July 16, 2016

How 6 Crates of Lobsters can Help us End Violence.

Sukanto Debnath/Flickr

I am upset about the news lately, in our world and in my backyard.

It’s often hard for me to find peace within my home. I try and regularly fall off the peace train. 

When I find examples in the world around me of others working toward compassion, it helps me bravely continue on my own path. Peacefully walking on this Earth is not always easy, and always relating to one another with love isn’t either.

Our society teaches that the best way to succeed is to compete with one another, based on the idea that there is not enough to go around. This teaching disempowers me, separating me from my love of inclusion. Working together is camaraderie.

I am now trying to figure out how to come together as a global community.

We must work toward peace together. There are still too many “-isms” that need eliminating to think otherwise—the media headlines speak directly to this.

The world is looking for ways to love each other, we just aren’t entirely sure how.

We need help and retraining.

For many of us fear is still our driving force.

Yesterday I read about a group of monks living in Prince Edward Island (PEI), Canada, called The Great Enlightenment Buddhist Society (GEBIS).

Their story helped me rise out of my fear—the fear that we aren’t moving in the right direction from the violence that is at the forefront in America and across the world. Away from the racism that seems to spread instead of dissipate, our natural resources running out and animals dying from pollution.

The PEI monks set an example of compassion, respect and of coexisting with each other peacefully—in love (quite radical).

The GEBIS monks mission is to “focus on the development of qualities of a kind heart, tolerance, forgiveness and joy…as a foundation for active engagement in the community and benefit of the world.”

With this in mind, they visited the many docks and seafood shops on their island and purchased eight boxes (600 pounds) of live lobster with the goal to release these animals back into to the wild.

Their task was not done solely to save the lives of the lobsters. Their’s was a broader statement saying to the world, “Give them a helping hand and put them back to where they feel comfortable… and we believe if everybody is able to do that, it will become a better place, a more harmonic place… The purpose is to cultivate compassion not just for lobster, but for all beings.”

The monks collaborated with the local fisherfolk to release these crustaceans in areas where there were no cages waiting for their recapture. “This whole purpose for us is to cultivate this compassion toward others. If your loved ones were in this situation, what would they like you to do?”

This was a movement to remind us to think wholeheartedly about the impact we can have on each other. Compassion is a choice. We can treat those lives around us as precious.

We can be inspired in times of strife and violence. In fact, we may have the opportunity to participate in acts of love—which is so needed right now.

These monks reminded me to be kind in the face of fear.

Before this community released these lobsters, they held a ceremony in which they prayed for the liberation of these beings and humanity too.

Using these monks as inspiration, we can remember to work in ways that benefit the whole world and promote positive change.

May we all be freed from suffering and may we relearn the ways to do so.

“People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth.”

~ Thich Nhat Hanh


Author: Sarah Norrad

Image: Flickr/Sukanto Debnath

Editors: Caitlin Oriel; Ashleigh Hitchcock; Emily Bartran

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