Saturday, July 30, 2016

Recollection ~ Quiet ~ Union

This posting is an excerpt from Richard Rohr's weekly summary of his meditations.  I found this particular piece to be very special in two ways.  In the first consideration I just love the poetic way that Mirabai writes and I'm not a particular great fan of poetry, but she is special in her phraseology.
Secondly, my approach to Labyrinth modalities in the past few years seems to have a correspondence to this particular message of St Teresa of Avila.  As I read this I could envision one reflecting on the "Prayer of Recollection" on the entry of your labyrinth.  And the "Prayer of Quiet" within your center.  And finally the "Prayer of Union" on your Joyful Exit into the world.  Enjoy! Pax Christi!  Roberto


In CAC's recent issue of Oneing, Mirabai Starr reflects on the three stages of prayer taught by Teresa of Avila (1515-1582) in her book The Way of Perfection. She invites us into deepening intimacy with God:
Teresa names the first stage the Prayer of Recollection. When we make the effort to set aside time to be still and turn inward, we gather all our faculties to a single point of concentration and invite the presence of the sacred to enter us. . . . In this state, we may find that what the Buddhists call "monkey mind" continues to chatter for a while, but gradually things settle down and a kind of spaciousness begins to open between the thoughts, and that's where the Holy One slips in to sit beside us.
The Prayer of Recollection involves our active participation. It requires discipline, concentration, and a willingness to endure both mental turmoil and spiritual aridity. It is an act of purification; by scouring the vessel of our souls with the practice of prayer, we empty ourselves so that the Beloved may fill us.
At that point, we may enter the Prayer of Quiet. Now that the labor of recollection has cleansed us, we are ready to receive the infusion of divine light. This is a state of grace. . . . Once we have gathered our senses and intellect, a feeling of deep peace and quietude may wash over us like a warm wave. This is an exceedingly delicate experience. . . . We cannot manufacture or manipulate this stage of prayer. We can only make ourselves ready to receive it when it comes and, in the words of the late meditation teacher Stephen Levine, we "hold on tightly and let go lightly." [1]
In Teresa's final stage, the Prayer of Union, any sense of an individualized self slips away. The soul merges with the Divine, like a drop of water into the boundless sea. The Beloved, who, as it turns out, has longed for the lover as fervently as she has desired him, makes her one with him. The Prayer of Union is usually fleeting, but its impact endures. Each time God blesses us with these unitive experiences, we are forever transformed. We are likely to still bumble through the human condition, behaving unskillfully at times and with more grace at others, but with each taste of union we identify a little less with the individual personality and more with our essential unity with the Divine. We are less likely to take passing circumstances as seriously as we used to. Our values shift from acquiring security to serving the One through being of service in the world.
The contemplative life is not a matter of achieving some artificial state of perfection available only to the spiritual elite, who glide past the obstacles that throw off the rest of us. It is a matter of being so fully present to the moment that we cannot help but catch a glimpse of God in all that is. "Which of my blessings," the Holy One asks in the Qur'an, "will you deny?" [2]
Teresa of Avila is one of the great advocates and models of the power of simply sitting for a few minutes each day in silence and stillness, and striking up a conversation with the One who is waiting to love us unconditionally, the One who will never leave us, the One who is not different from the essence of who we truly are. [3]
"I find it especially significant that in her writing Mirabai incorporates thoughts from the Christian but also the Buddhist and Muslim traditions"  RV

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Free To Be All We Can Be

Recently I have met someone who speaks my language and seems to see life with very similar eyes and spiritual focus.  There are many of us out there, I’m sure, and prayerfully the number is growing even as it seems the daily world is falling apart in front of us.  The really cool thing is to realize that the path is really very simple and it is an inside job.  
It has been a great week on many fronts and it has not been devoid of problems but they have been resolved for the most part.  A loving community helps.  I have greatly Loved having my children home from parts afar for the celebration of our family and the birth of our nation.  This nation still has a great Manifest Destiny in its future but not in the form it has been used in the past.  I know in a past post I mentioned a book by Marianne Williamson titled “Healing The Soul of America”.  I would like to encourage the reading of her work again.   We are Blessed but one by one must realize that with great blessing comes great responsibility.  I hope and pray that  I may be able to remain vertical long enough to see my children pick up the torch!   
I close this brief post with a quote I found to really encapsulate my mission in this life!  

