Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Standing Still

There is a wonderful story about 2 grandmothers who stood in a park for peace. They stood for so long that the town began to talk. They made jokes. They gossiped. But slowly, more people joined them. And more... day... after day. The newspaper did a story. They mayor got upset and asked the police to break them up. But, the police couldn't. For after all, they were just individuals standing still in a park. Soon the mayor's wife joined them. Then the police chief's wife. Towards the end, they had over 2,000 people standing still in the park for peace.

There was a book written about their experience called The Great Silent Grandmother Gathering. I haven't read the book but I understand that this event has started a huge movement of standing still for peace. There is a website called StandingWomen.org. They invited groups to register and stand still on May 13 at 1 pm - Mother's Day. Over 3,000 groups registered... groups in Thailand, Australia, Netherlands, Israel, Sweden, Canada and hundreds of places throughout the United States.

We had a group in Raleigh, too. A woman from our church organized it. A small group of us stood in a park beneath an oak tree across from the church. A soft breeze was blowing and even though cars were passing by on the busy streets and we could hear the sounds of a homeless rally in the distance, there was peace. She rang a meditation bell to signify the moment. We settled into silence for 5 minutes. The leaves of the oaks rustled above us. While my eyes were closed, I saw a flash of bright light out of the corner of my eye. I realized that it was the sun filtering through the leaves of the trees above. But in my mind the flash was much brighter. It made me think of all the people all around the world standing still at that exact moment. I felt an overwhelming sense of unity with these people. Like we were all holding hands to form a gigantic circle of hope that embraced the globe.

The StandingWomen.org website says this:

We are standing for the world's children and grandchildren, and for the seven generations beyond them.
We dream of a world where all of our children have clean drinking water, clean air to breathe and enough food to eat.
A world where they have access to a basic education to develop their minds and healthcare to nurture their growing bodies.
A world where they have a warm, safe and loving place to call home. A world where they don't live in fear of violence - in their home, in their neighborhood, in their school or i
n their world.
This is the world of which we dream.
This is the cause for which we stand.

There are lots of people that think this is a ridiculous concept, standing still for peace. But there are a couple of things that come to my mind about this idea. Non-violent protest, for instance. The idea of universal substance, everything is connected - how you act, how you think, what you say, all makes an impact in this world. And finally, meditation - you become centered and peaceful, and by no action of your own, you influence everyone you meet, everything you touch.

So, I'll continue to stand still for peace. I hope that more will join me. Just think, if everyone in the world stood still for peace, there would be no one left fighting.

No comments: