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Friday, October 31, 2014

Connecting peace and sustainable development

Posted by steve on April 27, 2009

Sometimes I can’t get things out of my head. It felt like a long shot, but as I stepped onto the plane to Berlin to attend a Words of Peace conference with Prem Rawat, I couldn’t ignore my intuition telling me that peace and sustainable development were linked somehow and that maybe the journey and time with him was going to provide some insights.
Berlinfor the first time in my life, old images of the war, the division of the two countries and its uniting cropped up. But there was no wall, no division. I strained to work out if I was in the East or West, but no. Just people. This is the way it should be. No divisions. No wars.

War in itself is not sustainable; it destroys environmental, infrastructural and mineral assets for future generations. And just looking after your own nation is not sustainable either. If the planet goes so does your nation.
Already in the video sequences at the start of the event I started to realize the core of the issue. It is about understanding who you are, your own core. The better we know what we are here for the better we can arrange our life on Earth to fit.

In fact understanding who you are, what life is, is a central theme of Prem Rawat’s message. He contrasted his message with two other schools of thought. One where you are meant not to enjoy or appreciate your life here on Earth, but to follow a certain code in order not to suffer for a life which comes after death. Another says your life now is a result of actions in your previous life and you cannot change it. Prem Rawat’s message is simpler: life is a gift, every breath is a miracle and you not only want to enjoy every moment of your life, but it is perfectly possible.

He talked of those who promote democracy as a way to peace, but commented that in one democratic country most people did not want the Iraq war and they went to war anyway, and in that same country they have the highest percentage of people in jail.
A session the second day focused on the techniques of inner peace that he teaches. I was reminded by something he said earlier:

Do not let the situation of the world get at you. The key to peace is inside you, focus on that, on enjoying what you have.

Having spent a very pleasant break in the Berlin sunshine with a sandwich, cappuccino and convivial company of acquaintances new and old, I went back to a question and answer session – having let go of that question that was initially burning in me.
To my surprise, the second or third question was about world peace. I started to form an understanding. When you understand the value of your own life you understand that you cannot abdicate responsibility to leaders. We can seethe result of this mass abdication – there are more educated people on the planet than there have ever been and yet there are more wars and more people starving. Some of the best educated people are also those who are cheating the most.
A sustainable world living in peace, dignity and prosperity will come from each individual realizing the value of life itself for themselves and taking back the responsibility abdicated to leadership.
As each individual sows seeds of acting with kindness and dignity, these seeds will grow to a greater world consciousness.
Because life is a gift, receiving the gift with appreciation and giving back in dignity through living with kindness with the people of the planet is the way to live. Ideas of ownership, taking what you want by force or deceit, from the very people who looked after you and made your education possible, is surely no recipe we would like to hand over to future generations.
Rather, the understanding that peace is possible for all, and with it comes prosperity and the opportunity to enjoy the gift of life to its fullest.

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