My name is Joe, producer of music project Peace Sounds. A collection of 12 Peace songs released by ‘Wake Up London’, a meditation group who meet in the capital to practice mindfulness as inspired by Zen teacher Thich Nhat Hanh.
Here is a breathing meditation with Thich Nhat Hanh for those who are new to this gentle and loving man:
Released in early 2012, the seeds of the project found the earth back last Summer in Hyde Park. A number of us were together for a picnic there; meditation, food and guitars! I remember just how the sunshine gently lit that afternoon. With songs sung and food eaten we were talking over the forthcoming Thich Nhat Hahn tour (links at the end of the article) and how we might get a song together for it. I guess you never know what will come when projects begin though I had a sense on my bike ride home that there was magic in the planting!
Amongst his many writings and teachings, Thich Nhat Hanh’s practice of Walking Meditation is one we include in our gatherings, as we had that day in Hyde Park. To quote from his book ‘Peace In Every Step’ “People usually consider walking on water or in thin air a miracle. But I think the real miracle is not to walk either on water or in thin air, but to walk on earth. Every day we are engaged in a miracle which we don’t even recognize: a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, the black, curious eyes of a child — our own two eyes. All is a miracle.”
Not long after that day I had the beginnings of the song, ‘Walk With Me My Friend’ and with a good six months until the tour the idea of more music was suggested… and from there… the other songs began appearing!
Some were recorded especially for the project; Sangha Sister’s Elina Pen (Little Earth) and Kim Mcmahon’s versions of songs written at Thich Nhat Hanh’s community, Plum Village, and Chris Goodchild’s ‘Life Is Beautiful'; also played on day 1 in Hyde Park!
Listen to this sample of Peace Sounds here:
Others arrived as gifts; Manchester based Hilary Bichovsky and Brighton’s Gavin Kaufman – heard about the project through their meditation networks; Pianist Tom Manwell and James Wills, musician friends from here in London. The remaining four I knew as a music fan, Northern England’s Jackie Oates, London’s Cornelius and Ireland’s Nathan Ball all through Summer festivals and Jo Reilly from the States, through his connection with Plum Village (Joe’s song features Brother and Sister monastics and was in fact recorded there).
Listening to the collection, I feel a sense of gratitude – traveling to meet the artists, drinking tea with them, writing to them, filming them for our album trailer clips (see http://www.peacesounds.org/), brings to me the sense of reverence for love and peace that is right there in their songs.
The album is online to listen to and can also be downloaded for a donation (follow links on the album’s site). Proceeds are going to the Community Of Interbeing, a UK based charity who make meditation available in the UK within groups, in schools and on retreats. The Thich Nhat Hahn Tour, as organised by the charity, comes to the UK in March with a public talk, an educators retreat and a free to attend public meditation event – all in central London.
Wake Up are Young Buddhists and non-Buddhists for a Healthy and Compassionate Society, is a world-wide network of young people practising the living art of mindfulness.
“Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.”
― Thich Nhat Hanh
“There is no enlightenment outside of daily life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh
“In true dialogue, both sides are willing to change.” Thich Nhat Hanh
Other articles you may enjoy: The Universal Peace Covenent