“My presence here is to provide services for joining in community… each of us elevates each others spirits and this is the gift of giving and receiving grace. It is an honor to offer these services and products for enjoyment, healing, and connection.” Rev Nancy Moore   from the website   Pax Et Bonum! Roberto

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Mercy! Me!
The link above will connect you with Richard's CAC website.  Below I have reproduced this particular meditation( highlights in red are my addition) to make just a few observations.  The past month has seen my sojourning about Scandinavia in search of their ancient past especially related to the modality of labyrinth utilization.  My feelings are reported in the adjacent  post but the net result somewhat supports my thought that labyrinths are just "what you make of them".  As a tool for contemplation they can be beautiful but so can many other modalities, a beautiful sunset on the beach for instance.  The highlighted sections of the post below I believe really appropriately point to the connection between authentic contemplation and the embracement of Mercy.
It seems that our ancestors, the First Nations Peoples all over the world  had a handle on this idea.  Of course there is the issue of survival and meeting the basic needs for civilization that has influenced how merciful and peaceful peoples have been.  It is a goal to strive toward and I believe that in today's world we have a transcending soul rising up which will make us truly "The Body of Christ" and Mercy and Love will Win.  Lord Have Mercy!  Pax Christi!  RV

Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation

Two red and black insects protecting an egg sack.

Week 1

The Ark of the Covenant
Monday, June 27, 2016

In his book The Soul's Journey into God, Franciscan theologian Bonaventure uses a most wonderful Old Testament metaphor to describe the contemplative mind; he says it is like the Ark of the Covenant housed within Israel's temple. [1] Exodus 25 describes in great detail how the Ark was to be built. It was first of all a kind of traveling temple so the Israelites could carry God around with them, wherever they went, until they finally settled the Ark in Solomon's permanent temple. But it didn't really hold God, which would have been idolatrous. The Ark of the Covenant was instead the "place-holder" for God--a brilliant metaphor!
The open space above the Ark of the Covenant was rightly called the "Throne of Mercy." Two golden cherubs protected the empty space, directly facing each other. "In that space," God says, "I will meet you" (Exodus 25:22). Mercy multiplies inside such open and free space. This is the work of contemplation--"guarding your mind and your heart" (Philippians 4:7) so that a Larger Presence can show itself. Such silence and emptiness is open to infinite horizons and True Transcendence in the way that nothing else quite is. Words always whittle God into small parts that we can seemingly grasp and understand. Read Max Picard's classic book, The World of Silence, where he masterfully describes this phenomenon. [2]
The golden cherubs protect an infinite opening, a silent unknowing that is a different kind of knowing altogether, a fully open space that only God can fill and inhabit, never our own small ideas and passing feelings. It is in this eternal, endless space where Yahweh rightly says to Israel, "I will meet you." Every other playing field is far too small.
Protecting infinite, empty, and merciful space is precisely what you do in contemplative practice. Most of what we call thinking is narcissistic reaction to the moment. Moment by moment, you're judging things and labeling them, whether they attract or repel you. That really isn't thinking, but self-centered reactions and the stating of your preferences to yourself. It takes work to return to the Ark of the Covenant, the placeholder space within you that is quiet, that doesn't get caught up in all your commentaries and emotional evaluations, up and down, in and out, with or against. Some kind of contemplative practice will allow you to watch yourself doing all of this and notice how futile it all is. In contemplation, your inner witness is still, like the golden cherubs, and lets everything else float by. It observes and learns from your thoughts and sensations, but it doesn't attach to any of them. It lets go and lets go and lets go.
This takes years of practice, until letting go becomes an art form. You learn not to be so opinionated, not to be emotionally dragged up and down, but to stay in this quiet place that watches everything come and go with calm equanimity. When you learn how to stay here, you'll recognize you are not your thinking and you are not your feelings. What you were thinking even an hour ago, you're not thinking anymore. Therefore it is not you. Your thinking is essentially unstable. Yet most people think they are their thinking! Such a life is inherently insecure. Many people in contemporary secular society have little solid ground on which to stand, to create a mature and happy life.

