Morning

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Sunlight touching treetops,
Birds awakening…
Morning rises after night
With a constancy and grace.

While politics swirl
Conflicts rage, economies teeter,
Hurricanes roar,
Morning dawns over all
Without apology or praise
But with simple welcoming
Of all that is lit
By its presence.

What kind of love
Embraces this wild world
With such a welcome?
What love is this, that
Contains such
Darkness and strife
When the world
Refuses to conform
To our demands for
Outer peace,
And then wraps us
In such wonder
And grace?

Fear, war, starvation,
And so much else
Are included in the
Grace of morning light
On a darkened world.

In the light’s first
Touch of a leaf
There is something that
Embraces all of what we are
And includes us
In the full circle
Of life as it is.

We see that we are
Something whole
And seamless,
And perfect.

The heart of each morning
Offers with outstretched hands,
An expansion, a release
Out off our self-made prisons
Into a world ruled by a love
That excludes nothing,
A love we can trust,
A love at peace
With all things.

Even this, and this, and
Especially and
Whole-heartedly
This.

 


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by Alice Gardner © 2008

The Eye of The Hurricane

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Hurricane Season 2008

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Are these winds stirred
To spinning
Around their still center?

What force could give
Such power as this
To crush the structures
Of our lives?

These winds move
With violence
Against our human ideas
Of progress and security
Sweeping away
As impertinent desires
Our wish to have peace
On our own terms.

Have we been dreaming
Of a world peace
That doesn’t include storms?

Can we step outside of
Our ideas about the peace we want
Enough to notice the peace
That already rests in the center
Of this wild world?

A peace that rests gently
While the storm winds
May strip our lives bare,
Leave us homeless, and
Disengaged from our settled lifestyles.

A peace right in the center of
Our questionable survival
In any other moment than this.

This stillness in the center
Emerges with the violent winds.
The two exist as one,
inextricably connected,
Two sides of a coin, inseparable.

Can we accept this invitation
To welcome a peace that includes
What we have labeled as trouble
And strife, and been frightened by?

Can a wild wind
Flattening our landscape
Externally or internally
Be a part of something
Beyond our comprehension
And perfect, just as it is?

We don’t know.

But we notice
In hurricane season,
The power of resting openly
With such unanswerable questions.
And we notice,
(Even while the winds of change
Are blowing violently)
What doesn’t spin—
The peace beyond understanding
In the internal
Eye of the hurricane.

By Alice Gardner © 2008

The Role of Conflict

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As we look around at the world we live in, conflict appears to be a problem.  As soon as there is a preceived shortage of anything there is conflict over ownership, and there is conflict over who is right and who is wrong on any given subject. We can just look at the US political activities of the moment and see all the speech-makers wanting to be able to claim rightness, and have the people who have different opinions be in the wrong. This is a basic human ego insistence, this need to be right which makes others wrong in order to validate itself.

Most of us aren’t actively at war, but conflict enters our lives in subtle ways: in our relationships, our families, with our neighbors, with people holding different beliefs and different political persuasions. We may even be striving for a world without conflict, but our way of achieving our lofty goal may come out as a new conflict with people who aren’t behaving peacefully.

The thought structures that lead to conflict are always characterized by our thinking we are right and another is wrong.  We then feel more solidly and definitely identified with our newly-strengthened egos. This is the process by which we generate outward actions to fix our world, or rather to make it conform to our ideas about how it “should” be.

Yet we must pause a moment here, and see if the world is not already perfect just the way it is as a set-up for awakening, including the conflict that it embraces so plentifully.

Could conflict actually have a role to play in our awakening?

Conflict is the outward manifestation of the kind of thinking we have spoken about above. The colliding of things that are different does not naturally create conflict (aka disharmony or hostility) any more than the meeting of the waves with the rocks on a rocky coastline. The waves are not claiming that the rocks are wrong to be so solid, and the rocks don’t criticize the water for its fluidity. They simply meet in a tumultuous splash and subside, creating a transitional environment at their edges that is exciting, compelling and full of life. Tumult always holds the possibility of some injury, but our rocky shores are not scenes of carnage– they teem with life.

The arising of the kind of thinking that begets conflict is a moment where each of us get a glimpse of the starting-point for the troublesome aspects of our conflicted world. By seeing how we cause conflict by the way we think ourselves to be “right” and reinforce this by making make outer enemies who are wrong, we can begin to step free of this pattern of thinking. This is a very individual journey for each of us to make because our egos are all so different. We are each, of course, also free to go back to our old repeating patterns of addressing conflict outwardly, but this direction is more and more clearly offering us the detrimental results which are evident on the world stage.