If you create peace within yourself, you will naturally extend this peace outward. If you “do peace” in your life—in your home, your family, your inner circle, your community—this will naturally spread wider and wider.
It’s like ripples in water.
If you think peace, you will speak peace. If you speak peace, you will act peace. If you act peace, you will become a teacher. Others will follow you.
In a yoga class I took years ago in New York, we used to end the session with a short meditation. We would sit cross-legged, eyes gently closed. We would focus on our breath. After a few minutes, the yoga instructor would quietly ask us to feel the peacefulness within like a light, and then imagine that light radiating outward to our families, our city, and then the world. It was a beautiful practice.
Then, after 9/11, the exercise became even more significant. Extra classes were offered as people sought healing and direction. One evening my instructor told about a sect of Buddhist monks that spent all their time meditating for world peace. Deep within their prayerful meditations, they send out holy intentions for the healing of the world. The way my instructor described it, these magical energies sounded powerful and real. If only enough people would join in this intention (including us yoga students!), we could actually bring about an end to violence and destruction.
“I carry with me a few seminal ideas that have guided my life so far. One of them was expressed by Mahatma Gandhi when he said, ‘Be the change that you want to see in the world.’ Because the world is so huge, it came as a revelation to me–and also a mystery – that by changing myself I can affect the world. This idea was not original to Gandhi. It’s an offshoot of a much older idea, traceable to ancient India, which says, ‘As you are, so is the world.’ That, too, is a revelation and a mystery.”
As you are, so is the world. That’s it. That’s my message too.
I’m no guru, that’s for sure. But I am pretty observant. I’ve noticed how people tend to emulate other people, and ideas can spread from person to person, sometimes slowly and sometimes as quickly as a viral YouTube video.
Every journey begins with one step. Every manifestation starts with an intention. Any cultural shift must begin with the individual.
Hey, I’m an individual. And so are you. Together, we (along with the monks and the yoga students, and the readers and the writers, the thinkers and the doers) can be one voice for peace.