“My life is not this steeply sloping hour, in which you see me hurrying. Much stands behind me; I stand before it like a tree; I am only one of my many mouths, and at that, the one that will be still the soonest.
I am the rest between two notes, which are somehow always in discord because Death’s note wants to climb over— but in the dark interval, reconciled, they stay there trembling. And the song goes on, beautiful.”
Religions should be helping us — all of us — to develop an intimate connection, communication and communion with the Divine. I believe that this is attained through the diligent practice of mindfulness in silence and solitude. Attentive observation of nature brings about a greater understanding of the interplay of every single thing and being. We see the roots of the trees intermingling underground, while their branches touch each other. We sense the power of nature both in a subtle breeze and a huge storm. We develop the same great reverence for a little ant and a massive whale. Diligent observation makes us more aware of the immense abundance of this planet, and also makes birth, growth, decay, death, and rebirth — the perennial and unstoppable transformation — very evident, which humbles us, the observers.
Once we have that deep Experience of Oneness — a clear and deep knowing of our inter-relation, interconnection, interdependence, and inter-existence — we are moved to proactively connect, communicate and commune with each other.
Once we go through those mystical awakenings, we experience radical transformations that tame our egos and inspire us to respond to all life’s challenges and difficulties selflessly, with kindness, compassion and love; and with that, the ways we treat one another, our home planet, and the entire Universe change. We begin to see what we weren’t able to see before. We begin to see how fortunate we are, and be grateful for all the gifts that we have received. We begin to see that this planet of ours is a beautiful garden and an amazing playground — a divine gift — that was given to us.
We will, then, feel inspired to slow down to enjoy the beauty of the garden and have fun in this playground. We will soon realize that we have more fun when all others are having fun, and this realization will lead us to enthusiastically share our toys. We will feel inspired to make the garden more beautiful and the playground more enjoyable for all. We will realize the abundance that surrounds us and will organize ourselves to live on this planet in ways through which everyone will be able to have what they need to live dignified and thriving lives, realize their potentials, and give their best contributions to the world. We will be inspired to help one another, realizing that when we help others we are helping our own selves.
And by doing so, we will be bringing Heaven to Earth.
If Heaven is a place where everyone is loved and taken good care of, then we have all that is necessary to manifest Heaven, right here on Earth. We just need to be kind and compassionate. All we need to do is to love and support one another.
Heaven is here, if we want it to be!
We need new ideas for a new world.
Believe, promote, and spread these ideas!
I am very interested in bringing about an enlightened society, a community of evolved, awakened individuals. I believe that in order to get there, we all have to engage in the activity of looking deeply within ourselves, exploring the fundamental questions. That’s one of the reasons why I consider Liberal Education, which gives students an ampler view of the world and prepares them to deal with diversity, complexity and transformation, so important. We have to reflect and gain a better perspective of who we are, what life is, and what we are doing here. I believe that with these insights, we will live less violently and more kindly. We will be more content, happy and peaceful. We certainly can educate and inspire each other to work on our own selves, and create this more just and happier society.
Again, if Heaven is where everyone is loved and taken good care of, then Heaven is here, if we want it to be!
Let’s stay in touch.
Piero Falci is an author and educator who believes that the inner work that leads to personal awakening and transformation is indispensable to create a wholesome world. He is an explorer of the mysteries of life who loves to observe, reflect, and write, and who not only strives to live a life that matters, but also hopes to inspire others to do the same. He is a promoter of peace who believes in advancing the idea that Heaven is here if we want it to be. He teaches mindfulness meditation, mindful living, and the acclaimed Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) program as taught at the Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Healthcare, and Society of the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He organizes Silent Peace Walks.
Take a look at these books at the Peaceful Ways online store
At times it is difficult to remember to think of this world as Heaven, but certainly the practice of looking for and finding beauty in it, even in the midst of the all the challenges, is a grounding and powerful one.
Every single time I write “It’s a beautiful day in Paradise” on one of my blogs, images of the poor, the homeless, the children in war zones and refugee camps come to my mind, and I ask myself, “Can they find Heaven here on Earth?” And then, I pause and send them wishes of the peaceful, plentiful, and fear-free existence they all deserve — we all deserve — as a birthright.
