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Building a Culture of Peace

Joann S. Bakula

In the rhythm of the yearly cycle, the three festivals of the higher interlude are followed by this meditation (Sat., June 23, 2013 at 11:33am UT) in the sign of the constellation Cancer, with the suggested seed thought, "I build a lighted house and therein dwell." Whatever meditation practice readers of these papers may use, generally the seed thought is pondered after physical, emotional and mental bodies are comfortable, quiet and concentrated. The idea of the keynote is circumambulated mentally and then intuitively as the light inherent in your deepest center circulates. At some point all thought is transcended and the energy of illumination, understanding and compassion create the spiritual field of intuition, defined here as the reality behind all appearances and qualities of phenomena.

Visualization then ends and the state of beingness, empty like the sky, is where you (we) dwell in meditation deep, awake and subjectively keenly aware. In this state whatever theme of spiritual approach and world service is being considered slips into a vastly wider reality. Hindus call this Samadhi. Others call it cosmic consciousness. Such heights are not always achieved. After a time, consciousness is refocused on the theme considered, and the light is distributed by visualization in service to humanity and to the whole web of life, with all the illumination, understanding and compassion that you have generated. The ½ hour to one hour meditation, longer for the more experienced, is brought to conclusion with a mantra like the Great Invocation or one from the meditation practice and tradition you use. Generally, if you are attending a meditation meeting, meditation is preceded by talks on world service and some aspect of spiritual and esoteric philosophy, or papers such as these are read as preparation in groups or privately.

Building a Culture of Peace
Many of us dedicate special meditations during the week to building a culture of peace based upon the guidelines and definitions in the "United Nations Declaration on a Culture of Peace." We do this by creating a field of intuition — of illumination, understanding, compassion, and universality. This field has existence and persistence strengthened by everyone who gives energy, thought and intention in meditation to this field. Such a field is necessary to overshadow the hard and exacting work of establishing of policies and programs that affect people's lives over time.

The Culture of Peace is defined as a "set of values, attitudes, traditions and modes of behavior" based upon "non-violence, dialogue and cooperation." Keeping in mind Gandhi's famous statement that "non-cooperation with evil is a duty," and that foreign occupation of India was considered evil by most Indians, we have a guideline for action. He always considered the British as old friends of India, while he worked in non-violent ways to end their policy of ruling another nation. As the United Nations has agreed, every nation and individual has the right to sovereignty, human rights and fundamental freedoms, such as "freedom of expression, opinion and information."

The United Nations Days and Years and Decades meditation group ( uses themes and declarations of the United Nations to establish themes useful for world service meditation and crucial for a world developing a culture of peace and right human relations for nations, individuals and groups throughout the year. There are many such peace initiatives. Observances of the International Day of Peace on September 21 ( are celebrated in schools, by nations and groups around the world. Information and ideas for organizing a community event are available from many places including the U.N., the Culture of Peace Initiative (CPI) and CPI TV.

Jeffrey Sachs of Earth Institute and Columbia University has a new book out To Move the World: JFK's Quest for Peace, on how U.S. President Kennedy used leadership to end the MAD era of mutually assured destruction and the dangerous brinkmanship that nearly brought the world to nuclear war. The next year after the world's near-death experience of 13 days in October, Kennedy made his famous Peace speech as a commencement address 50 years ago this month. He envisioned steps to making the world safer and set the goal of new agreements with Soviet Premier Khrushchev. These resulted in a partial test ban treaty with the Soviet Union and other agreements to reduce danger. The balance of power, so called, during the cold war was actually an imbalance of power tilting toward annihilation. JFK envisioned the long range goal as not just peace in our time, and not a peace at the end of a gun barrel or bomb, but peace for all time. His efforts, though partial, succeeded and remain for us to continue. Sachs explores how JFK did it.

Because war begins in the minds of men, it is in the minds of men that peace must begin through leadership, education and right human relations. Unjust policies that persist over time, and the use of force, whether physical, economic, or social, are primary reasons for unrest, conflict and war. Cooperating with just policies and refusing to cooperate with unjust policies is a beginning. U.S. Secretary of Defense McNamara, in office during the Viet Nam war, later made a film called The Fog of War laying out points for avoiding war. They begin with empathy for the opposing side and refusing to demonize the enemy. For nations and individuals this projection can begin with discrediting, demeaning and denigration. Dialogue, which should be seen as essential when this begins to occur, is often broken off at this point, and the path to wrong human relations is then set. Truth, as the saying goes, is the first casualty of war.

As meditators building thoughtforms of a lighted house for humanity, our responsibility is greater than most. We can see the past and the obstacles to progress, but we have analytical and intuitive skills at our disposal. The sequence of past, present and future can morph into one continuum in the light of the intuition, and in this field the possibilities inherent in our time can be known.

May the peace outside of time that exists in the center of every human heart enter your field of time, and may the world leaders benefit from the field of intuition that we build.

Joann S. Bakula
June, 2013 and

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