Wars have been happening for millennia. It is normal to see reports on conflicts involving bombing and shooting. Wherever you are in the world, such reports are an intrinsic part of the daily news. It would be extraordinary to see happy faces on BBC News.
We feel affected for a while but it doesn’t take long for us to get back to normal life. After all, you need to get to work, the kids are waiting to be picked up from school, dinner has to be cooked and whatnot. However, we understand the reality behind these when danger hits closer to home.
In some parts of London, you can feel the tension following the Paris attacks. A few days ago, I was sitting in Starbucks and there was a brown-skinned guy at the table next to me. His friend arrived and looked shocked as he asked the first guy, ‘You have shaved your beard??’ ‘I looked too Muslim’, came the reply. They were both quiet for a few seconds and then started talking as if nothing had changed.
Let’s get real. Something has changed. We can’t just sit back and watch the drama wondering if tomorrow we will be in a similar situation. Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’. We can all create this change and spread happiness once again.
Together we stand. Divided we fall.
It doesn’t matter whether you pray in a church, a temple, a mosque or at home. It doesn’t matter if you don’t pray. It doesn’t matter whether you wear a short skirt or cover your whole body. It doesn’t matter whether you were born in India or Pakistan, Egypt or Israel.
What matters is that you have a heart filled with love and kindness, that you can look at someone in the eyes and see the Divine in them. I concede that it might be asking too much too soon if you have lost loved ones in recent acts of violence, but fighting back is not a solution either.
A man who lost his wife in the Paris attacks posted this on Facebook, in a letter that he addressed to the terrorists, “I don't give you the gift of hating you. You are asking for it but responding to hatred with anger would be giving in to the same ignorance that made you what you are.”
The Loving Kindness meditation
This is a meditation of Tibetan origin. I tell my friends that it is perfect when one’s mind feels like a battlefield. It is just as true if countries are turning into battlefields. It redirects someone to their inner self and fills the heart with compassion. You can keep a minute of silence before saying these words.
Then swap 'I' with someone you love.
Then with a neutral person. Then with a difficult person.
And lastly, replace ‘I’ with 'All'. Really think of the world as one when you say ‘All’.
Repeat the whole set three times
It only takes a few minutes to create a wave of peace in the world. As more of us do it, the waves come together and the energy spreads.
"Peace begins with a smile.
Let no one ever come to you and not leave happier."