I listened quietly to a European news agency report from the streets on the war in the Ukraine. So many stories about how the ordinary and uncomplicated routines of taking children to school and going to work were violently disrupted. How the simple everyday joys of walking in one’s neighborhood or going to church were shattered. Many of us not close to the situation may have been unaware of the simmering aggression and conflict which suddenly escalated into outright destruction and death. We are told that even many of the soldiers, most of them barely adults themselves, have been surprised and shocked by what they are being commanded to do.
How do we pay attention to what simmers within us? How do we not harbor anger, rage, and revenge, but instead transform it into wisdom?
Listening to the radio I rhetorically asked myself, Who is not wounded in war? None of us is safe from injury. We are not protected from the physical cries of those wounded or grieving, the moral injury of those bearing arms against fellow humans, the financial, social, and environmental impacts of sanctions and refugee migrations, and of course the emotional toll of being bombarded with the horrible media images of just how much harm we are capable of doing to one another.
I felt the need to pray out loud for the transformation of my own aggression, anger, ignorance, and willingness to look away. I pray out loud for the fortitude and commitment to saturate my mind, heart, and my actions in loving kindness. I share this prayer with you as a meditation for us. I share it as a reminder that it is not enough to want peace, that as individuals and as a sangha, we must become peace in each moment of our lives.
May it be so.
Recognizing that I am not an observer, but a participant in the life of our world, may I resolve to bring peace to my own inner turmoil.
Recognizing that I am not an observer, but a participant in the life of our world, may I resolve to bring peace to my relationships.
Recognizing that I am not an observer, but a participant in the life of our world, may I resolve to bring peace as an active and engaged member of the local, national, and global community.
May I continually cultivate the ground of peace for myself and others,
and persist, mindful and dedicated to this work, independent of results.
May I know that my peace and the world’s peace are not separate,
and remember that our peace in the world is a result of our work for justice.
May all beings,
visible or invisible,
near and far,
born and to be born,
be well, happy, and peaceful.