Posts by Wildmind Meditation News

A journalist reflects on peace, calling 2003 "The Year of Meditation". Read more

Resolve that 2003 will be a year of peace

By SEAN GONSALVES
SYNDICATED COLUMNIST
Seattle PI

Well, it’s New Year’s Eve and like millions of other Americans I’ve come up with a resolution. I hear that self-prescribed goals have a better chance of being met if the promise-maker shares it with someone else, based on the theory that most people want to live according to what they say they are going to do.

So I resolve to meditate more. Call it the Year of Meditation, which, according to many experienced contemplatives, is not a mere mental exercise but a prelude to right action.

Let the meditation begin. Right here. Right now.

I am led (compelled?) to meditate on peace, it being the holiday season.

But meditating on peace at a time when war is being advertised, or rather sold, as the way to peace gets confusing.

Considering my status as a spiritual weakling, I brought along some help via “The Little Book of Peace,” given to me as a Christmas present, hoping to stand on the shoulders of giants that I may catch a glimpse of a better world.

The great English novelist Joseph Conrad asserts that “what all men (and women) are really after is some form or perhaps only some formula of peace.”

Everyone — and I mean everyone — is for peace. Even Hitler wanted peace — not a just peace but a peace that excluded non-Aryans.

Of course, before Conrad there was the German monk Thomas à Kempis who expressed a similar sentiment: “All men desire peace but few indeed desire those things which make for peace.”

Or to put it another way: “Being a pacifist between wars is as easy as being a vegetarian between meals,” in the words of the Christian anarchist Ammon Hennacy. That’s why it’s not enough to call for peace. The important question is always: peace under what terms?

I’m amazed at some of the arguments hawks use to defend war policies, which usually go beyond polemics for a “just war” and descend into ridicule of pacifism and non-violence as being dangerously naive in the face of “reality” and human nature.

But there is truth about human nature contained in the Buddhist insight: “Hate is not conquered by hate. Hate is conquered by love. This is a law eternal.” Who can refute it?

Or how about the less esoteric observation made by Anna Julia Cooper, former slave turned feminist? “Peace produced by suppression is neither natural nor desirable.”

Why? Woodrow Wilson answers: “Victory would mean peace forced upon the losers, a victor’s terms imposed upon the vanquished. It would be accepted in humiliation, under duress, at an intolerable sacrifice, and would leave a sting, a resentment, a bitter memory upon which the terms of peace would rest, not permanently, but only upon quicksand.” How’s that for keeping it real?

Yes, the world has changed since the days of so-called Wilsonian idealism — one notable change being that to express such a truism in public discourse is to run the risk of being blacklisted as a terrorist sympathizer.

But to sidestep the predictable consequences of war by pretending that the elimination of a particular enemy will bring peace is just as foolishly naive as peace activists’ vague calls for disarmament.

The world is not yet ready for disarmament. Doves would do well to consider what philosopher William James wrote in his famous study on religious experience. “What we now need to discover in the social realm is the moral equivalent of war: something heroic that will speak to men as universally as war does, and yet will be as compatible with their spiritual selves as war has proven itself to be incompatible.” Pro sports may be our best hope in this regard.

Until we find a “moral equivalent of war,” we will continue to have wars. Of course, that doesn’t mean we should lie to ourselves. Our military tradition, at its finest, is a legacy of brave men and women risking their lives to fight for our rights.

But let’s not deny that many, if not most, young people who join the services these days do so because they are looking for educational or job opportunities, not because they want to defend “freedom.”

And with our heavy reliance on superior air power and high-tech weaponry to fight our enemies, not only has the battlefield changed with modern war but the spiritual dynamics have changed also. And that comes with a high moral price.

“Technology has allowed the world of men in our society to separate itself from the sight and the sounds of killing; from the horror of it, but not from the killing. It must be easy to kill from a roomful of fluorescent lights and wash-and-wear shirts,” says Caryl Rivers, a Boston University professor.

And finally, there is A.J. Muste’s famous quip, which must irritate the sensibilities of those who ask: What is the way to peace? “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

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Peace meditation in Sri Lanka’s Parliament

Daily News, Sri Lanka: In view of ushering peace and prosperity to the country, all parliamentarians will observe meditation and take part in inter-religious services at the first sitting of the House in 2003.

Chairman of the Saumia Youth Foundation P. Anthonymuttoo told the Daily News that the Speaker has given his consent to the suggestion made by his organisation to hold religious services and a peace meditation in Parliament and accordingly, parliamentarians will meditate in the new year for the dawn of permanent peace in the country.

The program organised by the SYF in collaboration with other social groups will be conducted by religious leaders from all parts of the country including the North and East.

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India’s meditative model jail

The massive Tihar jail complex just outside the Indian capital Delhi was until a few years ago a place to be feared.

Comprising six separate prisons sprawling over 400 acres, Tihar – the biggest prison in Asia – was notorious for drugs, corruption and violence.

Overcrowding is still a chronic problem, with 12,000 inmates filling the institution to almost three times its capacity.

But Tihar is now regarded as a model prison, welcoming delegations from far and wide who come to study how prison authorities turned the place around.

The key to their success, they say, is an holistic approach to reform and rehabilitation.

‘Golden cage’

Meditation and yoga are now widely practised by inmates, and more than 1,000 prisoners are enrolled in education programmes or degree courses….

BBC South Asia: Read more…

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Meditate your way to success

Teachers across the UK are searching for ways to tackle classroom discipline. One experiment in California is having significant results.

Typical school rituals like recess and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance are being joined by something that has been dubbed “om schooling” in establishments in California.

But for a growing number of youngsters at state schools in San Francisco, yoga is helping bring inner peace to inner city establishments.

At Phyllis Camp’s physical education class at the city’s James Lick School , the noise level as the children line up outside class is deafening. They tumble into the gym a raw bundle of energy.

In normal circumstances it would take a teacher several minutes to calm this lot down. For Phyllis it takes no time at all as she quickly gets them lined up in four rows and under her control….

BBC Americas: Read more

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