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Peace Begins with You

3 Apr 2016   Shanti Gowans
WORLD PEACE
BEGINS WITH YOU
 
The Power of Peacemaking
in a challenging world
- overcoming aggression, domestic violence and bullying -
 
Certification in MIndful Communication
Conscious Communication and Relations
 
 
Introduction
Peace begins with you
Happiness
Desired things
Self acceptance
Your values
Make peace with your body
Peace Breath
No enemies, no war
Forgiveness, not anger
Feelings
Understanding
Control issues
Speak gently
Praise and accept to build peace
Your circumstances are not you
Your own peaceful place
Peaceful gratitude
Trust
Prioritise
Peace and action
Peace and justice
Listen
Be a channel of peace
One breath at a time
Random acts of kindness
Think peace. Action peace
Be peace
Affirmation
 
Introduction
 
Peace can be defined as a state of quietude, calmness, tranquility, freedom from war, harmony. 
Peace is a powerful word that has many meanings:
love, kindness, quietude, sharing, happy, smiling, gentleness.
When you are peaceful, you will help everyone around you be peaceful too.
 
Inner peace is essential for human happiness, fulfillment and growth.
The human family yearns for peace.
Yet, for peace to exist between groups of people,
it must first exist within the individual heart. 
Inner peace starts with you.
 
Be a reflection of what you would like to experience from others.
If you want love, live love.
If you want respect, live respect.
If you want honesty, live honestly.
You get what you live. 
 
Peace begins with you
 
Curving back within myself
I create again and again.
                                  Bhagavad Gita
 
You are the world. You are society.
Be at peace with yourself,
even as life calls you to grow and progress.
You are wonderful and excellent as you are.
You have worth beyond measure,
for you are a child of the universe. 
You are being called
to be a peace-giving presence in the world.
Peace begins with you.
 
It is better to live your own destiny imperfectly
than to live an imitation of somebody else's life
with perfection.
                                                      Bhagavad Gita
 
What is your calling?
 
Happiness
 
​Happiness is a choice you make.
It is not dependent upon external conditions,
nor something you postpone for the future,
but governed by your mental attitude.
Choose to be happy.
Be happy with who you are,
and not who others think you are.
Extract happiness from common things.
Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed.
it is the experience that arises from
living with love, grace and gratitude.
The talent for being happy
lies in appreciating and liking what you have
instead what you don't have,
which keeps you unhappy and dissatisfied.
 
Desired things
 
Go placidly amid the noise and the haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible, without surrender,
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others,
even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter,
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Be yourself. Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive God to be.
And whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life,
keep peace in your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Be cheerful.
Strive to be happy.
                                                            Max Ehrmann, "Desiderata", 1927.
 
Accept yourself
 
Life is so much kinder to us
than our minds.
Do not go to war with parts of yourself
that you cannot change.
 
Accept your shadow side,
your brokenness,
your weaknessess,
as well as your strengths. 
 
Deep within you,
you have gifts, talents, capabilities,
and the aftermath of various experiences,
unique only to you,
that are waiting to be expresssed…
do something with them
for the benefit of the world around you.
In other words,
If you have a pulse,
you're here for a reason.
For your true potential to go unrealised
is to rob the world of the gifts you have to share.
 
Appreciate every part of your uniqueness.  
Not because of what you do,
but because of who you are
What makes us different is what makes us special.
Diversity is beautiful.
 
Inner peace unites all the parts of you
into wholeness.
 
List what you cannot change.
Now list what you can.
 
Transforming into what you want to be
starts with falling deeply in love
with who you already are.
 
What do you really value?
 
Perform all your actions
with mind concentrated on the Divine,
renouncing attachment
and looking upon success and failure
with an equal eye.
                      Bhagavad Gita
 
Ground yourself in values you have chosen
with intention and deliberation. 
Now determine
where your own attitude and actions
are at war with those values.
Only you can end the conflict.
 
What are your conflicts?
 
Make peace with your body
 
Where/how do you hold tension in your body?
 
There are wounds within us
that never show on the body.
These are deeper and more hurtful 
than anything that bleeds.
They are our emotional wounds.
 
Recognise if you have made
resentment, distrust, hostility,
your armour against the world.
Whilst you may think that it protects you,
your armour has hurt you in the past.
 
