Eleven Days of Peace Reflections 2021
THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF PEACE
The International Day of Peace was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Two decades later, in 2001, the General Assembly unanimously voted to designate the Day as a period of non-violence and cease-fire. The United Nations invites all nations and people to honour a cessation of hostilities during the Day, and to otherwise commemorate the Day through education and public awareness on issues related to peace. For more information: https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace
The Interfaith Peace Project has been a friend of the United Nations International Day of Peace for twenty years. Once again, we prepare for the observance of Peace Day, September 21st, by observing these Eleven Days of peace.
Ever since the traumatizing events of September 11, 2001, the days between that sad day and September 21st have become sacred days for many throughout the World. This year we are offering eleven insights into peace gleaned from some of the great Spiritual Teachers of our time. We will send you a reflection each day with some suggestions as to how you might practice peace in all the affairs of your daily life.
The philosophy of Peace Day is simple enough. If we can practice peace for twenty-four hours, we can commit ourselves to the practice of peace each and every day of our lives.
Many will conduct programs, study groups, prayer services, and other observances on or around September 21st. We encourage you to participate in any program you can. Please remember, however, the celebration of September 21st is meant to remind us of what we need to do every day.
Every 21st of the month, we offer you a reflection on peace. Feel free to share your insights with us. We would love to share your insights on our website. Send your reflections to:
“To be truly radical is to make hope possible rather than despair convincing.”
Today I will practice hope in all the affairs of my life.
I will consciously and conscientiously confront the temptation to despair.
The feeling of despair, should it arise, will be my stepping stone to hope.
“We cannot hate you, you who have thrown grenades and killed our friends because we know that people are not our enemies. Our only enemies are the misunderstanding, hatred, jealousy, and ignorance that lead to such acts of violence.”
—Sister Chan Khong
As difficult as it might be,
I will seek to see the World through the eyes of “my enemy” real or imagined.
As I quiet my spirit, I touch my soul or my soul touches me inviting me to my inner peace.
From this peaceful center, that is my heart, I release my love to the World.
“It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend. When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling. In that moment our actions will define us. And it makes no difference whether you are being watched by Allah, Jesus, Buddha, or whether you are or not. On cold days a person can see their breath, on a hot day they can’t. On both occasions, one breathes.”
I will become aware of my breath. I will be aware I am alive.
I will breathe forth my heart’s compassion into the World.
I will be a blessing eve in moment of hardship and uncertainty.
“Compassion is not a relationship between the healer and the wounded. Only when we know our own darkness well can we be present with the darkness of others. Compassion becomes real when we recognize our shared humanity.”
I will embrace my own darkness without judgment and with great tenderness.
My darkness is a great teacher.
I will learn powerful lessons so I may be kind to others
who might be afraid of their darkness.
“Violence against the Earth and interpersonal violence are two sides of the same coin. We now unite as a planetary community to stand together for the sacred; to midwife a transition to a world in which humanity will no longer dominate but cooperate with all life. Though it is difficult to see, there is an emerging and different vision for humanity. This vision foresees a world without violence as the next chapter of our collective evolution. It shows a future humanity inhabiting this planet as a network of interconnected, autonomous communities of trust.”
—LaDonna Brave Bull Allard
I will look around me. I will see the splendor of tree and bird.
I will be heart-broken over the injury of the Earth under my feet.
I will commit myself to living on Earth
as a humble member of the Global Community.
“Remember, you don’t fear people whose story you know.
Trust that meaningful conversations can change your world.
—Margaret J. Wheatley
I will seek to discover the story of those I meet
especially if I am tempted to fear, condemn, or reject them.
I rededicate myself to the art of listening.
I will be aware of my own story.
“Only those who have had to face despair are really convinced that they need mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.”
I will resist complacency.
I will courageously become aware of the World around me.
I will gently remember the painful moments in my own life.
I will seek to a person of hope and mercy.
“As I walk with Beauty
As I walk, as I walk,
The universe is walking with me,
In beauty it walks before me,
In beauty it walks behind me,
In beauty it walks below me,
In beauty it walks above me,
Beauty is on every side.”
—Traditional Navajo Prayer
I will go for a walk.
I will invite my mind to be fascinated.
I will open my heart in love.
I will discover the peace within me.
“There will be peace when we begin to love our children more than we hate our enemies.”
—Lebanese Citizen, quoted in the NY Times
Every time I see I child, I will send a blessing to them.
I will realize we are all children of the Universe.
I will lovingly embrace the child within me.
“When you know who you are; when your mission is clear,
no cold can touch your heart; no deluge can dampen your purpose.
—Chief Seattle, Duwamish
I will seek my inner fire even in the darkest moments.
I will seek to be fully alive in every moment of my life.
I will let my inner fire blaze so others might find inspiration.
“You must give birth to your images.
They are the future waiting to be born.
Fear not the strangeness you feel.
The future must enter you
long before it happens.
Just wait for the birth,
for the hour of new clarity.”
—Rainer Maria Rilke
When I am doubtful or fearful, I will imagine peace with all my heart.
I will strive to be what I desire for the World.
I will give birth to peace in every thought, word, and deed.
Pictures and Quotes with Permission
PACE E BENE NONVIOLENCE SERVICE
Practice – Thomas P. Bonacci, C.P.