I am engaged in promoting the change of the prevailing ideas in this world. I am working to spread a new paradigm for a new world, hoping that a new way of seeing life will lead to a gentler and more civilized ways of relating to one another. I believe we can bring about an enlightened society. I believe that if more and more people begin to accept these ideas, the desired change for the better will come about easier.
And what ideas are those?
Here they are:
Planet Earth ( and the entire Universe) is our Garden and our Playground. These are gifts that were given to us. We are called to enjoy the beauty of the Garden and have fun in this Playground. We are called to take good care of these gifts, and make the Garden more beautiful and the Playground more enjoyable. We are called to be kind and share our toys with our playmates because this enhances their joy, and their augmented joy enhances ours. We are called to realize that if Heaven is a place where everyone is loved, then Heaven is here if we want it to be; all we have to do is to selflessly — and, in a way, selfishly, because of all we get from it — love one another.”
If you are one of those who is working to make the world a better place for all sentient beings, here’s my request and wishes to you:
Be well, my fellow gardener! Embrace these ideas! Talk about them! Write about them! Spread them! Let’s continue planting the seeds that will change the way we have organized ourselves to live on this planet. Let us continue implementing the changes that will make life better for all on this beautiful home of ours. Be optimistic and spread optimism. Optimists like us bring hope and energize the people we meet. We are like the rising sun. Sending you my blessings and optimistic energies, my fellow lightshiners! It is a great joy to share this journey with you.
The sky-wheel turns us into dawn and fills creation again with color.
Let it be our weakness, this thirst-love for the world, the sun coming up like red-gold being poured!
The potter’s wheel moves, and shapes change quickly
Let the jar I am becoming turn to a wine cup Fill me with your love for being awake.
I’m no hypocrite renunciate. Call me this delicious substance you taste when you create new beauty.
Be strong, Hafiz! Work here inside time, where we fail, catch hold again, and climb.
~ Hafiz, ‘The Hand of Poetry,’
Inayat Khan and Coleman Barks
Khwāja Shams-ud-Dīn Muḥammad Ḥāfeẓ-e Shīrāzī, known by his pen name Hafez (1325/26–1389/90), was a Persian poet who “laud[ed] the joys of love and wine [but] also targeted religious hypocrisy.” His collected works are regarded as a pinnacle of Persian literature and are to be found in the homes of most people in Iran, who learn his poems by heart and still use them as proverbs and sayings. ~ from the Wikipedia article
What are we doing here, on this planet? Why is everybody running around so frantically? What is success, real success?
It seems that we are all very busy, but not with the right things. It seems that we all are like that guy that Bob Dylan once sang about, of whom he said, “he is not busy being born, he is busy dying.”
Realize that creation is perfect. Nature is perfect. Our essence is perfect. We are perfect. Explore. Explore and you will discover. Knock and the door will open. Meditate. The peace we so desperately seek is within us. Look for the essence beyond all intellectual concepts. Find the Divine Essence — the vital sap — beyond the barrage of illusions and misleading mental formations.
Let go of dualistic concepts such as Good and Bad, Gain and Loss, Success and Failure, Happiness and Sadness, Coming and Going, Birth and Death, Being and Non-Being. Liberate yourself from all desires. Free yourself from this intellectual trap, and understand that there is no beginning, and there is no end. Nothing is permanent. Transformation is all that there is. Realize that all is impermanent, and stop craving what is pleasant and averting what is unpleasant. Welcome all guests, as Rumi said. Treat all with equanimity.
