The Peace That Passes All Understanding

Evening fishing on the waterThe word “Shalom” means “peace” and “complete” in Hebrew and is derived from the word “whole”. The Sanskrit word for peace is “Shanti” and it also means silence. We now see that there is direct connection between silence, wholeness, and peace.

When our mind is in silence we free ourselves from the chatter of our ego. When the ego is sidelined, it ends division and we become whole. When the peace within reaches its highest level we reach a state of such silence that we transcend all division including language and space-time. This is the realm beyond words, thoughts, and language and the Bible calls it “The peace that passes all understanding.” (Philippians 4.7)

The power of this silence is so great that almost every prayer of the ancients in India ends with the invocation to peace, “Shanti! Shanti! Shanti!”

With this background, let us go back thousands of years and read the poem written in Atharva Veda. Let us invoke the peace it projects for our every living moment:

“Peace be to earth and to airy spaces!
Peace be to heaven, peace to the waters,
peace to the plants and peace to the trees!
May all the gods grant me peace!
By this invocation of peace may peace be diffused!
By this invocation of peace may peace bring peace!
With this peace the dreadful I appease,
with this peace the cruel I appease,
with this peace all evil I appease,
so that peace may prevail, happiness prevail!
May everything for us be peaceful!”
-Atharva Veda 19.9.14

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What Is Truly Important?

Autumn Of Falling Leaves
In a post read by more than 3 million people Bronnie Ware summarizes “The top 5 regrets of the dying”. She worked in palliative care for a while. Her patients were those who had gone home to die and counted their remaining time in weeks.

In her post she says, “People grow a lot when they are faced with their own mortality. I learnt never to underestimate someone’s capacity for growth.” She adds that though her patients went through a range of emotions ranging from denial to anger to remorse, all of them found acceptance before their passing.

In talking to her patients she found that a common theme arose when it came to the question of the regrets they had and what they would have done differently:

  1. I wish I’d Had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

When we study the 5 regrets a common theme emerges: All 5 regrets are associated with the ego. If we live our life only for our ego, an entire lifetime may slip by without having a life that nourishes our soul.

Working hard towards achieving ego-centered goals is seen as pointless. Not allowing the ego to create walls between our loved ones is important. Sidelining the ego so that we can be true to the innermost voice of the soul is also seen as essential to live a full life.

Regrets arise when we miss what is truly important for the superficial. In the end we have to leave behind our ego and all that we accumulate. What is truly important is the feeling of love that permeates our life and the connections of love we create. The only accomplishments that matter are those that we measure in terms of what we have done for others.

Yoga is the science of consciousness. The journey of yoga is a journey into deeper consciousness. The techniques of yoga are designed to lessen the grip of ego so that deeper consciousness can be accessed. When you undertake the journey into yoga not only does it reduce stress and improve health, it also makes life more meaningful.

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The Apprentice’s Gift

CompassionMy five year old was disappointed. He sat on the small elf chair at the Christmas worktable,

“Mine’s not good at all. See? All the colors are mixed up.”

“It’s beautiful, pal.” I held the clear, plastic baseball up and wondered if I could rearrange the sand. I twisted the cap, but it was hot-glued and tacky to touch, “Your dad will love it!”

“No, it isn’t good, Mom. Look at Cal’s.” He kicked his leg back and forth and picked at a glob of glittery glue on the tabletop.

Cal, my son’s cousin and best friend, sat at the workbench and poured a scoop of florescent green sand into a funnel. He chose a football instead of a baseball, and worked with elfish attention to detail.

He mapped out the design in his mind, picked his colors deliberately, and in long slow intervals added layer after layer of dyed sand. He squished his cheek on the workbench, and fixed an apprentice’s eye on the shiny specs that drained into the hourglass.

He overheard our conversation, but continued his work. He selected snowy white for the final layer and looked at us. His best buddy sat with his chin in his hand.

Cal completed his endeavor and handed the football to the silver-haired lady elf. Her apron had two red-striped pockets. She holstered candy canes in one and her hot glue gun in the other. She adhered the top of Calvin’s handiwork, “Nice job,” she chirped, “you would make a fine helper for Santa.” Calvin smiled and joined his cousin at the sticky table. Continue reading

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The Gardner’s Thoughts


Could I master the language I’d speak only silence.

No one can think clearly who thinks only with their head.

The moon is always full, though you can’t always see it.

Many a petal has yet to fall before the last one falls.

A wave is no less free because the current helps it along.

Rain or shine, the cicadas find something to sing about.

Flowers are the gardener’s thoughts.

When you win an argument, what do you win?

The world makes sense to those who don’t try to make sense of it.

Even to have lived in vain is beautiful.

If my hand on yours trembles it’s because bodies never lie.

Not trying makes everything easy.

When you chop life into little pieces you don’t get pieces of life.

Don’t stand in the hallway waiting; join the feast.

Marty Rubin is the author of these aphorisms. You can find more of them here. If you like a daily dose go here. This has been reposted with permission. You can find the original post here.

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Taylor’s Gift

13 year old Taylor Paige Storch died in a skiing accident. However through the gift of organ donation she saved five lives.

In a poem she wrote a week before her death she said, “I see myself helping people in every way I can.” and also, “I dream about being a teacher.” Her words proved prophetic. She did help people and through her actions she is also a teacher for all of us.

In the same poem she mused, “I wonder how long is forever?” Though we all know that we are mortals we somehow manage to delude ourselves with the notion that we are always going to wake up in the morning to live another day. For many of us a day will dawn when we will find ourselves waiting in line for an organ. For others a day will dawn that will bring a sudden and swift end to our lives story. Now through the miracle of technology our lives story can continue when we choose to be organ donors. We can help those who wait in line for orans so that their tomorrows have a story to tell.

For more information visit

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