All people have bad habits. This is something natural that is observed in everyone. Regardless of our principles and lifestyle, we become accustomed to certain behaviours even if they do not favour our socio-professional development. Here are three steps that may help you change these bad habits.
Bad habits are sometimes difficult to recognize. This is because we have taken the time to incorporate these behaviours into our life and our way of being with others. The recognition of our bad habits therefore depends on the types of people we often live with. Because a certain habit can be accepted in one society and be rejected in another, it is also important to consider common sense and trust conventions: there are behaviors that are not accepted and are automatically rejected according to universal standards. So in order to recognize bad habits, one can ask the following questions: Am I proud of this habit? Does this or that behaviour meet the standards of my society? Am I satisfied with the results I get in my life? Does my conscience reproach me for something after this or that behaviour?
Behaviors become habits by repeating them daily. Sometimes they become so familiar that they are hard to recognize. When we ask ourselves the mentioned questions, it helps us see our bad habits in order to correct them. Another way to recognize our bad habits is to pay attention to the opinions of the people we live or work with.
Once our bad habits are identified, we can look for the right way to change or correct them. It can be difficult to do if we do not really make a decision to take an action and change the behaviors that we took years to develop. Getting up early in the morning at 5am may seem like a chore for someone who has spent his whole life waking up at 7am. The same is true for an individual who is always late, eats in the bed, sleeps without taking a shower, puts his house in disorder, smokes cigarettes or goes home late at night. It takes self-discipline to change these habits. Start doing things differently by considering the impact or positive outcome that we will have when we are successful in becoming a new person – that is another way of changing bad habits. Most human beings are aware of their bad habits, because the harmful effects of these habits always manifest in their lives in one way or another. But without true commitment and sustained self-discipline, we often fail to change them.
Meditation is an important personal development tool in changing bad habits. People who meditate develop a very high sensitivity and are able to easily identify bad habits in themselves. Without much effort, they usually manage to discipline themselves in order to achieve their goals. By questioning themselves, these people are able to accept observations or comments about their behaviors in order to change what others do not like about them. These are highly friendly people with a firm humility. That’s because they evaluate themselves very frequently to identify their bad habits and concrete on actions to change them.
You can consider learning to meditate with PEACE REVOLUTION platform that offers free online courses of personal development through the practice of mindfulness and meditation. This could be a good start to recognize and change your bad habits.
Being truly herself is the most empowering, enriching and loving experience that a woman can have (we can add “a man” here too). And at the same time, it is something that we need to learn. It may sound strange to think about “learning to be yourself” because one is supposed to be oneself all the time, right? But because we are not fully aware of this, let´s step back and start from the beginning.
Should I learn to be myself? I believe, yes since we don´t live alone in this world. We live in a community with other human beings, we have a dependent existence (we need from others things that we cannot do or get by ourselves alone), and we relate to each other in layers that are, many times, profound and meaningful. We also share this existence with nature, living beings that are non-human and play a fundamental role in this world. Considering these basics, it´s not difficult to accept that the main reason of caution and carefulness on “being myself” is that what I do affect others, what I do has consequences, and can change lives (mine and others’ lives).
In this path of “being yourself” we often face many obstacles and challenges. Our beliefs are tested, our core exposed, we experience vulnerability, ignorance, certainty, doubt, love, fear, criticism, hate etc. On a sociopolitical level, we may be mad at a world that imposes on limits and prohibitions (especially for women); we fight to gain more freedom, we raise signs and share content on social media, we participate in protests and develop initiatives to gain more rights, more space, for women. And while we fight in the outer world, there is another battle that we need to fight in order to gain freedom. The inner battle: the fight for being yourself.
I believe that this freedom, I dare to say “true freedom”, has to be earned, not given. We earn the right to be fully ourselves when we learn to live without hurting others. That´s the condition of our freedom, the responsibility that freedom carries. If “being myself” implies that you hurt others with your short-tempered nature, your reactivity or ego, then you haven´t earned the freedom to be yourself and you are living creating chaos in your life (extreme case of this is ending up in a jail due to untamed violence). And if this is like that, then empowerment has a tight bond with freedom, and it´s an inner job too.
