Send Them Peace

Send Them Peace

Components of The Challenge : At one with others in creation.

Here is a brief (and silent) look at a few mandalas I created :





What did you notice?


Perhaps that they are different, some evolving from one into another, some distinct, yet all sharing similarities of symmetry and visual interest.

They attract and hold attention. And soon after that first look, a sense that something deeper may be going on. 


Much like being face to face with individual human beings.


So when a person accepts The Challenge, and embarks on its 20 minute practice, is she/ he doing the same thing as her/ his neighbor? The same thing as the 1,000 or so other people, practicing The Challenge at the same time? 


Probably not. There are probably many versions of The Challenge going on within it.


And yet out of that Diversity, emerges a single Unity, lasting 20 minutes, and probably longer through its effects. Through actions arising out of consciousness.


It may be possible nevertheless, to introduce a suggestion of what the practice of The Challenge includes, or perhaps should.


1st Presence : Welcoming

The Challenge is aimed at sharing an awareness arising more in feeling, than thought. So to begin, you should feel like an Invited Guest.

You should feel welcomed. You should sense yourself joining a giant crowd. You should notice the smiles of others as they look upon you. Even if they know nothing about you, they know that you have come, motivated like them, by a desire to address the needs of others, and which are ultimately at some level, your own needs as well. Their soft smiles help you to feel gratitude for being who you are.


2nd Presence : Prepared, Focused, Aware, Knowledgeable

What is the reaction of most, after joining a giant crowd? One asks: "Wow! What is happening here? What are all these people doing? What is going to happen here?"

Where do the answers come from? From having read "The Challenge," and some factual information about the current Target for The Challenge.

This information accrual does not have to be encyclopedic. This is not a preparation for a Doctoral Thesis. "Why is this step needed at all?"


3rd Presence : The start of feeling one's heart open - Feeling Sympathy

Your rapid "fly over" of the Target, was structured to be easy to do. You did not have to buy a plane ticket, nor reserve a hotel room so you could go see for yourself, the suffering felt by those whose lives in the Target are daily challenged. Nevertheless, because the Target is always a place of need, your review most certainly captured this. And what did you feel for these unknown faces? Perhaps a sense of sadness. Or even disbelief that such environments exist. Even relief, that this is not your environment. Perhaps pity. These reactions are aimed at protecting you from your sense of sadness. Pity separates you as viewer, from the feelings of the person living the reality you have witnessed. Do not stay separated in this way. Set fear aside and move beyond your kind sympathy to ...


4th Presence : A continued opening of Self - Empathy

In your studies of the Target, did you catch yourself at times walking, in your mind's eye, through the landscape of the Target? Did you respond to the challenges you viewed there, with feeling thirsty when water was nowhere to be found? Or crushed upon returning to a home you sensed was somehow yours, only to find it destroyed and your belongings strewn over the street. Did you begin to feel the blows reigning upon your face when walking through a prison camp? Did you see someone whom you were sure you recognized, and feel deeply concerned for their safety? Did your tour of the hospital leave you afraid you might have caught something infectious, or rather, and only because of your conscious decision to open to this, ... that the discomfort of those with all manner of wounds, was born in your heart as well? Did you see someone with an extremity in a cast, and recall that you had once had the same, and in that instant recalled how good it had felt, when someone had come close enough to share your emotional discomfort at that time? What would it take, to allow oneself to actually feel another's suffering? An open and courageous heart. An empathic heart. One willing to accept and share personally, the experience of pain borne by another.


Isn't that enough? Or does The Challenge require even more ...


5th Presence : The lotus of Self now begins to open on - Compassion

You may have noticed in your studies, acquiring knowledge of the Target, and after as you began to feel this knowledge, that the suffering you perceived and felt, informed two components of human existence. Our ability to Be, and our ability to Do: both deeply affected by suffering. Great suffering fully occupies the human spirit, so that simply Being, is about all that one can manage. Doing seems to soon fall by the wayside. The energy for Doing is now all consumed by the need of just Being. By the seemingly inescapable demands of living our suffering. Doing slows, and may cease altogether. Psychiatry has a term for this: psychomotor retardation: a recognizable phenomenon or symptom. A state where the simplest task, is just too much.


Yet, there are things to get done. Things that seem like they must get done for life to continue. And the more our environment fills with sources of suffering, the harder it seems to be to address each thing that must get done. Ask anyone who has survived a war, a hurricane, a violent attack, a major traffic accident.


