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Posted: March 25, 2005

Spiritual Caregiving

Finding Inner Peace in Caregiving?s Face

(Editor?s Note: We can all use some tips to find inner peace, no matter how upsetting our circumstances. We hope the following suggestions will help you find your peace.)


A Parable for Peace from the Inside Out

By Alex Stark

Alex Stark is a shaman, originally from Peru, who recently spoke on public radio about indigenous perspectives toward war He made the point that "a war fought on the battlefield is also a war to be fought in our hearts." He went on:

No better example of this exists than the ancient parable of the Rainmaker. Unlike the Hollywood version, the Rainmaker makes rain for a village struck by drought not through action but through inaction of a special kind. He was called in after other medicine men had failed to bring water down from the heavens.

Rather than shaking a rattle or uttering prayers as others had done before him, he went into the village hut and remained there in silence and seclusion for four days and nights. Later, the elders, eager to benefit from his knowledge, asked him the formula for his success. The Rainmaker replied, "When I arrived in the village, I saw that the villagers were out of harmony with heaven and earth. So I proceeded to place myself in alignment with heaven and earth. After four days, at the precise moment when I succeeded, the rains came."

This deceptively simple story illustrates many sophisticated principles underlying what is often called ancient or indigenous wisdom:

  1. The resolution of conflict lies not in the external world, but in our own hearts and meditations.
  2. Stillness, not action, is the correct mode of being.
  3. Harmony with the environment is the primary prerequisite for a successful outcome. The four days refer to the directions on the earth's horizon (east, west, north, south), elements in the world (earth, water, fire, wind), and heavenly bodies (earth, sun, moon, planets).
  4. Heaven and earth are the dynamic poles that mediate this harmony.
  5. Meditations of this kind are effective in resolving serious conflict.
  6. Dramatic displays are not only unnecessary, but counterproductive.
  7. Results are not dependent on our effort, only on our concentration and discipline.
  8. To be successful, we need to be detached from the outcome of our efforts.

By invoking in ourselves the twin energies of heaven and earth, love and power, caring and belonging, community and self, everything is possible.


Generous Wisdom: Collected from Our Readers

By Steve Lawler

Acceptance comes before understanding.
Life became simpler when I realized that there are no applicable formulas to life or living and that every human being and every situation needs to be treated as special and unique. So now I listen more than I talk and hear more than I judge. I accept first and then wait for life to guide me to understanding.

? Shatarupa Chaki, Hyderabad, India

Listen. Think. Reply.
I was a missionary. One day, in conversation with a white-haired village elder, I asked, "How can I become wise so that people will trust me and look on me as a friend?" After thinking a while, this is the advice he gave: "Wisdom does not mean that you know everything or have the answer to every question. Wisdom has to do with how you deal with people. When people come to you for advice you have to do three things well. One: listen! Two: think! Three: reply! When a person comes with a question, listen. Most white men start to answer the question before we have finished asking it. Then, bring your hands together, look the person in the eye and say, 'Thank you.' Then, just sit and think about what the person said. Maybe an answer will come, maybe it won't. Whatever the outcome, the fact that you have thought about it will give you honor among the people. Even though you don't know everything, the news that you gave your time to listen and to think will spread among the people. You will be known as a wise person."

? Edmund Rowland, United Kingdom

This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at Contact staff directly via email at

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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