“The Art of Peace”


Picture from Bing Images

Morihei Ueshiba (1883-1969) was the founder of the martial art known as Aikido which can be translated as “The Art of Peace”…this was his path.

From the introduction of “The Art of Peace”:

“Even as an old man of eighty, Morihei could disarm any foe, down any number of attackers, and pin an opponent with a single finger.  Although invincible as a warrior, Morihei was above all a man of peace who detested fighting, war, and any kind of violence.”

I recommend this book to all who value spiritual expansion and peace.  Morihei was transformed through three visions that profoundly changed his life to which he dedicated the remainder of his days in teaching and living peace.

A quote translated by John Stevens:

“Daily training in the Art of Peace allows your inner divinity to shine brighter and brighter.  Do not concern yourself with the right and wrong of others.  Do not be calculating or act unnaturally.  Keep your mind set on the Art of Peace, and do not criticize other teachers or traditions.  The Art of Peace never restrains, restricts, or shackles anything.  It embraces all and purifies everything.”

Occupy Blogosphere:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/02/29/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-march-01-2012/


Pause or Paws?

“What’s the difference between a comma and a cat?  A comma is a pause at the end of its clause while a cat has claws at the end of its paws.”

— Winston Chang

Sita in her paper patch...

Sita has paused to consider this clause…  She was busy “disemboweling” imagined critters in her paper patch.

Occupy Blogosphere–February 16

Google Images

Occupy Blogosphere at Souldipper’s:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/02/16/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-february-16-2012/

“The Hundredth Monkey”, by Ken Keyes, Jr.

In 1984, Ken Keyes, Jr. wrote a book called “The Hundredth Monkey”.  He did not copyright the book and has stated that it be shared freely so that the message that he believed in so strongly be distributed by whomever would care to share it with others.  I believe it is a timely and timeless message given the current upheavals throughout the world.

Ken Keyes used a legend based on a study of a group of macaques monkeys on the Japanese island of Koshima in 1952 as the opening in his book.  It is an impressive phenomenon, now known as the Hundredth Monkey effect, which some have come to believe is unfounded…at least in part.  Nevertheless, this is an inspirational story that leads into the passionate plea by Keyes for us to be aware of the danger to the life of our planet by the use of nuclear weapons.

 It is a simply written book but with a request that we all take part in being mindful of how all our thoughts can affect each other and how powerful we can be in bringing about change for the better.

Here is the opening  story that he shares with us:

The Japanese monkey, Macaca fuscata, had been observed in the wild for a period of over 30 years.  In 1952, on the island of Koshima, scientists were providing monkeys with sweet potatoes dropped in the sand. The monkeys liked the taste of the raw sweet potatoes, but they found the dirt unpleasant.

An 18-month-old female named Imo found she could solve the problem by washing the potatoes in a nearby stream.  She taught this trick to her mother.  Her playmates also learned this new way and they taught their mothers too.

This cultural innovation was gradually picked up by various monkeys before the eyes of the scientists.  Between 1952 and 1958 all the young monkeys learned to wash the sandy sweet potatoes to make them more palatable.  Only the adults who imitated their children learned this social improvement. Other adults kept eating the dirty sweet potatoes.

Then something startling took place.  In the autumn of 1958, a certain number of Koshima monkeys were washing sweet potatoes — the exact number is not known.  Let us suppose that when the sun rose one morning there were 99 monkeys on Koshima Island who had learned to wash their sweet potatoes.  Let’s further suppose that later that morning, the hundredth monkey learned to wash potatoes.


By that evening almost everyone in the tribe was washing sweet potatoes before eating them.  The added energy of this hundredth monkey somehow created an ideological breakthrough!

But notice.

A most surprising thing observed by these scientists was that the habit of washing sweet potatoes then jumped over the sea.  Colonies of monkeys on other islands and the mainland troop of monkeys at Takasakiyama began washing their sweet potatoes.  Thus, when a certain critical number achieves an awareness, this new awareness may be communicated from mind to mind.