“Living In the Material World”
I’m living in the material world Living in the material world
can’t say what I’m doing here But I hope to see much clearer, after living in the material world
I got born into the material world Getting worn out in the material world Use my body like a car, Taking me both near and far Met my friends all in the material world
Met them all there in the material world John and Paul here in the material world Though we started out quite poor We got ‘Richie’ on a tour Got caught up in the material world
From the Spiritual Sky, Such sweet memories have I To the Spiritual Sky How I pray Yes I pray that I won’t get lost or go astray
As I’m fated for the material world Get frustrated in the material world Senses never gratified Only swelling like a tide That could drown me in the material world
From the Spiritual Sky, Such sweet memories have I To the Spiritual Sky How I pray Yes I pray that I won’t get lost or go astray
While I’m living in the material world Not much ‘giving’ in the material world Got a lot of work to do Try to get a message through And get back out of this material world
I’m living in the material world Living in the material world I hope to get out of this place by the Lord Sri Krsna’s grace My salvation from the material world
George Harrison, lyrics of his song Living in the Material World
The title track to George Harrison’s second post-Beatles long-player, 1973’s Living in the Material World, is one of the more profound observations to be made about the somewhat schizophrenic struggle between universal existence and monetary-driven survival. Harrison’s metaphysical approach is immediately evident as he sings “Can’t say what I’m doing here/But I hope to see much clearer/After living in the material world.” He continues a decidedly Eastern-informed philosophy, stating “Use my body like a car/Taking me both near and far,” and later “I hope to get out of this place/By the Lord Sri Krsna’s grace/My salvation from the material world.” There are several references to the Beatles, both lyrically and musically. The lines “Met them all here in the material world/John and Paul here in the material world/Though we started out quite poor/We got ‘Richie’ on a tour/Got caught up in the material world” are fairly self-explanatory, with drummer Ringo Starr ably recalling his best work with the Fab Four during a brief solo. Harrison directly contrasts the physical and spiritual, incorporating the instrumentation of tabla player Zakir Hussein and adding his own sitar runs over the invocation “From the Spiritual Sky/Such sweet memories have I/To the Spiritual Sky/How I pray/Yes I pray/That I won’t get lost/Or go astray.” While certainly delivering a message, “Living in the Material World” is also a testament to the artist’s ability to deliver the goods, with searing albeit brief interaction with saxophonist Jim Horn. Starr’s drumming is superb throughout, providing a solid yet limber backbeat, and pianist Nicky Hopkins likewise shows off his criminally underrated talents. ~ Lindsay Planer
My gift is to assure you, one more time, that you are special, unique and magnificent, and that you are loved.
I want you to consider that if the present moment is all that there is, then you don’t have to go anywhere; you have arrived already. You are a fantastic manifestation of the Great Universal Force, and you are wonderful, just the way you are. Be that, now! Don’t wait for anything else in the future. Just live as if you have arrived at your destination. In all truth, you already have all that fantastic you in you. So be the wonderful you that you already are. Allow the wonderful being that you are to show up in this world. Flow beautifully with the stream of life, and touch many lives in positive ways. Just claim your special place in this world now, and bless the Universe with your magnificent presence! You are special, wonderful, fantastic! Accept that! Live that!
Let go of the past. Let go of all past lives that have played themselves out and do not serve you anymore. Let go of all past lives that do not serve the Highest Good. Let go of all your past personae, all those many characters you have played in the plays of your life, but who aren’t who you are now. Who you were does not determine who you are, and who you are does not necessarily determine who you will be. Your future is not inescapably shaped by your past.
Remember: “You must let the old you die in order to make it possible for the new you to be born… No death, no transformation. No death, no birth.”
“I often wonder why we torture ourselves with visions of the past to perpetuate unjustified feelings of inadequacy. It makes no sense at all, as we have nothing to gain from such feelings. Let’s move on, and not return to a place of pain; it has weighted us down long enough. Let us allow ourselves to be in the now because it really is the only thing we have. Time to let go of the past.“
~ Florencia Clement de Grandprey
Your life is a beautiful adventure, a Hero’s Journey, and your mission is to tame dragons. Don’t act as if you don’t know where they are, because we both know that you know it well. Your dragons are your own fears, and they are inside of you. Don’t avoid them. Don’t hide from them. Walk up straight to them, and look them in the eyes, calmly, peacefully, fearlessly. Just do it! And by doing so, they will be transformed. Domesticate your dragons, and return as a hero.
Live in the present moment! Planning is important and necessary, but you should not spend your time worrying about the future. Make it your priority to enjoy the present moment. Remember that a good life is a collection of good moments, so make the best of this moment, and every moment.
Be here, now, in this moment, with this breath. Remember that there’s nowhere to go; you have arrived already. Wherever you may be, there’s your home. Here, Now, is your home. Meditate and live mindfully. This will produce the balms that will heal your afflictions.
