Swami Snehananda Jyoti
The first word Christ uttered when he appeared to his disciples after the resurrection was “peace”. In his message at the Sermon on the Mount, the most important declaration of his mission, he stated: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God”. In the most important Christian worship ritual, Mass, there is sharing of peace. The most important prayerful verses of the Hindu Scriptures end with “Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti” (peace, peace, peace). “As-salamu alaykum” is a very common Muslim greeting that means “peace be upon you”. A handshake in its origin denoted peace. Friendship and good relationship can only come with peace.
‘Peace’ has a primary place in all human endeavors. Without peace there is no development, no progress, no harmony, no relationship, and no joy. It is very difficult to sustain concentration without peace. Without peace, nothing is worthwhile. Only persons of goodwill can have peace. After suffering 27 years of terrible hardships in prison for his birth-right – freedom – Nelson Mandela, the first president of free South Africa from the apartheid, started reconciliation, not retribution, for a nation of unity. That was his greatest legacy. He said: “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies”. A person without peace slowly but surely destroys his/her self.
First step: Compose yourself in a quiet, peaceful setting without distractions. Accept unavoidable distractions by merely acknowledging them within. Do not fight them. Thus you make them work with you. Once you have taken a comfortable pose for meditation, maintain it without shifting or moving. Start rhythmic breathing. Regulate your breathing – intake and outflow of air – naturally and effortlessly in one continuous relaxing process.
Second step: As you breathe in for a few minutes, be aware of peace and tranquility with all well-being coming into you with the fresh air. When you breathe out, associate all hatred and resentment and all that make you unhealthy going out of you with the stale and used-up air. Be keenly aware of the process of relaxation and purification taking place within.
Third step: Get into your innermost being and observe for any uneasiness, tension, block, wrong, grievance, especially resentment toward anyone, and be aware of the toxic effect it has on you in terms of your overall wellness. Come to a conscious decision to let go off it for your own enlightened self-interest, ultimately, your own wellbeing and sanity. Experience overwhelming inner peace and tranquility that leads to a general disposition of well-being and harmony with the whole of creation. End the meditation with the well-known Indian prayer: “Lokah samasthah sukhino bhavantu” (May all beings everywhere be well and happy).
When you sincerely will to wish someone well, you cannot harbor ill feelings toward that person. It is difficult to do, but it is doable. The Inner Peace Meditation may be practiced diligently for about two weeks for 20 to 30 minutes daily to master it, and to make it into a habit that becomes a way of life.