Although the exact number may vary, this Hundredth Monkey Phenomenon means that when only a limited number of people know of a new way, it may remain the conscious property of these people.  But there is a point at which if only one more person tunes-in to a new awareness, a field is strengthened so that this awareness is picked up by almost everyone!

Don’t underestimate the power that each of us holds as individuals.

Gayle ~

Shared on Occupy Blogosphere hosted by Souldipper:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-february-2-2012/

English: Japanese Macaques (Macaca fuscata). J...

Image via Wikipedia

The Ancient Masters

“The ancient Masters
didn’t try to educate the people,
but kindly taught them to not know.

When they think that they know the answers,
people are difficult to guide.
When they know that they don’t know,
people can find their own way.

If you want to learn how to govern,
avoid being clever or rich.
The simplest pattern is the clearest.
Content with an ordinary life,
you can show all people the way
back to their own true nature.”

From the “Tao te Ching” by Lao-tzu, translated by Stephen Mitchell


Lao-tzu; Google Images

Perhaps all current…and future candidates who run for office should be required to read the “Tao te Ching” and agree to govern accordingly.  And if you don’t understand it…you don’t belong in office.

Check out Occupy Blogosphere–Thursday at Soul Dipper’s blog:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-january-26-2012/#comment-7249

The Christmas Truce

A most inspiring story told by Aaron Shepard, in a letter format, that I wanted to share for the season but holds a lesson of suspending our hostilities towards each other in our everyday lives.    I may make this posting a yearly tradition.  Happy Holidays to all.  Love, Gayle
Copyright (c) 2001, 2003 by Aaron Shepard. May be freely copied and
shared for any noncommercial purpose, but please do not omit any text,
including this notice.
ABOUT THE STORY: The Christmas Truce of 1914 is one of the most
remarkable incidents of World War I and perhaps of all military
history. Starting in some places on Christmas Eve and in others on
Christmas Day, the truce covered as much as two- thirds of the
British-German front, with thousands of soldiers taking part. Perhaps
most remarkably, it grew out of no single initiative but sprang up in
each place spontaneously and independently.
Nearly everything described here is drawn from first-hand accounts in
letters and diaries of the time. Britishisms include using “Nowell”
instead of “Noel,” and “football” instead of “soccer.” Visit my home
page at http://www.aaronshep.com to learn more about the story, get a
copy in Web format, find a reader’s theater script version, read more
stories, or contact the author.
— Aaron
A cross, left near Ieper in Belgium in 1999, to celebrate the site of the Christmas Truce during the First World War in 1914. The text reads: 1914 – The Khaki Chum’s Christmas Truce – 1999 – 85 Years – Lest We Forget
A cross, left near Ieper in Belgium in 1999, t...