Welcome everything that life is bringing you, good or bad. Meet all visitors with equanimity. Be grateful for everything and give thanks for the extraordinary life you already have. Believe that great, unexpected, wonderful, joyful things are coming your way. Know that you are loved and that there’s nothing to worry about. Remember: You are a child of the Universe, and nothing bad will ever happen to you. Joy is your birthright. Know that you are loved.
Connect with your inner intelligence for guidance. Know who you are and what you came here to do. Know your purpose in life. Don’t wander aimlessly wasting precious time. Live your life with courage, hope, faith, and trust. Be confident that all is good, and everything that is good is coming to you. Be patient. Trust that it will all work out. Remember, “In the end, everything will be OK. If it is not OK, it’s not the end.”
The moment she placed it in my hand she said, “This crystal will remind you of who you are, and what you came here to do.”
You can only be you, so choose to be you. There isn’t another you, and there will never be another you. So, be the only one that you can be. Be the one that only you can be. Say to yourself, “I’m the hero of my own life, and I will live out who I really am.” By doing so you — by being authentic — you will realize your purpose. You will be a blessing to the world. You will be liberating others to live out who they really are. So, shine on like a bright light, and realize that you inspire many people.
Ask yourself, “Who am I? What do I love? What am I passionate about? How shall I live, knowing that I will die? What is life calling me to do? Who do I choose to be? What are my gifts to the family of the Earth? What am I meant to do to contribute to the world in a significant way? What am I grateful for? What are the simple things in life that I find pleasure in?” Rediscover your purpose and follow your bliss!
Look with the eyes of your body, and see with the eyes of your heart. Be gentle with yourself. Receive all the love and peace I am sending you. Godspeed! Namaste ~ Piero
Leave an honorable legacy.
Let go of everything.
~ Thanks to John Shelby Spong, Stephen R. Covey, and Thich Nhat Hanh
Be the one who chooses, practices, gives, and, therefore, receives those good things.
Here’s some good advice on how to live a good life (from the Christian Scriptures)
For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your human nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.
So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires…
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, optimism, gentleness, humility, and self-control.
The Spirit has given us life… let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives.
~ Paul, the apostle, in Galatians 5: 13 – 26
Choose love, Practice love, Give love, Receive love
Choose joy, Practice joy, Give joy, Receive joy
Choose peace, Practice peace, Give peace, Receive peace
Choose patience, Practice patience, Give patience, Receive patience
Choose kindness, Practice kindness, Give kindness, Receive kindness
Choose goodness, Practice goodness, Give goodness, Receive goodness
Choose optimism, Practice optimism, Give optimism, Receive optimism
Choose gentleness, Practice gentleness, Give gentleness, Receive gentleness
Choose humility, Practice humility, Give humility, Receive humility
Choose self-control, Practice self-control, Give self-control, Receive self-control
We are human beings. That is true, but not the entire truth. We are spiritual beings too.
We inhabit this physical world, but, as many sages say, we are not from this world. And that’s the human condition: having to live and operate in one realm — the physical — while belonging to, and not forgetting the other — the spiritual. Our job is to constantly remember who we are, where we came from, what we were brought here to do, and where we will be going to after our passage through this physical dimension is over.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin said that we are not human beings having spiritual experiences, but spiritual beings having human experiences.
As human beings, we are faced with challenges, struggles, disappointments, tragedies, trials, tribulations and death. That’s all part of being human. But, looking at these occurrences as spiritual beings we realize that they do not deserve the importance we attribute to them; what seems to be major in the physical dimension is in fact minor in the eyes of the spirit.
Our job is to constantly remember who we are and what we were brought here to do.
We are eternal spiritual beings having temporary human experiences. We are One Consciousness — which is eternal and integrated — revealing itself through several physical manifestations that are impermanent and separated. We are, at the same time, human and divine, mortal and immortal, separated and united, independent and interdependent, many and one.
