“Have you or a family member served in the military?”
I have been asking this question of friends recently. I wanted to get a sense of what Memorial Day means, to the people I know. Most responded with a negative, but a few said yes. One in particular spoke about his father who served in the Korean War and how when he returned, was a changed man. The scars of war were visible, not on his body, but on his mind.
I can’t imagine what it must be like to fight in a war. Additionally, I can’t imagine what it must feel like to lose a family member. Either during active service or upon returning, due to injuries, illness, or PTSD. they are equally traumatizing.
It is Memorial Day, here in the US. A day that makes me deeply wonder and enquire about war, the cost of war, and the price of peace.
I think about all those souls that our wars have consumed. Whether tribal or territorial conflicts, economic or resource based invasions or religious zealotry and intolerance, ignorance would seem to be the unifying theme. Greed comes in a close 2nd. Greed and power but those would not be enough without the ignorance.
I think about all of that and want peace for everyone, everywhere.
The thoughts, emotions, and even genes that motivate war mongers, dictators and power hungry, self-righteous leaders exist within us all. Our thoughts and actions may not impact the lives of thousands or millions of people, but they do impact our families and friends.
We have all experienced anger or felt the overwhelming desire to get revenge upon someone who has wronged us. Imagine those feelings, amplified a few hundred times through the lens of another’s world view. That is how one fuels a massacre or a shooting in a mall. Amplify it a little more and add the response from the other side, and we have war.
Fortunately, we also carry the power of peace within us, the ability to generate it. Peace, not as in the absence of war, but peace as an essence, in and of itself. Imagine that peace amplified by a few hundred people? Or a million? What kind of a world would that create?
Here’s one way to imagine that peace together. It is a simple meditation technique or more specifically an exercise in consciousness that amplifies peace. (Read through the description below a few times so that you can practice the meditation without having to break your focus). Ready? Great.
Seat yourself in a quiet and comfortable spot to do this meditation. Once seated, look around at your surroundings and allow your gaze to rest on the objects and spaces around you for a few moments. Actually, see these things: chair (steady breath), sky (steady breath), wall (steady breath) and so on.
Listen to the sounds and feel the temperature of the air.
Become aware of and connect with where you are at this moment. Give yourself a few more minutes to open your focus. What do you notice as you do this? Do you feel yourself becoming quieter? Calmer? Present? Has your breathing changed? Continue until you feel a shift.
Now, take a deep breathe and close your eyes. As you exhale allow your focus to move within. Give yourself some time here as your attention turns inward. There is no rush.
On your next breath, ask your body, “Where do I hold the essence of inner peace within me?” Listen carefully to subtle signals from your body. Your body may show you a specific body part or you may feel a tingling sensation in a few places. Trust your feeling here and move your consciousness to where your body’s spinpoint is for inner peace.
Dive into the core of this essence. What does it feel like? Is it warm or tingly? Light-filled or joyous? You may experience a number of different qualities. Open your mind and body to perceive the frequency of inner peace within you.
Allow it to fill you and then flow out of you; expanding and amplifying. Continue with this exercise until you feel peace-filled.
Now imagine extending this peace to all those who are in need or want peace. Radiate it out. Imagine it expanding out like ripples in a pond from you. Out and further still, encircling the whole world and all of humanity. And continuing into the cosmos, light years deep.
When you feel complete bring your awareness back to your body and connect to the inner peace within you once more before opening your eyes.
Take a deep breath and open your eyes. Look around at your surroundings; the chair (steady breath), the sky (steady breath) and so on allowing your gaze to linger.
How do you feel? What is different? Write down your thoughts and insights. Share them with loved ones, or lead them in this meditation with you.
When we choose and practice peace in our daily lives create new pathways in our consciousness that fulfill destinies long dreamed of by our ancestors.
It is our turn, our time now to create peaceful, prosperous lives for all of us, together.
What unfolded for you in this meditation? Did you experience inner peace? Were you able to extend it out? Do you feel the pull to be of service to humanity? How do you envision your role? I invite you to share your thoughts with us, in the comments below.