Bios (biological) life is that life that comes to us from nature, the life that is always tending to run down and decay and needs to be nourished constantly with air, water and food.
Spiritual life (Zoe), on the other hand, is the life which is in God from all eternity, which has always existed and will always exist…
The difference between having bios and zoe is like the difference between a statue and a man. A man who changed from having bios to zoe would have gone through as big a change as a statue which changed from being a carved statue to being a real man.
C. S. Lewis
Conflict transformation (not just conflict resolution nor conflict management) for restorative (and not just punitive nor retributive) justice involves the following basic elements, and I see them at work in our solidarity act on Aug. 26:
1. Truth – calling for transparency in governance
2. Justice – calling for doing Right by all
3. Mercy – (this we may yet have to be more conscious of) seeing the “perpetrators” as human beings–and yes, “victims”! (of their own greed, the system) –too and avoiding cruel name-calling and jokes just to rant and rave–well, at least, not in public, as a good start– and just focus on the issues at hand (“condemn the sin/the system, not the sinner”)…. soooo, sooooo hard to do but do-able, by the Grace of God!)
4. Reconciliation – fundamentally a healing of relationships, within ourselves first, then with each other (which is a manifestation of a healing of our own intimate relationships with God), and a healing of our nation
From “Truth, Justice, Mercy, Peace” —
What is Restorative Justice?
Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs and obligations, in order to heal and put things right as possible. The Little Book of Restorative Justice, Howard Zehr, 2002, p. 37.
Restorative justice is basically common sense – the kind of lessons our parents and foreparents taught. This has led some to call it a way of life. When a wrong has been done, it needs to be named and acknowledged. Those who have been harmed need to be able to grieve their losses, to be able to tell their stories, to have their questions answered – that is, to have the harms and needs caused by the offense answered. They – and we – need to have those who have done wrong accept their responsibility and take steps to repair the harm to the extent it is possible.
–Howard Zehr, professor of restorative justice at EMU
Translated into a set of principles, restorative justice calls one to:
- focus on the harms and consequent needs of the victims, as well as the communities’ and the offenders’;
- address the obligations that result from those harms (the obligations of offenders as well as the communities’ and society’s’);
- use inclusive, collaborative processes to the extent possible;
- involve those with a legitimate stake in the situation, including victims, offenders, community members and society;
- seek to put right the wrongs.
That is the essence of the kingdom of God – setting things to rights, as N.T. Wright says.
(Certainly not all perpetrators are interested in restoration. There is still a thing called “evil” in this world. We are not addressing that here in this article. For more on that, see “Evil and the Justice of God“, N.T. Wright)
Dorothy Vaandering says what is needed in restorative justice is a concerned effort to remind us all of the following:
- Justice is a call to recognize that all humans are worthy and to be honored.
- Injustice occurs when people are objectified.
- The term restorative justice becomes meaningful when it refers to restoring people to being honored as human.
(quoted from Howard Zehr’s blog )
Restorative justice is fragile. It hinges on people taking determined steps to relentlessly pursue their healing despite the pain it may bring. It challenges us to growth, to imagine beyond the current status quo and to take the creative risk of feeling and acting in a different, yet deeply courageous way.
–Carl Stauffer, EMU restorative justice professor
Restorative justice incorporates Truth, Justice and Mercy. When this occurs, there is room for Peace. And the possibility of reaching reconciliation. I long for the day when restorative Justice becomes the norm. In the mean time, we can practice it with whatever opportunities we are provided.
Can individuals, communities & societies make the choice to transform great suffering into great wisdom? Can trauma be seen as an invitation to spiritual, emotional and societal transformation?
If we say “yes”, the resulting journey is spiritual work of the deepest sort.
The journey leads into the depths of ourselves as individuals and groups.
Here we come face-to-face with our own darkness.
In this unlikely place, grace abounds, & transformation & hope begins.”– Elena Zook Barge
To finally be free
of undeserved guilt
from other people’s
basic unhappiness with themselves,
And the niggling, gnawing
little nameless anxieties
that come from believing
you are all alone
when in Truth
This article is an affirmation of what I’ve observed, learned and concluded after almost living in hospitals 24/7 for 3 months, while taking care of Papa here in Bacolod in Jan-Feb. 2008 and Mama there in Atlanta, Georgia, in Feb.-March 2008, who both passed on within 19 days of each other: all that really matters is if you’re ready to go or not.
And if you’re ready please pass up the “heroic” technological attempts to “save” you while your quality of life and dignity suffers, and the pharmaceutical and curative–not preventive– “care” (which actually benefits from people getting sick!) industries make even more money from it.
“Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone.”
I’m ready anytime. My only prayer is to go peacefully and to be sent off by the prayers and love of closest family and friends– not in pain and not alone. ♥
“Silence is not yet prayer, but going into the Silence is necessary for prayer.” Something I’ve known already from my own practices but which was clearly defined for me yesterday at the Prayer and Life Workshop (PLW) orientation.
And then, this morning, as I went into meditation immediately after I woke up, I kept “popping out”. 😥
I just realized now that it’s because I did not take time to “properly” go into the Silence, gently placing my self in an open, empty, receptive state. How theory and experience immediately put themselves at work to remind me of this lesson, one after another!