We were brought here to remember and experience our oneness. We were brought here to learn to be compassionate and learn to love ourselves and others. We were brought here to learn to receive and give love. We were brought here to learn to be unselfish, kind, patient, gentle, forgiving and generous. We were brought here to learn all these things, and also to teach them. We were brought here to promote understanding, peace and unity. That is what is asked of us.
WE ARE DIVINE, WE ARE ONE
We are all human beings. Our common humanity precedes our nationality, ethnicity, ideology, or any other category. We could say that we are human before we are anything else, but this would be an incomplete statement because our divinity precedes even our humanity. We are divine before we are human. We are divine before we are anything else.
We break away from agony the moment we become conscious of our heavenly nature. This is what brings us ultimate tranquility: the conscience of our divinity. This is what brings us ultimate ecstasy: living out our divinity. This is what brings us ultimate happiness: making others happy. We must come to realize that our fate is linked with that of everyone throughout the Universe. We are all related, and the full realization of our divinity and oneness is one of the greatest insights we might come to, one that raises our consciousness to new heights and forever changes the way we see reality, and live our lives.
~ Excerpt from my book, “Pay Attention!Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness.”
In the Tao Te Ching, Lao Tzu states:
Hope and fear are both phantoms that arise from thinking of the self. When we don’t see the self as self, what do we have to fear? See the world as your self. Have faith in the way things are. Love the world as your self; then you can care for all things. Empty your mind of all thoughts. Let your heart be at peace. Watch the turmoil of beings, but contemplate their return. Each separate being in the universe returns to the common source. Returning to the source is serenity. If you don’t realize the source, you stumble in confusion and sorrow. When you realize where you come from, you naturally become tolerant, disinterested, amused, kindhearted as a grandmother, dignified as a king. Immersed in the wonder of the Tao, you can deal with whatever life brings you, and when death comes, you are ready.
“Whatever it is that occurs at death, I believe it deserves to be called a miracle. The miracle, ironically, is that we don’t die. The cessation of the body is an illusion, and like a magician sweeping aside a curtain, the soul reveals what lies beyond. Mystics have long understood the joyousness of this moment. As the great Persian poet Rumi puts it, “Death is our wedding with eternity.” Bit not only mystics have seen through death’s illusion. The eminent twentieth-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein wrote, “For life in the present there is no death. Death is not an event in life. It is not a fact in the world.”
I believe that death accomplishes the following miraculous things:
It replaces time with timelessness
It stretches the boundaries of space to infinity
It reveals the source of life
It brings a new way of knowing that lies beyond the reach of the five senses
It reveals the underlying intelligence that organizes and sustains creation
In other words, death is a fulfillment of our purpose here on earth. Every culture offers a deep faith that this is true, but ours demands a higher standard of proof. I think that proof exists, but it cannot be physical, since by definition death brings physical life to an end. To see this proof, we must expand the boundaries of consciousness so that we know ourselves better. If you know yourself as someone beyond time and space, your identity will have expanded to include death. The reason that human beings keep seeking fulfillment beyond the stars is that we sense that our own mystery lies there, not here in the realm of physical limitation.”
~ Deepak Chopra, in his book Life After Death, The Burden of Proof
“On the Mindless Menace of Violence” is a speech given by Robert F. Kennedy at the City Club of Cleveland on April 5, 1968, the day after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.
This is a time of shame and sorrow. It is not a day for politics. I have saved this one opportunity – my only event of today – to speak briefly to you about the mindless menace of violence in America which again stains our land and every one of our lives.
It is not the concern of any one race. The victims of the violence are black and white, rich and poor, young and old, famous and unknown. They are, most important of all, human beings whom other human beings loved and needed. No one – no matter where he lives or what he does – can be certain who next will suffer from some senseless act of bloodshed. And yet it goes on and on and on in this country of ours.
Why? What has violence ever accomplished? What has it ever created? No martyr’s cause has ever been stilled by an assassin’s bullet.
No wrongs have ever been righted by riots and civil disorders. A sniper is only a coward, not a hero; and an uncontrolled, or uncontrollable mob is only the voice of madness, not the voice of the people.
Whenever any American’s life is taken by another American unnecessarily – whether it is done in the name of the law or in the defiance of the law, by one man, or by a gang, in cold blood, or in passion, in an attack of violence, or in response to violence – whenever we tear at the fabric of our lives which another man has painfully and clumsily woven for himself and his children, whenever we do this then the whole nation is degraded.
