ASK, THEN LISTEN... LISTEN, THEN ACT.
Words have hidden worlds in them. So much held in so little space, just waiting to be excavated and brought to light. Words cross barriers, break boundaries, make the unknown intimate.
Both Shalom and Salaam mean peace. But they mean so much more. This peace is not simply the absence of war, but the presence of Oneness. It isn’t just tolerating that which we disagree with. It’s an invitation for our whole self to live in the light and be welcomed. Every. Single. Bit. The dark AND the light parts of ourselves. To bear witness to the whole. It is reveling in our full presence, our unabridged complete selves. Delighting in every inch of what it means to be human. A puzzle that’s never complete without each and every individual piece.
The all is one and the one is all.
In English... Peace. In Hebrew... Shalom. In Arabic... Salaam. As-Salaam, The Peace, is one of 99 names for God in Islam.
Shalom and Salaam are used both as a greeting and to bid farewell. “Peace” to YOU..all of you...and your arrival. “Peace” to YOU as you take leave. I invite and greet the fullness of you from the fullness of me. A warm invitation to bring your whole self to every interaction. Doesn’t that feel like a sigh of relief? To bring ALL of you to the table. To be welcomed exactly as you are without fear or worry of being turned away. Doesn’t that feel like weight melting off your shoulders?
ISN’T THAT WHAT UNCONDITIONAL LOVE LOOKS LIKE?
The fabric of our world is fundamentally interconnected. Neil deGrasse Tyson, American astrophysicist says, “The atoms of our bodies are traceable to stars that manufactured them in their cores and exploded these enriched ingredients across our galaxy, billions of years ago. For this reason, we are biologically connected to every other living thing in the world. We are chemically connected to all molecules on Earth. And we are atomically connected to all atoms in the universe. We are not figuratively, but literally stardust.” We forget that we breathe the same air that Einstein, Cleopatra, Jesus, Woolly Mammoths, and Dinosaurs breathed.
We've created a culture of separation by separating ourselves from nature, from each other, and buying into competition over cooperation. Competition may help us survive to a point, but it's only in cooperation that we thrive. In cooperation, in unity, we have profound untapped influence. When mass consciousness becomes highly focused, it physically alters matter. When the Towers fell on September 11, 2001, random number generators all over the world shifted out of randomness. Studies linking mass meditation to lowering crime are coming to light. Science is only beginning to see and study the effects of mass consciousness. We are only scratching the surface of what is possible when we cooperate.
Have you ever felt the energy of a crowd at a sports game? When your team scores and the crowd lights up in unison? It’s electrifying and intoxicating. You feel like you are a part of something bigger than yourself. Many notes creating a harmony. As different as you may be from the person across from you, in that moment you are One. "We are because we belong," says Desmond Tutu.
We are living in a time of many varied notes, all wanting to have our voice heard. But shouting over each other is exhausting and keeps us separate, when we all have the desire to feel like we are a part of something. Like we belong. Like our whole self is welcome. In peace.
So, I invite you into a moment of wholeness. With yourself. With me. With each other. Let’s tap into that feeling of being unified with something larger than ourselves. Let's play with how our individual consciousness affects ourselves AND the whole.
I invite you to join me in a moment of prayer. To pray simply means to ask. Ask a question. Let’s collectively take a moment to ask… our god, our universe, ourselves...what is on our hearts. To bring our whole self to this inquiry. To ask earnestly.
And then listen. Not to the voices of our politics, our religion, our parents, our friends, or anyone else outside ourselves. Listen to that inner voice. The one we cover over with all the distractions of daily life. Listen with our complete self. And nothing more.
WHAT IS IT YOU HEAR?
I invite you to join me in a collective moment of peace and prayer on Wednesday, February 8 at 12 noon EST. Find your time zone here. You may do this on your own, or rally a group of friends, colleagues, family, or even subway riders to join you.
Take 5 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour, whatever you like. All that is required is to bring your whole self to this prayer. Pray alongside your fellow humans. As one.
Ask, then Listen... Listen, then Act.
If you’d like a reminder the day of, please enter your info below and I’ll give you a nudge.
Shalom. Salaam. Peace.