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The Meaning of Relinquishments - Practice: A Few Seconds a Day
The Meaning of Relinquishments
by Mayte Picco-Kline
Our newest board member, Mayte Picco-Kline, has been involved with Friends of Peace Pilgrim for many years. She is the translator of the Spanish language version of our book and has published Enlace International, a Spanish Peace Pilgrim newsletter, since 1994. The following article appeared in the October issue of Enlace and is based on an interview between Mayte and Charito Calvachi-Mateyko that was broadcast on ‘Radio Centro’ WLCH, 91.3 FM in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Peace Pilgrim's sister Helene Young and Mayte Picco-Kline - December 2006
Charito - When we speak of relinquishments, are we saying that we will relinquish worldly things?
Mayte - It means that we learn to live with things we really need, whatever our needs might be. As Peace Pilgrim said: “Material things have to be put in their proper place. They are here to be used; to be used well; that’s why they exist. But when they are no longer needed, we should be quick to give them away, perhaps to someone who needs them even more. Anything you cannot relinquish when it has exceeded its usefulness possesses you; and in this materialistic era of ours we are very much possessed by our possessions.”
Let’s speak of another type of possessiveness. Peace said to us: “When we think we possess people we have the tendency to direct their lives, which leads to extreme disharmony. Only when we realize that we do not possess others, that they must live according to their own internal motivations, only when we let them direct their lives do we discover that we are able to live in harmony with them.” Here we are speaking of a true respect for others. In fact each of us is solely responsible for our own life. As the great Mexican leader Benito Juárez said so wisely, "Respect for the rights of others is peace."
Charito - Our mass media world sends us the message to monopolize everything and to have everything. Does this mean that the spiritual world, characterized by abundance, affectionate caring, and sharing with everyone must be antagonistic with the ‘real’ world, characterized by material scarcity and the constant drive to have as much of everything as possible?
Mayte - A remarkable British economist, E. F. Schumacher, has written a book, Small Is Beautiful, about this from the perspective.
True success, independent of our economic resources, is to dedicate our life to activities that encourage and support the spirit, independent of isolated profits. Truly successful people have profits that involve all their being and obtain a style of life that benefits, in addition to the individual, all those around him. As David R. Hawkins puts it in his book, Power vs. Force, truly successful people are courteous and considerate with everyone, treating all as equals. “Truly successful people are not inclined to act arrogantly, because they do not consider themselves better than others, only more lucky. They see their position as a responsibility, an obligation to exert their influence for the greater benefit of all.” He clearly explains, “Success elevates us or destroys us, depending not on the success itself, but on how we integrate it in our personalities. If we are proud or humble; if we are egotistical or thankful; if we consider ourselves better than others because of our talents or we consider our talents a gift, and for them we are thankful -- these are the determining factors.”
Charito - Must the spiritual world, characterized by abundance, be antagonistic with the everyday world in which we live day to day?
Mayte - Each is a marvelous complement with the other when we remember the presence of God in our lives. A fundamental element to be truly successful is the knowledge that all we do is by the grace of God. God is the power that moves the world. We are all ONE with GOD. True success in life happens when we profoundly understand that we are an instrument of God to do good, to bring peace and harmony to others, to do the best we can for the benefit of humanity. This happens when we understand from the depths of our being that we are messengers of the divine word, and when we live to give, the meaning of success is transformed into a sublime activity full of love.
Charito - Can speaking of relinquishments be something that produces a fear to give away joy in life? Do you think we can feel happy for relinquishing certain things?
Mayte - The word relinquishment has a great variety of meanings. It can be interpreted as to give, to sur-render, to stop, to leave, to dedicate or to sacrifice. It can also be interpreted as to stop doing something that causes great personal joy and from this perspective perhaps we could use another word that better des-cribes what we are speaking about. In fact what I’m talking about is to consider the meaning as to dedicate oneself to serve others, to reflect on making possible pertinent life changes which facilitate a more profound spiritual encounter with God, from the highest part of ourselves and from the inner being, the soul, with the people we relate to and to those we have an oppor-tunity to serve. There is great joy in service to others.
Charito - What is it that I can achieve when relin-quishing certain aspects of my life?
Mayte - Inner peace is the single and only source of happiness and each step we take, each new activity we initiate and each thought and positive feeling we have, allows us to bring harmony into life which will lead us to reach inner peace. Peace comes to us when we learn to live according to the laws of God and the universe.
Let us consider how each living entity on the planet evolves and develops – “from a seed to a flower and seeds for new life again.” This model of life in balance can teach us something on how we can plan and allow our lives to unfold - day to day. We can begin by asking ourselves, does each day unfold in a balanced way? Are we making our lives more complex than need be? If we found that this can be improved, what opportunities exist to re-establish balance? In the book , The Tao of Inner Peace, Dianne Dreher suggests we have these questions in mind:
- Is there anything you wish to delegate, eliminate or in any way simplify?
