Friday, August 26, 2022

Making Peace Is A Process: Religions Encourage Time for Silence, Reflection, and Meditation

By Ravindra Pandit, New Age Islam 26 August 2022 MANTRAS OF PEACE ----- “Educating The Mind Without Educating The Heart Is No Education At All”: Aristotle ----- The world has seen the rise and fall of several civilizations. What was the root cause of their downfall? Denis Goulet, an American human development theorist argues that most civilizations perished not on account of external threats but due to internal strife precipitated by the erosion of fundamental human values. Religious scriptures, spiritual gurus, thinkers, and leaders have given us profound wisdom on how to lead a happy and peaceful life. The question is, are we following them to live a righteous life? The author draws our attention to the reality that we are living in troubled times, in a dangerous and destabilized world. Wedges between faiths are created by raising questions about the history of people, places, and cultures. All faiths teach love, compassion, and forgiveness. And yet there is violence in the name of faith. Our living conditions have improved a lot over the years. Have we also become better human beings? Unfortunately, there is no evidence that so-called civilized societies are morally superior to so-called primitive societies. We have seen two highly destructive world wars in the past century. Have we learned our lessons to live in peace? Not quite. COVID-19 also exposed the fragility of our shiny world. It came as great adversity and caused social isolation. Moin Qazi put the period of isolation to good use by writing spiritual columns for the Asia Age. This book is a compilation of these short essays. The eternal quest of every person in this world is for happiness. Different means are adopted by different people to derive happiness. But true and lasting happiness comes by observing the universal moral law. It is the endeavour of this book to handhold the readers to find contentment; the essence of happiness. Those who focus solely on happiness do not find it; those whose goals lie elsewhere are more likely to achieve happiness as well. The goals should not be confined only to personal gains, but to larger purposes of doing good to others. Happy people connect well with the world around them. They have a purpose in their lives. Materialistic accomplishments alone do not ensure happiness. The key is to develop inner peace, and serve others. Selfless love needs to be a key component in our compassionate actions. And compassion has to be practiced with a spirit of altruism; expecting nothing in return. Muslims are taught to live as trustees of God’s blessings. There is a duty to serve those who are less privileged. Similar preaching is found in scriptures of other religions as well. And yet we find that peace is lacking in the world. “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all” – said Aristotle. Conditioning of our mind colours our vision. We act accordingly, without applying a discerning mind. We are caged by ideologies, superstitions, customs, and social restrictions. There is a need to periodically do some introspection. Every religion encourages its adherents to set aside time for silence, reflection, and meditation. Self-reflection is not a trait we are born with; we need to cultivate it as a habit. This is so important, that Plato said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. Life is never a cakewalk. We face several challenges. This is for our good. A life devoid of adversities is an incomplete life. Unless we are exposed to healthy doses of pain, there is a danger that we would become hyper-sensitive and vulnerable to even small doses of stress. We need to build our resilience to face adversity. Adversity turns our face to God. A firmly embedded template of sound values brings out our inner repertoire of talents. The author points out that values of justice and fair play, humility, modesty, tolerance, and curiosity are time-tested. Values constitute the inner sense of what is right and wrong based not on laws or rules of conduct but on who one is. When we look at the world today, we see a breakdown of society, family life, religion, and ethical principles. The collapse seems to be deeply connected with a loss of human values. This, therefore, highlights the need to rebuild human values. It is also important to keep the mind open to fresh thinking. Societies that prioritize women’s empowerment show better development indices and are better governed, more stable, and less prone to violence. Proactively embracing change, and adaptability are the keys to survival and progress. Adaptability includes respect for differing opinions. Diversity alone does not constitute pluralism. Legitimate space needs to be given in our consciousness to the other. Pluralism is built on dialogue and give and take, criticism, and self-criticism. Spiritualism helps us to guard against the corruptive influences of the world. We need to stay away from fake religious leaders. Buddha has taught us the way to a good life – neither too much nor too little, in brief, the ‘middle path. We must understand that every scriptural book has to be read with the truest and purest light that our hearts and conscience can provide. Our prayers and rituals should enhance the quality of our character. Making peace is a process. Never a single action. ‘Mantras of Peace’ touches upon every aspect that contributes to finding internal peace. Internalizing its wisdom and making it a part of oneself would be a continuous journey. The book keeps the reader fully engrossed. An enriching experience indeed. ---- Ravindra Pandit, author of a book on the subject of self-development, an HR professional with special interesting Human development. He participated in an endeavour to enhance service orientation in the Civil Hospitals of Maharashtra, by conducting workshops URL: New Age Islam, Islam Online, Islamic Website, African Muslim News, Arab World News, South Asia News, Indian Muslim News, World Muslim News, Women in Islam, Islamic Feminism, Arab Women, Women In Arab, Islamophobia in America, Muslim Women in West, Islam Women and Feminism

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