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9/11 Anniversary: Time to Bring Peace into Your Life

9/11 Anniversary: Time to Bring Peace into Your Life

peace in my time

    Today is the 8th anniversary of 9/11, that fateful day when two planes demolished the World Trade Center in New York.

    Everyone remembers just where they were when they heard the news. I was working in the City of London at the time and watched the world-changing events unfolding on a screen at a hairdressing salon. There was an eerie silence all around as we watched in shock, hardly comprehending just what was happening.

    We had an American colleague working with us at the time, who only a year before had been on a work assignment at the top of one of the towers. As the Twin Towers came down, it dawned on her that some of her ex-colleagues and friends were likely to have been involved. Shock set in and I found a cab for her, making sure she got home okay as the trains were temporarily suspended in fear of a London attack.

    On the way home, I joined a small crowd outside a TV shop, looking in awe and shock at the repeated clips of the towers coming down.

    Eight years later, the world is no safer or wiser and there seems no end to the troubles around the world. Indeed today the world is struggling more than ever with growing inequality, poverty, economic and global warming challenges.

    Today there is more angst in the world than ever before. The world is a far more dangerous place and we are all more vulnerable to attack, uncertainty and upheaval. The saddest part of it all is that we are no nearer to resolving any of the disputes and grievances that let to the 9/11 attacks in the first place.

    Schisms between nations are becoming wider and there seems to be an ideology standoff between Christianity and Islam. All terrorism is blamed on Islam, which is portrayed as an unyielding, fanatical religion out to conquer the world and impose itself.

    However it is time we all realised that multiculturalism does not lead to disintegration – we need to celebrate our differences, not ridicule them. In our hearts, we are all people with the same aspirations, hopes and ambitions. We all strive to better ourselves and create a better and secure future for our children.

    Islam is not a monolith – I believe it actually covers 53 nations in the world. The fight today seems to be not between religions, but between ideologies

    We need to remember that being a Muslim is just one aspect of people’s identity. Yet, that identity seems to have become paramount and sadly militarily defined. Whether one admits it or not, there is certainly a lot of Islamophobia out there.

    It is time that we saw people as just people rather than judge them on their religious ideology. Ultimately peace can only come if we put our selfish motives to one side and think about the future of our children.

    Today, rather than looking back once again on the events of eight years ago, let us focus on how we can bring peace into our own lives and work from there for peace in the world. And then maybe the legacy of 9/11 will be to bring us all together for the greater good of all.

    The onus today is really on us to take a step back and look at our own lives and see where and how we can bring more peace in our life and in the world on an ongoing basis. Ultimately, if we bring peace all around us, then it can spread from there.

    Have you ever wondered how you could make the world a more peaceful place? And how you yourself could feel greater peace of mind?

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    Well, I believe that peace has to come from within you and there are two key questions we all have to address in our lives:-

    1. How can I find internal peace within myself?

    2. How can I bring more peace into the world through my work and my being?

    Here is a very timely and poignant quote from the Peace Pilgrim:-

    “We can work on inner peace and world peace at the same time.

    On one hand, people have found inner peace by losing themselves in a cause larger than themselves, like the cause of world peace, because finding inner peace means coming from the self-centered life into the life centered in the good of the whole.

    On the other hand, one of the ways of working for world peace is to work for more inner peace, because world peace will never be stable until enough of us find inner peace to stabilize it.”

    So the first key is to become more peaceful within ourselves. Here are my key tips to start bringing more peace in our lives:-

    1. Create some daily peace routines

    As one begins to bring more peace into our lives, it is important to have some peace routines.

    To me, early morning is the best part of the day. There is generally a feeling of peace and quietness then that you do not experience any other time. People are gradually getting into the day and there is none of the hustle and bustle you get later one.

    I suggest that you create a space in your life so that you can spend a bit of time early in the morning in self nurturing, rejuvenation, meditation. Also, you can use this quiet time to review the day and plan for what is ahead.

    You can start your day with some meditation, soothing music, gentle exercise, whatever works for you. Follow this with a healthy and leisurely breakfast with your partner, the family or on your own.

    Get into the habit of waking up early – and going for a walk or run in the morning. Not only will you be exercising, but your day will be off to a great start and it will increase your productivity.

    2. Clean up your space and simplify your life

    A key for peace in your mind is to have a physical space that feels neat and tidy. Psychologically we all feel better in a pristine clean home than in one that is a mess and full of clutter.

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    So a prerequisite for inner peace is to get your space clutter free and tidy. Do whatever you need to do to get rid of the clutter.

    As you begin to bring more peace in your world and hence the world in general, make the most of your early mornings – a precious and peaceful start to each day.

    As well as creating a clutter free space, there is a lot to be said for simplicity and focussing on fewer things and commitments in your life. Just imagine how much more peaceful your life would be if you didn’t have to think or be concerned about too many things.