Don't give your past the power
to define your future.
Just as a snake sheds its skin,
you must shed the past 
over and over again,
till you heal from your soiul,
release your past trauma
and break free from the emotional bondage
that you have been imprisoned in.
 
When your posture is tense, guarded and wary
you are preparing for battle,
not for peace.
Let your body display a diplomatic posture 
in a world seeking peace.
 
Commit yourself to remove this armour
piece by piece.
Go through your body parts and organs
from your head to yourt toes
and send each one peace.
When you have a tummy ache,
send peace to your tummy.
A headache, send peace to your brain.
Turn your wounds to wisdom.
Unclench your jaw and your fists
and drop your weapons.
 
Peace Breath
 
The peace breath is an easy way to help you feel peaceful.
• Close your eyes. Relax your face. Let your skin drape down over your bones like a soft blanket.
• Breathe in. Breathe out and whisper the word, "peace." 
• Do this 3-6 times. Each time you exhale, say the word "peace", and feel the peace within you.
• Then feel the peace around you.
• Send peace to animals, trees and plants.
• Send peace to your family.
• Send peace to countries in the world that are at war.
• Send peace to all the people you love.
• You are peace.              
 
No enemies, no war
 
Maintaining an enemies list
taxes your energy
and hardens your heart.
Look for the good
in everything you see.
Love your enemies.
When there are no enemies left,
there will be peace.
 
When there is someone with whom you have confict,
begin to make peace with them in your imagination.
Picture yourself at peace.
Slowly enlarge the image to include the other person. 
Place that picture in a small space in your mind
and look at it with love now and then.
 
Disturbing the peace is a crime.
When you rant and rave and stomp and fret 
over life's petty grievances,
arrest yourself.
 
Divine peace is with them
whose mind and soul are in harmony,
who are free from desire and wrath,
who know their own soul.
                          Bhagavad Gita
 
Forgiveness not anger
 
Work through your anger.
Those who hurt you
do so out of their own insecurity,
ignorance,
and weakness,
not strength.
Be strong and move beyond your anger
towards forgiveness.
 
Accept responsibility for the time you've hurt others
because you lacked inner peace.
Make amends with them when you can.
 
Instead of yelling and shouting,
choose peace.
Make peace signs
and hang them around your house 
to remind you (and each other)
what peace looks like to you.
 
Forgiveness starts
with the willingness to forgive.
You might think that you are doing
those who have hurt you a favour
by forgiving them,
but in reality
you're actually giving yourself
the permission to be at peace with yourself.
You are setting yourself free
from any hatred, anger and negativity
you have keep inside you for years.

The act of loving yourself
starts from letting go
of all the resentments and bitterness
in your life.
And breaking free from the emotional chains
that have bounded you to them.
You will soon realise how truly insp[iring
the power of forgiveness is.
 
Feelings
 
Kicking the cat,
slamming the door,
honking your horn in complaint,
are not the postures of peace.
Hell has three types of hatred: lust, anger and greed.
Be aware of how your unexamined feelings
burst forth in inappropriate ways.
Deal with your feelings with kindness.
 
Compassion is the courage
to descend into the reality of human experience.
 
Feeling come and go like clouds in a windy sky.
Conscious breathing is my anchor.
                                      Thich Nhat Hanh
 
Understanding
 
Peace sees similarities amongst people,
not threathening differences that form barriers.
Identify a difference: a value, an attitude,
a choice that threatens you.
Seek to understand that difference,
not judge it.
 
When you let go of hatred
treat all beings with kindness and compassion,
are always serene,
unmoved by pain or pleasure,
free of the "I" and "mine,"
self-controlled, firm and patient,
with your whole mind focused on what is divine
you are favoured.
                         Bhagavad Gita
 
Control issues
 
Terrible wars have begun
over the control of territory
and the exercise of power.
Consider your own need to possess 
and have power over others. 
The more you can let go of this need,
the less reason you have to disturb the peace
by acts of violence.
You then become a bridge
instead of a border patrol.
 
Speak gently
 
We have weaponised our awarenss, our consciousness.
We use it to call people out, instead of inviting people in.
Without meaning to, we are recreating harm, aggression and fear. 
Aggressive speech escalates into conflict.
Learning to communicate authentically with yourself
is a step towards unlocking conflicting relationships.
Speak gently. Communicate consciously.
If you hear violence in your language
or your tone of voice,
it comes from a place within your heart.
Choose the vocabulary of peace and serenity
over condemnation, curses, woes and complaints.
 
