The Earth is everywhere. You may be used to thinking of the Earth as only the ground beneath your feet. But the water, the sea, the sky, and everything around us comes from the Earth. Everything outside us and everything inside us comes from the Earth.
—Thich Nhat Hanh
[Image: Center for Action and Contemplation]
“Thank you” is a simple phrase, but one that carries a lot of meaning. So many people act in ways big and small each day that help others for no expected monetary or other return other than the satisfaction that comes from the act itself.
Inn times of struggle, sadness, and fear, let us all remember the helpers in the world, and try to be helpers to others. Let us be kind and generous. And let us not take all that is good out there for granted. -Dan Rather
For our ancestors.
“The world is not a problem to be solved; it is a living being to which we belong. The world is part of our own self and we are a part of its suffering wholeness.”
From Father Richard Rohr:
“Our very suffering now, our condensed presence on this common nest that we have largely fouled, will soon be the one thing that we finally share in common. It might well be the one thing that will bring us together politically and religiously. The earth and its life systems, on which we all entirely depend might soon become the very things that will convert us to a simple lifestyle, to necessary community, and to an inherent and universal sense of reverence for the Holy. We all breathe the same air and drink the same water. There are no Jewish, Christian, or Muslim versions of these universal elements. All water is “holy water” even before the benefit of a priest’s waved hand. It is always and everywhere two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen, and voilà—we have the absolute miracle of liquid water, absolutely necessary for all that lives.
This earth indeed is the very Body of God, and it is from this body that we are born, live, suffer, and resurrect to eternal life. Either all is God’s Great Project, or we may rightly wonder whether anything is.”
Francis of Assisi called animals “Sister” and “Brother” and viewed humans as one part of a wider family of creation. Franciscan writers Ilia Delio, Keith Douglass Warner, and Pamela Wood recommend adapting a historic Christian practice of “examination of conscience” to focus on how we have harmed or helped our relationships with the Earth:
- Do I seek to eliminate from the world whatever keeps all creatures from their full development intended by their Creator: pollution, greed, overconsumption, loss of habitat, disease, war, extinction of species, oppressive laws and structures? . . .
- Have I encouraged others to take care for creation seriously? . . .
A Prayer for World Peace
I know there is but One Mind, which is the mind of God, in which all people live and move and have their being.
I know there is a divine pattern for humanity and within this pattern there is infinite harmony and peace, cooperation, unity, and mutual helpfulness.
I know that the mind of humankind, being one with the mind of God, shall discover the method, the way, and the means best fitted to permit the flow of Divine Love between individuals and nations.
Thus, harmony, peace, cooperation, unity, and mutual helpfulness are experienced by all.
I know there will be a free interchange of ideas, of cultures, of spiritual concepts, of ethics, of educational systems and scientific discoveries…for all good belongs to all alike.
I know that, because Divine Mind has created us all, we are bound together in one infinite and perfect unity.
I know that all people and all nations will remain individual but unified for the common purpose of promoting peace, happiness, harmony, and prosperity.
I know that deep within each person the Divine Pattern of perfect peace is already implanted.
I now declare that in each person and in leaders of thought everywhere this Divine Pattern moves into action and form, to the end that all nations and all people will live together win peace harmony, and prosperity forever.
-Science of Mind, Ernest Holmes.
Peace can’t be kept by force, it can only be achieved by understanding.
I see you.
I am here.
‘In a culture that erases humanity, that keeps the act of innocence and beginning invisible, we are sorely in need of being seen with joy, so we can proclaim with equal astonishment and innocence that of all the amazing things that could have been or not, We Are Here.
As far back as we can remember, people of the oldest tribes, unencumbered by civilization, have been rejoicing in being on earth together. No only can we do this for each other, it is essential. For as stars need open space to be seen, as waves need shore to crest, as ew needs grass to soak into, our vitality depends on how we exclaim and rejoice, “I See You!” “I Am Here!”‘
-Mark Nepo, The Book of Awakening
New Moon today, Sunday, January 2nd.
Center for Action & Contemplation
In a world of fault lines and fractures,
we stand in a place where opposites come together,
awaiting the birth of what is to come.
If you are doubting, welcome.
If you are healing, welcome.
If you are angry at injustice, welcome.
We await a new genesis,
one more beginning in a series of starts,
trailing backwards in time to the very first day.
If you are afraid, welcome.
If you are joyful, welcome.
If you are longing to belong, welcome.
God’s generous rhythm of life, death, resurrection,
moving in and through all things,
the very breath and source of the cosmos itself.
Our pathways converge and continue,
each one of us a catalyst for loving action.
We, a community of saints.
Breathe with us.
She isn’t letting us go gently as she finally releases her grip. Colorado. ♡ -dayle
From Marianne Williamson:
“I embrace each moment as an opportunity for a miracle.
Infinite opportunity is built into the nature of the universe.
It is not lack of opportunities, but rather the ways I have sabotaged them, that has obstructed the flow of miracles into my life.”
December 31, 2021
A Revelation of Heaven on Earth
“We return today to CAC teacher Brian McLaren, who illustrates how one of the Bible’s most challenging books—Revelation—can be a source of wisdom and hope for us today:
There’s a beautiful visionary scene at the end of the Book of Revelation that is as relevant today as it was in the first century. It doesn’t picture us being evacuated from Earth to heaven as many assume. It pictures a New Jerusalem descending from heaven to Earth [see Revelation, chapter 21]. This new city doesn’t need a temple because God’s presence is felt everywhere. It doesn’t need sun or moon because the light of Christ illuminates it from within. Its gates are never shut, and it welcomes people from around the world to receive the treasures it offers and bring the treasures they can offer. From the center of the city, from God’s own throne, a river flows—a river of life or aliveness. Along its banks grows the Tree of Life. All of this, of course, evokes the original creation story and echoes God’s own words in Revelation: “Behold! I’m making all things new!”