Gateway to Silence
Teach me how to see.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A Franciscan labyrinth in Ashland, Oregon


Last evening my friend and brother in Christ, John, returned after a 3 week visit to Sweden and Denmark.  We made the trip as John needed to connect with his relatives and his memories of youth.  This was a very nice trip and, for me, a very good exposure to the Scandinavian history, culture, and path at this point in time.  Another point of interest for me was the large number of labyrinths present, especially on the coastal points of travel.  This led me to the theory that perhaps the early Viking travels, themselves or perhaps their captives or slaves, may have been instrumental in the dispersion of that medium throughout the world.  To this point I will post here, in addition to the latest walk of the Franciscan Labyrinth, a few of the many labyrinth shots we took on the trip.
This is a paver labyrinth in the courtyard of a bicycle dealership in Vasteras, Sweden.  This is a typical pattern from this area (9 or 12 instead of 7 circuits in the classical).  This one is patterned after the next photo which is very hard to still make out as it is near an ancient Viking ceremonial ground and not so well maintained.

It seems as though most of theses labyrinths were used in random ceremonies, quite often by fishermen wishing for a good catch.  Magic seemed to be the goal verses meditation.  And to be honest I can not really see Viking warriors themselves walking a pattern like this (especially to "get a girl").....The next few shots were taken on the island of Gotland off the coast of Sweden.
 On the road to the lighthouse
Scratched into the sand within a church ruin in Visby (I did not do it)
 An unusual pattern in the pavers in front of the cathedral in Visby.
 This sign is describing, in Swedish, a hedge labyrinth in Stockholm.  A pretty nice one but somewhat overgrown so it is almost a maze.
 This is the inside shot of the center of another hedge maze (true maze this time).  The pathway is again pretty tall and the inside is patterned after the label on a Tuborg beer bottle (not prehistoric :0)
 This is the entrance to the Tuborg Maze

This is the first 12 circuit classical labyrinth we encountered arriving at Visby on Gotland.

I am very happy that we made this trip and the ancient roots of the Viking settlements were a treat to visit and ponder upon the drive that lead peoples to travel such harsh seas in search of new lands.  Perhaps with respect for all the ancients who searched out new lands we can in these latter days  search out the new lands and dimensions of creation within ourselves.  Learning to realize that we and all of creation are connected and can best survive by serving each other, including Mother Earth.  Pax!  Roberto

Friday, March 25, 2016

A View From The Bottom!

On this Good Friday Richard Rohr has posted a timely thought for the season.  It really is worth a read and a contemplation.  Please consider doing so.  Last evening a group of us gathered and reflected on the message of Servanthood  and Compassion as is encapsulated in those last hours before the crucifixion.  It was one of the most meaningful services of which I have ever been a part.  Thank You to my Brothers and Sisters in Christ for being in my life and showing me the face of Jesus!  Pax Christi! RV  

Monday, March 14, 2016

And The Next Step Is??!

So...Here I am, back on the East side of my pond again.  The Spirit That Heals Week is over again and has been a great experience once more.  Met some more great people, saw some great sights in my Island in the Stream.  The Dream Labyrinth will surely come to be in that beautiful place.
A couple of sights really stood out and may be the location of the future adventure.  It becomes obvious that my original scale, while doable, is about 30% too small.  The way things grow over here we need a larger growing strip by about 50%, 12' instead of 8'.  I was able to visit almost all of the Botanical gardens available while on Island this time and the plant list will need to be adjusted one more time, this will be an ongoing process...

