I met my fellow delegates today. We held our first meeting in the Protestant Chapel in Terminal 4 at JFK. Introductions. Logistics. Breaking into a “we-space.” A very interesting and diverse group of people – from a very young religiously pacifist (Amish/Mennonite?) woman from New Paltz NY to the president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, to an energetic young progressive journalist/intellectual (Habermas!) from Chicago, to many lifelong dedicated peace activists. 20s to 70s… A wide range of people who felt a call to pick up their bodies and go to the country we keep hearing we might go to war with. Not my usual companions, and yet I feel a different kind of kinship, affection and respect…
We closed with a meditation, and I shared one of my favorites from Iran's own Molavi (AKA Jelalludin Rumi):
Everything you see has its roots
In the unseen world.
The forms may change
Yet the essence remains the same.
Every wondrous sight will vanish,
Every sweet word will fade,
But do not be disheartened,
The Source they come from is Eternal,
Growing, branching out,
Giving new life and new joy.
Why do you weep?
That source is within you
And this whole world
Is springing up from it.
The source is full,
Its waters are ever-flowing;
Do not grieve,
Drink your fill!
Don't think it will ever run dry,
This is the endless ocean.
From the moment you came into this world
A ladder was placed in front of you
That you might escape
From earth you became plant,
From plant you became animal,
Afterwards you became a human being,
Endowed with knowledge, intellect and faith.
Behold the body, born of dust,
How perfect it has become!
Why should you fear its end?
When were you ever made less by dying?
When you pass beyond this human form,
No doubt you will become an angel
And soar through the heavens!
But don't stop there.
Even heavenly bodies grow old.
Pass again from the heavenly realm
And plunge into the vast ocean of consciousness.
Let the drop of water that is you
Become a hundred mighty seas.
But do not think that the drop alone
Becomes the ocean,
The ocean, too, becomes the drop!
My sangha for the next two weeks in Iran – may their inherent oceanic wetness keep glistening ever more brightly!