Rather than giving its original readers and hearers a coded blueprint of the future, Revelation gave them visionary insight into their present situation. It told them that the story of God’s work in history has never been about escaping Earth and going up to heaven. It has always been about God descending to dwell among us. . . . God wasn’t a distant, terrifying monster waiting for vengeance at the end of the universe. God was descending among us here and now, making the tree of true aliveness available for all.
Earlier in the year, Richard shared the shocking hopefulness of the Bible’s apocalyptic literature:
God puts us in a world of passing things where everything changes and nothing remains the same.
The only thing that doesn’t change is change itself. It’s a hard lesson to learn. It helps us appreciate that everything is a gift. We didn’t create it. We don’t deserve it. It will not last, but while we breathe it in, we can enjoy it, and know that it is another moment of God, another moment of life.
People who take this moment seriously take every moment seriously, and those are the people who are ready for heaven.
Brian offers this final encouragement:
What was true for Revelation’s original audience is true for us today. Whatever madman is in power, whatever chaos is breaking out, whatever danger threatens, the river of life is flowing now. The Tree of Life is bearing fruit now. True aliveness is available now. That’s why Revelation ends with the sound of a single word echoing through the universe. That word is not Wait! Nor is it Not Yet!or Someday! It is a word of invitation, welcome, reception, hospitality, and possibility. It is a word not of ending, but of new beginning. That one word is Come! The Spirit says it to us. We echo it back. Together with the Spirit, we say it to everyone who is willing. Come!”
-Father Richard Rohr
‘We’ve been studying war for centuries, we must now study how to create peace…conditions for a deep and lasting peace.’ -Brian McLaren
Plan for U.S. Department of Peace
Ending the scourge of violence in the United States and across the planet requires more than suppressing violence. Lasting peace requires its active and systematized cultivation at every level of government and society. The U.S. Department of Peace will coordinate and spur the efforts we need to make our country and the world a safer place. Nothing short of broad-scale investment and government reorientation can truly turn things around.
Both domestically and internationally, we must dramatically ramp up the use of proven powers of peace-building, including dialogue, mediation, conflict resolution, economic and social development, restorative justice, public health approaches to violence prevention, trauma-informed systems of care, social and emotional learning in schools, and many others.
“I believe our country’s way of dealing with security issues is increasingly obsolete. We have the finest military force in the world, however we can no longer rely on force alone to rid ourselves of international enemies. The planet has become too small for that, and in so doing, we overburden our military by asking them to compensate for the other work that we choose not to do. We are less effective, and less secure, because of that,” said Williamson.
As its mission, the U.S. Department of Peace will; hold peace as an organizing principle; promote justice and democratic principles to expand human rights; coordinate restorative justice programs; address white supremacy; strengthen nonmilitary means of peacemaking; work to prevent armed conflict; address the epidemic of gun violence; develop new structures of nonviolent dispute resolution; and proactively and systematically promote national and international conflict prevention, mediation, and resolution. In short, we must wage peace. “Large groups of desperate people,” said Williamson, “should be seen as a national security risk.”
The Department will create and establish a Peace Academy, modeled after the military service academies, which will provide a 4-year concentration in peace education. Graduates will be required to serve 5 years in public service in programs dedicated to domestic or international nonviolent conflict resolution.
The Secretary of Peace will serve as a member of the National Security Council and will be empowered to coordinate with all Cabinet agencies – including the Departments of Agriculture, Defense, Education, Justice, and State, and the new Department of Children and Youth.
In 2022, let’s pledge to making this our reality. -dayle
Lokah Samastah Sukhino Bhavantu
May all beings be happy.
May all beings be free from disease.
May auspiciousness be seen everywhere.
May suffering belong to no one.
In the midst of my pain, give me comfort.
In the midst of my sorrow, give me peace.
In the midst of my brokenness, give me wings.
For You are the author of miracles
and I need one now.
We are spirit and thus we are more than the world.
Center for Action and Contemplation, New Mexico
Cultivating Radical Compassion
Author Tara Brach is a skilled psychotherapist and meditation teacher who has developed countless ways to help her students transform their suffering not only for their own sake but on behalf of the world. Over the last seventeen years she has focused particularly on the RAIN meditation practice,  which “cultivates a trust in our own basic goodness and by extension helps us recognize and trust that same light shining through all beings.” Brach suggests:
When you are caught in difficult emotions, the RAIN meditation can bring you back to a wise and compassionate presence. Give yourself a few moments to pause and turn inward.
R Recognize what is happening. Mentally whisper whatever you are aware of: fear, anger, hurt, shame.
A Allow. Let whatever you are feeling be here, without judging it, trying to fix it, or ignoring it. Simply pause and “let be.” You might whisper “This too belongs.”
I Investigate. With curiosity, feel into your body—your throat, chest, belly. Discover where the emotions live inside you. You might gently place a hand wherever feelings are strongest. Sense what is needed or being asked for right now. Is it love? Forgiveness? Acceptance? Understanding?
N Nurture. Offer care to feelings of vulnerability, hurt, or fear. Let the touch of your hand be tender, and send whatever message might most offer healing. You can imagine this coming from your own awake heart or from another being (friend, grandparent, spiritual figure, dog) you trust and love.
After the RAIN: Take some moments in stillness, simply sensing the quality of presence that has unfolded. Notice the shift from when you started (an angry or fearful or victimized self) to the compassionate awareness that is always here.
 To learn more about the RAIN meditation, see Tara Brach’s book Radical Compassion: Learning to Love Yourself and Your World with the Practice of RAIN (Viking: 2019). For online RAIN resources, visit tarabrach.com/RAIN.