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Peaceful Service – Practices of Peace

Snowy Stream

On New Year’s Eve hundreds of thousands of people around the world will be welcoming in the new calendar of possibilities with Peace Dancing.

Peace Dancing is similar to folk dancing but it is done to music which is rhythmically chanting a prayer or meditation phrase.  I have also seen so very loud and high energy peace dancing but my practice has centered on the calming, deliberate movement process.

I like the group experience and the inter-generational experience.  I like singing with the movement – disconnecting and connecting around the circle’s path.

I do not like the Whirling Dervish dances as they overwhelm me.

I started doing Peace Dancing rather than going to parties during the millennium year and have just barely touched base with all its long history and significance.  I do know that it makes me feel as though my energy is connected to so many and that I personally feel peaceful.

Our spiritual community ends its weekly celebrations with peace dancing.

In my reading this week I discovered this story – another Service to Peace:

Stopping at high noon for a moment of reflection is a spontaneous gesture of human consciousness.  I remember when Tetsugen Glassman Sensei was being ordained the Abbot of Riverside Zendo in New York.  It was a grand affair.  Zen teachers from all over the country were gathered together to celebrate the event, with candles and incense and white chrysanthemums and black and gold brocade garments.  In the middle of this solemn celebration, the beeper on somebody’s wristwatch suddenly went off.  Everybody was surreptitiously looking around to find the poor guy to whom this had happened, because generally you are not even supposed to wear a wristwatch in the Zendo.  To everybody’s surprise, the new Abbot himself interrupted the ceremony and said, “This was my wristwatch, and it was not a mistake.  I have made a vow that regardless of what I am doing; I will interrupt it at noon and will think thoughts of peace.” And then he invited everyone there to think thoughts of peace for a world that needs it.
-Brother David Steindl-Rast, In the Music of Silence

Do you have a peace ritual or practice?  Can you find a moment of peace? How do you celebrate the coming of the new calendar year?

Looking forward to your ideas and thoughts.

22 Responses to “Peaceful Service – Practices of Peace”

  1. J.D. Meier Says:

    I’ve never heard of peace dancing but I like your introduction and I’m always interested in learning new things.
    .-= J.D. Meier´s last blog ..8 Ways to Be Heroic =-.

  2. BK Says:

    This idea of a peace dance is new and interesting. Peace is so important and I have created a recent post on peace. I believe that peace needs to start from each individual from within them. Only when they are at peace with themselves can they be at peace with the world.
    .-= BK´s last blog ..Peace Starts from Within Us =-.

  3. Mark Says:

    This is truly a wonderful story and a gentle reminder that we all must make time for peace! Thank-you!
    .-= Mark´s last blog ..No Room At The Inn =-.

  4. Hilary Says:

    Hi Patricia .. that’s a lovely story – a good reminder to incorporate some time for quiet reflection into our lives, and to think of peace ..

    I had never heard of peace dancing and it sounds a wonderful uplifting joining together of those present to send peace out into the world.

    Thanks – have a truly blessed and peaceful seasonal time ..
    Love Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories
    .-= Hilary´s last blog ..Kissing under the Mistletoe – how did it all begin? and Asterix! =-.

  5. Patricia Says:

    JD,
    I had not heard about Peace Dancing either, but it is a rather old form of prayer….Sufi Dancing is part of it’s history….which I had heard of and whirling dervish dancing is very ancient. One of the members of our community teaches Peace Dancing at Evergreen State College and I know her group has been teaching all over the state.

    BK
    I too believe that peace starts within…I have seen that inner peace within a person assist another in coming to peace – very powerful. I am looking forward to reading your ideas.

    Mark,
    You are welcome and thank you for stopping by. One of the Advent Candles in the wreath is for peace – just saying the word conjures up feelings of peacefulness for me.

    Hilary,
    Many blessing of the season for you too…I know there are people Peace Dancing in the UK….many Sufi Dancers….I think of Findhorn, which I was hoping to see on my trip but did not…
    Peace to you….and yours.

  6. Talon Says:

    How neat. I’ve never heard of Peace Dancing – but a collective energy has a lot of power and must be a wonderful experience.

    When I need to feel peaceful, I head outdoors to the garden. It centres me no matter the season.
    .-= Talon´s last blog ..Continuum =-.

  7. Jannie Funster Says:

    Do you have a peace ritual or practice?

    Yes, communing with trees.

    Can you find a moment of peace?

    Yes, by hugging someone.
    .-= Jannie Funster´s last blog ..With Not A Dry Parental Eye In The House =-.

  8. Patricia Says:

    Talon,
    I find it a very powerful experience – collective power.

    Jannie,
    There is a Yoga stance called the TREE…when I was working on ridding myself of Migraine Headaches I was taught about doing the tree pose so that the sole of your raised foot did not rest on your inner straight leg, but instead rested on the trunk of a tree and one arm wrapped around the tree….the first time I did this not only was the headache gone, but I got a huge jolt of energy from the tree…your comments reminded me of that experience
    Thank you

  9. vered | blogger for hire Says:

    I’ve never heard of peace dancing. What a beautiful ritual.
    .-= vered | blogger for hire´s last blog ..Twitter: Where Do You Draw The Line of Privacy? =-.