Use a gentle voice to call family members
to the telephone, for a meal, or from play.
Invite rather than command. 
Anticipate cooperation rather than resistance.
Be patient.
Peace comes on soft wings,
not in a thundering stampede.
 
Praise and accept to build peace
 
Measure your words of judgement.
People seldom benefit from harsh criticism
of their character or their actions. 
Choose words of praise and acceptance
that build peace.
 
Mindfulness means training in patience,
which naturally leads to insight,
and then to useful action.
 
Your circumstances are not you
 
The nonpermanent appearance of happiness and distress,
and their disappearance in due course,
are like the appearance and disappearance
of winter and summer seasons.
They arise from sense perception,
and you must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.
                                        Bhagavad Gita
 
Be at peace with your circumstances.
Allow what you have no power over
to just be as it is.
Where you do have power
and something needs changing
do what you can,
and then let go.
You don't have to fix everything.
 
Your own peaceful place
 
Make some space,
one corner of your home
that is your haven, a sanctuary,
a personal buffer zone.
Decorate it with a poster, 
a book,
or an object
that whispers peace to your heart.
Take time out there regularly.
Also, go quietly there when you feel your temper fraying
and hear your voice rising,
 
Peaceful gratitude
 
Treasure the peace from your past.
Be grateful for the times and places
you have known peace
and return there in reality
or in your heart.
Bring the feeling, the grace of those moments 
to today's challenges.
 
Trust
 
All that I have seen
teaches me to trust the creator
for all that I have not seen.
                          Ralph Waldo Emerson
 
We live in a culture of fear and separation,
where it is considered smart and prudent to distrust everyone,
thinking that everyone might be out to get us.
We can see the result of this kind of society
and the incredible problems that lack of trust creates.
While it’s easy to think that you can’t change
the entire direction the society seems to be going,
what would happen if you chose to make trust an essential part of your life. 
And what would your world be like if you had complete trust?
 
You would choose to trust every person you connect with.
You would make deals on a handshake
and the word of someone
with no need for lawyers and contracts.
You would completely trust in God or Source
to reciprocate your trust in magical ways.
When trust is the foundation of relationships
then it is possible to move beyond fear
into a true heart opening of love.
Without trust you will never experience
the true depth of love and relationship
that is possible in our world.
Reality itself will change
when you choose to replace fear and self-protection
with love, trust and openness.
The change in the world starts with you.
 
Let your heart be untroubled.
Trust that the divine plan is unfolding
in perfect order
Even though you may not be able to see
the end of a difficut time,
soothe your heart with confidence
in a power beyond yourself.
 
Recognise the natural cycles of life.
Know that darkness is always followed by light,
winter is followed by spring,
and trust that that love is the essence of all creation,
and that love will ultimately prevail over fear.
 
Trust also means that you are eager
to step up and do your part.
Don't just think that God will automatically fix everything.
We are the arms and legs of God on the planet at this time.
You are being called upon
to put your trust into action
to fulfil your unique role.
Search for signs of peace,
such as conflicts resolved,
families reunited,
people helping people
by joining arms instead of bearing them.
Trust that things will be all right in the end.
 
Prioritise
 
I am Time,
the great destroyer of the world.
                        Bhagavad Gita 11.32
 
Peace can be disturbed by too much coming and going.
Decide which people and projects you want to invite into your day.
Give other 'visitors' appointments for tomorrow,
next week, or next year.
Then enjoy what you've chosen to give your attention to.
 
Peace and action
 
Being at peace is not the same as being placid.
You can be assertive, firm,
even passionate and bold
and yet be at peace.
Peace is deeper than the quietness of inaction.
Peace requires your participation.
 
Peace and justice
 
Passive acceptance of injustice is not peace;
it is a threat to peace.
Recognise the threat and work for justice.
Take care to avoid methods
that are not peaceful and are as unjust
as those you are trying to eliminate.
 
Listen
 
Listening to others express their feelings,
including anger,
is an act of peace.
Don't hear just to determine
when you can inject your own words.
When you're fully present in your listening,
you invite another
to locate the peace within them.
 
