We had a TV series in London and in 1999 we interviewed the founder of Peace One Day, Jeremy Gilley. At that time he was operating out of a very small house along with Julie-Kate Olivier, Sir Laurence Olivier's daughter. We sat in the backyard and filmed him talking about his seemingly impossible dream of a worldwide day of peace. And then he went and did it. He met with Kofi Annan, the Dalai Lama and other world figures, he got the UN to sanction it and people all over the world to support it. He made his dream come true, a testament to the power of one individual.
Check out this most moving video:
The UN International Day of Peace on September 21 every year is not only about encouraging peace between nations and governments but is also about you and me and nonviolence in our homes, communities and schools. So we thought it was the perfect day to talk about making peace with ourselves, because if we can't do that then there will never be peace in the world, and if we can do it then there is at least one less person suffering.
Emerging from three years in the Auschwitz concentration camp, psychiatrist Victor Frankl said that after his imprisonment and the destruction of his family, he had been left with only the last of the human freedoms, to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way. That is the choice that each one of us has. When we can accept and make peace with ourselves, so society also transforms--every change that each of us makes creates a chain reaction that benefits all. Then, instead of focusing on the problems, we start to live the solutions.
We have found that, to help us be truly at peace, meditation is probably the most effective method. It changes us from the inside out. From being self-centered, we become other-centered, concerned about the welfare of all equally, rather than being focused on just ourselves and our problems. We become more acutely aware of how we treat each other and seek to become a positive presence rather than a negative one.
By getting to know ourselves and connecting more deeply with our authentic self we have the resources, strength and wisdom to not only make changes but to become the change we so long for. Then, as we find our own peace, we can actively help others to also be at peace.
Inspirational speaker Marianne Williamson says in our book, "Be The Change":
Einstein said that we cannot solve the problems of the world from the level of thinking that we were at when we created them. A different level of thinking means a different level of thinking. It does not mean a different emphasis in our thinking. It does not mean a more loving kind of thinking. It means what he said, a different level of thinking, and to me that is what meditation brings.
Meditation changes us, that is the point. The state of the world is the effect; the state of consciousness of human beings is the cause. Mahatma Gandhi said the problem with the world is that humanity is not in its right mind and that is what meditation addresses. It returns us to our right mind, and until there is this evolution in consciousness, we will stay locked in a fear-based perspective in which we continue to see ourselves as separate from each other.
There are many situations in which we have no control over what happens, no ability to affect the outcome. But no matter what occurs it is possible to stay balanced. Such equanimity gives us strength and a sense of being unshakable in a world that is constantly making demands and creating challenges. We never know what is going to take place or when--nothing is predictable, permanent, secure, controllable or dependable. Everything is subject to change in every moment. When we are at peace within ourselves we can embrace such change with greater sanity and dignity.
What does peace mean to you? Do comment below. You can receive notice of our blogs every Tuesday by checking Become a Fan at the top.
See our award-winning book: BE THE CHANGE, How Meditation Can Transform You and the World, forewords by the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman, with contributors Marianne Williamson, Jane Fonda, Ram Dass, Byron Katie, Michael Beckwith, Seane Corn, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Dean Ornish, Ram Dass and others.
Our 3 meditation CD's: Metta--Loving kindness and Forgiveness; Samadhi-Breath Awareness and Insight; and Yoga Nidra-Inner Conscious Relaxation, are available at: www.EdandDebShapiro.com