February 1, 2009


Jesus said, in his Sermon on the Mount, “Blessed are the Peacemakers.” It is also
written that his first word spoken to the disciples after his resurrection was,
“Shalom.” The Hebrew greeting translates to “Peace be with you.” One of Christ’
s last expressions was, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as
the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be
afraid.” (John 14:27)

In today’s challenging world, how do we find that peace? What exactly is peace?
Would we know it, even if we found it? And ultimately, how do we become

The Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni said, "Peace comes from within.  
Do not seek it without." Peace is tranquility, serenity, freedom from distraction.
Even in the midst of challenging outward situations, one can maintain inner
peace. The key is in realizing our inner union with the Creator. Once we
establish this spiritual harmony, there comes the knowledge that “All things
work together for good” (Romans 8:28). In the world, there is indeed suffering
and strife. Peace does not mean ignoring these issues. A peacemaker is one who
recognizes unrest, sees suffering, and seeks to bring harmony to all beings and to
every situation. Jesus, in his blessing above, goes on to say, “Blessed are the
Peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). The word
“sons” in this passage, does not refer to gender. In the Greek, it implies someone
who so shares the qualities of another that the distinctions between the two
become indiscernible. Unlike the other Beatitudes which promise that we will
inherit the earth, see God, or be comforted, this one states something even
greater. The peacemaker actually becomes like God. United with God. This is the
highest blessing of all.

Let us seek first to know the Creator. Go within, meditate, and discover the One
who dwells in the very center of your self. Receive and be filled with the “peace
that passes all understanding” (Philippians 4:7). It is a gift freely given, and like a
treasure, is waiting to be uncovered. Once found, let us go out into the world
and share our peace. At every opportunity, let us seek to end the suffering of all
sentient beings, speak kind words, and spread reconciliation. The Buddhist Pure
Land and the Christian Kingdom of Heaven are not some far away realms to be
experienced only after death. They are here now. Eternity, by its very nature, is
present in all time. The Pure One, being omnipresent, is within all life. Find the
peace within, and you will radiate peace to all creation.

Further Suggested Readings:
Peace is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh
Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work
Finding Deep Joy by Robert Ellwood
(See Bookstore link above for more….)

March 1, 2009


In order to find union with the Creator, one should seek inwardly. Jesus said,
"The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." Take time to turn within, renouncing
outward activity. Be still. God is present, but we are distracted.

The temple of the Lord is in your innermost core. With faith, enter the temple.
There is a practice to assist you with this inner journey. The practice is simple,
however not easy. The mind yearns for activity. Thoughts will arise and distract
you from peace. Just know that they will pass. Gently enter the heart; relax the
mind. Find a comfortable position in a place free from outward distraction. Close
your eyes. Offer a simple prayer, "Lord, I enter your temple within my center. I
ask that you meet me here. Reveal yourself. I wait quietly." Then, sit silently,
offering your love and devotion. Know that the Lord is present. The grace of the
Creator is vast. He wishes to be with you. If distracting thoughts arise, do not be
dismayed. Simply return to the inner temple and let all thoughts gently fade.
With every breath, breathe in the Spirit of God. Become one with the Lord as the
breath flows into every cell of your body. The Bhagavad Gita says, "Still your
mind in me, still yourself in me, and without a doubt you shall be united with
me, Lord of Love, dwelling in your heart." Feel the joy of this union. Now simply
rest in this presence.

Experience this practice each day. Once in the morning before you begin the day's
activities, and once in the evening as you give thanks for the day. You do not
need to place a set time on each session. The Lord is free of time, eternal. You are
entering into this freedom. In the beginning, your meditation may be just a few
minutes. Do what is comfortable. Any small amount of time with God is a great
blessing. As you practice more and more, you will find that you will go deeper
and lose all track of time. Your spirit will enter into the bliss of eternity. This is
the Kingdom of Heaven.

With continued practice, this Kingdom will become apparent in all of your life.
You will see God in everything. In the grand mountain, there is the Lord. In the
tiny sparrow, there is the Lord. In all activity as well. In the taste of the bread, in
the sound of the ocean, there is the Lord. See the mother embracing her child.
There is the Lord. Even in pain, there also is the Lord. If you touch a hot fire, the
Lord is present. You will see the beauty of all things working together in God's
plan for life, for eternity. Every moment is perfect. Be still and know.

