Oakland church

Being Peace within the Storms

As a teenager living in Rhode Island, one of my greatest joys was the experience of taking the sunfish sailboat out on hot and humid late summer afternoons on Narragansett Bay,  and experiencing the refreshing power of the wind filling the sail and the waves crashing over the deck,  as we surfed the white caps. 

I’ve also experienced some terrifying times on the ocean, lost at night in the fog, and the importance of maintaining peace within, to make it home. 

Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh suggests that one person with peace in their heart can act to calm an entire boatload of people. In his book “Being Peace”, he writes: “I like to use the example of a small boat crossing the Gulf of Siam. In Vietnam, there are many people, called boat people, who leave the country in small boats. Often the boats are caught in rough seas or storms, the people may panic, and boats can sink. But if even one person aboard can remain calm, lucid, knowing what to do and what not to do, he or she can help the boat survive. His or her expression – face, voice – communicates clarity and calmness, and people have trust in that person. They will listen to what he or she says. One such person can save the lives of many. Our world is something like that small boat. Compared with the cosmos, our planet is a very small boat. We’re about to panic because our situation is no better than the situation of the small boat in the sea. 

He continued, “We need people who can sit still and be able to smile, who can walk peacefully. We need people like that in order to save us. Mahayana Buddhism says that you are that person, that each of you is that person.” 

He’s right… you are that person, each of you is that person. 

Join us this Sunday as we learn more about being peace within the storms of our lives. 

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