Submitted by Carol Hemrich
On a brisk early winter Sunday afternoon, Nov 30th 2014, some sixty Gabriolans met to listen, sing, and chant to songs, music and words reflecting on the meaning and importance of inner peace. The hour flowed from contemplation to song, silence to ceremony, through Leah’s hauntingly beautiful musical intervals to readings from the ages.
From the opening piece, Leah’s rendition of “Put peace in each other’s hands”, to the chanting “may be an instrument of peace”, and “the Dove of Peace” to the concluding “We let the peace wash over us” we traveled gently together, sharing the journey. Members of the Gabriola Women’s choir from their places throughout the audience richly contributed to the singing and chanting.
Pandit Tejomaya sang, played the sitar and centered us with spoken words, reassuring us that “all the manifest world has an innate desire for peace” and that the natural state is beautiful mindedness. He reminded us that “we cannot bring what we do not possess; if we wish for peace we must be the change we wish to see”. We can do this be eliminating that which is not peace and culturing that which is.
In the Peace Flower ritual, fresh flower petals were taken from red and yellow bowls that were passed from hand to hand and placed in the water surrounding a burning white pillar candle. We softly chanted, took the gentle petals, placed them in the water and shared the bowls of flowers while moving in a flow to the centre and back out.
Hand in hand we chanted the hour to a warm and satisfying end, really feeling we “put peace in each other’s hands”.
“The peace we seek cannot be our personal possession. We need to find an inner peace which makes it possible for us to become one with those who suffer, and to do something to help our brothers and sisters, which is to say, ourselves….”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh