Dear Mr. Mila,
Walking has many surprises in store.
Coming down from the hillsides overlooking the Tarn, between Villemur and the village of Bondigoux, my eyes were drawn to two small stone creatures lying there on the path, in the shade of an oak tree. Amused, I took a picture of them and added a third one to this « parental » duo… I wasn’t thinking of the Peace Sentinels at the time. Just a vague reminiscence of the creations of Land Art lovers. A few days later, I met you at the Tour de la Défense in Villemur where I was able to appreciate your diversified work of the material, in the respect of what it is. And I discovered that you were the initiator of this movement of stone sentinels. Chance or coincidence? It seems that it is no coincidence … Here are as a wink these 2 photos, taken in all « innocence ».
Yours sincerely, Sylvie Lannuzel
The two texts below have been chosen because they provide an understanding of what is being done by the participants in the implementation of Sentinels of Peace. These two texts were written by Jacques Tribalat, a resident of the commune of Moissac.
Since I installed the totem pole and pebbles on the lawn of the Espace de la TOUR DES MOINES teenagers or adults who frequent the square are attracted by a white-haired man trying to balance a few stones. The contact becomes instantaneous. Yesterday a man accompanied by his wife is laying three stones. He gets up and says: « I have seen my life ». Today they are two young people one after the other. They have got caught up in the game. They have raised 5 or 6 sentries using all the stones available. Decorating with a trail of small pebbles snaking between the sentries. But the most important thing is the symbolic, meditative character that is revealed by the action of placing these stones one on top of the other. So much so that I myself have blackened several pages (Text below) evoking all the symbols and links with peace. An immediate dialogue begins.
Text 2: About the Peace Sentinels ….
When I think of pebble, stone in the most general sense, I see chaos, disorder, violence but also river, beach, mountain and finally architecture, art.
When I take a pebble in my hand, a pebble that I would have chosen beforehand from among so many others, it immediately gets rid of those images that had occurred to me and instead, other sensations such as beauty, heat or cold, weight, smooth or rough appearance appear. An almost friendly relationship develops between us; I want to caress it, to look at it, to keep it, to make it a friend or even a talisman. However, this relationship, however beautiful and intimate it may be, does not give rise to any elevation or aspiration to moral values.
But when I first laid a stone in balance on another, this simple and playful gesture opened up a field of symbols and universal values that I had never imagined. By pursuing this search for balance, stone on stone, a world of moral values is revealed, which mark out our life’s path towards inner and universal peace. Who builds himself, builds the world.
All construction begins by looking for a good foundation to ensure a good balance to the work once it is finished. From that moment when the eye has chosen the right stone and the hand has laid it down as well as possible, the mind glimpses the finished work even if it ignores the intermediate stages.
The same is true for each of the actions we undertake, however small they may be. We choose it (as a general rule), make it our own and plan it finished in our mind, knowing that each step will lead to the successful completion of the next. This is the case whether it is a banal project of everyday life or a life project.
Once the first stone has been properly seated, the choice of the second stone is also delicate. Not only must it rest with a good balance on the previous one, but it must also be able to serve as a good base for the next one. Not all stones are flat and smooth. While thinking about the result, one begins to think about aesthetics, balance and harmony. Any work to be accomplished must be beautiful, balanced and harmonious.
The second stone initiates the whole process of building the work. It is at this stage that one chooses between audacity or prudence, difficulty or ease. The most suitable material, shape, weight and properties to be used as a base for the next stone are selected.
The realisation of our projects follows the same approach. The second stage determines not only their originality and scope but also their reliability and harmonious balance.
From this second stage on, it is a work of precision; a constant search for balance so that each piece contributes to the construction of the work without upsetting the previous states.
This will be done with patience. Patience requires us to be ourselves. Calm, attentive, focused mind. The hand is the extension of the mind. A restless mind leads to an imprecise hand.
Putting one stone on top of another makes it easier for the mind to concentrate. This search for immediate balance is a powerful power to help in the search for concentration.
Then, at one stage, it is failure. The balance is broken. All or part of it collapses.
Disappointment. But Perseverance comes to the rescue. You have to start again calmly, sometimes rebuilding from scratch. With the same precision. Check by changing the angles of anchoring or seating, or even find a stone that is more suitable for the work to be done.
The construction and execution of our projects are identical. The beginnings are promising and everything seems to be going well and then an unfortunate incident, an obstacle comes along and stops the project or destroys it.
Start again, without bitterness, with the sole aim of success, to move on to the next stage. Anticipate as in the game of chess, several moves in advance. It is not enough just to allow the next stone to be laid in balance but also the ones that will follow: shapes and weights are decisive in the choice of stones.
Likewise, let us fix the star and trace our furrow. Our projects will be better as a result. The visibility thus acquired will enable us to correct future mistakes and better adapt our decisions to circumstances.
Finally, you have to know how to stop. Don’t go too far. The fatal stone collapses the entire work that has been done. How many projects are ruined or destroyed by one action too many.
Watching with humility, savouring with pride the work accomplished and sharing this moment of satisfaction;
A work, whatever it is, must be shared in order to exist. Let us offer it to the eyes of our family, our friends and more widely to all.
Relationship between the Peace Sentinels and PEACE
Alain Mila gave a magnificent definition of the concept of the Peace Sentinels: “A stone laid is not thrown”.
Stop the violence, remain calm, lay our warlike hands on each other in a spirit of brotherhood, love and peace.
The Sentinels of Peace, this mineral architecture brings together the same intrinsic values in the following definition of PEACE:
PEACE is an Equation (with several entries) to be solved in Calm to find hArmony and Balance by knowing how to be Persevering.
Perseverance – Balance (Equilibrium) – hArmony – Calm – Equation
This definition has the merit of containing the word PEACE and the values carried by the Peace Sentinels: Perseverance, Balance, Harmony.
So, every time we place a stone on top of each other to raise a Sentinel, let us remember that we are building Peace by bringing our minds in line with these universal values.