Tuesday, February 25, 2014

silence and noise

First off, a siren:

In college, I was a student liaison for the Yale World Fellows program. We welcomed, each academic year, some of the most talented and forward-thinking policy leaders from around the world to meet and dialogue in an effort to address pressing global issues related to political freedom, human rights, economic development, and the environment. Today, I learned that one of our Fellows, Carlos Vecchio of Venezuela, is in trouble. Carlos is currently the de facto leader of the Venezuelan opposition party, Voluntad Popular (VP), since the party leader, Leopoldo López, was taken into custody on February 18. There is an official warrant out for his arrest.

The World Fellows office is concerned for Carlos' safety. They say that he is in hiding in Venezuela with limited access to communication. They are worried that he is in danger because unlike Lòpez, he is not an internationally recognizable figure. They have asked us (citizens of the internet) to spread the word about Carlos' situation. Here are links to Amnesty's call for action and the Yale World Fellows' memo. Send them around. You can never know who you will reach.

What is the internet for, if not for this?

And secondly, a meditation I wanted to share with you. It's called "The Healing Power of Silence" (mind silence, distinguishable from political silence), and it's led by Sister Jayanti, a member of the Brahma Kumaris spiritual group. It's something I come back to when I have a prolonged period of anxiety (sometimes) or a sudden bout of devotion to self-care (less often).

Normally I don't like guided meditation (or meditation, for that matter), as the ambient sounds and gentle voices often have a paradoxically irritating effect on me. I'm also hopelessly restless, and as soon as I'm supposed to clear my mind, I want to think about which shoes would go best with my harem pants and whether I should bring my Criminal Procedure book home or leave it at school because it's heavy and I never actually read it at breakfast.

But Sister Jayanti's voice is wonderful (at least I react wonderfully to it), and when she leads me to that proverbial tranquil place, I find that I can follow her quite easily.

My mother joined the Brahma Kumaris a few years ago when she was living in Oxford. They have outposts around the world, and if you're in search of a supportive (and not at all dogmatic) spiritual community, you may want to look them up.

photograph/collage by Carlota Bird

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