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Practicing Peace in Times of War

The tiny Pema Chödrön book Practicing Peace in Times of War surfaced yesterday at the local used-book sale. It has many incredibly thoughtful and inspiring bits — but overall feels loose and fuzzy (and includes too many stray typographical errors). Perhaps the incoherence arises because it's based on some of Chödrön's talks, as edited by Sandy Boucher. But among the memorable imagery and advice are remarks in Chapter 1:

... There is a teaching that says that behind all hardening and tightening and rigidity of the heart, there's always fear. But if you touch fear, behind fear there is a soft spot. And if you touch that soft spot, you find the vast blue sky. You find that which is ineffable, ungraspable, and unbiased, that which can support and awaken us at any time. ...

... Our empathy and wisdom begin to come forward when we're not clouded by our rigid views or our closed heart. It's common sense. "If I retaliate, then they'll go home and beat their kids, and I don't want that happening."

... to the degree that each of us is dedicated to wanting there to be peace in the world, then we have to take responsibility when our own hearts and minds harden and close. We have to be brave enough to soften what is rigid, to find the soft spot and stay with it. We have to have that kind of courage and take that kind of responsibility. That's true spiritual warriorship. That's the true practice of peace.

More quotes and comments to follow ...

(cf. Sky Lights (2003-05-25), Softening into Experience (2012-11-12), ...) - ^z - 2014-05-25