“Among free men,” said Abraham Lincoln, “there can be no successful appeal from the ballot to the bullet; and those who take such appeal are sure to lose their case and pay the costs.”
Yet we seemingly tolerate a rising level of violence that ignores our common humanity and our claims to civilization alike. We calmly accept newspaper reports of civilian slaughter in far off lands. We glorify killing on movie and television screens and call it entertainment. We make it easy for men of all shades of sanity to acquire weapons and ammunition that they desire.
Too often we honor swagger and bluster and the wielders of force; too often we excuse those who are willing to build their own lives on the shattered dreams of other human beings. Some Americans who preach nonviolence abroad fail to practice it here at home. Some who accuse others of rioting and of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.
Some look for scapegoats, others look for conspiracies, but this much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression breeds retaliation, and only a cleansing of our whole society can remove this sickness from our souls.
For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions, indifference and inaction and decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter.
This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man amongst other men. And this too afflicts us all. For when you teach a man to hate and to fear his brother, when you teach that he is a lesser man because of his color, or his beliefs, or the policies that he pursues, when you teach that those who differ from you threaten your freedom, or your job, or your home, or your family, then you also learn to confront others not as fellow citizens but as enemies – to be met not with cooperation but with conquest, to be subjugated and to be mastered.
We learn, at the last, to look at our brothers as aliens, alien men with whom we share a city, but not a community, men bound to us in common dwelling, but not in a common effort. We learn to share only a common fear – only a common desire to retreat from each other – only a common impulse to meet disagreement with force. For all this there are no final answers for those of us who are American citizens.
Yet we know what we must do. It is to achieve true justice among our fellow citizens. The question is now what programs we should seek to enact. The question is whether we can find in our own midst and in our own hearts that leadership of humane purpose that will recognize the terrible truths of our existence.
We must admit the vanity of our false distinctions among men and learn to find our own advancement in the search for the advancement of all. We must admit to ourselves that our own children’s future cannot be built on the misfortunes of anothers. We must recognize that this short life can neither be ennobled or enriched by hatred or by revenge.
Our lives on this planet are too short and the work to be done is too great to let this spirit flourish any longer in this land of ours. Of course we cannot banish it with a program, nor with a resolution. But we can perhaps remember – even if only for a time – that those who live with us are our brothers, that they share with us the same short moment of life, that they seek – as do we – nothing but the chance to live out their lives in purpose and happiness, winning what satisfaction and fulfillment that they can.
Surely this bond of common faith, surely this bond of common goals, can begin to teach us something. Surely we can learn, at the least, to look at those around us as fellow men and surely we can begin to work a little harder to bind up the wounds among us and to become in our hearts brothers and countrymen once again.
Tennyson wrote in Ulysses “…that which we are, we are, One equal temper of heroic hearts, Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
Thank you, very much.
Robert F. Kennedy Speeches
Remarks to the Cleveland City Club, April 5, 1968
This speech was transcribed from a news release version, which is located in the Speech Files of the Robert F. Kennedy Senate Papers at the Kennedy Library. For more information please contact Kennedy.Library@nara.gov or 617.514.1629.
… to tame the savageness of man, and make gentle the life of this world
Senator Robert F. Kennedy Indianapolis, Indiana April 4, 1968
I have some very sad news for all of you, and, I think, sad news for all of our fellow citizens, and people who love peace all over the world, and that is that Martin Luther King was shot and was killed tonight in Memphis, Tennessee.
Martin Luther King dedicated his life to love and to justice between fellow human beings, and he died in the cause of that effort.
In this difficult day, in this difficult time for the United States, it is perhaps well to ask what kind of a nation we are, and what direction we want to move in. For those of you who are black–considering the evidence there evidently is that there were white people who were responsible–you can be filled with bitterness, with hatred, and a desire for revenge. We can move in that direction as a country, in great polarization–black people amongst blacks, and white amongst whites, filled with hatred toward one another.
Or we can make an effort, as Martin Luther King did, to understand and to comprehend, and replace that violence, that stain of bloodshed that has spread across our land, with an effort to understand with compassion and love.
