Global Peace on the Move 8: The Island of Peace
18 June - 1 July 2012
Written by: Peace Agent Max Raphael
One inspiring journey would bring 29 strangers, from 19 countries together in one place and point in time. That journey was the” Global Peace on The Move 8 Fellowship”, the place: Ko Yao Noi island in the South of Thailand, and that time was June 2012. As the participants came to see the island as a beautiful sanctuary, a place away from the busyness, stress and responsibility that their daily life demands, it became their island of peace.
The start of the fellowship training kicked off with a walk-rally. On the four station walk rally the peace rebels who had previously not met before, played fun games together, such as, "broken message", "guessing words", painting the 'peace wall' and 'body logo', because as they discovered, a great friendship starts with shared laughter. During Orientation, participants learned how the simple act of removing one’s sandals or sweeping the floor, when infused with mindfulness, could be a complete gesture of peace. Everything they did came back to the core of peace, which is the center of their body. Daily activities included meditation, cleaning, sharing meals time together, meditation clinic and morning yoga.
“Clean In Clean Out” captured the heart of PIPO. Fellows were asked to seal their lips, and work as teams to clean the retreat site. Diligently sweeping a once-deserted jungle path of debris while simultaneously cleaning the mind, and bringing clarity inside and out. Nataliia, from the Ukraine, shared her Clean in-Clean out experience, “ I felt like I was in a meditation. I feel so clean, and I understood that I can really do all things with mindfulness, with peace and with happiness.”
Every day the peace rebels spent at least 4 hours in meditation, starting the first session at 5:30am, just before the break of dawn. Slowly, as the journey ensued their mind became familiar with the state of stillness. The mind in its natural state is a beautiful sight for the 'inner eyes'. As it is stilled, slowed down and softened, all the "unnatural additions" subside and the true nature of the mind is revealed, clean, pristine, crystal clear, self-luminous, brighter than the midday sun and cool like the moon. The natural mind is a joyful and powerful source of goodness. It is the way the mind is supposed to be, and just as luminosity is inherent in the natural mind, so too, happiness, peace, contentment and love is its natural effect.
Carsten, from Germany, experienced this happiness and love when the mind came to a deeper level of stillness, “I found my center and visualized a ball of light there continuously. The feeling of joy and happiness increased and my center was expanding strongly. And then I felt a sudden rush of pure bliss all over my body.”
During “Google With Monks”, the group ‘interviewed’ the teaching monks about their lives in a lighthearted, casual setting, and meditation clinics offered invaluable opportunities to receive private advice and guidance from the monks, and even though they had different ways of thinking and ways of doing things, meditation is the point where everyone ‘s minds meet at the same place.
The last night culminated in a magical candle light ceremony. The light of their candles and the power it had to illuminate the darkness of the night resembled the power of the light of peace when they meditate together. A beautiful sight, both within, and without.
Between every sunrise and sunset, this Island of Peace was captivating for the senses, and a playground for spirited camaraderie. Fatmata, from Sierra Leone, says, “…you see people have different opinions on certain things, people have different behaviors but we all agree when it comes to the concept of meditation. So, for me it’s very good to see everybody unite and building this force around a particular theme (PIPO) …We all put our hands together to build the same tower….”
During the two weeks of the fellowship training, each participant discovered a fundamental truth: no matter which part of the world they find themselves-the island of peace will never leave them, because the gateway to enter the ‘island of peace’ it was there within them all along, at the center of their body.