Meditation made me see life with new eyes.

My common path with Peace Revolution started a couple of years ago, at a moment I was feeling fairly lost and undecided about my future. My mind was envisioning a thousand plans, jumping from one to another before even getting halfway through the first one. It was a rather exhausting process, but somehow I was not able to push the break and detach myself from all the uncertainties and worries looming above me.

Then, one day, as I was checking the regular newsletters I was receiving from various social groups or websites I was subscribed to, I noticed an ad talking about a fellowship inside a so-called “Peace Revolution program”. The association of words: “peace” and “revolution”, caught my eye, as at the beginning I thought it is rather strange to talk about a revolution, such a powerful, active concept, and peace – a word that conveys calm and harmony. So I clicked to find out more info about it.

I then clicked again and again, until I was led to the Self-Development program. Since everything was there, at the tip of my fingers, at reach and completely free, I thought ‘ why not give it a try?’. The idea of finding peace inside you first, so that afterward you can share it with the outside world as well seemed really logical and I felt I wanted to be part of this.

So I started to follow the Self-Development program, day by day. It was not perfect. My mind would want to push away the silence and welcome back the noisy thoughts. Some days I would forget about my practice or I was led to do something else. But with time, trying to stick to this ritual,  I discovered many good things in it.

It was great to feel, even though sometimes only for a couple of minutes, how the mind voided itself and how the weight sitting on top of my head disappeared.

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My eyebrow relaxed, the tension in my shoulders disappeared, and, most importantly, the worries and troubles I thought were controlling my life were, in fact, becoming smaller and smaller and were not that important, after all.

I continued with my practice for a month or more, and then I applied for the European Peace Revolution Fellowship in Belgium, which happened in September 2015. That was indeed a huge turning point for me and, returning from the one-week retreat, I got another view of the  world. What really mattered and helped me a lot to progress, during that one week, was the fact that I was in a habitat from which my life at home was completely isolated, so that I was able to dedicate myself completely to me.

It was great  that we were practicing meditation about 4 hours a day because these repetitions and intensity truly made the act of mediation become part of my daily routine. When I was at home, maybe one day I’d skip my practice, or shorten it, but like this, the fellowship created a great habit for me, and once I returned home, it was much easier to include the practice in my everyday life, because in fact, I was feeling its need. During that one week in Belgium, I was also truly blessed with amazing people around me. It is priceless to meet people that share the same values, that are supportive, positive and show you that goodness does exist. It is a great motivation to become better yourself. When good and kind words are said to you, you are more likely to say them yourself and pass on the goodness.

At my return back in Prague, for some days, I was seeing everything with new eyes: my flat, my friends, my neighborhood, the city. I was looking at things and I was discovering so many good things in all of them, things that I am sure had been there all along, but only now my eyes and mind were open enough to spot them.

I felt this strong urge of sharing the amazing benefits of meditation with others. I was telling all my workmates and friends about my experience, I was encouraging them to give it a try, even if it’s five minutes of their time. For me, meditation had brought the long-wanted peace of mind, and I wanted others to enjoy it as well

Ieva’s suggestion of organizing a mini-PIPO in Prague came at the right moment, as I was looking for more ways of spreading the benefits of what I  had learned and experienced in Belgium, at the PR European Fellowship. And this is how I started thinking how, in two months, I can gather more than 100 participants at the PR workshops in Prague. Luckily, the NGO Youth Included, of which I am part of, gladly accepted my suggestion of helping me with the organization of this event. In the end, our small team of about 6 people managed to find 5 places willing to host the workshops for free, we managed to spread the word on social media and have more than 100 people  attending the event, we managed to maintain a nice communication with Daniel (Matallana) – the Peace Architect that did the workshops, and Ieva, from the side  of  Peace Revolution – and all of this in a little less than 2 months! It was an intense time, but meditating in between organizing things helped to keep the stress levels lower.

The mini-Peace on Demand action in Prague happened back in February (25th-28th) this year. In short, it consisted of a series of 5 workshops, that spread  for the length of 3 days. The lovely Daniel Matallana was the Peace Architect in charge of conducting the meditation sessions and the workshops as a whole. I also hosted him in my house during this time, and had the amazing opportunity to share many ideas and stories with him during this time, stories about life, self-development, about the world, kindness, and appreciation.

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Some themes that were discussed in the workshops were “Stress management through meditation”, “Holistic health and meditation”, “How to focus and study better with the help of meditation”.For the five workshops we managed to gather about 110 participants, from a very wide range of audience: we had 2 workshops in 2 different universities in Prague

(New York University in Prague and Prague British College), reaching an important number of students; 2 other workshops were in 2 yoga studios, and another one in a tea-room, reaching the employed young population of Prague.

The feedback we got from the participants was really good and all of them enjoyed the sessions. The most well-received sessions were actually the ones we organized inside the universities. I think the benefits for the community were palpable, especially since on the Prague scene I feel there is a lack of mindfulness/ meditation activities dedicated to those less initiated in the technique. Many of the participants asked us if we organize such workshops every week since they’d be interested in attending. I hope that with our workshops, we managed to open the eyes of some of the participants and helped  them develop a healthy habit of meditating every day, or, at least, opened their curiosity towards the topic and made them more aware of the importance of being present in the moment.

 After the amazing mini-PIPO event in Prague and especially after all the positive feedback we got, I continued with my daily practice, increasing it to 1h sessions. Meditation- time is quality me-time, in which I allow myself to disconnect from the everyday rumble and  float onto a calm pool of nothingness. One great benefit that the practice of meditation brought me is  that it made me realize that many of the things I worry about are actually not worth worrying about. There are many things which we cannot control, and of those, we should let go and not allow them to ruin our day since it is not in our power to change them. Some persons claim that meditation makes people disconnected  or it makes them less ambitious since they decide to let go of everything and not be bothered by things or not try  to change them for the better. No, it is definitely not like this. Meditation only teaches you not to trouble yourself with events that are out of your reach. It  teaches that we do not have control over everything, we are not all-mighty. For those things we do have control over, we should do our best to do them well, but for the others, let go and don’t trouble yourself uselessly. It teaches us to be more present in the moment, to observe our surroundings, to focus on what is happening around. People who meditate are actually more connected and empathic, more aware of their fellows and their needs. Meditation taught me all of this, and I am absolutely certain there is much more I will learn from it.

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By Iona Iordache

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