Stop Still for Peace – please join us

Peace tiles

Established by the United Nations in 1981, the International Day of Peace is observed each year on 21st September. With the onset of spring which always promises a sense of optimism, let’s remember September as the month to pause and review life as we know it.

As I write this in Melbourne, we are experiencing the first of our best spring days. My garden is overflowing with new green growth, the sky is blue and magpies, nesting in nearby trees are happily warbling their morning greetings. It is a peaceful morning.

And yet, reading the paper earlier I was dismayed as I often am, to read the flow of bad news stories: mental health issues, suicide, financial distress, infrastructure problems, welfare and financial issues, natural disasters, racism, discrimination and drug related crimes to mention but a few local matters of significance. There is a strong sense that peace is lacking in our community, not to mention the distress that encumbers so much of our wider world.

There is something else. Modern life is busy, with a thrum of activity underpinning each day. Then add to that the level of violence on our roads. Angry words, coarse language, gestures, bullying and aggressive driving, blaring speakers and vehicles speeding out of control. All this speaks loudly of inner turmoil. And, tragically, from levels of individual tension comes loss of life or innocent people seriously injured due to pent up frustration, anger and mismanagement of emotions.

How can we find peace in our home, our city or our world when busy-ness has come to be the ‘normal’ way to live? When almost anything we ‘want’ can be accessed via the mobile phone? When rushing from place to place or becoming ‘stuck’ in queues of traffic has become part of modern living? When families no longer share time together over the evening meal but eat on the run or while watching the news? When modern living itself has lost the means of expressing or enjoying peace? Without time to be, without personal interaction and without an appreciation of life, the challenge for a peaceful world continues.

As violence produces violence, similarly, peace can produce peace. We must value the concept of peace – and promote it more and more. September is one month during which we can remember the importance of recognising what is missing in the modern world and take steps to make a change.

The International Day of Peace on September 21 is a day devoted to the strengthening of the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.  As part of a broader initiative called Stop Still for Peace many communities especially in Melbourne and across Australia, will be participating on this day with a range of events.

We will also be taking part by holding our own event on Saturday 21 September at the SMT Centre, by offering 30-minute Stillness sessions starting from 10am until 2pm. These sessions are open to all and we warmly welcome you to make a commitment to peace by joining us in a peaceful observance – for the self, for the community and for our world.

You will find us at 146-148 Harp Road, Kew.  If you can’t physically join us, then please take 30 minutes at home, at the park, by the sea or wherever you wish – to simply stop still for peace.

The practice of being still unquestionably leads to personal peace, a sense of wellbeing, more happiness and, in time, improved health and greater contentment.

Peace begins within –your peace, our peace and ultimately world peace.

Pauline McKinnon
Melbourne, September 2019