracing back to “the big bang”, she holds that preceding every major evolutionary turn forward in the earth’s existence that “crisis precedes transformation”.   Even the single cell was in crisis. To avoid extinction, it had to divide to become two and do it again and again and again.

Today, it seems more than true that we are in crisis. More and more people of responsibility and office are telling us, we must change.  The old ways are not working and they never have. Communication based on I am right and you are wrong lead only to increased voice volume. Officials experiencing and at the center of the pain of recurring violence are saying……come together.   What does that mean and how does that happen?

The vibration at the center of this, which is evil, is rippling out to us on an increasing level. There is no such thing  anymore as “I didn’t think this could happen here”.  It has happened in Kalamazoo twice in a few short months.  And now another close by shooting incident in Southwestern Michigan, and one narrowly avoided in South Haven over the 4th of July.

As the Dallas Police Chief challenged us, I ask myself  “what can I do to be part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.”  It can be as simple and unassuming as to be kind to my neighbor…or with a regular practice of listening within in quiet…..it may direct me to bigger things. Forgivenesss of hurts and grievances of the past….care of the water, soil, and all living things,…community with purpose…….faith and action working together for the good of all….building up of self and others.

But whatever they are, they are equal in intent. To be in our world as Gift.

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The world breaks
broken places
shattered mirrors
to reflect what is neglected
in dark corners.

My efforts are needed
i will turn to meet my destiny
reflected in shattered mirrors.

Unmolded clay
in my hand
nourishes new life.

The world breaks
I am a humble artist
molding my earthly clod.

Prayerful hands

i will trust to love.

Several years ago, I was grateful for the opportunity to return to a weekend workshop at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY and be with my artist sisters of WWAM  (Women Writers and Artists Matrix). A loving, powerful, far-seeing community of good living and loving in the world.

In one of the workshops, we played with broken pieces of glass added to a collage we made on a trypearche.  Color, fabric shapes and designs and paint went on the surface.

Then we added the lines of a poem, selected from many she handed out. We cut these lines and added them to our art form in any order we were inspired to. I only wish I had added the name of the author of the original poem to the back.  Yet, the beauty of it is that I “create” a new poem by reading the lines in different order any time I want.

Last, we we glued pieces of glass to our piece and shiny gem shapes and buttons.

I have kept my art piece in my sight. It has luminous energy about it. It speaks daily truth of the state of the world and the challenge before all of us, in any way in which I choose to read the lines.

Try it yourself. Take my poem I wrote today and write your own, choosing to start with “I will trust to love”.   See what happens.

I am trusting us to begin and continue the work and loving and listening to be done.

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Today, as I was posting on my Peace In Our Hearts and Around The World Facebook page, two words in this step jumped out at me as if it were the first time I was seeing them.

“improve our………..conscious contact with God…

STEP ELEVEN. “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out……Prayer and meditation are our principal means of conscious contact with God.” Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions

Having had 36 years and 13,140 “one-day-at-a-time” days (throwing in a few extras for the Leap Years that occurred over this time), it surprises me that something new pops up in the literature and practice of The Twelve Steps after all this time. But it does and it did today.

In truly countless meetings I attended from the late 1970s into the early years of 2000, I learned how it works, as Chapter 5 states which is often read at the beginning of meetings. “Rarely have we seen a person fail who has truly followed this path.” The path this refers to is the path of the 12 Steps for recovering addicts, no matter the substance of choice. Repetitive reading of this chapter did no harm and hearing it aloud among companion recovering brothers and sisters imbedded the Truth of the miracle mission of founder Bill Wilson in our own personal lives.

True…..we stood at the turning point. We knew this well. We were on the path of the 12 Steps, one day at a time, that would free us from a life impossible to live if addiction ruled our lives.

So, today, many years later, and on a continuing and increasing lifestyle of contemplative prayer and practice, the words that surprise me are: IMPROVING OUR……

Many who sat around the tables had trouble with the word GOD, having to substitute the word Higher Power, for it. Or the masculine pronoun of HE for God. I could get by all of those. They were not barriers to the step for me or the practice of it. What I thought this step promised was ACTUAL conscious contact with God.

My end wish is that I do have that ACTUAL contact, but I will settle for sobriety AND improved conscious contact with God. I have that all the time.  And conscious seems to be the operative word here.

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