I read this morning that it is the birthday of Joseph Campbell. That leads me to a certain bookshelf where Thich Nhat Hanh's gentle book, Being Peace, resides.
All seems so simple when one reads him. A bird is chirping this morning. I listen and smile.
Here is one of his short poems to "recite from time to time, while breathing and smiling."
Breathing in, I calm my body.
Breathing out, I smile.
Dwelling in the present moment
I know this is a wonderful moment.
And there is this:
If we are peaceful, if we are happy,
we can blossom like a flower,
and everyone in our family,
our entire society
will benefit from our peace.
Thich Nhat Hanh is a monk who because he spoke out against the war in Vietnam, was unable to return. Being Peace was written in 1987.
"I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats can sink. But if even one person on board can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression - face, voice - communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many."
"Our world is something like a small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We are about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. You know that we have more than 50,000 nuclear weapons. Humankind has become a very dangerous species. We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person."
Each spiritual tradition says we are that person. We each know what resides inside. We know the power of our thoughts and demeanor. Today, also, the world is in crisis, and each of us can wear a smile and walk as peace and be the change we want to see in the world. May this day reverberate for each of us in peaceful ways.