Last night in Foundations class we were talking about the spiritual practices of Oneness and Forgiveness. Very easy concepts to understand and often difficult to apply to our lives. Starting a discussion seemed impossible. Then one man courageously said that the topics were difficult to talk about. His courageous disclosure gave the others permission to speak about their difficulties seeing oneness everywhere and in forgiving (especially themselves.) That kind of sharing is sacred and profound. Voices hushed and people spoke honestly about their experiences.
Each student was asked to bring a news story, one positive and one negative. then we read them and chose one about a couple who abandoned their three children in the woods and were later arrested for possession of crystal meth. The children , who like Hansel and Gretel, found their way out of the woods safely, were placed in protective custody. were found a couple of hours later. We then looked at how God showed up as all the characters in the story. The last part of the exercise was to brainstorm ways that this story could be something that was the best thing for our world. Ideas such as the children, now living in loving, safe homes, could become advocates for drug abstinence. the couple could get sober in the penitentiary and change their ways forever advocating better choices. Then we looked at our own biases and how they influenced our interpretation of the story. It was a great exercise which helped people see when they are judgmental about something it narrows their perception.
One of the women, who has worked with the Zen Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hahn, was moved by the loving, respectful energy in the room. She said our process reminded her of being in a similar circle with him.
When we truly see God everywhere and in everyone, our lives are lived in peace.
The following is his poem, entitled, “Call Me By My True Names.”