With conflicts raging in Gaza, Syria, Iraq, Libya, Ukraine and tensions boiling over in Ferguson, Missouri, Joanna shared this meditation that was printed in London from words spoken in San Francisco 23 and a half years ago, when our country invaded Iraq. As these conflicts break our hearts, let these words find some solace for our souls.
Meditation in this time of war
(Given on 18 January 1991 at a meeting in San Francisco, printed in Peace News, London, 1 February 1991)
When we feel such grief as this, there is a temptation to fold, to shut down. So this is a mediation on not shutting down: we can let the grief stretch us instead, and open us wider to the powers of life.
We own our sorrow—and let it connect us with all those who suffer in this assault upon life. With the herders and farmers and townspeople now under our bombs. With the animals and birds of the desert, with the very stones of that ancient land, cradle of our civilization.
We own our shame—and let it reveal our connections with the weapons-makers and generals and politicians whose greed for profits and power led out people into this dark way.
We own our anger—and let it link us with all who are betrayed. All from whom the war-makers would divert our gaze. The hungry and homeless in our cities, and the children whose future we prepare.
We own our dread of what lies in store for us—and let it remind us of the fear that walks the streets of Baghdad and hides in the hearts of our warriors.
We own our weariness—and let it connect us with our ancestors, who tired, as well, as they struggled forward through countless ordeals, in oppression and exile and long marches through the ages of ice. And so we connect with their endurance, too. They did not give up.
Though hard to bear—the sorrow and shame, the anger and fear and fatigue—each is a gift. For each can bring into focus our deep, invisible interconnections in the web of life. And lift us out of our narrow selves, and bring us into community across space and time. Each can open us to the boundless heart. Though found through pain, that boundless heart is real—and the ground of all healing.