Violence and care are two faces of the same coin. Whenever there is violence, not only peace is needed, but firstly care. We apply care to zones in ourselves that are wild, even chaotic. Care is also a loving form of paying attention, of giving. We do this towards ourselves and we observe how we are, the things that we do without judgement, lovingly, and we educate ourselves by taming those areas that need more work than others (it all comes down to work on our reactivity here…). We learn to pay attention to ourselves by practicing mindfulness, by watching our thoughts and emotions passing by without engaging with them, noticing and recording the experiences we have during meditation in an environment of acceptance, knowing that there is nothing wrong, just things that need to be noticed and later on, changed or tamed, if necessary. This exercise brings self-development in many, many ways.
Women Empowerment and freedom go hand in hand. There is no way in which I can feel empowered if I don´t know that there are options available for me to respond to the world; if I don´t know that by educating myself and bringing out my own wisdom and intuition, I can do better in the same stressful circumstance; if I ignore that I am capable of doing for myself the things that I do for the ones I love (in other words, that I can love myself the same way I love others); if I never realize that by knowing and being responsible for myself, I am being truly free, truly me.
“It´s the fire in my eyes, and the flash of my teeth, the swing in my waist, and the joy in my feet. I am a woman phenomenally.” Maya Angelou
Mindfulness meditation is increasingly becoming a powerful tool to bring awareness to the ever present peace that lies within us. Several people have gone to the East to learn these ancient tools and bring them home, to the west, and now, even African countries. Organizations and firms are beginning to recognize the salient fact that peace-building can never be left only to select organizations. In fact, companies are banking their return on investments on the wellness of their most critical resource, the human mind.
World Peace Initiative Foundation (WPI) has moved in to bridge the gap and provide training to people passionate about peace-building and interested to share these ancient practices within their organizations and families. Of importance is the growing need of people to start sharing tools to cultivate inner peace in their own cultures, languages and contexts.
In a recent exclusive interview with the Peace Architect manager at WPI, we uncovered the history and gem behind becoming a peace architect; and how you too can become a partner in peace, to transform your organization; part-time or full-time; with proven benefits to your health, and wellness.
Take 10 with Kuldeep Singh
Q1: Welcome… and thank you for taking your time to show up for this interview. Tell us your name and where you come from.
My name is Kuldeep Singh from India and currently working with World Peace Initiative Foundation since (2010). Before that, I used to work with a government agency in India.
Q 2: Interesting indeed! Share with us your WPI journey…how did you start?
(In a reflective tone) After completing my first 42 days, I attended GPM 6, way back in 2010 with almost none international crew at that moment. Then, WPI was a small organization with one Peace Revolution Project as a flagship program of WPI. I was moved by the desire to spread peace with others, peace builders in action starting with myself. I began to volunteer with the Peace Revolution Project for a year. Then, there were no structure or any form of organization.
We developed a structured platform to enable qualified young peace-builders to join us as a Peace Coach and offer quality and a support system for others undertaking the self-development program online. My biggest encouragement was the ability to help people and see them smile from the work we do.
Q3: Wow! So, how did the first Peace Architect come about?
The first architect was a small group of 10-15 people who supported the Peace Revolution work in their regions and were invited to come back and share in the bloom of the personal transformation somewhere back in 2012.
Then, an idea to form an international team of committed peace builders came to realization and I felt the need to join the team. Wonderful people came in from across the world with a passion to contribute… to the beautiful journey they had started. Everyone did something in their own country in the form of PIPOs (Peace In, Peace Out Seminars). By end of 2013, we had experienced a quick growth in the Peace Architect program, with several structures coming up.
Q4: What are some of the highlights in starting and growing the Peace Architect Program to what it has become today?
