Windgrove Laureates 2005

January 13, 2005

Windgrove Laureates 2005

Helen Gee (Tasmania, Australia)
Wendell Berry (Kentucky, USA)
Satish Kumar (England)
Margaret Scott (Tasmania, Australia)
Phillip Adams (NSW, Australia)
Beverly Reeler (Zimbabwe)
Mary Oliver (Massachusetts, USA)
Pete Hay (Tasmania, Australia)

peace group 3It gives me great pleasure in announcing the above people as the Windgrove Laureates for 2005; people I personally feel have remained vigilant in their efforts to enlarge the public’s appreciation and understanding of the many social and environmental issues confronting the world today.

On Monday, the four Australian “ambassadors for peace” gathered for a media presentation where I presented each of them with their individual component of the mandala. (In the photo, I am on the left followed by Phillip, Helen, Pete and Margaret.)

Certainly, each of the eight laureates could win the award because of the number of books published, committees chaired, length of service over the years to the peace movement or their continual dedication to environmental and social concerns. Just as important in the selection process, however, is that each of these people is just plain “decent”. Their compassion and humility for their fellow humans and the earth’s flora and fauna is present with them always. I want to honour their continued humility as much as their courage to continually walk the path of peace.

They are the elders this world so desperately needs. They are the role models our youth should emulate.

Interestingly enough, Helen Gee (along with 16 other people and three environmental organisations) is currently being sued by a large timber company, Gunns, for what they call the vilification of their good name and loss of profit because of Helen’s (and the other’s) environmental activism.

peace mandala 2005

Windgrove Peace Mandala

The Windgrove Peace Mandala is a small tabletop sculpture comprised of nine blocks of wood. Carved and nestled into each block is a rounded beach stone. Each of these blocks, as is each recipient of the award, is uniquely beautiful and important in their own right. But, it is only when the blocks come together that the mandala itself becomes visible. This connectedness is vital. Together we will create peace.

In the slow making of the mandala, the thought that these stones were full of ancient time and wisdom was meditated upon. Instead of throwing stones at each other, would it not be better if we could consider them as sacred icons of our past and to see them as a visual, felt link to a collective distant story out of which all of us, all living beings emerged. Cup a smooth stone in the palm of your hand. Feel its weight. Listen to its story, its unique journey across thousands of years.

Whether as a group of nine blocks, or just singly, these little stone/peace altars are about “teaching” us how to “transform” our lives so that we might choose to move along the path of peace instead of war. It is about extended time, the “long now”, respecting our elders, listening to the past, loving the earth with its diversity of species, and, being passionate about all of life so that there will be a worthy future.

The distribution of eight of these stones out into the world, and keeping the central stone/heart stone at Windgrove as a hub, is an attempt figuratively, perhaps literally, enlarge the mandala’s energetic field to encompass the whole of the world.

The task of moving out beyond the safety of “home” in the pursuit of peace is challenging and cannot be done alone. A web of mutual love and support makes being a peace keeper more of a sustainable proposition.

May this global Windgrove Peace Mandala help in some small way to hold the peace process and all of us together

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