Image via Wikipedia

Christmas Day, 1914
My dear sister Janet,
It is 2:00 in the morning and most of our men are asleep in their
dugouts — yet I could not sleep myself before writing to you of the
wonderful events of Christmas Eve. In truth, what happened seems
almost like a fairy tale, and if I hadn’t been through it myself, I
would scarce believe it. Just imagine: While you and the family sang
carols before the fire there in London, I did the same with enemy
soldiers here on the battlefields of France!
As I wrote before, there has been little serious fighting of late. The
first battles of the war left so many dead that both sides have held
back until replacements could come from home. So we have mostly stayed
in our trenches and waited.
But what a terrible waiting it has been! Knowing that any moment an
artillery shell might land and explode beside us in the trench,
killing or maiming several men. And in daylight not daring to lift our
heads above ground, for fear of a sniper’s bullet.
And the rain — it has fallen almost daily. Of course, it collects
right in our trenches, where we must bail it out with pots and pans.
And with the rain has come mud — a good foot or more deep. It
splatters and cakes everything, and constantly sucks at our boots. One
new recruit got his feet stuck in it, and then his hands too when he
tried to get out — just like in that American story of the tar baby!
Through all this, we couldn’t help feeling curious about the German
soldiers across the way. After all, they faced the same dangers we
did, and slogged about in the same muck. What’s more, their first
trench was only 50 yards from ours. Between us lay No Man’s Land,
bordered on both sides by barbed wire — yet they were close enough we
sometimes heard their voices.
Of course, we hated them when they killed our friends. But other
times, we joked about them and almost felt we had something in common.
And now it seems they felt the same.
Just yesterday morning — Christmas Eve Day — we had our first good
freeze. Cold as we were, we welcomed it, because at least the mud
froze solid. Everything was tinged white with frost, while a bright
sun shone over all. Perfect Christmas weather.
During the day, there was little shelling or rifle fire from either
side. And as darkness fell on our Christmas Eve, the shooting stopped
entirely. Our first complete silence in months! We hoped it might
promise a peaceful holiday, but we didn’t count on it. We’d been told
the Germans might attack and try to catch us off guard.
I went to the dugout to rest, and lying on my cot, I must have drifted
asleep. All at once my friend John was shaking me awake, saying, “Come
and see! See what the Germans are doing!” I grabbed my rifle, stumbled
out into the trench, and stuck my head cautiously above the sandbags.
I never hope to see a stranger and more lovely sight. Clusters of tiny
lights were shining all along the German line, left and right as far
as the eye could see.
“What is it?” I asked in bewilderment, and John answered, “Christmas
And so it was. The Germans had placed Christmas trees in front of
their trenches, lit by candle or lantern like beacons of good will.
And then we heard their voices raised in song.
“Stille nacht, heilige nacht….”
This carol may not yet be familiar to us in Britain, but John knew it
and translated: “Silent night, holy night.” I’ve never heard one
lovelier — or more meaningful, in that quiet, clear night, its dark
softened by a first-quarter moon.
When the song finished, the men in our trenches applauded. Yes,
British soldiers applauding Germans! Then one of our own men started
singing, and we all joined in.
“The first Nowell, the angel did say….”
In truth, we sounded not nearly as good as the Germans, with their
fine harmonies. But they responded with enthusiastic applause of their
own and then began another.
“O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum….”
Then we replied.
“O come all ye faithful….”
But this time they joined in, singing the same words in Latin.
“Adeste fideles….”
British and German harmonizing across No Man’s Land! I would have
thought nothing could be more amazing — but what came next was more
“English, come over!” we heard one of them shout. “You no shoot, we no
There in the trenches, we looked at each other in bewilderment. Then
one of us shouted jokingly, “You come over here.”
To our astonishment, we saw two figures rise from the trench, climb
over their barbed wire, and advance unprotected across No Man’s Land.
One of them called, “Send officer to talk.”
I saw one of our men lift his rifle to the ready, and no doubt others
did the same — but our captain called out, “Hold your fire.” Then he
climbed out and went to meet the Germans halfway. We heard them
talking, and a few minutes later, the captain came back with a German
cigar in his mouth!
“We’ve agreed there will be no shooting before midnight tomorrow,” he
announced. “But sentries are to remain on duty, and the rest of you,
stay alert.”
Across the way, we could make out groups of two or three men starting
out of trenches and coming toward us. Then some of us were climbing
out too, and in minutes more, there we were in No Man’s Land, over a
hundred soldiers and officers of each side, shaking hands with men
we’d been trying to kill just hours earlier!
Before long a bonfire was built, and around it we mingled — British
khaki and German grey. I must say, the Germans were the better
dressed, with fresh uniforms for the holiday.
Only a couple of our men knew German, but more of the Germans knew
English. I asked one of them why that was.
“Because many have worked in England!” he said. “Before all this, I
was a waiter at the Hotel Cecil. Perhaps I waited on your table!”
“Perhaps you did!” I said, laughing.
He told me he had a girlfriend in London and that the war had
interrupted their plans for marriage. I told him, “Don’t worry. We’ll
have you beat by Easter, then you can come back and marry the girl.”
He laughed at that. Then he asked if I’d send her a postcard he’d give
me later, and I promised I would.
Another German had been a porter at Victoria Station. He showed me a
picture of his family back in Munich. His eldest sister was so lovely,
I said I should like to meet her someday. He beamed and said he would
like that very much and gave me his family’s address.
Even those who could not converse could still exchange gifts — our
cigarettes for their cigars, our tea for their coffee, our corned beef
for their sausage. Badges and buttons from uniforms changed owners,
and one of our lads walked off with the infamous spiked helmet! I
myself traded a jackknife for a leather equipment belt — a fine
souvenir to show when I get home.
Newspapers too changed hands, and the Germans howled with laughter at
ours. They assured us that France was finished and Russia nearly
beaten too. We told them that was nonsense, and one of them said,
“Well, you believe your newspapers and we’ll believe ours.”
Clearly they are lied to — yet after meeting these men, I wonder how
truthful our own newspapers have been. These are not the “savage
barbarians” we’ve read so much about. They are men with homes and
families, hopes and fears, principles and, yes, love of country. In
other words, men like ourselves. Why are we led to believe otherwise?
As it grew late, a few more songs were traded around the fire, and
then all joined in for — I am not lying to you — “Auld Lang Syne.”
Then we parted with promises to meet again tomorrow, and even some
talk of a football match.
I was just starting back to the trenches when an older German clutched
my arm. “My God,” he said, “why cannot we have peace and all go home?”
I told him gently, “That you must ask your emperor.”
He looked at me then, searchingly. “Perhaps, my friend. But also we
must ask our hearts.”
And so, dear sister, tell me, has there ever been such a Christmas Eve
in all history? And what does it all mean, this impossible befriending
of enemies?
For the fighting here, of course, it means regrettably little. Decent
fellows those soldiers may be, but they follow orders and we do the
same. Besides, we are here to stop their army and send it home, and
never could we shirk that duty.
Still, one cannot help imagine what would happen if the spirit shown
here were caught by the nations of the world. Of course, disputes must
always arise. But what if our leaders were to offer well wishes in
place of warnings? Songs in place of slurs? Presents in place of
reprisals? Would not all war end at once?
All nations say they want peace. Yet on this Christmas morning, I
wonder if we want it quite enough.
Your loving brother,
Sharing this with Amy (Soul Dipper) for her Occupy Blogosphere for December 20, 2012:  http://souldipper.wordpress.com/2012/12/20/occupy-blogosphere-thursday-december-20-2012/