First, we felt that our teaching monks were not enough and we needed more people in their local languages who understand the context and could share inner peace tools with their communities. Of course, this came with a challenge to maintain the quality of service; yet, we realized that real society experiences which are a very important element in teaching were a big boost too.
Q5: Such a tremendous decision to make peace-building contextual, where are you now, based on the current projections regarding The Peace Architect Program?
We are holding the 6th training in December 2017 with over 50 people diverse from different countries and continents! Currently, we have close to 100 people becoming peace architect across the world and forming meditation communities to share the inner peace wisdom with their friends, families and community members.
From diversity, there is a common connection in the thirst for peace…and real life transformation! Peace architects are leading several aspects of the summits and training in over 100 countries! Local languages and cultures included.
Q7: Incredible! For people reading this right now and wondering how to join the program, what criteria do you use to become a Peace Architect?
Our first and basic qualification for anyone wishing to become a peace architect is to be passionate about sharing the concept of inner peace.
This person must have attended one of our international fellowships called Global Peace on the Move or Amani.
Afterwards, they are invited to qualify to be peace coach guiding other peace enthusiasts, we call, peace rebels, to complete the 42 days Self Development Program, before they can express their interest to become an architect of peace.
On the other hand,
In the coming years, we have also opened a platform where our partners or anyone interested in guiding meditation and inner peace activities (who haven’t attended our international training) can join and become a peace architect with us after meeting a few requirements that we set.
Q8: So, I understand that one also qualifies for an interview after meeting the requirements set?
Yes! After meeting above requirements, one is called for an online interview to determine their ability and skills to teach and train others on any peace related topics.
The beautiful thing is, our peace architects come from different language groups, professions and careers. For example, this December, we have over 50 nationalities, major speaking languages, professionals and trainers, university professors and major influencers joining to learn the art of facilitating mindfulness meditation spaces.
Q9: After the training, we understand that one gets a certificate, what benefit does the certificate hold to the trainer?
After the training, a trainer has the ability to guide meditation and mindfulness programs in various places. In a world that needs quality and some kind of authentication, the certificate gives one the confidence to organize training with proof that it is affiliated to our organization. The certified trainer can also represent the organization in major training and professional spaces where we are involved.
The certificate is valid for 1 year and is often renewable after taking an online refresher test.
In the community…
We got curious to find out what it looks like; life after becoming a Peace Architect. Watch out for the next episode with real life stories of Peace Architects engagement in the community.
We make decisions every day; some are very important, others – less so. They range from what to have for lunch or how to spend your weekend to leaving your job or having a child. It’s surprising then how little attention we pay to one of decision-making’s biggest variables: our own emotions.
Consistency is the key
We may not notice it at the time, but how we feel has a big impact on the decisions we make. So, how do we find a level of personal consistency, where we never look back and cringe at our choices? The key is to develop our powers of objective decision-making.
Like any piece of seemingly simple advice, this is easier said than done. Consistently making non-emotional and rational choices takes a lot of practice and self-reflection. It will be worth it however, as harnessing the power of objective decision-making can have huge positive effects.
Learning to deal with emotions
The first step is recognizing your current emotional state and how this could possibly affect the choice you are about to make. Studies show that stock markets are higher when the sun shines in the morning and that people make irrational decisions when fearful. Emotions are not always the enemy but they can make you do things you might not otherwise do if you were at your general emotional baseline.
Once you are in a mental space where you know if you are angry, fearful or happy there are several positive actions you can take to lessen the impact these emotions have. Our helpful tips will give you the tools you need to keep your emotions in check while you decide what’s going to happen next.
Taking time to follow a process
Finding the right structured process to evaluate a decision or even just taking some time to allow the intensity of an emotion to subside is a move in the right direction. Learning to do these things on a regular basis can free us from the tight grip our emotions hold on our behavior.
We can’t tell you which sandwich to pick or whether or not to dump your partner. We can help you to get into the right frame of mind to make the big decision however. They won’t always be the right ones, but at least you’ll know that you made it to the best of your knowledge at the time!