- Is there anything lacking in your life?
- Can you create space for it by reducing involvement in other areas?
She sees us as architects designing a beautiful structure which we call our life.
On this beautiful day I want to close this interview by sharing phrases of the Sabian Assembly that encourage me to live a life of abundance based on service to others.
- I dedicate my world to God in every thought and act.
- Whatever I take from life I accept as high responsibility.
- The goods for which I strive are of eternal worth.
- My riches have their source in God’s abundance.
Practice: A Few Seconds a Day (top)
by Bo Lozoff
|Peace Pilgrim felt that “practice” was a missing ingredient in our journey toward inner and outer peace. The following article offers some practical suggestions. Our friends Bo and Sita Lozoff have inspired many in prison through their work at The Human Kindness Foundation. For many years we have supplied Steps booklets that are included in the packages they send to prisoners. Bo has written several books and is in much demand as a speaker. The following article is reprinted from “a little good news,” the newsletter of HKF.
Here’s an almost effortless practice that will definitely change your life for the better if you are willing to commit just ten to twenty seconds a day to it. But first, a little background about how the brain works.
In his book Addiction and Grace, Dr. Gerald May discusses how the human brain works and he gives us sympathy for how easy it is to form habits and addictions. One example he gives is that if we go to supper just three nights in a row and do the same thing - something meaningless, like grab our cup with our right hand and place it at the nine o’clock position at our plate - if we do this as a ritual even three times, and then the fourth night we deliberately do it differently, it’s going to bother us. After merely three repetitions of a trivial act, the brain has already imprinted the behavior as being natural, as being the “right” place for that cup to be. The brain has already formed chemical synapses between the nerve endings that make us feel the cup should be placed at nine o’clock!
So we can also make this process of “imprinting” work in our favor. The moment we realize we are awake - I don’t mean after getting up and going to the bathroom, or after lying there thinking of all sorts of things; I mean the first moment we realize “I’m awake…” - the brain is in a very raw and open state and can imprint things very deeply. So in those first few seconds of “awakeness” every day, say a prayer or state an intention that reflects your spiritual path. Something like, “Lord, may I be less selfish today than I was yesterday.”
Or, “Lord, I dedicate my life to others today; please show me how, all through the day.”
Or, “I commit my every thought, word and deed to the greatest good today. May I cause no harm.”
It takes fewer than five seconds to say one of the thoughts above. And then you lay there for another ten seconds or so to let it sink in. The brain very powerfully imprints this thought as your first identity of every day. All through the day it will come back to you and challenge you and remind you of your spiritual intentions. Before you are busy being a man or woman, convict or citizen, young or old, black or white or other, before you even know your name each morning, you have imprinted a profound spiritual thought into your brain; you have declared your primary identity as a spiritual seeker. Believe me, it will make a difference in your life.
And it only takes a few seconds. There is no one, anywhere, who does not have the time to do this practice. Every one of us wakes up every day and stays in bed a few seconds as we realize we are awake. It doesn’t take long to train ourselves to do this practice; it’ll come automatically after the first week or two. The only requirement on our part is to commit to doing this every day for the rest of our lives. That’s how the brain will imprint these intentions and prayers the most deeply. If you call yourself a spiritual
seeker at all, then is it unreasonable to require yourself to begin each day with a simple, effort-less reminder of that?
The prayer or intention should be simple, fewer than 20-25 words, something a child can understand. And it should be the same words every day for at least a few months at a time in order for the brain to imprint it deeply. Don’t lie in bed and start thinking of what to say; that gets the mind too involved and active. Choose the words in advance and stick with the same ones for a few months or longer, until you are guided to change or alter them.
Many people say meditation takes too much time or is too difficult or they have no place to practice it. But no one and nothing can prevent you from spending a few seconds doing this simple practice when you first wake up. There is no environment, no external force, that can prevent you from doing this. And although it is simple and almost effortless, it will change your life.
One more wrinkle you can throw in is to end your day with the same sort of practice: Lying on your pillow waiting to go to sleep, you just check out the same way you checked in: “Lord, may I be less selfish tomorrow than I was today….”
Beginning and ending each day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, with our spiritual nature, is one good way to begin to understand “Be in the world, but not of it.” Give it a try!
The Human Kindness Foundation can be contacted at:
PO Box 61619, Durham, NC 27715 – tel. (919) 304-2220
website – www.humankindness.org.
“All works of love are works of peace. If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other.”