My quote for this month comes from a young woman who inspires me with her humility and ability to stand up for what she believes in. If you haven’t heard of this young woman yet, where have you been? She is a force to be reckoned with. She was shot in the head by the Taliban in her home country of Pakistan in 2012 at age 15, on her 16th birthday she was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and she has since started a charity to help educate girls, gone on to attend Oxford University and she opened her first school on her 18th birthday. Movies and books have been written about her.
Oddly, we share the same birthday. July 12th. Though when I was 15, I was dreaming of getting babysitting gigs and buying a car. She was known as an activist and was shot for her beliefs.
Malala’s quote made me think about something, the world is rarely silent. I can count on one hand the times when I recall the world around me being truly silent. I’ll share one example. One time, I was in Sedona AZ, at the Stupa. What is a Stupa you ask?
The stupa is one of the oldest forms of sacred architecture on earth, dating back to the time of the Buddha, 2600 years ago. Stupas are mostly found in the East, where Buddhism first took root and flourished. They are indeed rare in the West. A stupa is considered to be the living presence of the Buddha and as such represents the Mind of Enlightenment. Stupas have been built to avert war, end famine, and promote prosperity and well-being. Their sole purpose is to bring benefit for all living beings, and the mystical accounts of the healing powers of stupas are well documented.
So, I went hiking (YES, I hike, lol) and up the mountainside I went, to emerge in a clearing about the size of a football field. Where there were hundreds of people walking around in a circle, in silence, or meditating. Hundreds of people. I was in awe. Honestly, I had never heard of a stupa before. I had never been somewhere where it was so powerfully silent. YOu could hear a pin drop, and I do recall that the only sound I could discern was the occasional flap of a peace flag. I remember thinking to myself “nothing but the sound of peace” over and over. That calm feeling stayed with me for weeks. Even one small whisper during that serene time would have rippled through the crowd. My point is, one voice makes a difference. One whisper could make a difference. One conversation could make a difference. Perhaps her quote is to inspire us to start talking to each other about matters of importance. We could talk about our humanity and also what connects us? Maybe a spark in conversation will make a few more people realise that we can figure out a way to help. I don’t think it NEEDS to be silent for your voice to make an impact on the world, but if you never speak up, we will never know.
Here’s the picture I took at the stupa in Sedona, as inspiration.
In Love and Light,
Rev. Marjorie Rivera Kain
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