Mindfulness is a technique that helps you let go of your worries and concerns, and live in the here and now. If you find you’re often upset or anxious, then mindfulness can help you let go of the ‘what ifs?’ and come back to the present.
Writing can be a fantastic way of practising mindfulness, and it needs nothing more than a pen and paper. If you have those, and a willingness to try it out, then you’re ready to go. Here are 5 ways writing can help you achieve peace in your life.
1. Use a journal
When it comes to writing, many people start on a computer or laptop. After all, you spend all day at a computer, hence typing on a keyboard is basically second nature to you. However, the best way to practice mindfulness is to write using a pen and paper. This is because it forces you to slow down and really think about what you’re writing.
If you want to get started, buy yourself a nice journal and pen and use that to write every day. This book will be the place you’ll go to when you want to relax and understand yourself better. Make this investment now, and you’ll feel the benefit.
Of course, if you’re really not comfortable, it is alright to use a computer to write. When you do write, ensure that you’re taking your time over it. Give yourself the time and space to really explore how you feel.
2. Try writing exercises
So you have your journal. Now what? If you’re not sure where to start, try some writing exercises. They’re the best way to get the creative juices flowing and start expressing yourself on a paper.
For example, try using photos as inspiration to start writing. Fridge poetry words are another good option, as they can be mixed up, then two or three can be selected and used as a prompt. You can even write the phrase ‘I remember…’ then write whatever comes to your mind. Just see what comes out.
Don’t worry about how the writing comes out. The point is, you’re looking to just get anything down on a paper. If you want to edit it afterwards, use software such as Hemingway Editor, Academized or Pro Writing Aid to help you.
3. Use free writing when you’re stuck
If you’re really struggling and the writing exercises can’t help you, the best way to start is with free writing. This is when you set yourself a timer, and just start writing whatever you’re thinking about. Set a timer for ten minutes and just put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard.
At first, you’ll find yourself writing things like ‘I have no idea what to write about’ and ‘this is ridiculous.’ However, your mind will soon start making connections and you’ll not notice how ten minutes fly by.
If you’re worried that what you write is nonsensical, it’s not a problem. Just get it written first, then edit later. Readable or Big Assignments will help you get it looking good.
4. Decide if you want to share with others
This step is really up to you. Some people like to share their writing with others, and discuss what they’ve learned through writing it. Others like to keep their writing for themselves, and use it for personal reflection. Either way is fine, but you need to decide what’s the best for you.
If you decide you want to share with others, then editing your writing will be important. That way, it’s easier for others to read what you’ve written and give you honest and useful feedback. If you want help, tools such as Write My Assignment or UK Writings can all lend you a hand.
Sharing with others can be a really uplifting experience. Writing can help you work through your feelings, and put names and words to those feelings. When you share them, you’ll soon see that you’re not alone in how you feel.
5. Take your writing further
If you’re finding that you’re having success with your writing, then you want to expand on what you’re doing with it. There are several ways that you can use your writing in order to help yourself and others. For example, if you’re under the care of a mental health professional, you can take it to them and share it. You can also use blogs and articles to share your findings.
If you choose to do this, your writing will need to be polished first. Use Easy Word Count to sweep for errors, and Cite It In to cite any sources you use properly.
If you’ve found that writing has helped ground you in the here and now, you may have the skill to communicate this to others. Try describing the prompts and techniques that you’ve used in the past, and how they’ve affected your mindset now.
Writing is just one tool that you can use when practising mindfulness, but it is a powerful one. Put it to good use and you’ll see just how much it can benefit in observing and understanding your mind.
On March 23-25, 2017, WPI Foundation representatives visited Armenia and organised meditation workshops there for the second time.
In 2015, we have held meditation workshops in Armenia taught by our meditation and mindfulness trainer Anna Oleshkevych, and in 2017 we were lucky enough to bring a real Thai Buddhist monk to Armenia to further talk about meditation and practice it.
During the workshops, WPI team visited three cities – Vanadzor, Gyumri and Yerevan – bringing together 250 people in total.
