Here is how this began. We visited Florida during February vacation, enjoying a tranquil setting at the Cypress Marriott where we breakfasted with a heron who regularly fished in the pond next to our porch every morning, played tennis, and became theme park maniacs for 4 days. We then boarded a direct flight home, anticipating a brief and easy flight.
But it wasn’t. We flew through severe weather that spanned the whole of the east coast, passing through fronts that produced tornadoes and high winds. The plane tossed, the pilot kept the seat belt light on, once in a while coming over the in-flight intercom to anxiously tell us we were flying through severe weather and “even worse,” and that we should remain in our seats with our seat belts on. And so should the flight attendants. Everyone watched the in-flight tracking on their tvs, and waited silently, dropping, rising, and tossing to and fro. My children slept, mercifully.
For my part I realized that there had been a time when I would have weathered such an experience with quiet and reasonable peace of mind. But that was not so this time.
So here I am, beginning here with words from a Native American Great Man called Black Elk:
“The True Peace:
The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness, with the universe and all its power, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka, and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace, which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”
When the chatter of my mind is silenced, which is a task in itself, I know and feel a stillness that compares with what Black Elk describes. It’s something like the sameness of us, the connection between us that can’t be missed. The great mother that is all. And everything, sentient and not sentient, comes from her, from one source. Like Wakan Tanka. Brief flashes of this give me peace and allow me to feel acceptance and peace – something I find myself increasingly desperate for.
In the beginning there was Waken Tanka, Brahman, the tao, the gods, Yahweh, God, Yeshua. The wholeness of all beings emanates from and dwells within the one. As Krisha reminds us in the Bhagavad Gita, “All paths lead to me.”
They’re just different paths.