While in high school I often skipped school and took the subway from the suburb where I lived outside of Boston into Harvard Square in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I didn't know then that I was heading to the birthplace of the Transcendentalist Club, a group of radical thinkers such as Henry David Thoreau, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Margaret Fuller who gathered to discuss radical ideas. I just knew I felt at home there.
Emerson, who many call America's greatest philosopher, and his friends believed that each one of us is responsible for our own growth and development, and each and every decision and action we make has consequences that reach far beyond their initial effects, ultimately toward a universal response. Emerson believed we were each part and parcel of the"whole" or the eternal "One". He wrote these radical ideas in his first essay and included what I would call a glimpse into his spiritual awakening:
"Standing on the bare ground,—my head bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space,—all mean egotism vanishes. I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part or particle of God.”
It was during one of those trips to the hallowed ground of Harvard Square where I first attempted to meditate. Before I knew how to do it, or what it would do for me, I assumed the position, cross-legged, on the floor on the back of the train, and I closed my eyes. I didn't know what to do next, but I had a feeling that meditation would lead me to somewhere very mysterious and deep. After all, didn't the Beatles do it? Didn't it have something to do with enlightenment, whatever that was? It all seemed very cool.
It wasn't until I was in my mid 20's that I learned how to meditate and committed to a daily meditation practice: every day, twice a day I sat and practiced a silent mantra meditation. Each time I meditated, I felt like I was coming home - as a part or particle of God. It was more than cool.
Now 30 years later, like Emerson, I believe that the Universal Being circulates through each one of us. It's intelligent, peaceful, and present and we can tap into it through meditation. Because of my meditation practice, I am more peaceful, compassionate, and wise. I imagine that you are too. I also dream that our peaceful vibes somehow merge and they together contribute to the creation of peace on this planet. It's the ripple effect as my peace ripple joins yours, and when it's a big enough ripple, perspectives will change and there will be a universal response: each one of us will make choices that reflect the principles of fairness over greed, peace over anger, equality over exclusivity, interconnectedness over separateness, and kindness over cruelty. Each choice will reflect a reverence for life.
I want to thank you for putting your spirituality first during the Feast and always. Thank you for being part of this great big dream of peace.