September 21 was International Day of Peace. This holiday was established by the UN in 1981 to serve as a reminder of our commitment to peace. A UN statement says:
Peace is more than the absence of war. It is about transforming our societies and uniting our global community to work together for a more peaceful, just and sustainable world for all.
Don’t worry if you missed this holiday. I just learned about it myself while taking a workshop this week at the Carter Center in Atlanta, GA. I spent three days studying “Non-Violent Communication”, a way of resolving conflicts using mindful speech (for more info see www.cnvc.org)
I started wondering about what our yogic tradition tells us about finding peace, so I turned to the ancient yoga sutras of Patanjali, especially number 33:
The mind becomes clear and serene when the qualities of the heart are cultivated: friendliness toward the joyful, compassion toward the suffering, happiness toward the pure, and impartiality toward the impure.
The practice of yoga, including the asanas, breath work, and meditation can help us uncover our inner peace. If you’ve ever taken a yoga class, you know the deep feeling of peace that stays with you when you leave class. Can we take that individual seed of peace and stretch it into peace for the whole world? What would that look like? These are questions for all of us to bring into our hearts.
As Zen master and peace activist, Thich Nhat Hanh, says in his book, Peace is Every Step:
Every morning, when we wake up, we have twenty-four brand-new hours to live. What a precious gift! We have the capacity to live in a way that these twenty-four hours will bring peace, joy, and happiness to ourselves and others. Peace is present right here and now, in ourselves and in everything we do and see. The question is whether or not we are in touch with it. We don’t have to travel far away to enjoy the blue sky. We don’t have to leave our city or even our neighborhood to enjoy the eyes of a beautiful child. Even the air we breathe can be a source of joy.
It’s easy to Be here