And in viewing this from either close-up, or from a distance, in that moment one's heart, if properly prepared, senses a beautiful opportunity. Physiologists will disagree with my suggestion of the organ involved. But it is as though suffering has been deeply inhaled through one's heart. Once enclosed in this loving home, very quickly the suffering is sensed as now repaired. And in breathing out from the heart, the repair takes place. It manifests in action, usually with a sense of immediacy; with no further reason to hesitate. A chance to do for someone lost in the Being of suffering, the Doing that he/ she can no longer do, for whatever reason, for himself or herself. This may begin in a simple, straightforward rational thought: "This or That is Needed Here." But if arising in the origins of Compassionate Action, it quickly passes into a vivid feeling that encompasses and embodies with startling clarity, the certainty that placing that feeling into action, is the right thing to do. The only thing to do. So one does. For whom? For the being lost in suffering, friend or not, human, or for another living creature. This is a manifestation of our ability to feel and externalize love. Probably our greatest asset while we breathe and share our current form.


So now in this 5th presence, one comes to understand that compassion, is simply placing love into action. That must be a component of the Wisdom that is central to living well for ourselves and others.


Do not worry about how much such right action might seem to cost you personally. In practice, such actions most often cost little or nothing. The Challenge is but one example. Helping someone in need with small daily tasks might be another. The universe declares that you will be more than handsomely rewarded. It may not be a monetary fortune, it could be sometimes, but one that contains all fortunes, when divisiveness in our world becomes unity through the practice of Compassion.



6th Presence : Abundance

If you are afraid that your practice of Compassionate Action might bankrupt you, if not financially, emotionally or spiritually, let me reassure you. We are living in an abundant universe. And if water shortages, and lands turning into deserts, and famine, and disappearing living spaces for polar bears, and deforestation, among other problems of "not enough," makes you want to argue the point... Those are all physical or material deficits in abundance. But if humans can maintain and master a source of abundance that resides in the heart (or wherever you want to place Spirit), then the rest can become, as it once was, abundant. Abundance follows compassion because through the right action of Compassion, no source of suffering need go unanswered. That very promise becomes reality when we refuse to live in our fears, and instead, come together. If you chronically fear illness, you will chronically prevent health. If you fear poverty, you will live a life that blocks abundance. See where your negative belief or fear lies, and intentionally select and live, its positive opposite. Self-compassion allows you to let go of your fear, that you are not worthy of receiving. Living that fearlessly, you will find abundance personally. And through the right action of Compassion, magnified through The Challenge and similar actions, and setting aside wrong perceptions, our World/ Earth will be allowed to manifest its Abundance anew. Start a little list of all that you are grateful for. Add items to it daily. You will soon see how abundantly giving our universe actually is.


7th Presence : Forgiveness

Martin Luther King, jr once said, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act; it is a permanent attitude.”

But when our existence is so dominated by our ego-driven needs, and mechanisms to protect that ego, to prove that ours is the best ego in the neighborhood, how can one possibly recover from a well-carried out attack on our image of self? And when such attacks become threats to our very physical existence: war, terrorism, torture, unjust imprisonment, mutilation, can these be forgiven? Can a surviving "child soldier" ever truly recover enough to forgive this theft and loss of his innocence? And why forgive? Don't we each have a right to display and share our suffering? To attract a little compassion for ourselves, from time to time?


When one steps on a nail in a board, and it pierces our foot, that is pain. And if the suffering, the sadness, the lack of happiness that accompanies that pain as we limp along, lasts a week or two, that might be anticpated as normal. But if, unless a persistent complication of such a minor injury has arisen and made it major, ... if after 3 years, one's suffering from the nail monopolizes our conversation at every occasion, and guides and limits our life, then that is no longer true suffering. It is feeding some misguided need of the "hungy ghost" that our ego can become. Where is its real pain? Probably no longer in that foot.


Here are 11 antonyms for forgiveness :

11 antonyms for forgiveness.jpg

One can also add:  cruelty and mercilessness as antonyms to forgiveness.


How do these 13 opposites of forgiveness look to you? Do they look like probable sources to put an end to suffering, or simply add new suffering to old?


What brings forgiveness? Peace. Have you ever done something in your life, where you subsequently came to hope, that for an unwise action, you could somehow be forgiven? That process begins with acknowledging the unwise action. Sitting with it until the layers of lie, have been peeled away. The legal system calls that admitting one's guilt. It involves recognizing that deep inside, one is still carrying a poison that leaks into our Self, just a bit each day. Hard to have it not spill over onto other Selves at each contact. And without that affirmation, that letting go of the lie, true reconciliation may never be possible. Asking for mercy when one remains merciless, is of course the worst of charades. Another favorite trick of the ego. Without that permission given for Truth to enter, moving on, may never be possibe. The hideous deeds perpetrated by known individuals against others, genocide, crimes against humanity, raise The Challenge to a very high level if in addition to healing the sufferings that our Target studies unfold for us, forgiving its perpetrators is also part of the agenda. Yet, it is part of The Challenge.


