“Stop Still for Peace” – International Day of Peace events by Brahma Kumaris in Australia

475

Australia : As part of the “Stop Still for Peace – your peace, our peace, world peace” initiative for UN Peace Day, faith and other communities were invited to hold a half-hour observance on UN Peace Day. Resources and guided commentaries were made available for use if needed. These events were held across Australia, with 10 out of 12 being hosted by the BKs.

In Melbourne, Bishop Philip Huggins, President of the National Council of Churches Australia, facilitated a beautiful morning meditation session at St. Paul’s Cathedral in the heart of the city. The meditation had six souls seated at the front of the cathedral holding the meditative space, and three of them were BKs. Megan Kenny was on flute and there were reflections from the Bishop on personal peace, peace in the community, and in the world. Each reflection was followed by a period of powerful silence and music. The audience was then invited to come and light a candle for peace and a blessing card was given to them. It was a beautiful and powerfully silent way to start the day.

At the BK Center in Five Dock, Sydney:
The weekly talk in the Spirituality Matters Series, by BK Caroline Ward, was
dedicated to the UN International Day of Peace and the topic ‘Peace in Relationships’ was taken up with an audience of 23 people.

A day program titled ‘Finding Peace in a Changing World’ with speakers Dr. Ian Gawler OAM, Dr. Ruth Gawler and BK Charlie Hogg was attended by 50 people. Dr. Ruth Gawler, a past President of Meditation Australia, spoke first about the olive branch being a symbol of peace. Making the symbol real  means creating a feeling of ease, safety and comfort. She shared about the attitude of ‘surrendering to situations to communicate rather than to win,’ eliminating competition and conflict. This process reveals something about ourselves; we can then notice what is happening within ourselves, be aware of our choices, and how we can choose peace in situations. She stressed the
importance of forgiveness and first making peace with oneself.

Dr. Ian Gawler has played a significant part in popularising meditation and Mind-Body Medicine in the western world. He spoke about the importance of understanding the mind, spending time with the ‘still mind’ and of being non-violent towards the self – ‘act peacefully with the self, watch your self talk’. In order to live a lifestyle of peace and at the same time be socially active as a peace agent, use meditation to maintain stability and clarity.

BK Charlie said people have different ideas about what peace is. However whatever we think about creates our experience. Peace can be lost by the pull of desires or plugging in to memories that don’t evoke peace. On one level, peace can be calmness based on positivity. It is better to create a sense of one’s spiritual identity and understand the self as ‘I the soul’. The best way to find permanent peace is to plug in to the source of peace, the Supreme Soul, in silence. There were short meditations after each speaker. Following a lunch break, small groups had lively conversations based on questions about peace. The final session was a Q&A with all speakers.

Interfaith Prayer Services:

Sydney at Lindfield Uniting Church: The organizers kept the BK slot in the program, in which prayers and readings from various religions are shared. A copy of each reading is shown on the programme.  “Matthew” read the BK meditation Sr. Helen had given last year, “very successfully and with a lot of meaning.”

Fellowship Centre, Parramatta Mission: As representatives of BKs, the six-year-old twins Rania and Tania shared a message of peace among short presentations from various faiths.

Fitzroy BK centre, Melbourne: Some 31 attended and the atmosphere was extra peaceful to honour the day, enhanced by live commentaries and especially by Russell Williams playing harp along with sitar.

In the afternoon Fitzroy centre hosted “Busy Mind… Busy Life… Prioritising PEACE” with Dr. Barbara Hannon. There was a small but especially attentive and interactive group. A handful of BKs sat in meditation on the steps of the library to honour the day.

Hobart, Tasmania:
An event was held at the UTAS Multifaith Centre on the theme given by the UN, “Climate Action for Peace,” and this fit with the Living the Change initiative sponsored by ARRCC. First Nations elder Kris Schaffer welcomed everyone to the Country; Councillor Mike Dutta from the City of Hobart Council, originally from Fiji, shared the effect Climate Change is having on our Pacific Island neighbours; and Tim Devereux brought the music of the earth into the gathering via his magical didgeridoo. All the major faiths were represented and enquiries were made by a Buddhist group, the Tasmanian Muslim Association and the Hindu Society of Tasmania about holding similar workshops in their communities. BK Terry represented BKs in Tasmania.

Previous articleAssam Minister Visits Brahma Kumaris Rupnagar Center
Next article“Role of Media In Making Bharat A World Teacher” – An International Festival In Bhopal