"Peace in oneself,
Peace in the world."
Thich Nhat Hanh
As we watch the unfolding war in Ukraine, and the ensuing horror and suffering that is being inflicted on millions of innocent people, we can find ourselves filled with fear, anxiety and even despair over what is happening in the world around us. On the one hand, the conflict in Ukraine has shown us very starkly that we simply don't have control over what happens 'out there' in the world, no matter how much we wish we did. It also shows us that things can change very quickly; the carefree ease of today giving way to the crisis and turmoil of tomorrow. Many are asking, 'What can I do, in the face of a world that has seemingly gone mad?' The answer, which has been spoken by all the great sages and saints since the beginning of time is simply this; to have peace in the world, we must cultivate peace within ourselves.
This sounds so simple, yet the truth of it can elude us as we continue to worry and live our lives with fear over what might happen next. If we are honest, many of us have a war raging inside our own hearts and minds, which are often filled with anger, judgement or even apathy towards the people and events in our lives. The times we are living through are calling all of us on the spiritual path to look within at these places of conflict, and transmute them into peace and compassion - first for ourselves, and then for every person that we encounter on our path. As Gandhi so rightly reminded us, 'Be the change you wish to see in the world.' What that means is simply this; if you want a peaceful world, then start by cultivating peace within yourself. If you want relationships that are more loving, then be an embodiment of Love to those around you. If you wish for more compassion in your life, then be compassionate towards those you meet everyday.
Of course, this is a practice, and there is no greater practice that we can undertake at this time if we truly wish to contribute to a more peaceful and sane world. Scientific research also confirms that, when we dedicate ourselves to practices like Loving-kindness meditation (Maitri), the energy that we cultivate from our meditation radiates out to everyone we meet, and even to far away places like Ukraine. This meditation, which we practice regularly in our Tao Tribe gatherings is simple and eloquent; simply breathe peace, compassion and Love into your heart through an opening in the middle of your chest, and allow your out-breath to radiate this energy into the field around you. Research has also shown that, when this practice is done with even small groups of people, it amplifies its power and effectiveness.
I now leave you with a teaching on the power of Loving-kindness meditation that was given by the Dalai Lama in one of his recent books. I encourage you to read it deeply, and put it into practice in your own life; not just for yourself, but for all of humanity.
"A scientifically controlled study conducted by researchers at the University of Kassell has shown that, while the chest area of an average human being emits only 20 photons of light per second, someone who meditates on their heart center and sends Love and light to others emits an amazing 100,000 photons of light per second. That is 5000 times more than the average human being. Numerous studies have also shown that, when these photons are infused with a loving and healing intent, their frequency and vibration increases to the point where they can literally change matter, heal disease and transform negative events.
Ten minutes of meditating on compassion, on kindness for others, and you will see its effects all day.
Thats the way to maintain a calm and joyous mind."
From: The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by The Dalai Lama