For peace, begin with 108 sun salutations
by Nancy B. Loughlin
(Published in News Press, September 16, 2014)
Here’s the problem with working toward world peace. It has nothing to do with the world.
It’s easy to point to politicians, criminals, nations, organizations, terrorists and assorted boogiemen, those who hurl bombs, fists, threats and hatred, and declare Them as The Problem. Eliminate Them; eliminate The Problem.
In this world, each of us is a Them. We start by looking in the mirror. Then we’ll see Them.
They are agitated.
No matter what They do, no matter what They get, no matter how hard They work, They can’t seem to shake this feeling of it not being enough.
They are always chasing. The chase is in power. It’s in money. It’s in fame. The chase is in food, pets, travel, retail and wholesale.
When They get better-paying jobs. When They get into romantic relationships. When They have children. When They get out of debt. When They lose 20 pounds. When They get those shoes. That car. That house. That news. Their senses drag Them on wild chariot rides through a world created to sate the hunger of Their senses. And if the world doesn’t satisfy Their senses, They’ll rearrange it.
So when are all these boogiemen going to start behaving the way They want Them to behave? If They can’t live in freedom the way They want Them to live in freedom, They’ll force Them.
Keep looking in the mirror.
That isn’t a path of peace. It’s fascism.
In 1984, the United Nations passed a resolution declaring that all people have a “sacred” right to peace.
The call was for the eradication of war from the experience of humankind, to proclaim that a life without war was a prerequisite for material well-being and for the development and progress of all nations. The resolution declared that all states have an obligation to respect the right of peace and to renounce all use of force.
War and force are the mainstays of an agitated mind, a mind that chases and covets, and this creates an agitated world. The sources of fascism are indeed in the human soul.
They and We are interchangeable. To say, “They started it so We have no choice,” is a fallacy.
Look inward with the 108 Mala
The number 108 is a sacred number in many Eastern traditions. In conjunction with the International Day of Peace and National Yoga Month, yogis around the world will complete 108 sun salutations for peace on September 21st.
The Sun Salutation, Surya Namaskar, is an essential yoga asana. Saluting the sun, the source of all light and life, can be a practice of bhakti yoga, an expression of devotion and spirit. The sun salutations are rigorous and unite movement with the breath as well as balance, lengthen and strengthen the entire body.
It’s challenging. When we step to the mat, the practice demands that we face ourselves and meet this challenge with humility. The way we respond on the mat is often similar to how our agitation manifests itself in life. Do we respond with anger, withdrawal or panic? Can we all remain serene when we get to Know Ourselves? And Them?
Zachari Van Dyne has been organizing Peace Day in the Park for the past seven years. He and the thousands who attend know that peace is an inner journey.
“Peace is a personal experience. As all of us move forward, we find the more we look inside for that peace, and less on the image we project of the external world, the more peaceful we will naturally feel,” he said.
This is where peace begins.
The Seventh Annual Peace Day in the Park will be held at Jaycee Park in Cape Coral on September 21st. The event kicks off at 8 a.m. with 108 Sun Salutations. Bring your mat. It’s free.