This is Gandhi’s Prayer for Peace.
On the anniversary of Gandhi's death, it seems highly appropriate to call upon his prayer for peace now.
Rather than simply reading his prayer-poem and thinking 'oh isn't that nice', let's put it to super good use as a way of seeing those we view as 'the other' in a different perspective. We are about to read the prayer-poem a number of times, in a number of ways.
As you read, hear the words, the sound and feel the vibration.
1.) Read the poem.
Sit quietly for one minute with the thoughts of the poem. Be aware of what comes to mind. Your thoughts may be directly related to the words of the poem or may take you somewhere else. Be very aware of where, or to whom, these thoughts take you.
2.) The scene in this poem is as though two people are sitting face to face, looking directly into each other’s eyes. Read the poem again, perhaps several times. Each time you read it, imagine two people who may be currently seen as oppositional, saying this poem to each other. For example, an Israeli and a Palestinian, a white supremacist with a Chinese-American, one world leader to another, a logger with a ‘greenie.’ Imagine what may have happened if the British had said this to the Native Americans, or the French to the Vietnamese, the Romans to the Jews of Bethlehem.
3.) Braver still, can you say the poem to someone you know? If not out loud, say it in your head, imagining someone you are currently experiencing difficulty with; where a relationship has turned sour. This may be your partner, your teenager, your mother or father, a work colleague perhaps.
Be mindful of your thoughts; be aware of the way your body responds; be conscious of your feelings.
4.) Finally, we all know that we are often in conflict with ourselves. Internally, one part of us arguing with another part of ourselves. Read the prayer-poem again, this time allowing the parts of you in conflict to speak to each other.
Again, be aware of how you are feeling now.
The story of The Imam and the Pastor is a remarkable true story of two men involved in violent conflict who were able to 'Be the change' that has brought equally remarkable peace.
"In the 1990s, Pastor James Wuye and Imam Muhammad Ashafa led opposing, armed militias, dedicated to defending their respective communities as violence broke out in Kaduna, northern Nigeria. In pitched battles, Pastor James lost his hand and Imam Ashafa’s spiritual mentor and two close relatives were killed.
Now the two men are co-directors of the Muslim-Christian Interfaith Mediation Centre in their city, leading task-forces to resolve conflicts across Nigeria." http://www.iofc.org/imam-pastor
I was privileged enough to hear them both speak and meet them personally in Panchgani, India very recently. To me, they emulate what can be achieved if we set our hearts and minds to it.
You can find these lessons and more in my book 'The Gandhi Experiment - Teaching our teenagers how to become global citizens,'
Enjoy your experiments with peace,