As I write this I am looking out across the expanse of 1200 hectares of the most fresh, spring green urban wilderness. This is the back-yard that I share with countless other people and creatures in the area. The temperature is climbing to 30C at midday, more the likes of a mid-summer day rather than spring, but I will gladly take it as a warm breeze blows through the open window, the air heavy with the fragrance of lilacs that grow wild all around.
There’s a red-tail hawk soaring high above and two turkey vultures are gliding and swooping as though playing a game with the invisible updrafts. The swallows are darting and diving with what appears to be pure joy, and I can see a few dragonflies flitting this way and that as though they can’t decide where exactly they want to go. A pristine, pure white seagull with its blacked tipped wings sails effortlessly past my 12th floor window, poignantly conjuring up thoughts of a dear friend who I miss. This is the language of peace speaking to me, and such is the moment as I am observing it right now, my heart swelling with the blessings of being alive to experience it.
Just to sit quietly, the mind still and at peace, and watch the leaves sway in mass unison through the valley of trees below me is enough.
Enough for a happy moment.
Enough for a grateful heart.
Enough to live on if it’s our souls we are feeding.
Clearly though, to a starving person, sitting and watching the leaves sway in the breeze is not going to bring peace. Only a full stomach will do that. There’s no question in my mind that this should be the first order of any act of altruism, philanthropy, generosity, charity, or holiness. No growth, on any level, can commence if someone is starving.
To feed the people must be the first order if there is to be any semblance of a world at peace.
How does this basic, fundamental foundation for human well-being get passed over for other ‘more pressing’ priorities, like war, politics, or even education? In a world where there is so much of everything imaginable, including the technology and know-how to grow pure, good, organic food for every single person on the planet, it seems unconscionable that anyone need suffer or die from starvation in today’s world.
So, as I sit quietly writing these words, not having known what was going to come forth, I give thanks that because my stomach is satisfied, I am able to watch, listen, and observe what existence has to teach me, and always, without fail, the message is constant and consistent. It’s a quiet, hushed kinda message, one we can only hear when we’ve learned to turn the volume of the mind way, way, down.
It’s never about the shiny objects, or about what we can get, or about me, me, me, or how clever and intelligent we think we are or attest to being.
…and the still small voice said, “Only when the mind is still will the heart reveal its wisdom. Hush and listen for the peace. It may come to you disguised as someone hungry. Feed them. It may come to you as loss and adversity. Give. It may come to you as one who is afraid to love. Love them anyway. It may come to you as one who loves too much. Hold up a mirror for them. It may come to you as human shallowness. Show depth of spirit. It may come to you as yourself – fragile and vulnerable. Be gentle. But above all…know that peace speaks of humility. Bow deeply to your fellow travelers, and in your heart, kiss their feet with aching tenderness, for you will never truly know what their walk in this world has been like. All is the Beloved in disguise, and you hold this ancient memory. Hush…be still. Remember.”