Don't underestimate the value of doing nothing,
or just going along,
listening to all the things you can't hear,
and not bothering. 
                                A.A. Milne
 
Be a channel of peace
 
Seek
strength to quieten your mind,
to take better care of your body,
to carry the weight on your shoulders, 
to be the best version of your self,
and bless this day,
even when you feel overwhelmed by challenges you face.
Know that you must be the instrument of peace.
 
Remind yourself…
 
Where there is hatred, I will sow love,
Where there is injury, forgiveness,
Where there is doubt, despair, grief,
I will embrace uncertainity, vulnerability, not knowing, and sadness.
To embrace the darkness, to see the dark, and in the dark
is my journey to light.
Not so much seeking to be consoled as to console,
to be understood as to understand,
to be loved as to love,
for it is in giving that I receive,
it is in forgiving that I am forgiven,
and it is in dying to the past
that I am reborn in the present.
                      Adapted from the Prayer of St Francis of Assisi
 
You do not have to make peace for yourself
it is already present.
Simply allow it to flow through you to others.
If you block its gentle flow,
you force it to chart a course around you.
Be a channel for peace.
 
Peace is not simply a bouquet of flowers
you can hand someone.
You can, however, be that bouquet yourself.
And the fragrance may entice others
to transplant tiny seedlings of peace
in their own hearts.
 
One breath at a time
 
While your peacekeeping may be local,
it is the same as an international mission:
to stop sniping,
simply lay down your arms,
talk face-to-face,
agree on basic principles,
honour the agreement.
 
Call a day's truce
if peace seems too much to achieve.
For twenty-four hours, hold your fire,
lower your weapons,
let down your guard, 
and relax.
 
Choose your own peace theme,
a favourite song, hymn, poem or prayer.
Hum, sing, read or say it
when you feel under seige.
 
Practice peace one day at a time.
With practice, you can declare your life 
a demilitarised zone.
 
Random acts of kindness
 
Practice random acts of kindness.
They will strengthen the fainthearted,
confuse the heardhearted,
and comfort the disheartened.
 
Create moments of sharing peace 
by sharing something of your own:
a flower, a cake, a meal,
a handwritten note, a card.
You act builds a positive and peaceful atmosphere. 
 
A gift is pure
when it is given from the heart
to the right person
at the right time
and at the right place,
and when we expect nothing in return.
                          Bhagavad Gita

Think peace. Act out peace
 
Every invention, every action was first imagined.
Everyday, imagine yourself and the world at peace.
Imagine open borders,
free and fair trade,
weapons melted into ploughs and hoes.
Let the angelic chorus of "Peace on Earth" resound,
and its melody sustain your thoughts and endeavours.
 
We long for peace in many forms:
inner peace,
peace in our relationships,
peace in our neighbourhoods,
peace between nations,
world peace.
 
Peace is as real as the clouds in the sky.
Even though they appear whispy and unsubstantial,
they hold power and blessings for the earth.
They grace the sky
as will peace grace your heart and the earth.
Believe in the possibility,
the reality of peace.
 
When you see Self in everything
and everything within Self
you will not be lost to Self,
nor will Self ever be lost to you.

Rooted in oneness
realising that Self is in every being;
wherever you go, you remain in Self.

Seeing all being as equal
in suffering or in joy
because they are like you,
indicates that you have grown perfect in yoga.
                                Bhagavad Gita.
 
Be peace
 
To make peace,
you must be at peace.
Peace begins in each individual heart.
Nurture the peace within you
and take a peaceful stance towards the world.
Blessed are the peacemakers.
Go forth in peace
and be blessed.
 
Affirm
I am peace.
I am kind.
I help others.
Peace begins within me.
 
 
With blessings and namaste,
Shanti
3 April 2016
 
Checklist:
Did I offer peace today?
Did I bring a smile to someone's face?
Did I say words of healing?
Did I let go of my anger and resentment?
Did I forgive?
Did I love?
These are the real questions.
 
Trust that the little bit of love that you sow now
will bear many fruits, here in this world
and the life to come.

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About Shantiji

Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

Shantiji has brought the concepts and practices of a healthy body and a still mind to thousands of Australians through her Yoga and Meditation programs on national television... Read more about Shantiji's biography


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