We Need International Moments of Peace - EVERYDAY!!!
International Day of Peace was observed around the world on September 21st. The UN made the 21st the official day in 2001. The UN had declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
As I reflected on this day, I realized it could mean something more than a pause from wars and political conflicts? Should we step back from the turmoil we have allowed to bubble up as a collective society? As a world we are working to heal from the COVID-19 pandemic. But just as the pandemic has ravaged the world, so to have the divisive words that have been hurled at one another. This has created an emotional and spiritual wound among humankind.
We saturate our senses daily with the many things of the world (news, opinions, social media, and an addictive-like relationship with phones). Our internal moral compass is not just being pulled at regularly, it's being shaken vigorously. Like the effects of shaking on physical body, mentally there will be damage. The more we allow this bombardment to penetrate our psyche, the more detrimental it will be to our ability to be a peaceful, whole person.
Personally, I struggle with this too. There is the never-ending bombardment of information, stimuli that I have chosen to allow in to my space. You read that right, we often choose to let this storm of chaos occur.
“We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts, we make the world.” -Buddha
Let's start with the facts. The statistics for American's use of smartphones is terrifying. Here's some stats according to Techjury.com
Most mobile phone users check their phones up to 63 times daily.
Americans spend an average screen time of 5.4 hours on their mobile phones daily.
Currently, there are 294.15 million smartphone users in America.
Social media is responsible for 2 hours and 24 minutes of global internet time spent online by an average user daily.
13% of millennials spend over 12 hours on their phones daily.
Baby Boomers spend 5 hours using their phones.
Millennials spend 48 minutes texting every day.
Why do I share this? Because this is where we get most of our information today. Gone are the days of the morning and evening papers, the six o'clock news, and the family updates at the dinner table.
How to we find peace?
As a Yoga practitioner, student, and teacher, I reflected and sought to find inspiration this week as I reflected on what the International Day of Peace could create in a non-political, real-world application. How can we draw on the tenets of Yoga to reflect, heal, and cultivate peace within ourselves and promote it in our communities?
How do we do this?
It's not simple. I feel like we need to create a collective pause. But this pause cannot happen just once every 365 days, instead, it has to become commonplace in our lives. I have decided to start small. Silence, reflection, disconnecting for a few hours (not just during sleep). The disconnect is not from others, instead, it's from the shadow they cast intentionally or unintentionally through tech media and non-human to human interaction. Perhaps if we can look at the root of the disharmony these shadows create, maybe we can start to minimize the the darkness that these shadows create in our individual lives. There are many things we cannot control, but there are some that are within our reach.