Peaceful Service – Practices of Peace
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.