What does The Challenge, and especially each of its participants, gain by such foregiveness?  Freedom. The liberty to foregive is the one that remains after all others have been taken away. The freedom to move on as a species. This, even after some very terrible failures at exercising our humanity. This too, is included in compassionate action. Not always easy to embrace forgiveness, when everyone's ego clearly knows immediately how to distinguish "right" from "wrong." Especially in others.



8th Presence : Acceptance

This quality of presence is frequently guided by the oft-quoted insight of Reinhold Nieburh :


"God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference."


Signing on for The Challenge may too easily suggest to a devoted follower (or more accurately, actor = source of compassionate action), that "We're Going To Heal The World, We're Going To Save The World, and so let's get on with it. The Whole World, All It's Problems, Now. Then we can go back to our real job on Monday."

One could view this as magical thinking: envisionning that such an effort is even possible. One could also view this as extreme confidence in The Challenge, and its ability to bring the Whole World Together Now. All belief should be as strong.


But given the size of the problems quickly encountered in studying just a single Target before sitting for The Challenge, taking on all the Targets at once, risks several negative outcomes:

    • Burnout of participants in The Challenge
    • Dilution of positive effect, making it harder to identify any effect at all
    • Caregiver schizophrenia in which one begins to hear: "Why are we spending so much time on Target 'A', when Target 'B' is so much more in need of our intervention?" This loses the "big picture" of letting The Challenge SendThemPeace in a way that Peace distributes those energies where needed, without having to worry about Street and Apartment numbers on the receiving end.
    • A lost occasion to acquire and practice the serenity that Nieburh seeks and guides us towards in his prayer.
    • A loss along with our surrender in the face of those things that cannot be changed now, of those that can be changed.
    • The abandonment of a practice that promises to teach the differences to be found between these two dualities within the limits of The Challenge, but also in our lives, and our children's lives, beyond The Challenge as well.


Notice carefully:  Accepting that "this Challenge thing jut isn't working, and it can never work ...," isn't Acceptance; it's Defeatism.


If intolerance of something should ever be tolerated for even an instant, let it be a lack of tolerance for Defeatism and the fears that spawn it.



Compassion, Abundance, Forgiveness, Acceptance : these lead to Living Big



 9th Presence : Timeliness

This means several things. In moving from the above qualities and practices to make present in The Challenge, we now move a bit more into a mechanistic, "nuts-and-bolts," User's Manual for The Challenge. These are as essential to success as the above motivators, so they have earned their place.


Preparation for The Challenge was covered in the 2nd Presence. Timeliness includes not just showing up, but showing up prepared, having done one's homework. Again, this does not mean having acquired the mastery of several gigabytes of facts, so one can wave non-stop in the teachers face to present these. Instead, with a deeper Knowledge carried "in heart" - a Knowledge that depends on feeling. Feeling and emotion will be our guides in what follows. If that sounds "namby-pamby" know that Science disagrees. More and more, neuroscientists and others are evoking vociferously that feelings and emotions are the drivers in placing realities constructed by our brains, into our world. 


After that review, timeliness of course means being on time. The importance in other settings has been presented. This is more than neurotically obsessing. The idea is to amass a quantum of energy from a combined You/ Us to deliver to the Target. So getting everyone together at 12:00 noon GMT clearly arises in a hypothesis that this makes a difference.  Some will remind that even a single butterfly beating its wings, makes a quantum, if small-ish, difference somewhere in our world. Given the risks and impossibility of converting this into a monastic practice from days gone by, half the world will be converting "12:00 noon GMT" into some pretty dark hours. As one can see on the Clock Page, for time zones assigned from New York to Honolulu, Hawaii, and equivalent in the Southern Hemisphere, participating in The Challenge with a 12 hour shift, (12:00AM midnight GMT), is perfect. It forms a "second squadron" assuring two deliveries Send(ing)ThemPeace to the same Target, per day.