  10. Laura Hegfield Says:

    Patricia I love the story you shared about the Abbot at the Zendo. I used to go to a Universal Dances of Peace group years ago when we lived in PA…I would bring my kids with (really little back then) and they enjoyed it so much too. I don’t know if this is the same thing you are talking about, but it sounds pretty similar if it isn’t. I don’t have a specific end of year ritual, but I do say a traditional Jewish prayer of gratitude every morning, first thing before I even open my eyes (not so traditional) but I do it with my eyes closed, just noticing my breath-my soul and allowing a feeling of thanks to flow over me and through me…this brings me peace each day that is passed on to others through interactions through out the day.

    gentle steps,
    Laura
    .-= Laura Hegfield´s last blog ..Darkness Provides =-.

  11. Evita Says:

    Sorry for sounding like a broken record, but I have never heard of peace dancing either. It sounds so nice!

    As for me, no ritual of any kind that I can think of, just gratitude each day for what it is and more of the same. I want to continue to free myself from time and calendars, etc…. Yes, the new year is a new year, but we also have the choice to give it as much or as little significance as we want.

    I know many people “mess up” their resolutions in January for example and than just abandon making changes for a better life, state, etc…for the rest of the year, as if it is all over now. But each day we have a chance to recreate ourselves anew :)
    .-= Evita´s last blog ..Review: The Green Beaver Company – Frosty Mint Natural Toothpaste =-.

  12. Patricia Says:

    Vered,
    It is a lovely ritual and I am so happy that someone in my church teaches Sufi Dancing and writes her own…very peaceful and energizing. We even have it at the Community Center on Thursday nights and one school teaches children who would like to do it.

    Evita,
    everyday we can recreate ourselves a new….the dancing is a lovely form of prayer….and ritual….
    gratitude is a huge ritual.

    We also have a group here in town called WOMEN in BLACK. They stand in silence, all dressed in black on the busiest street corner every Friday afternoon during peak traffic. They are there for PEACE and to remind us of all the children who have died in war….it is an impressively huge gathering of women for 2 hours every week.

    I need reminders…to be gratefully aware

  13. patricia Says:

    Laura,
    Thank you for coming on by and welcome. Yes, I have also heard it called Universal Dances of Peace, we just call it Peace Dancing here…and my children loved to go when small and when teens – they found it personally settle them and helped them to be peaceful.

    I love those little rituals too…sometimes I just think, what if everyone radiated peace all at the same moment….would that not be amazing?

    Thank you for sharing.

  14. Barbara Swafford Says:

    Hi Patricia,

    Like the others who commented before me, I hadn’t heard of peace dancing either. It sounds fascinating. Plus, what a great way to usher in the new year.

    Merry Christmas Patricia! And Happy 2010!
    .-= Barbara Swafford´s last blog ..Happy Holidays To You & Yours =-.

  15. Walter Says:

    I’m very impressed at knowing such a noble ritual as Peace Dancing. We don’t have that practice in my country but I’m sure we have other types of celebration that intends good will. :-)

  16. Jenn Z Says:

    Patricia, I thoroughly soaked up this delightful and refreshing blog! :) I love the new content you bring! I have been thinking on dancing themes lately and this seems right where I am at and it feels so right! 😉 Thank you for sharing your wisdom and light! luv Jenn
    .-= Jenn Z´s last blog ..Feeling Stuck and Learning to Love Imperfection: =-.

  17. Patricia Says:

    Barbara,
    It is such a perfect way for me to begin the new year….I am thinking about going to the Thursday evening gatherings at the Community Center – weekly.

    Walter,
    I do not know which country you are living in, but I have done Peace Dancing or Dances of Universal Peace in Korea, Scotland, Canada and USA….I know one of my family members did them at the millenium in Australia…Now I am thinking I should look them up on line and see where they are taught…a truly peaceful experience.

    Jenn Z,
    Thank you Jenn for coming on by and I am glad I could refresh – Thank you. I am enjoying reading your nice posts too…good ideas

  18. Davina Says:

    Hi Patricia.
    I too, had not heard of peace dancing before. I love to dance and love watching dancing; especially a large group. You’ve reminded me of a tap dance routine (think it was the finale of Mamma Mia). A huge group of dancers on stage in costume, all tap dancing. The sound was incredible and the rhythm. The dancers all dancing enthusiastically, in unison with exhuberant expressions on their faces. I got all choked up; couldn’t help it. It really moved me.

    Lately, heh, heh… letting myself sleep in is my peace ritual. Also, taking long walks when the weather is fair.
    .-= Davina´s last blog ..Haiku, Take Me Home =-.

  19. Mama Zen Says:

    I love the idea of peace dancing!
    .-= Mama Zen´s last blog ..A Mammoth Dose Of Holiday Cheer =-.

  20. Patricia Says:

    Davina,
    ah the peace of sleep and the peace of walking – two other top delights….
    My cousin danced at Findhorn but now lives in Vancouver and she goes weekly peace dancing…works for a University near by….How to connect you two…hmmm

    Mama Zen,
    It is lovely to experience too…

  21. Hulbert Says:

    Hi Patricia. What a cool post. I’ve never heard of peace dancing before but it does sound something that is fun and unconventional to the norms of dancing. To find peace, I usually just try to relax and be conscious of what is going on in my present moment. I hope to improve this skill for next year. Thanks for sharing this article. :)

  22. patricia Says:

    Hulbert,
    Welcome and thank you for reading and sharing your ideas about peace and being peaceful. I greatly appreciate your comments.
    I hope more people will discover Peace Dancing or Dances of Universal Peace – very lovely experience and a group experience of Peacefulness.