Monday, January 23, 2006

Ordinary peace

Violence was almost unheard of when Helena Norberg-Hodge began studying the Ladakhi in the 1970's. (See Learning from Ladakh.)

How do we create that kind of everyday joy in our lives today? How do we create the peaceful life of the Village of Ordinary?

Compassion, the Dalai Lama tells us, is the path to peace.

If this is true, do we have to have compassion for everyone? Can we only be at peace when we love the most egregious murderer/torturer?

Where lies compassion for one who would kill and torture for greed or power? How do we love a man like Clarence Ray Allen (see Why do we kill people) or the grandfather who molested, or the president who started a killing war with lies?

We can only, as Pema Chadron says, start where we are.

Every single day, in tiny ways, we must begin again, right where we are, to make peace.

So for everyone reading this and puzzling how to develop compassion for the back-stabber at work, the spouse who cheated then got a better lawyer and took everything, the dictator who used biological weapons on his own people, the murderer and rapist, perhaps Clarence Ray Allen, here are two tips for growing compassion and peace in your heart and life.

Start where you are tip:

Try smiling at every person you meet for an entire day.

I guarantee you will be surprised at the difference it makes.

Come back here after you've tried it and tell the rest of us what you experienced.

Growing compassion tip:

Listen to people apologizing for almost anything including, yes, murder in Act 2 of This American Life's November 5, 2004, show Apology. (You will need to select "o4" from the sidebar menu, then scroll down a few episodes to "Apology.")

Come back here afterward and enter a comment about what you felt for and what you learned.

Lastly, don't forget that smile at home, where peace begins.

1 comment:

  1. I think smiling is important -- very important:


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