For those of you who are black and are tempted to be filled with hatred and distrust at the injustice of such an act, against all white people, I would only say that I can also feel in my own heart the same kind of feeling. I had a member of my family killed, but he was killed by a white man. But we have to make an effort in the United States, we have to make an effort to understand, to go beyond these rather difficult times.
My favorite poet was Aeschylus. He once wrote: “In our sleep, pain which cannot forget falls drop by drop upon the heart until, in our own despair, against our will, comes wisdom through the awful grace of God.”
What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but it is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country, whether they be white or whether they be black.
So I shall ask you tonight to return home, to say a prayer for the family of Martin Luther King, but more importantly to say a prayer for our own country, which all of us love–a prayer for understanding and that compassion of which I spoke.
We can do well in this country. We will have difficult times; we’ve had difficult times in the past; we will have difficult times in the future. It is not the end of violence; it is not the end of lawlessness; it is not the end of disorder.
But the vast majority of white people and the vast majority of black people in this country want to live together, want to improve the quality of our life, and want justice for all human beings who abide in our land.
Let us dedicate ourselves to what the Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man, and make gentle the life of this world.
Let us dedicate ourselves to that, and say a prayer for our country and for our people.
Thank you, very much.
There’s something very mysterious about life and its connections and coincidences.
I came back to this blog post today because, while reading the final chapter of “Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon,” I was brought back to the speech that Bobby delivered that night: “What we need in the United States is not division; what we need in the United States is not hatred; what we need in the United States is not violence or lawlessness; but it is love and wisdom, and compassion toward one another, and a feeling of justice toward those who still suffer within our country”… Once again, Bobby’s words touched me deeply, especially in these times when so many in our country and around the world, including myself, are trying to make sense of what the election of a man with such questionable character as Mr. Trump represents.
I felt inspired to create an image combining a photo of Bobby and a condensed version of his sayings, in order to spread his conciliatory and compassionate message that I believe is very important for us to reflect on during these turbulent times.
Today, when I looked again at the picture of the monument in Indianapolis, and watched the last frames of the video contained in this post, I noticed Bobby and Martin stretching out their hands, and what came to my mind in that moment was a line included in the beautiful farewell message Leonard Cohen, who unfortunately and coincidentally died five days ago, wrote to Marianne when she was dying: “Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine.” Again, I reflect on the fact that only sixty-three days after Martin’s assassination, Bobby himself was assassinated.
Here’s Leonard’s message to Marianne in its entirety:
“Well Marianne, it’s come to this time when we are really so old and our bodies are falling apart and I think I will follow you very soon. Know that I am so close behind you that if you stretch out your hand, I think you can reach mine. And you know that I’ve always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything more about that because you know all about that. But now, I just want to wish you a very good journey. Goodbye old friend. Endless love, see you down the road.” ~ Leonard Cohen
Leonard’s message was made known to me by my son, Mateus, yesterday. I consider this fact an interesting synchronicity. The other interesting coincidence is that my son, Pedro, recently brought Larry Tye, the author of the book mentioned here, to speak at Boston University. Here’s a photo of Pedro and Larry:
What do I think?
I truly believe that if we dedicate ourselves to work on our own selves to expand our hearts and minds, we will experience the epiphany of oneness, and realize that we can organize ourselves to live in this world in immensely gentler ways, without so many divisions and conflicts, creating a world where everyone can live thriving and dignified lives. I know that once we experience this inner transformation and grow in selflessness, sayings such as, “We are all in this together. From a distance there are no borders. United we (all of us) stand,” gain much deeper and expanded meanings. If we forsake violence completely and practice compassion and love wholeheartedly, I am convinced that we can bring Heaven to Earth. The truth, for me, is that Heaven is here, if we want it to be.
I believe that our political leaders are a reflection of who we are, and if we want different politicians, we need to change. I invite you to read my ideas on New Political Leadership for a New World.
I also believe that one of the most productive things we can do to change our less-than-perfect political system is to engage in personal inner work. Please, don’t hastily prejudge and discard this idea. I encourage you to take the time to read A Powerful Form of Activism.