Spirituality has been a parallel journey to my journalistic journey these past five years. At first it seemed very strange to consider spirituality and journalism in the same breath. But as time goes on it's felt more and more natural.
I've heard people say: "If we can't solve the problems in our own communities, we're going to have a hard time helping find peace in the world."
Should we add to that: "If we can't find peace within ourselves, we'll have a hard time helping find peace in our communities"?
I practice a Buddhist meditation that includes what Buddha called the "Noble Eightfold Path," a guide to wholesome personal and public action. The path includes three steps called Right Speech, Right Action, and Right Livelihood.
From a journalistic perspective what's interesting is that Right Speech -- which refers to the words that we literally speak and write -- are the first actions to follow from the meditative state itself. In other words, one hopefully achieves through meditation a certain level of calm and wisdom within oneself.
Then, the very first projection of that peaceful inner state into the world is via speech. If you do speech right, you immediately and markedly increase the level of peace in the world. But if you do speech wrong, you increase suffering and division and discord.
Isn't it important for journalists to to consider the impact of our written and spoken words at this fundamental level?
Do the words we send into the world as journalists create inner peace in others?
Or do they inadvertently pass on to those who read and hear them the viruses of hatred, fear, and suffering?