All Streams Flow to the Sea

Lao Tzu, traditionally the author of the Tao T...

Image via Wikipedia

All streams flow to the sea

because it is lower than they are.

Humility gives it its power.

If you want to govern the people,

you must place yourself below them.

If you want to lead the people,

you must learn how to follow them.

The Master is above the people,

and no one feels oppressed.

She goes ahead of the people,

and no one feels manipulated.

The whole world is grateful to her.

Because she competes with no one,

no one can compete with her.

A quote from the “Tao te Ching” by Lao-tzu, translation by Stephen Mitchell.

I think many of our world’s leaders could govern themselves by these principals.

“Dhammapada”, 9– translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

“Even the evil meet with good fortune as long as their evil has yet to mature. But when it’s matured that’s when they meet with evil.  Even the good meet with bad fortune as long as their good has yet to mature.  But when it’s matured that’s when they meet with good fortune.”


For many years I had wondered why it is that people who are unscrupulous appear to reap reward for their behaviors and people who are “good” appear to have so many troubles befall them.  This quote from The Dhammapada and translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu explained it very clearly for me.

Nothing’s impossible for the soul

“Never think there is anything impossible for the soul. It is the greatest heresy to think so. If there is sin, this is the only sin; to say that you are weak, or others are weak.”

Swami Vivekananda

Reading this quote by Swami Vivekananda changed my whole outlook on “sin”.

The pure, clear white light

The following is one of my all time favorite passages from “The Tibetan Book of the Dead”.

“Remember the clear light, the pure clear white light from which everything in the universe comes, to which everything in the universe returns; the original nature of your own mind.  The natural state of the universe unmanifest.  Let go into the clear light, trust it, merge with it.  It is your own true nature, it is home.”

Tibetan Book of the Dead

It is so very comforting to me…

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