Speaking of Religion: Reclaiming Peace

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There is entirely too much violence, chaos and hatred in the world. Watching, reading or listening to world news can be an overwhelming and depressing experience. But we are not helpless. One person can make a difference. I know you've heard this before but there are some things that are worth repeating.

We can have peaceful thoughts, we can hold peace in our hearts and we can speak kind words to each other.

Years ago, I had the good fortune to meet Thich Nhat Hanh, a Vietnamese Buddhist monk. He is a man of peace and prayer who came to Omega Institute in Rhinebeck, New York in the late 1990s. One thousand people attended this retreat. When he walked onto the low, simple stage that first day, one thousand people remained silent as we watched him take slow, peaceful steps. In that moment, with tears streaming down my face, I knew I was seeing one of the most sacred people on the planet.

Thich Nhat Hanh is an example of how one person can make an enormous difference in the world. He has written over 100 books, many of them focused on Peace. Peace is Every Step is a good place to start, if you are curious.

Recently, while sitting in meditation, I was shown two words: Peace Circles. In light of all the violence and chaos in the world, these two words felt very significant. I love to bring people together in circle; it is one of my greatest joys. It is my intention to facilitate Peace Circles in several locations.

In the Spirit of Gandhi, we will work to become peace, in order to have more peace in the world. We will gather to practice ways to be calm, centered and more peaceful as individuals and we will explore ways to promote peace, on a larger scale, in our communities. More information will be provided at the Martin Luther King event on Monday, Jan. 21, at Second Congregational Church. The first Peace Circle will be in held in May. Stay tuned.

Teresa King is a member of the Greater Bennington Interfaith Council. She can be reached at teresaking1@live.com. Her website is:www.thelargerpicture.com

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