Be in harmony;
a musical resonance in tune with all that is.
No willing or desiring of particulars
fixated on illusions separate from the flow of life.
Finding this resonance in whatever circumstance we find ourselves in.
Tuning to our adversary,
in accord with those who offend
Not to simply give in and let them have their way.
Confronting the adversary without adding to and provoking new violence.
Skillfully allowing their violence to pass through us.
Without allowing the poison of their intent to contaminate.
To awaken a consciousness within them of their own trouble.
Turning the other cheek to those who strike.
The other cheek
To offer the same would be masochism, weak acquiescence.
Instead, offering new and unexpected oppostion,
standing our ground,
refusing to be a preditable object;
one that is acted upon.
Willing to face the unavoidable friction and conflict.
Where is the harmony? Is it possible when each attempt end in conflict?
First, we must be in harmony with ourselves.
The first possibility to be in harmony with others is to be in harmony with all aspects of ourselves.
No aspect claiming superiority over another,
integrating instead of dominating.
When finding ourselves out of balance within ourselves,
not seeking indulgence, justification or self-blame.
Acknowledging inner discord: fear, panic and hurt,
then finding inspiration
through the manifestations of peace that in within ourselves;
given by the Spirit of love ebbing throughout the universe
Seeking that integration of all part of our whole, leaving nothing out.
Then once again, turning to attune the vibrations of our souls with the souls of those around us.
Finding the strength to balance and be reconciled.
To be in harmony with ourselves before trying to harmonize with the world.
This poem was insprired by a commentary written by Jean-Yves LeLoup, translator of the Gospel of Mary Magdalene into French and then English. His insights into the text of this gnostic gospel turned my thoughts to the discordant environment I found myself in when I was pregnant with my child. My prenatal care, labor support and birth experience created an adversarial environment between my health and my baby's well-being, where I sought to do what the gospels say: "Be in harmony;" "Be reconciled to thy brother;" "And unto him that smiteth thee on one cheek, offer also the other." I struggle to apply these concepts to my birthing experience, feeling that doing any other that fighting would have further traumatized and damaged me. But then to realize that through standing my ground and not being "an object to be acted upon," that I was turning the other cheek as instructed by the Savior.
At the same time I realized that I was not fully in harmony with myself going into birthing my child. I failed to integrate two important aspects of my being: intellectual preparation and spiritual reliance. Why was I shocked at the care I received at the hospital? I did not take the time to read what the maternity care system is like in the US. Knowing what I know now from my crusade as a birth activist could have prevented the heartache I experienced because I probably would have made different choices regarding the care providers I worked with. Also, I went into labor trusting my body and surrenduring to the natural process of birth. I only acknowledged the aspect of will and body in my being, but left out the spirit. Once again I didn't take the time to do what was necessary: to turn to my God who gave me life, the life that is my own and the life of my unborn child. I failed to "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding." If I had done so, I would have been more prepared and stronger in facing the birthing environment and care providers there.
The section of the Gospel of Mary Magadelene that inspired these thoughts ends with the words,
Those who have ears,
let them hear.
I have heard and understood with my whole being and in turn, give thanks to the Being who created me.