Besides the beauty of Kauai, The special nature of this place to me, The microcausmic nature of this palette as a working pattern for Peace and reconciliation for the World stage, this is a good place to post the following statement  which I have titled Theology 101.  It beautifully describes the interconnectedness and flow of All Creation as an Aspect of God:

Who is this God?
For both Jesus and Paul,
God is an Infinite Flow--which we eventually call Trinity. God is much more a verb than a noun. All things exist inside of that Flow, come out from that Flow, and return to that Flow. Only for a while are we allowed to choose to act from within this Flow consciously, freely, and happily; or alternatively, to resist it. The very nature of Being is communion, infinite generosity, and unhindered giving and receiving between three, which then becomes the template for the whole universe, from atoms to galaxies.
~Richard Rohr, DM 3/14/16

In addition to an expanded/revised plant list it seems appropriate to start a list of aphorisms, inspirational quotes and their authors for potential use in the "Dream". My first draft follows:

Just as I have Loved you, So you must Love each other!   Jesus

You are not a drop in the ocean - you are the entire ocean in a drop   Rumi
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing there is a field.  I’ll meet you there.  Rumi

Peace begins with a smile!  St Teresa of Calcutta

Preach the Gospel always, And if necessary, use words!    St Teresa of Calcutta

Live Simply So others may simply live.  M Gandhi +

Better than a thousand hollow words, is one word that brings peace!  Buddha

An eye for an eye only ends up making the whole world blind.  M Gandhi

Act justly, Love mercy,and walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

If I, your teacher, have washed your feet, You too, must wash each other’s feet.  Jesus

Maybe you are searching among the branches for what only appears in the roots.  Rumi

It is our Light, not our darkness, that frightens us…..We were born to manifest the Glory of God within us.  N Mandela

Before you embark on a journey of revenge...Dig two graves.  Confucius

Service above Self!  Rotary International

We can do no great things...Only small things with great Love.  St Teresa of Calcutta

It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness,  The Christophers

Never give a sword to a man who can’t dance.  Confucius

You have spent your whole life with elegant speeches...For some time you should walk in the gardens of silence.  Rumi

In the Beginning was the Word!  St John

If we are to pray and mean “Your Kingdom come”  we must be able to say “our kingdom go”.  R.Rohr

If you can not see God in all you can not see God at all.  Yogi Bhajan

It does not take many words to speak the truth.  Chief Joseph

You can not remove the plank you are standing upon.  R. Rohr of St Francis

Lord, Make me an instrument of Your peace.  St Francis of Assisi

Why did Moses, the Buddha, Jesus and Mohammed cross the road...To get to the Other.  Brian McLaren

Mankind has for millennia lived off of Mother Earth’s interest --We are now living off of her principle. Chief Phil Lane

Love is the bridge between You and Everything.  Rumi

Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened.  Happiness never decreases by being shared.  Buddha

I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more Love.  St Teresa of Calcutta

Don’t Gain the World and Lose Your Soul.  Wisdom Is Better Than Silver or Gold.  Bob Marley

The day the power of Love overrules the love of Power, the world will know Peace.  M Gandhi/ Jimi Hendrix

Imagine….all the people living life in peace.  You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.  I hope someday you’ll join us , and the world will be as one.  John Lennon

You cannot shake hands with a clinched fist.  Indira Gandhi

There is no path to peace.   Peace Is the path.  M Gandhi

See Yourself in others,  Then whom can you hurt?  What harm can you do?  The Buddha

More to come! Pax Christi! RV

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"The Spirit That Heals" 2016

"The Spirit That Heals" 2016

May The Force, of Forgiveness, Be With You”

“Love and Good Earth To You” (Claes Nobel)

Robert Michael Vlach
 I am a retired, widowed, gentleman from Southern Oregon.  Spiritually active and Transcending; A follower of St Francis.  I am a Chaplain at the local hospitals and a facilitator of Labyrinth construction with the focus of memorial and meditative uses.  Currently working with symbiotic souls toward the positive pursuit of Love and Peace.  I am a recent attendee at the Rotary International World Peace Congress in the Los Angeles area.  I also have strong ties to the Hawaiian Islands and Kauai in particular.
Looking at forms of meditation and correlating a path of Forgiveness (unilaterally as necessary) toward the goal of communal Peace, 2 up to 7 Billion . “Force” is used somewhat tongue in cheek in the title.  But not so in reality as we will see how Love and Forgiveness are very powerful forces.