In my 6 & a half years of growing in meditation and prayer practice, I have observed how this practice of going into Silence first before communing with God/The Source/Spirit carries over into one’s every day life.
One naturally learns to be more attentive and receptive to self and other beings. One grows in reverence, Presence, for all life, deepening in true intimacy with self and others.
And I remember reading somewhere before that if you cultivate an inner life of Silence and prayer, you cannot help but become more honest, more authentic in your outer life! 🙂
So I guess if your life (or even just some parts of it) is feeling fake, blah, meaningless for you, go Inside. ♥
This is an ode to all of those that have never asked for one.
A thank you in words to all of those that do not do
what they do so well for the thanking.
This is to the mothers.
This is to the ones who match our first scream
with their loudest scream; who harmonize in our shared pain
and joy and terrified wonder when life begins.
This is to the mothers.
To the ones who stay up late and wake up early and always know
the distance between their soft humming song and our tired ears.
To the lips that find their way to our foreheads and know,
somehow always know, if too much heat is living in our skin.
To the hands that spread the jam on the bread and the mesmerizing
patient removal of the crust we just cannot stomach.
This is to the mothers.
To the ones who shout the loudest and fight the hardest and sacrifice
the most to keep the smiles glued to our faces and the magic
spinning through our days. To the pride they have for us
that cannot fit inside after all they have endured.
To the leaking of it out their eyes and onto the backs of their
hands, to the trails of makeup left behind as they smile
through those tears and somehow always manage a laugh.
This is to the patience and perseverance and unyielding promise
that at any moment they would give up their lives to protect ours.
This is to the mothers.
To the single mom’s working four jobs to put the cheese in the mac
and the apple back into the juice so their children, like birds in
a nest, can find food in their mouths and pillows under their heads.
To the dreams put on hold and the complete and total rearrangement
of all priority. This is to the stay-at-home moms and those that
find the energy to go to work every day; to the widows and the
To the young mothers and those that deal with the unexpected
announcement of a new arrival far later than they ever anticipated.
This is to the mothers.
This is to the sack lunches and sleepover parties, to the soccer games
and oranges slices at halftime. This is to the hot chocolate
after snowy walks and the arguing with the umpire
at the little league game. To the frosting ofbirthday cakes
and the candles that are always lit on time; to the Easter egg hunts,
the slip-n-slides and the iced tea on summer days.
This is to the ones that show us the way to finding our own way.
To the cutting of the cord, quite literally the first time
and even more painfully and metaphorically the second time around.
To the mothers who become grandmothers and great-grandmothers
and if time is gentle enough, live to see the children of their children
have children of their own. To the love.
My goodness to the love that never stops and comes from somewhere
only mothers have seen and know the secret location of.
To the love that grows stronger as their hands grow weaker
and the spread of jam becomes slower and the Easter eggs get easier
to find and sack lunches no longer need making.
This is to the way the tears look falling from the smile lines
around their eyes and the mascara that just might always be
smeared with the remains of their pride for all they have created.
This is to the mothers.
via Tyler Knott.
I love the dark hours of my being
in which my senses drop into the deep.
I have found in them, as in old letters,
My private life, that is already lived through,
And become wide and powerful now, like legends.
Then I know that there is room in me
For a second huge and timeless life.
– Rainer Maria Rilke (translated by Robert Bly)
A growing body of scientific evidence shows that mindful-based therapies, such as meditation, can lower psychological stress and boost both mental and physical health. Now findings recently published in PLoS One suggest that such practices may also change gene activity.
In the small study, researchers recruited individuals who had no prior meditation experience and examined participants’ genetic profile prior to their adoption of a basic daily relaxation practice. The 10- to 20-minute routine included reciting words, breathing exercises and attempts to exclude everyday thought. The New Scientist reports:
After eight weeks of performing the technique daily, the volunteers gene profile was analysed again. Clusters of important beneficial genes had become more active and harmful ones less so.
The boosted genes had three main beneficial effects: improving the efficiency of mitochondria, the powerhouse of cells; boosting insulin production, which improves control of blood sugar; and preventing the depletion of telomeres, caps on chromosomes that help to keep DNA stable and so prevent cells wearing out and ageing.
Clusters of genes that became less active were those governed by a master gene called NF-kappaB, which triggers chronic inflammation leading to diseases including high blood pressure, heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease and some cancers.
Even more interesting was that researchers found evidence to suggest that such changes can occur quickly and that regularly meditating can have lasting health effects:
By taking blood immediately after before and after performing the technique on a single day, researchers also showed that the gene changes happened within minutes.
For comparison, the researchers also took samples from 26 volunteers who had practised relaxation techniques for at least three years. They had beneficial gene profiles even before performing their routines in the lab, suggesting that the techniques had resulted in long term changes to their genes.
I would very much want them to know that what seems endless is not. That there are very concrete and specific ways of being with painful emotions and experiences that can help transform them. That very often what we think is the worst thing that could happen to us turns out to be the best. That if we have the courage to open to the darkness and not run from it, it can contain the source of our relief. That as Rumi has said, “the wound is where the light enters.” That happiness is possible. Freedom is possible. That everything we could possibly want is contained within each present moment, if we just learn how to recognize it.