PIPO In Cameroon
PIPO in Cameroon
The following is radio interview given by a Peace Architect and Peace Agent name Molinge Henry Nyoki, a Cameroon prince who attended the Peace Revolution fellowship and organised a PIPO event in Cameroon.
"We were simply volunteering when we were hosting the event. Most of us had to make sacrifices from our pockets and equally put our heads together to see how we can raise funds to make this event possible in Cameroon. It wasn’t easy because it’s the first of its kind in Central Africa region."
The key message was "Cameroon, Peace for Development". We were trying to show everyone how cultivating inner peace can help develop themselves and the community. Although the main theme was "Cameroon Peace for Development", there were sub themes as well. The sub themes depended on the groups of people we were reaching out to. For instance, when we were at the University it was "Peace for Academic Excellence." When we were at the performing arts, the theme was "Peace in relation to Stress management and enhancement of stage performance."
How is finding inner peace related to stress management? When you learn to cultivate inner peace through the practice of meditation, your mind becomes relaxed and focused. You don’t worry about what you are supposed to do the next minute or what you have previously done. You are more focused on the present moment. Because of this, you are still and calm when facing challenges. You will find solutions to problems faster when you live in the present moment. When you are focused on the present, you are ensuring a better future for yourself.
Volunteering in Peace Revolution helps me find inner peace. Knowing I can be an element for positive change gives me self-satisfaction. It’s given me a chance to better myself and do greater things for the community. Peace Crusading is a way of life and through it I’ve learned many things. I learned about inner peace development tenets that are useful in my own development.
Meditation was the practical part of the retreat. It is a tool through which we cultivate inner peace. Meditation simply means a mind that is still and focused .It has been scientifically proven to benefit the human body and mind in many ways. Some people use it in their religions while others have enhanced their efficiency and communication through it. Anyone can practice meditation despite what religion they believe in.
At Peace Revolution, I had a chance to be a part of many meditation sessions. These meditation sessions were relaxing and peaceful. After the session, a lot of participants showed that they were refreshed just by being still for ten minutes with their mind focused on one thought. They felt happier and their bodies were lighter. Meditation is a technique that keeps the mind still and focused. But more importantly, it helps you find inner peace.
Is concentration of the mind the only way to achieve inner peace? Concentration or Meditation, keeps the mind still and focused when trying to achieve a goal. Without meditation, our minds are filled with defilements and negative emotions. And as a result, we stress. There is no peace. When you concentrate the mind through meditation, you release negative emotions and focus only on good thoughts. This makes you the positive change you wish to be in the world. When you’re peaceful and do good positive things, you are a good role model in the society and a true representation of peace. A journey of a thousand steps always starts with one step…one person at a time.
In less than a month we have achieved a lot more than I have expected. We were able to reach out to more than 768 people in total. We were also able to get partnerships from the administrative authorities and different institutions. This shows that people want peace and are capable of being peaceful.
If you begin by cultivating inner peace by using meditation as a tool, you realize it’s going to prevent problems from even occurring. Because the truth is, the world is actually a reflection of ourselves. It is difficult to change other people and much easier to change ourselves. Quite often it’s not what other people do to you that matters, it’s how you react to it. If someone were to slap me, I can choose to retaliate or to simply walk away. If I choose to walk away, that will be the end of it. But if I slap that person back, more chaos will arise. Another person may even join in on the fight. That is how war starts. All of which threatens world peace.
Can you imagine a world without army? The concept of Peace Revolution is “Peace In, Peace Out”. We can have a world without army only if we have already conditioned our mind to be peaceful. Before we pick up weapons to attack others, our minds have already perceived this negative image. Therefore, as long as our minds are peaceful, there would be no need for weapons or army.
How can you expect someone with an empty stomach for a week to be peaceful? Hunger is a normal feeling of discomfort we have all felt. Of course, when you are hungry it’s difficult to have peace of mind. It is, however, still possible to be hungry and to have peace of mind. For instance, when you’re fasting from 6am to 6pm and you don’t feel hungry. Why? Because your mind is focusing on a deeper relationship with God. Because your mind is so focused on him, it takes away the hunger and you don’t even feel it. It’s the same if you’re hungry. Additionally, when you’re peaceful you become more open to ways of solving impending problems that cause that hunger.
We were talking about the “Peace In, Peace Out” concept. One of the ways you can give out peace to the world is by being generous. Charity is always a great way to help other people. You can donate money, food, or clothes to those who are less fortunate than you. Besides objects, you can also give out forgiveness. Even if they don’t apologize, it’ best to forgive them because if you continue to hold the grudge deep inside, you are only harming yourself with such hatred.
One thing that I like to say about the Peace concept is that anger is a natural occurring human emotion. To have peace of mind does NOT mean that anger is completely gone. Cultivating inner peace only helps you tame the emotion. Inner peace helps you control yourself because if you can control your mind, you can control any situation.
The Governor of South West Region was the first person to show appreciation in his letter to me of which he talked about the fact that he finds this peace seminar very relevant in our society. When I met the Deputy Vice Chancellor of the University of Buea (Dr Epah Charles Fonkeng) he told me that he was very happy for what we are doing as the students have always been complaining that “We(staff) don’t understand them because we are not in the same generation”. This seminar was brought up by a youth group and so they can easily relate to me and those who I was working with which includes the Chief of Upper Muea, who had shown support from the beginning of the project.
My future for 2014 is to do a follow-up on the participants by mentoring them as well as create opportunities with the organization so they can have the chance to go abroad on retreats of self-development and inner peace. In the long run I may have to open up an NGO that can really specialize in Peace and conflict resolutions. Buea is my starting point, but it’s not going to be limited to Buea. This is the first time that Peace Revolution has come to Central Africa and Buea was the first host. By the time of the next session we would be able to tour Cameroon and travel to Central Africa.
I expect that the state will collaborate with me in organizing more workshops. Both local and international workshops can be organized by me in collaborations with peace activists in Cameroon. We can also organize international workshops where we invite the peace representatives to come. By doing so, we need financial support. The funds would be coming from the pockets of generous individuals. Some of whom even sacrificed their entire savings. If we had funds from the government, we would have reached more regions of Cameroon before this year ends.
“One last thing that I would like everyone to know is that you have to be the change you want to see in the world. Start by changing yourself from within and everybody around will start changing.”