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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 January 21, 2020

          Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

          Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

          Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

          This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

          The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard.

          The Keys to Learning Anything Easily

          Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

          Curiosity

          Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

          People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

          Patience

          Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

          When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

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          Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

          A Feeling for Connectedness

          This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

          A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

          The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

          How to Self-Taught Effectively

          With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

          1. Research

          Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

          Learning the Basics

          Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

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          Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

          What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

          Hitting the Books

          Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

          Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

          Long-Term Reference

          While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

          My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

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          2. Practice

          Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

          A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

          Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

          Check out this guide for useful techniques to help you practice efficiently: The Beginner’s Guide to Deliberate Practice

          3. Network

          One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

          These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

          Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

          Here find out How to Network So You’ll Get Way Ahead in Your Professional Life.

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          4. Schedule

          For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

          Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

          Final Thoughts

          In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

          If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

          At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

          More About Self-Learning

          Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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