I Prayerfully hope for guidance in making this presentation; which I feel woefully unworthy to present. This is a huge subject but Oh so necessary to grasp Today.  As it is huge in scope; But also a proper perspective of everyone taking the steps possible, and maybe some impossible ones, available to them in their Quest.

Nelson Mandela said
“It is our light, not our darkness, that frightens us….We were born to manifest the Glory of God within us.”

St Teresa of Calcutta.."We Can Do No Great Things...Only Small Things With Great Love"

The Christophers motto states
“It is better to light one candle than to curse the darkness”

So I light a candle and invite you to light one as we go along this day.  This is an interactive presentation
I have attempted to link a discipline, Labyrinth construction and utilization, with which I have been involved for some years now, and in a way is my link to this Island.

I am linking this to Meditation.  There are many forms and practices of Meditation all of which have their good points.  In this case we are looking at a walking meditation, generally circular, and repetitive.  Predominately done in silence, listening to “The Spirit That Heals”. 

In most health care paradigms today it is recognized that the Mind, the Body, and The Spirit are linked in the healing of the whole person.  It seems that the mind and body can be looked at to a certain respect from a scientific viewpoint and follow certain predictable patterns.  How we treat these elements and patterns can have a very efficacious result on the whole.  However the Mystery factor of the Spirit seems to be the God element in the equation and for some reason seems to be most accessible in silence. As we release our mind, our ego
~we are more open to our heart~

Richard Rohr on Labyrinths - “These circular paths are a way of learning and praying through movement instead of through thinking”
“Labyrinths seem to have emerged from the collective unconscious, representing a clear path to the center, to the Divine.”  

“The turning circuits of a labyrinth remind us that life is change and transformation, and repentance.”

I want to look at several individual transformed Spiritual Masters among us over the Millennia . And how following their “Quiet time” They have reentered the world to their mission, calling, or destiny… and demonstrably leading to:
Forgiveness, sometimes others and sometimes themselves.
From this place of forgiveness they lead us to some period of Peace (or promise of peace) and a community or societal transformation.
A Disclosure
~I am speaking from my platform as a Christian.  Make no mistake here.  Jesus is my Lord and Savior.  My understanding of Christ is also hugely expanded to all time, since the dawn of Creation.  So I see the Consciousness of Christ in All of Creation.~

Let us listen to Maya Angelou speaking about Nelson Mandela

Mandela was a man in the trenches as the battle of Apartheid waged on.  Some would have called him a terrorist or at least a rebel.  Upon imprisonment for 27 years he certainly did have a period of reflection and meditation.  Following his release at the fall of Apartheid his exercise of forgiveness and inclusion has been an example to us all. You will notice this quote by Nelson in the video..."Education is the most powerful weapon you can use to change the World"
Please see the movie, Invictus.

Mandela is a great example  - We will look at several other significant spiritual guides or teachers over the millennia. You all probably have at least one in mind, or you wouldn’t be on this path.
  I invite and solicit your input. 
I believe we can relate all of them to a period of isolation/meditation prior to coming into their own, if you will.  The path varies widely as to how humankind has reacted to their message since. From the Christian perspective we certainly have a plethora of examples (bearing His name) from history, most of which Christ would not recognize. 
I will make some references to the recent Rotary International Peace Conference, held in Ontario, California this last January; as this has been a major influence on my desire to relate all of this together at this time.
One notable statement presented there regarding the “Other” was:
“That it is incumbent upon us at this time to understand the “Narrative” of the “Other”.  “The other is not a “Monster” - They are “you” - “me” - “humankind” -”one”.  Understanding doesn’t mean Agreeing, or Changing, or Judging - just Respecting - in a spirit of Loving Kindness.  One of my spiritual mentors of the past few years, Brian McLaren, (Brian and Richard Rohr among others are part of the "Emerging" Spiritual movement in the world today) wrote a book a couple of years ago titled “ Why Did Jesus, Moses, The Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road”  Refers to the title several times in the book but the best answer to the "question", in my opinion, is “To Get To The Other!”
In more or less historical order let’s look a few others….
Starting from the Judeo Christian linage we have the “Children of Israel” and their 40 year trek in the desert.  And of course, Moses himself, for the 40 days on Mt Sinai while communing with God. (I am aware Hindu spirituality predates the Jewish}

