(Cecile’s note: In Bernie Glassman’s life we experience deep evolution of the hero’s journey and we are given a hint of that in his own words.)
Bernie Glassman: So for me the question became, ‘What are the forms in business, social action and peacemaking that can help us see the oneness of society, the interdependence of life?’
“Beautiful surroundings inspire people to live more fully and to appreciate the preciousness of our world and each other. The beauty of art and nature also reminds us of the inner harmony and splendor that is every human being’s birthright. The Japanese understand this very well. Every house or noodle shop, no matter how humble, contains a tokonomo — a niche to hang a painted scroll and exhibit a small flower arrangement. It’s a small thing, but it uplifts the spirit and adds dignity and grace to everyday life.”
“When we bear witness, when we become the situation — homelessness, poverty, illness, violence, death — the right action arises by itself. We don’t have to worry about what to do. We don’t have to figure out solutions ahead of time. Peacemaking is the functioning of bearing witness. Once we listen with our entire body and mind, loving action arises.
Loving action is right action. It’s as simple as giving a hand to someone who stumbles or picking up a child who has fallen on the floor. We take such direct, natural actions every day of our lives without considering them special. And they’re not special. Each is simply the best possible response to that situation in that moment.
“In the Zen Peacemaker Order we commit ourselves to healing others at the same time that we heal ourselves. We don’t wait to be peaceful before we begin to make peace. In fact, when we see the world as one body, it’s obvious that we heal everyone at the same time that we heal ourselves, for there are no ‘others.
Sameness is the fact that everything is unique just as it is. Each and every thing is different. That difference is the only thing we and everything in the world have in common. As human beings, we like to think that there’s something we all share. For instance, we often say that all people want the same basic things or care about the same things. But the truth is, we’re all different. In fact, the only thing we have in common, the only thing that’s the same about us, is that we’re different.”