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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Peace at the Center

In the Tempest

All tempest has,
like a navel,
a hole in the middle,
through which
a gull can fly,
in silence.”
Anonymous 14th Century Japanese

This has been a particularly violent tornado season in the Mid-West. Every night on the news, we see another devastated family picking through the rubble of their demolished home. There is a universal theme in what they say, “We've lost everything, but we're grateful to be alive; no one was hurt.” Then, they go back to picking up the few things they find that are still in one piece.

There is an especially cogent lesson in what these people say. They've lost everything and what they feel is gratitude to be alive. Clearly, it is not what we possess that gives us a happy heart. It is life—it is the gift of another day. Once the storm has passed, even if all material possessions are lost, we have life, and therefore, we have hope.

In the poem, a lone gull flies through the eye of the storm in silence. In the middle of a tempest, regardless of what that storm is in our lives, there is peace to be found in the middle of it, and life to be lived once it has passed. We find that place of peace by the practice of gratitude.

                                                                In the Spirit,

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