Thursday, March 17, 2011

Peace Treaty

I find that there are so many components to practicing love and compassion. At the core of this practice and cultivation is the notion of being in right relationship with others, which in turn expresses being in right relationship with God.

In Teachings of Love Thich Nhat Hanh provides a very practical tool for the practice of love, compassion, and being in right relationship with those around us. The Peace Treaty provides a relational, behavioral, and therapeutic framework on how to live in right relationship so that people may live long and happily together, develop and deepen understanding and to observe and practice compassion and reconciliation.

I suspect the Peace Treaty could be most helpful in a church setting, especially where there may be a history of trauma or ruptured relationships due to enduring interpersonal conflicts. I think some spiritual that have been communities are crying out for practices that express love, compassion, justice, nurturing, and gentleness. Churches go in cycles of periods of health, decline, and ill health. Some might say that the pattern of common life traces the cycle of birth, life, death and resurrection. That no practical way exists to defy that cyclical pattern. On the other hand, the Peace Treaty could also be a proactive tool to help ensure ongoing health. How can we diminish suffering? How can we increase periods of joy and spontanaeity in community? How can we achieve a better balance of emotional health in groups and in communities?

The Peace Treaty offers one way to achieve and maintain spiritual, emotional and psychogical health. It is only a tool and it success depend on its disciplined use.

The anecdote of the Vietnam veteran who witnessed the death of the young woman in Vietnam moved me. He kept the hammock she slept in as a way to hold on to his suffering. The question is how might he let go of his suffering. And what if the trauma happened to a group within a community? The Peace Treaty would not work in this situation given the depth of the pain and intensity of the trauma. Other tools would be needed to help work through this trauma so that those suffering can let go of their suffering. Ritual, litury, and therapy would be likely methods to help ease the suffering of those traumatized.

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