    I remember listening to a Buddhist master who kept repeating – “Let go”. So let go of all things in your life that do not support you anymore. That also includes letting go of people too, though that may sound harsh to some of you.

    buddha1

      3. Look for ways to contribute to others

      As we reflect on 9/11 and the lessons learnt, the sad truth is the world isn’t working right now as we threaten to bomb each other into oblivion.

      What is truly missing is compassion. I sincerely believe that if more readers take this one thing to heart, the whole world will evolve.

      Compassion is about putting yourself in the shoes of the other person and seeing the world from their perspective. It is about feeling their pain and empowering them to be their best. It is not about pity or patronizing.

      “Have compassion for all beings, rich and poor alike – each has their suffering. Some suffer too much, others too little.” – Buddha

      “Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – Dalai Lama

      Just how can we learn to treat each other with more kindness, care, consideration and dare I say it with love?

      Check out all these 29 ways to ……… and choose one or more methods to bring more kindness into the world

      4. Celebrate our differences

      When we see the world today in the state it is, we are left to ponder why we are even fighting each other.

      At the end of the day all of us have the same hopes and dreams, the same challenges and issues.

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      Indeed we share the same planet, breath the same air and drink the same water.

      Are we really that different? Somehow we just need to learn to get on with each other.

      Wherever you go in the world there is a wonderful, common theme – people:

      – Small, large, fat, thin.
      – Loud, quiet, croaky.
      – Brash, timid, aloof, cocky.
      – Honest, innocent, mischievous.
      – Black, white, brown, mixed.
      – Anxious, laidback, schizophrenic.
      – Colourful, drab, naked.

      holy man

        It takes all sorts of people to make our world so interesting and colourful. So let us celebrate our differences rather than fighting for a warped cause.

        At the same time, searching for peace is also not about becoming a tree hugging hippy. Though there is nothing wrong with this, and each to their own path, the majority of the people in the world just want to live “normal” fulfilling, happy lives in peace with enough for their daily needs.

        5. Forgive and move on

        We all hang on to petty grievances and misunderstandings amongst our friends, work colleagues and most sadly amongst our family members. It is such disputes and simmering fights that ultimately energetically create bigger battles amongst communities and nations.

        So ask yourself:

        • What grievances can I let go?
        • Whom can I forgive?
        • What toxic or negative habit can you let go of?

        This is not to say that you let others trod all over – it is also about respecting your own needs and boundaries and creating your life as best you want it to be.

        6. Desire less

        A while ago a friend sent me a quote which really sums up very eloquently a key way of bringing more peace in our life. Though I am not sure who actually wrote these words, it seems to have some Buddhist connotations:-

        “Desires cause peace to disappear. You think that acquiring things will make you feel secure, but the reality is that the more you have the more fear there usually is of losing it, and the further you are from peace

        Desires are the cause of all conflicts. When you want something and cannot get it you become frustrated. Learning to be free from desires is learning how to stay peaceful.”

        So by curbing our lifestyles and aspirations we would not only benefit the planet but also bring more peace in our lives. Isn’t it amazing how all of these things are so intertwined?

        7. Listen to your heart and follow your own path

        Finally, it is all about getting clear about your own truth and following that. Cut through all the media hype and determine for yourself just what is really going on in the world around us today.

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        For your own peace of mind, get more information and insights into the conflicts around us and with that knowledge support a just cause rather than being led along blindly with the rest of the masses.

        On a micro level, to resolve any conflict, put yourself in the other person’s shoes and listen to the promptings of your heart. Give up trying to control others and focus on your own life.

        Here is another insightful buddhist message which is very relevant:

        Do not believe, just because wise men say so.

        Do not believe, just because it has always been that way.

        Do not believe, just because others may believe so.

        Examine and experience yourself!

        So for your own peace of mind, just remember to closely examine any situation and then let your heart rule rather than your head.

        To conclude, the main question to ask yourself on this 9/11 anniversary is:

        How can I bring more peace into my life today?

        To help you get started, reflect on these following questions and apply in your life:

        • What will YOU do to bring more peace into the world?
        • What will you NOT do?
        • What peace habit will you apply EVERY day?
        • WHO will you forgive and let go?
        • Who will you STOP trying to control?

        Reflect on the answers to these questions. You may also want to come up with your own questions and reflections.

        And remember that it is not just about bringing peace in the world today – it has to be a daily and life long practice.

        By bringing more peace within us and around us, we ultimately bring more peace to the world and make it a better place.

        On this 9/11 anniversary, surely that is not too much to ask for?!

        “One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal. We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr

        change yourself before changing the world

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          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          The Gentle Art of Saying No

          No!

          It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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          But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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          What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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          But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

          1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
          2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
          3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
          4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
          5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
          6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
          7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
          8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
          9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
          10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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