From the Hindu/ Vedic tradition we see the coming of Siddhartha Gautama “The Buddha” - Reacting to what he saw as the failure of excessive liturgical practice and it’s cultural counterpoint, asceticism.  He found an enlightened “Middle Way” while meditating under a Ficus Religiosa (Bodhi) tree.  He forgave himself and mankind for being human (disclaimer - I do not pretend to necessarily accurately expound on the tenets of Buddhist practice and history) Just trying to make a point about meditation and moving forward toward Spiritual growth and Love of Creation.

Our Earth traditions very closely related to the elements of Creation, Earth, Wind, Fire and Water.  (unfortunately labeled Pagan or Primitive).  Maybe Original would be more accurate.  Nature Based traditions can also be seen in the teachings of the Buddha and especially my friend St Francis of Assisi.  Indigenous 1st Nations Peoples are very much practitioners of meditation and periods of quiet as witnessed in the use of Vision Quests and sweat lodges in their ceremonies.  They may, I pray, still lead the rest of us into honoring and seeking forgiveness from our Mother Earth.  A couple of recent quotes from the elders have been very timely, And the time is indeed short....
“We are the 1st generation that can really see the crisis we are in ~ And we are the last generation which can do something substantive about it.”(from SOCAN/ Prof Mary C Wood, U of O)

For millennia humankind has lived off of the interest of Mother Earth ~ We are now living off of her principle” (Chief Phil Lane)
I am not so well versed in Polynesian and specifically Hawaiian modalities of meditation.  I am aware of,however, and respect the practice of Ho’oPonoPono - which incorporates the use of reflection(meditation), Ho’omalu, leading to confession, Ha’Nay, and Forgiveness, Kalana. The full circle to healing, and Peace.  Beautiful. Another warning from this original indigenous culture: (Full film is available on Vimeo)

Of course...Jesus The Christ! 
His whole Gospel is full of forgiveness and new starts.  He has so many periods during His earthly sojourn of solitude and reflection.  Some of the most memorable to me are the 40 days following His baptism, the Garden of Gethsemane;  And the most notable from His words on the cross “Father, Forgive Them for They Know Not What They Do”  --I am So prayerful that we are starting to know.
In the Christian Era we have so many examples to value:  Mandela, Gandhi, Tutu, MLKjr,The UCC in 1993 (100th year since usurpation), Pope John Paul II in 1998 (inaction of Church in WWII)
And we should remember our  Muslim brothers and sisters;  Rumi said:

“You have spent your whole life with elegant speeches.  For some time you should walk alone in the garden of silence”.

Not wishing to demean Any of the above Masters but just looking briefly at the new Star Wars - I hope you see the strength of forgiveness when Hans Solo is pierced by a Light Saber wielded  by his estranged son.  - Just saying The media has quite often been seen as having been a Weapon of Mass Deception - Refreshing.
We may be taught and guided by our Master teachers however we learn much as well from those next to us as well.... Here is one short example from the video, "Human":