Such is the blissful union which can be found through the practice of meditation.

Further Suggested Reading:
Light Within: Meditation as Pure Prayer by Laurence Freeman
Meditation: A Simple Eight Point Program by Eknath Easwaran
(see the Bookstore Link above for more)

APRIL 7, 2009


Rejoice and be glad, for you are eternal. Existing within creation, we are
currently limited by certain universal laws, such as those of time and space. The
very nature of time moving forward sets up the conditions producing change.
However, the Creator is perfect, unchanging. In the book of Malachi we read, "I
am the Lord, I change not.” Hindus also regard Brahman as unchanging,
infinite, immanent, and transcendent. God is greater than the universe, and
therefore not limited by its laws. Beyond time and space, God exists in eternity.

This is not to say that the Creator is not fully involved in creation. In the
Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10 we find, "I pervade and support the entire universe by
a very small fraction of My divine power." God’s essence is the formative
substance of all. The Creator’s breath is the animating force of all life. The
Hebrew word for breath,
neshamah, also means spirit and life. In Genesis, it is
revealed that God breathed the breath of life (
neshamah) into man which gave him
life. Here, we find our mystical union with the Creator. The spirit of God is
within us all. And yet, most of us do not realize this fully because we are limited
maya, the veil of illusion between creation and eternity.

In life, within God’s created universe, we experience beauty, love, and wonder.
Due to the limitations of time and space, we also experience sorrow and pain. We
are distracted by things like work, entertainment, or health. We sometimes worry
about the past or fear the future. We toil and strive. But, if we understand the
true nature of eternity, life becomes pure bliss. Eternity is always existent.
Eternity is now. We are currently in eternity. (Pause for a moment and
contemplate the last sentence, for if you entirely grasp it, your life will be

Do not fear anything. Hunger, lack of money, loss of love, or physical pain are
all like tiny, temporary molecules in the context of the vastness of eternity.
Nothing is lost in eternity. All will be unified into perfection. All is forever
present. When we pass from the limitations of this life, we will find that all things
have worked together for perfect good in the scope of eternity.

All is One.

Further Suggested Reading:
The Book of II Corinthians, verses 4:16-18
Finding Our True Home, Living in the Pure Land - Thich Nhat Hanh
Whispers from Eternity - Paramahansa Yogananda
(See the Bookstore link above for more)

MAY 9, 2009


Spiritual treasures are usually hidden. We must want to find them. We must dig
deep. If we chose to search for them with right motives, we will uncover priceless
gifts. The Creator has set up a wonderful spiritual treasure hunt for those who
seek with a pure heart. Isaiah 45:3 says, "And I will give thee hidden treasures,
and the concealed riches of secret places: that thou mayest know that I am the
Lord who call thee by thy name." Individuals who are given “eyes to see” or
“ears to hear” may discover these secret truths. The hidden mysteries are actually
clues designed to shine light upon the path that leads toward transcendence.
Ultimately, we go beyond the mundane, material world into union with the One
who left the clues for us in the first place. The beauty is that there are an infinite
number of clues to be discovered. Each seeker comes across treasures that lead
them along their own journey, their own path. One must first prepare his or
herself by submitting wholly to the will of the Creator. Come unto God as a little
child, full of wonder. Be humble, open. Are you called to be a seeker? Do your
best to do the will of God. Be kind, pure, virtuous. When you are ready, the
Spirit will reveal great things.

Those who seek with vain intellect, or long for worldly gain, rarely find these
mysterious treasures. The spiritual riches are right there before them, but they
cannot see. They are distracted and misguided. Perhaps their perception is even
purposefully blocked by the Spirit because they are not ready. In Matthew 6:19-
21, we read, "Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and
rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal; but lay up for yourselves
treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do
not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also."
Be willing to give up all in order to ultimately receive the Kingdom of Heaven.

Heavenly treasures are powerful, and like the basic fabric of the material universe,
the potent atom, can only be perceived with the right tools. Whereas one needs a
microscope to see the atom, to perceive concealed spiritual mysteries the tools
necessary are prayer, scripture, and meditation:

1. First, enter into prayer and ask the Lord of all Creation to open your heart.
Ask that you would be forgiven for anything that you have done to prevent the
revealing of God’s treasures. Pray that you might be guided to understand the
truth, to experience the presence of the Kingdom of Heaven, to be enlightened.
Dedicate all that you will receive to the illumination of all sentient beings, that all
might share your blessing.

