Today is the UN’s International Day of Peace and brother, do we need it. We’ve got wars and conflicts all over the globe and places where they aren’t shooting, they’re sabre rattling. This year in particular it hits close to home because I’ve got three immediate family members serving with the Canadian Forces in Afghanistan. Now there’s a chunk of territory that could use a fresh peace transplant.
It’s not just active war zones, I hasten to add. I’ve worked in policing services for over 20 years. We don’t have to go offshore to find violence. For many people, too many people, it exists inside the boundaries of their own homes.
So what does this have to do with me? Lots, actually, because peace begins in human hearts.
Being peaceful starts with cultivating compassion, first for ourselves, and then for those we love, building upon that practice to include more and more, until our hearts are big enough to hold the world. And it can be done. This isn’t just airy-fairy stuff. It’s realistic, practical but let’s not kid ourselves, it’s work.
If I want strong muscles, I need to exercise them. If I want to run in the Boston Marathon, I have to lace up my sneakers more than once a decade. When I was a teenager and I needed to understand the principles of trigonometry, I had to do my homework.
Peace building is a skill too. And like any skill, you get better at it when you work at it as a persevering practice. So far, in this yoga sutra journey, we haven’t got to the sections on abiding practice and the fruits thereof. It’s coming a little later on but here’s the preview:
Seriously, it doesn’t get more complicated than that. Do a physical practice, do a breath practice, meditate, sitting, standing. Doesn’t matter.
JUST DO IT.
We can get so hung up on the technical aspects of practice. Should it be a postural practice? Should I do this pranayama over that one? How long should I meditate? Do I have time? Do I have energy? Do …
Blah, blah, blah-blah.
We have a million ways of avoiding the practice that will bring us peace inside. And when we build our ‘peace muscles’, we have an effect on our families, our work places, our communities, our nation and ultimately the whole world.
Peace is too important to leave to diplomats and politicians. It starts with you. And me. And we need to start now.
JUST DO IT.
Thanks for reading and Namaste,