In the many cultures that live on this earth, there is one thing in common: the desire for and honoring of peace. For centuries, different cultures have demonstrated peace in how one greets another. In fact, there are several greetings of peace that you may already know, such as:
- Shalom aleichem: A Jewish greeting that translates to "Peace to you."
- Salaam alaikum: A Muslim phrase that translates to "Peace be unto you.”.
- Peace be with you: A greeting used by Jesus in the Gospels.
- Kiss on the cheek: A greeting used in the New Testament times to imply friendship and acceptance.
It’s amazing to me that these cultures, these Abrahamic religions represented above are now suffering in war. And it can seem so overwhelming. For no matter what side we believe is the perpetrator or the preyed upon, there is no real winner here. Because everyone suffers, especially the innocent. And the media, if you can trust the reporting as unbiased, only shows a small portion of what is actually happening.
I have my own opinions about this state of affairs, but more importantly, I look at the overriding trends. I believe we are witnessing the historical, timeless power strategy of: “divide and conquer.” Isn’t that strategy the original cause of war?
But what can we do about it? I see people unfriending others on Facebook by disagreeing with a comment that is different than their own. It’s as if we’ve lost the art of debate or even the curiosity to learn about how someone arrived at that perspective. In David Brooks’ How to Know a Person, he cites statistics that we are becoming a nation of people who growingly mistrust and don’t listen to each other. Scarier than the wars that rage, is the sense that we have many mini-civil wars going on within our families and communities and unprecedented mental illness. And certainly in 2024, we face an election that is not just about who we want as president, but a deep questioning of our collective identity of who are we as Americans.
So how to find peace in this warring world? How do we get out of divide and conquer?
I don’t have the big answers, but for me I believe it starts with what we can do here and now. It starts with self-love. Caring for ourselves is crucial if we are to ever allow love to flow to others. Then as we take good care of ourselves through holding to good habits in nutrition, exercise and attitude, we can then find more patience and compassion in dealing with the outside world.
In Sufi-Yoga finding peace within means to love ourselves in our bodies, minds and spirits, as we address all levels of our wellbeing. Using breath, we can actually change our state of mind and rest in our parasympathetic nervous system. Asanas, or yoga poses, invite us to open the energy blocks in our bodies, allowing circulation throughout while relieving annoying aches and pains. When you feel good, you do good. And by invoking Divine Qualities as our meditation, we can access deeper states of consciousness and proximity to the Divine Source.
From that sense of peace, we can take a further step similar to the Indian Buddhist and Hindu greeting of “Namaste,” which can connote "I bow to the divine in you.” Let us gather in class to experience each other as individual cells in the vast body of the Divine All. We are all one in the One. When we can realize our interdependence and connection, we have come to a higher truth to live by…in peace.
Please join me on Tuesday, January 9 for the next Sufi Yoga class where we can tap into the infinite well of peace that is available to us all.
Meanwhile, Happy New Year. May you find the joy, light and peace that is your true nature.
Online Sufi Yoga Class $15
Tuesday, January 9. - 7:30 - 9 PM