"Carry peace in yourself and carry it to others" were the closing words of the first public address by Mario Rodriguez Cobos, aka Silo on May 4th 1969. But how can we find peace in a world that is so full of violence? As Eirene writes this posting the blame game rages after the London riots, the world economy titters on the verge of another Banks and speculation induced recession, Nato has succeeded in producing regime change in Libya and London is preparing for one of the largest Arms Fairs in the world. Enough to disquiet anybody; but if we really want to bring about non-violent change we need to plan our actions without internal violence. This is what ANVT (Active Nonviolence Training) is all about. Here is an exercise to help us on this road, and to start to get in touch with the little spark that dwells deep inside every human being’s consciousness. When we recognise it in ourselves, we recognise it in others and humanity becomes one, a wonderfully diverse and multicoloured one.
The Experience of PeaceOur previous posting was all about working basically with muscles and internal sensations. In this exercise, you will begin a different type of work. You will learn to train your mental images.
Images are what mobilize tensions, and similarly, they generate relaxations. For example, imagine a fire, and imagine you are there at the fire. Notice how your muscles become tense. Conversely, imagine that you "put out" the fire and observe how your external muscles relax and you register a relaxation in your internal sensations.
In this exercise we will begin to manage a particularly useful image for the rest of the work in what we call the Experience of Peace. To begin, relax externally, internally and mentally, and then imagine a brightly shining transparent sphere up above you. Let it descend from above, enter your head, and lower it until it is inside your chest at the level of your heart.
When first trying this practice, some people cannot imagine the sphere very well. But this is not a real obstacle because what is important is that they experience a pleasant sensation in their chest, even if they do not have the supporting visual image of a sphere. And with practice they will eventually be able to correctly visualize a sphere that descends and rests in the centre of their chest.
When this image is resting in your chest, begin to slowly expand it or "let" it expand so it gradually grows until it fills your whole body. When this sensation that starts in the centre of your chest has expanded throughout your whole body, a warm sensation of peace and internal unity will appear which you should let operate by itself.
It is important that this sensation extend to the limits of your whole body, that is, that it radiate from the centre of your chest, increasingly filling your body, until you achieve a sort of internal illumination. When the sensation reaches the limits of your body, the relaxation will be complete.
Sometimes your breathing will become deeper and positive emotions will appear pleasant and inspiring emotions. However, pay no attention to your breathing; simply let it accompany your positive emotions and keep your attention on the expanding sensation.
On other occasions, memories and very vivid images may arise, but you should always have greater interest in your growing register of peace and calm.
When this register has diffused throughout your body, you have mastered the most important part of this exercise, and the Experience of Peace will arise. Remain in this interesting state for a few minutes, and then slowly contract the sensation and the image back towards your chest to your heart. Then, raise it to your head, and gradually let this "sphere" you have been using move outside and disappear. This completes the Experience of Peace.
Remember, if you have not relaxed correctly as explained in the previous exercises, you will be unable to carry out this important experience.