Walk and Touch Peace is the final movement in a work commissioned by the Elmer Iseler Singers, Lydia Adams conductor. The complete work, entitled Om Saha Nāvavatu (may we all be protected and blessed), combines Sanskrit chant and sound healing instruments, typically used in meditation practice, with traditional choral textures. It was premiered in October, 2022, as part of a 6-concert series supported by the Canada Council for the Arts. This concert series was also made possible through countless volunteer hours on the part of Vilupti Corlis and the Singers’ manager, Jessie Iseler.
The work leads the listener into a state of deep relaxation over the course of 55 minutes, also setting texts from other prominent Eastern spiritual leaders, Sri Chinmoy and Anandamaya Ma. Thích Nhất Hạnh’s poem offers a fitting conclusion to the sound journey, both in its simplicity and in the tradition of engaged meditation that it represents.
Walking Meditation (excerpt)
Walk and touch peace every moment.
Walk and touch happiness every moment.
Each step brings a fresh breeze.
Each step makes a flower bloom under our feet. Kiss the Earth with your feet.
Print on Earth your love and happiness.
Earth will be safe
when we feel in us enough safety.
– Thích Nhất Hạnh
(From Call Me By My True Names (1999), permission to reprint this poem was granted by Parallax Press)
About Thích Nhất Hạnh
Vietnamese poet, author, scholar, and Buddhist Zen master, Thích Nhất Hạnh was instrumental as a force for positive change during the war in Viet- nam. His attempts to bring peace to his war-torn home meant that he spent much of his life in exile. This peace-activist work earned him a nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
A beloved community leader and teacher, he established the Plum Village Monastery in southern France. He has authored many iconic books on topics related to mindfulness and meditation, including The Art of Living and Peace is Every Step.