‘Be the change you wish to see in the world’. (Gandhi)
‘Generous persons will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed’’. (Proverbs 11:25)
HOM: Thinking Interdependently
This week we will mark the interfaith week of prayer for world peace. At a time when we are faced with the sight of appalling atrocities and conflict in Israel and Palestine, our focus will be on how we can nurture others in such times. The words of the international prayer for peace articulates what many of us hope for:
Lead me from death to life, from falsehood to truth
Lead me from despair to hope, from fear to trust
Lead me from hate to love, from war to peace
Let peace fill our hearts, our world, our universe.
So how can we bring what we hope for into reality? I think the words of Gandhi make it clear that we need to be the change we wish to see in the world. Starting with ourselves, we need to live in a way that we would wish others to live, and then we can effectively nurture others. Only this week that idea was emphasised by a member of the Shri Swaminaryan Hindu community. As a part of the religious studies course, Remove and Inters were able to visit the spectacular Mandir in West London. Here we were impressed by the hospitality extended to us, and our speaker explained the importance of developing our inner harmony precisely so that we could then better nurture others. The two are interdependent.
On a similar theme, psychotherapist Philippa Perry in Times article this week wrote of the importance of therapy and introspection saying, ‘Therapy is about becoming more aware of your impact upon others. Therapy makes you less selfish rather than more.’ In other words proper self-nurture and self-knowledge, which we considered last week, is a precursor for our ability to nurture others.
Prayer is a form of both reflection and introspection long practised by all religions, which recognises the importance of self-examination. Prayer is also about recognition of human fallibility and the need to seek wisdom and strength from a higher source. So perhaps whether we are religious or secular we should join with faiths around the world this week, and send out prayers, meditations and heartfelt wishes for peace.