MLK and Gandhi
Peace ~ Garden

A few passing words regarding this Rotary International Peace Conference. Any Rotarians in the group?
I found this gathering to be impactful on several levels, not the least of which was the ability to share the experience with my son, Michael.  Some of the most notable aspects of the adventure were in acknowledging the NGO nature of this organization.  It seems that this is a very efficacious form of working toward the goal of peace.  And the reason is that most governments are far too polarized and self referential to really look at the issues involved in a sustainable peace paradigm.
Rotary has been involved for at least the last 25 years sometimes directly striving toward peace and perhaps more importantly embarking on: people to people, organization to organization, community to community collaboration on issues which foster the removal of barriers to peace.  Three of the most auspicious goals embarked upon are local entrepreneurship, water availability and the eradication of Polio.  They really mean their slogan 
“Service above Self”. 
Desmond Tutu said;
"My humanity is bound up in yours, for we can only be human together". 
As an aside I wonder why it is that if we can only be human together why is it that it seems so important for us to practice alone time in Meditation? I suspect the answer is related to balance.
At this particular gathering, one of four worldwide this year(the only one focused on Peace) and the only one in the United States, was impactful as to the very wide scope of breakout groups available.  This could be looked at in two ways - as a statement as to how huge the concept of World Peace is and so why bother, I’m just one person.   The other viewpoint is “Look at all the available areas threatening World Peace within which I could find a place to use my talents”  
There were at least thirteen areas which offered opportunities.  To keep this manageable I’m just going to list a few of them so you can get an idea of the scope.  They looked at Rotary specific projects, in history and in formulation.  We looked at the effects of Religious cooperation instead of competition.  We looked at Human Rights and Human Trafficking.  We looked at Social Justice and community rehabilitation.  We looked at education, lack of and the focus in practice, remember Mandela's Quote as to power of learning but also mode of indoctrination.  We looked at International cooperative exercises, specifically the ISS (Kauai and the Earth)(Aina) and Peace Zones in the world's oceans (specific to SW Pacific) which are shared and impacting everything from fisheries to coral reef survival.   And the world Media was looked at as to how it can foster awareness and inspire people to action.

Some other auspicious notes along the way:

Probably the most notable Plenary speaker, of many notable, was the elder gentleman I quoted at the beginning,  Claes Nobel.  He is instrumental in forming a group started on 8/5/08 called World Peace Now!  Just three of his statements are presented here, but they deeply reflect the need for us to seek Peace not only with each other but with Mother Earth.  (hearkening back to the 1st Nations elders)
“If Division, Violence, and War define our past; Let unity, non-violence and Peace define our future”
“Peace is more than the absence of war ~ It is the elimination of the Causes of War”
And relating to my point...,(Meditation)... of the path to this Peace : He is actively “Listening to God in my Silence”.

~ We began this Congress on the Birthday of Martin Luther King Jr

~ This event was held in San Bernardino, California where not so long ago a terrorist killed many people at  a Holiday party.

~Rotary has worked very close with the UN and Peace Corps which speaks volumes regarding the possibility of successful GO/NGO collaboration.

~ This collaboration has been in the notable areas of Education; Medical clinics (Middle East); Water Quality (Everywhere); and Entrepreneurial Seeding (relate to Fr Greg Boyle, G Dog, in the LA Barrios)(Tatoos On The Heart)

Just going to mention one more area of Passion of mine;  “My Dream”
And a final note on the Peace weekend….Do the right things!!!
Right Thoughts….Love!
Right Words…….. Kind Ones!
Right Goals……...Service above Self!
Right Attitudes….Happiness! (St Teresa, The first step is a smile)
Right Footprint….Lightly!
Right Here……....Kauai!
Right Now……….Esp Teaching our Children!

My Dream is to facilitate a reflective modality and venue with the purpose to aid individuals, groups, World leaders on a transformational path to wholeness.  It is to be a Botanical Peace Garden, honoring many of our elders and masters through the ages.  It is to be in the shape of a Labyrinth and will encompass two or more acres Here on Kauai.  I envision this to be a part of a retreat/resort center.  A possible name could be "The Queen's Garden of Peace and Reconciliation" Let It Be So!  Your Brother Bob/Roberto/Lopaka
A bit more detail regarding the dream can be found on the blogsite below, under the post titled "The Dream"
A Franciscan Blessing 

May God bless you with discomfort at easy answers, half truths, and superficial relationships, so that you may live deep within your heart. Amen.

May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people, so that you may work for justice, freedom and peace. Amen.

May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and to turn their pain into joy. Amen.

May God bless you with enough foolishness to believe that you can make a difference in this world, so that you can do what others claim cannot be done. Amen.

The Dream