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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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          Last Updated on September 18, 2019

          How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          How to Take Notes Effectively: Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          Note-taking is one of those skills that rarely gets taught. Almost everyone assumes either that taking good notes comes naturally or, that someone else must have already taught about how to take notes. Then, we sit around and complain that our colleagues don’t know how to take notes.

          I figure it’s about time to do something about that. Whether you’re a student or a mid-level professional, the ability to take effective, meaningful notes is a crucial skill. Not only do good notes help us recall facts and ideas we may have forgotten, the act of writing things down helps many of us to remember them better in the first place.

          One of the reasons people have trouble taking effective notes is that they’re not really sure what notes are for. I think a lot of people, students and professionals alike, attempt to capture a complete record of a lecture, book, or meeting in their notes — to create, in effect, minutes. This is a recipe for failure.

          Trying to get every last fact and figure down like that leaves no room for thinking about what you’re writing and how it fits together. If you have a personal assistant, by all means, ask him or her to write minutes; if you’re on your own, though, your notes have a different purpose to fulfill.

          The purpose of note-taking is simple: to help you work better and more quickly. This means your notes don’t have to contain everything, they have to contain the most important things.

          And if you’re focused on capturing everything, you won’t have the spare mental “cycles” to recognize what’s truly important. Which means that later, when you’re studying for a big test or preparing a term paper, you’ll have to wade through all that extra garbage to uncover the few nuggets of important information?

          What to Write Down

          Your focus while taking notes should be two-fold. First, what’s new to you? There’s no point in writing down facts you already know. If you already know the Declaration of Independence was written and signed in 1776, there’s no reason to write that down. Anything you know you know, you can leave out of your notes.

          Second, what’s relevant? What information is most likely to be of use later, whether on a test, in an essay, or in completing a project? Focus on points that directly relate to or illustrate your reading (which means you’ll have to have actually done the reading…). The kinds of information to pay special attention to are:

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          Dates of Events

          Dates allow you to create a chronology, putting things in order according to when they happened, and understand the context of an event.

          For instance, knowing Isaac Newton was born in 1643 allows you to situate his work in relation to that of other physicists who came before and after him, as well as in relation to other trends of the 17th century.

          Names of People

          Being able to associate names with key ideas also helps remember ideas better and, when names come up again, to recognize ties between different ideas whether proposed by the same individuals or by people related in some way.

          Theories or Frameworks

          Any statement of a theory or frameworks should be recorded — they are the main points most of the time.

          Definitions

          Like theories, these are the main points and, unless you are positive you already know the definition of a term, should be written down.

          Keep in mind that many fields use everyday words in ways that are unfamiliar to us.

          Arguments and Debates

          Any list of pros and cons, any critique of a key idea, both sides of any debate or your reading should be recorded.

          This is the stuff that advancement in every discipline emerges from, and will help you understand both how ideas have changed (and why) but also the process of thought and development of the matter of subject.

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          Images

          Whenever an image is used to illustrate a point, a few words are in order to record the experience.

          Obviously it’s overkill to describe every tiny detail, but a short description of a painting or a short statement about what the class, session or meeting did should be enough to remind you and help reconstruct the experience.

          Other Stuff

          Just about anything a professor writes on a board should probably be written down, unless it’s either self-evident or something you already know. Titles of books, movies, TV series, and other media are usually useful, though they may be irrelevant to the topic at hand.

          I usually put this sort of stuff in the margin to look up later (it’s often useful for research papers, for example). Pay attention to other’s comments, too — try to capture at least the gist of comments that add to your understanding.

          Your Own Questions

          Make sure to record your own questions about the material as they occur to you. This will help you remember to ask the professor or look something up later, as well as prompt you to think through the gaps in your understanding.

          3 Powerful Note-Taking Techniques

          You don’t have to be super-fancy in your note-taking to be effective, but there are a few techniques that seem to work best for most people.

          1. Outlining

          Whether you use Roman numerals or bullet points, outlining is an effective way to capture the hierarchical relationships between ideas and data. For example, in a history class, you might write the name of an important leader, and under it the key events that he or she was involved in. Under each of them, a short description. And so on.

          Outlining is a great way to take notes from books, because the author has usually organized the material in a fairly effective way, and you can go from start to end of a chapter and simply reproduce that structure in your notes.

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          For lectures, however, outlining has limitations. The relationship between ideas isn’t always hierarchical, and the instructor might jump around a lot. A point later in the lecture might relate better to information earlier in the lecture, leaving you to either flip back and forth to find where the information goes best (and hope there’s still room to write it in), or risk losing the relationship between what the professor just said and what she said before.

          2. Mind-Mapping

          For lectures, a mind-map might be a more appropriate way of keeping track of the relationships between ideas. Now, I’m not the biggest fan of mind-mapping, but it might just fit the bill.

          Here’s the idea:

          In the center of a blank sheet of paper, you write the lecture’s main topic. As new sub-topics are introduced (the kind of thing you’d create a new heading for in an outline), you draw a branch outward from the center and write the sub-topic along the branch. Then each point under that heading gets its own, smaller branch off the main one. When another new sub-topic is mentioned, you draw a new main branch from the center. And so on.

          The thing is, if a point should go under the first heading but you’re on the fourth heading, you can easily just draw it in on the first branch. Likewise, if a point connects to two different ideas, you can connect it to two different branches.

          If you want to neaten things up later, you can re-draw the map or type it up using a program like FreeMind, a free mind-mapping program (some wikis even have plug-ins for FreeMind mind-maps, in case you’re using a wiki to keep track of your notes).

          You can learn more about mind-mapping here: How to Mind Map: Visualize Your Cluttered Thoughts in 3 Simple Steps

          3. The Cornell System

          The Cornell System is a simple but powerful system for increasing your recall and the usefulness of your notes.

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          About a quarter of the way from the bottom of a sheet of paper, draw a line across the width of the page. Draw another line from that line to the top, about 2 inches (5 cm) from the right-hand edge of the sheet.

          You’ve divided your page into three sections. In the largest section, you take notes normally — you can outline or mind-map or whatever. After the lecture, write a series of “cues” into the skinny column on the right, questions about the material you’ve just taken notes on. This will help you process the information from the lecture or reading, as well as providing a handy study tool when exams come along: simply cover the main section and try to answer the questions.

          In the bottom section, you write a short, 2-3 line summary in your own words of the material you’ve covered. Again, this helps you process the information by forcing you to use it in a new way; it also provides a useful reference when you’re trying to find something in your notes later.

          You can download instructions and templates from American Digest, though the beauty of the system is you can dash off a template “on the fly”.

          The Bottom Line

          I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface of the variety of techniques and strategies people have come up with to take good notes. Some people use highlighters or colored pens; others a baroque system of post-it notes.

          I’ve tried to keep it simple and general, but the bottom line is that your system has to reflect the way you think. The problem is, most haven’t given much thought to the way they think, leaving them scattered and at loose ends — and their notes reflect this.

          More About Note-Taking

          Featured photo credit: Kaleidico via unsplash.com

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