Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Looking In the Mirror With Love

Hot on the heels of my latest e-newsletter, focusing this month on the primal link between peace and the environment, and how we can "midwife the obvious truth" with one another, comes word of a global conference on Engaging the Other through the power of compassion.

The Common Bond Institute (CBI) holds as its mission, "Cultivating the fundamental elements of a consciousness of peace, and local capacity building...enabling each society to effectively resolve and transform conflicts, satisfy core human needs within their communities, and construct effective, holistic mechanisms for self determination, self esteem, and fundamental human dignity." Wow! Sounds like it will be an extraordinary conference: clear your calendar for 4 days in Michigan at the end of October.

I also received an e-mail from What Shines subscriber Dennis Farley, who found explanation of the Iroquois consensus-creating process illuminating. Dennis shared,

"Nice post. I especially like: ". . . in the tribal council tradition, participants simply talk until there is nothing left but 'the
obvious truth.' It's a bit like boiling sugar down to syrup, or an oyster spinning a pearl from the irritating grain of sand in its shell."

Back in '91 during the 1st Gulf War I was an associate producer for the World Peace Prayer Ceremony in Amenia, NY. We invited the keeper of the pipe (a 5000-year-old pipe, so they say), a Medicine Man from the Sioux Nation, to perform the peace pipe ceremony. Before passing the pipe around the circle (well actually he carried the pipe around the circle, never letting go), he would essentially point it at each person in the circle before moving on, although he held it to my forehead for a moment, before taking it to the person next to me . . . Before taking the pipe around the circle he spoke for a long, long time in what may have seemed like a series of non-sequitors, and I was thinking or meditating on the process, trying to fathom this 'talk.' For awhile I thought he might be channeling each one of us in some random way, shaping each spirit as best he could into stories and paragraphs and words. In that sense it made a kind of sense, but after reading your newsletter it brought it into more focus. Quite unlike the Madison Avenue speak that we have come to take as everyday fare, and substitute for the truth or even an attempt at it approximating the truth, as if it could be found alone in words . . . I mean even the word 'truth', is so relative that it is both meaningless and staring us in the face at the same time. So, thanks for that insight . . . talk until there's nothing left but 'the obvious truth.'


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