Thich Nhat Hahn, Vietnamese Buddhist monk teaches us to seek peace in the midst of chaos. Many circumstances and emotional reactions threaten our peace. Tay, as he is called, teaches us to take those things that cause us to feel the opposite of peace - fear, anger, confusion - and hold them close. Wrap them in swaddling cloth, if you will. In embracing that which disturbs us, we conciously hold it in love. As we hold it close, we give silent acceptance of our fear based feelings. We transform the negative not by avoiding it or fighting against it but by holding it close and transcending it. Negative will not survive in an atmosphere of love and acceptance. In the swaddling cloth, the baby Jesus sleeps in safety and peace. In the same loving embrace, peace is born within us.
This year - 2015 - has been frightening in many ways, economically, politically, racially, religiously. It often seems that retaliation is the most logical response. In the short term, that may feel good. But when we take the long view, we know that there is another way. The baby Jesus, born as a human child was one of the greatest teachers of all time. He embodied another way, the Christ way, and taught radical living. "Love your enemy, do good to those who hate you. The kindgom of God is within you." He owned nothing, he angered church officials, he hung out with rejected men and women, he treasured the children. He was the radical Way. And he showed all of us how to embrace the negative, wrap it in swaddling cloth, hold it close in love, transcend it.
As this passing year departs, I have a challenge and an opportunity for myself and for you. There is much negativity in our world, much for us to embrace in love. Wrap it gently and hold it close. Free it from within your mind and your heart. Greet the new year in the Christ spirit of love. Release the old, bring in the new!
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