2. Next, dig deeply into the scriptures. Listen to the texts. Study diligently, but
take time to reflect upon what the words are speaking to your heart. Compare
texts. Look up the original meanings of words. See what others have said about
the passages. Read not only from the scriptures of your own religious faith, but
supplement with the books and manuscripts of other religions. There is much to
be gained by considering different viewpoints. When you return to your own
texts, you will see things in a new light. Read the passages again and allow the
words to sink deeper and reveal their truths.

3. Finally, enter into the inward chamber of the heart. Like a secret cave, the
innermost center contains great treasures awaiting discovery. Enter into that
cave and sit quietly in meditation. This is your own private place of refuge and
peace. Close your eyes. Allow all thoughts and distractions to fade away. Breathe
slowly, deeply. Simply be in the presence of God. Do not contemplate your
previous spiritual studies or readings. No need to strive for great revelations
during the meditation session. If you do, they probably will not come. Just rest
in the warmth and light of the One Spirit. Let everything go. This is the time for
you to experience pure union with God. Your spirit will grow in wisdom and
understanding, which you may not even realize until later in your waking life.
Trust. Receive.

Set aside time for these three steps each day. Purify your heart. May the Holy
Spirit fill you with illumination which will cast light upon great mysteries so
that you may discern them. The Lord says, “You will seek me and find me, when
you seek me with all your heart.” Jeremiah 29:13. Watch for clues in your daily
life. For if you seek attentively, they will come. They may be in the comment of a
friend, in something you read, an object or piece of art that catches your eye, or
in the still small voice that you hear in nature.

There is nothing that is more worthy of your effort and devotion than to seek
union with God. With faith, through grace, become a divine treasure hunter.
The treasures will lead you to God. Mysteries will be revealed, guiding you to the
Pure Land, the Kingdom of Heaven. When, after preparation and searching,
humbly stepping forward in faith, you at last reach this beautiful place, you will
have entered into the abode of God.

Further Suggested Reading:
Finding Our True Home by Thich Nhat Hanh
Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ by Jean Guyon
Finding Deep Joy by Robert Ellwood

JUNE 21, 2009


The Golden Rule, found in some form in all the major religious traditions, says,
“Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This is the essence of
kindness and compassion. The Buddha was once asked by his disciple, Ananda,"
Would it be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is
a part of our practice?" To which the Buddha replied, "No. It would not be true
to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and compassion is
part of our
practice. It would be true to say that the cultivation of loving kindness and
compassion is
all of our practice." For Christians, the life and supreme sacrifice of
Jesus Christ exemplifies the ultimate in compassion. Jesus relinquished his basic
human desire to live, in order that all may have life. In the Hindu tradition, the
concept of ahimsa, or non-violence toward all sentient beings, relates a similar
core value. Gandhi believed that, “When the practice of ahimsa becomes
universal, God will reign on earth as he does in heaven.”

Expressing kindness and compassion toward other beings is a blessing for
others, and also for ourselves. The Dalai Lama said, “If you want others to be
happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion."
Through understanding, helping, and comforting living beings, we form a union
with all life, and with the Creator.

There are three steps that can be practiced each day in order to share kindness
and compassion:

1. Realize that everyone has some suffering in their lives. Take care when you
judge the actions of others. They may be afraid or hurt in some way that causes
them to act in a seemingly unpleasant manner.

2. Do whatever you can to relieve the suffering of others. A kind word or
compliment, a shared meal, a ride home, a prayer for another, even a caring
smile…seek some small thing that you can do in each interaction with others
throughout your day.

3. Practice ahimsa by not creating any additional suffering. Do not use violence
in action or speech toward any sentient being. Use peaceful means. You might
practice by refusing to engage in a conversation that disparages another,
carefully putting a spider out of doors instead of killing it, letting go of
resentment, or by driving your car in a way that is considerate to other drivers.
In every circumstance ask yourself, “How can I express peace in this moment?”

Each of us has the power to change the lives of others and make the world a
better place. This is a supreme responsibility and also a great gift.

Further Suggested Reading:
Taking the Bodhisattva Vow by Bokar Rinpoche
Gandhi, An Autobiography by Mohandas Gandhi
Peace Pilgrim, Her Life and Work
(See the Bookstore link above for more)

Content copyright © 2009 House of Peace.
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