A third invocation here of Timeliness, seems more obvious. This in a sense of, "Isn't it about time?" Look at our World. Do you feel it? Do you sense something moving now? I am not joining with Chicken Little to shout that it's all falling assunder. Mentioned elsewhere, a historical look at the disaster that is war, says that Peace is winning. Violence is receding. Life expectancy continues to increase, yet with important global imbalances still. This is not the time to ease up the effort and stop Send(ing)ThemPeace. Targets still abound. But what you may be sensing, like others, is a shift in consciousness. Something for the better for Mankind. Working its way into presence. Lots of authors writing about it. Some it seems by copy/paste used to an extreme. But in many disciplines where "awareness" had about as much chance of appearing as the final, definitive diet for all... suddenly, its creeping in. Not always without significant resistance, as we have mentionned elsewhere. A new "Age of Reason?" Somehow, quite a bit bigger and much more inclusive rather than exclusionary.


Some previous attempts can be found at unifying the effort. Meditation within the domain of Transcendental Meditation (my knowledge of which is about 6%, which as a grade = failing), assembling 8,000 meditators ("TM Sidhas") in the world at a time, is presented as having been extremely effective when correlated with positive effects in our world. This was only continued for three weeks, bringing together 7,000 at one site alone, in Iowa in about 1983. I add here that The Challenge appears sufficient in and of itself, without a need perceived at this time to branch out into the sale of solar panels.


In the 1940's the encouragement for presence and timeliness might have been a more brief: "Be There, or Be Square." Context is everything.


10th Presence :  Peacefulness

Literally, filled with Peace. Difficult to imagine possessing or obtaining a capacity for Send(ing)ThemPeace, if one is not at Peace with oneself. 

So this mouvement into The Challenge, begins very much like many methods of meditation. In this setting, I label this first phase as Endo-Meditation, a movement towards Mindfulness and Self-Awareness. This to distinguish from Exo-Meditation, which seeks to move from this centered-in-Self starting point, to a consciousness outside the Self, in our World, yet with the two awarenesses still clearly united. So first, by creating and occupying a quiet space; through awareness of breath, and grounding in the present, one quiets thought to experience the present moment. Once established, this calm state can welcome the Feeling Driver, the 11th Presence.



11th Presence : The Feeling Driver

Movement towards the current Target of The Challenge is based on correctly perceiving, calling upon, and placing our emotions in the driver's seat. At first, this may seem like an exercise in negative tones; a mirror of destructiveness. Our pre-Challenge readings and exposure have instructed a whole host of saddening manifestations of Man's Inhumanity to Man. Else, the Target, would not be a Target. All of those phenomenon that display a disturbing lack of Compassion and Peace have now been witnessed. So now, without getting involved at all, nor lost in, thought details, these are specifically, though gently, put aside. Slowly, one can now move from Sympathy for the Target, to Empathy. The 11th Presence stops here. A participant sees with his mind's eye, but especially with his/ her awareness, in a manner that places the suffering and sadness felt, squarely in one's own feeling center. It is no longer only  "theirs." It is now "ours" as well. But before this becomes overwhelming, one becomes attuned to the protection, support, and mutual creativity and consciousness of the other participants in the Challenge. No, one is not alone. A theme that carries one comfortably through time and space, to the Target. Streams of feeling light, coming together like a magnificent fountain, exactly and precisely where needed the most.



12th Presence : Compassionate Action

It is in the realization that all of our feelings from the 11th Presence, as real as they have seemed, are clearly retreating into a hologram of the past. Empathy, though admirable, has been showing us our Target as it was. Not only because the pictures we studied in preparation were not taken today ..., but because our committment to Compassionate Action is already having an effect.


Already, this unified action is sharing in a consciousness, an awareness that things are changing. A sense of disbelief is hard to abandon, but it is certainly so. Peace and Compassion are now taking action to put order, but more importantly to infuse Love into the Target. Any lesser, less evocative word would be a misstatement. And as a part of the whole, you now begin to see, but actually sense, to Trust in, your feelings of clear improvements in the Target. How can this be so? What is the Wisdom that accomplishes such change?


You bring to this experience only positive emotions, very personally yours as you have structured them. The results you are witnessing are definitely present now. And your caring for those whose suffering had been so great, is now fed back to you and those with you in the light. A sense of thankfulness is expressed and deeply felt for your compassionate, caring action. And your Magnificent Gift remains in Presence, it's own blessing from the heart, now surrounded by those blessings of thankfulness and Love, from the recipients of your Peace and Compassion. See and be pleased with the Beauty that you have placed in our World. How can this be? Send Them Peace and it is.



So have we invented something new here?

No, hardly that. 


We've simply joined with others whose compassionate action has been superbe, but whose humility far outstrips our own. So less shouting about success.



Fixing our World is an ongoing, shared effort. They're participating in The Challenge. You should be too.


Fixing the World (C Goodwin).jpg

Art by Clare Godwin. I much appreciate her "Fresh View."

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