How did it all start?
We were coming to Georgia for Bridge Peace Fellowship 2017, and had some free time afterwards. This is how our meditation friends from Armenia invited us to their country.
Meditation workshops were conducted by monk John from Thailand. He also answered the questions of all curious participants after the workshops.
When driving to Yerevan on the evening of March 24th, Monk John said he felt like visiting three Armenian cities was similar to visiting 3 different countries. Indeed, Vanadzor impressed us with its natural beautiy and Switzerland-like mountains, Gyumri city centre looked like a small town in Western Europe, and Yerevan welcomed us as a big modern city.
Monk John enjoyed meditating with Armenian participants, was impressed by their interest in meditation and numerous questions that he received during the five meditation sessions in three Armenian cities.
Join us for more meditation
If you too are interested in your meditation question to be answered, please register for our free online self development program at Peace Revolution website, and your Peace Coach will be happy to answer all the questions. You will be able to learn meditation from scratch or learn something new about it if you already have an experience. You are also welcome to join Peace Revolution Armenia Facebook page to receive updates about Peace Revolution events in Armenia. There you will find a group of people interested in meditation who will support your practice.
I think about looking at an object up-close, my eyes fixed closely on this object, seeing just one side of the coin and feeling comfortable this way anyway. Another thought also crosses my mind of this group of blind people who were told to touch an elephant and everyone really get the chance to touch a specific part of this enormous animal. One touches the tail, another, the trunk, another, the belly while someone touches the ears. How interesting it is that when finally everyone gets a chance to share what they think an elephant is, everyone has a different story. One claims it is long rod with whiskers and quite firm while the other goes like, “mmmmh…a big flat flap that could be used to fan; and several answers come up including one who just thinks an elephant is one hard, tough, solid block with a rough texture. And so all these answers really reflect from which angle we view life. From which perspective we stand and from which vantage point we are… and this is really our world.
And so, many times, we get into arguments and conflicts with wanting other people to buy into our viewpoints, to think and reason like us without really getting from where they stand. This has become a norm in our society where we force beliefs down people’s throats. We force our opinions on others and make life quite miserable for ourselves actually. And so we create comfort zones of less hurt, less pain and less effort…
A comfort zone is our zone of bliss, our reality of what should be in the world, our point of joy. And so, from this reality of what should be, we conquer the world to make it what we want it to be, sit back and let things pass us by or ignore whatever is happening around us. From whatever angle, conquering the world or sitting back, we create an outcome and the outcome could be desirable or not…
Comfort zones have never brought any meaningfully sustainable change to anyone at all… Actually, world most remembered faces in history had a downfall trying to make the world into their comfort zones of “what the world should be” From Hitler to Napoleon among others…and of course going down colonial lanes of the world.
Not mentioned in history is the other side of the bracket where a majority of people also sit back and let things pass them and letting their dreams and purpose fall by the wayside. The groups who sit back and settle for what the social prescriptions and popular culture determines… The group that follow every wind flow and refuse to question their motives under every circumstance… Or those stuck in doing the same old things from a singular perspective? Believing in their side of the story being the only TRUTH in the world?
And then it’s not about anyone else but me…my perspective, my reality…what informs it…and above all, is it the only one available in the world? And if not, how can we live and interact freely within all these worlds that our minds have so historically built in the name of education and experience?
Education and experience are very significant words in the growth of anyone…and yes… come to think of it, we all learn and experience things every moment of our life and that’s what makes life…right?
How can we use our education and experiences to transform our perspective consciously? Because whether we like it or not, our world changes with every new thing we learn and every new experience we encounter.
Back to my object, back to my elephant story….
We have known fact to exist in our world and what we have experienced… But what if it could be more than?
I mean we can grow up defining an elephant as a long rod with whiskers and explain it to everyone who comes after us or we can spend a day in another person’s reality… But how do we even do that!
From these questions, insight comes, in the form of wanting to retreats, visiting other people from other cultures besides us, travel different communities and living with people up-close…from their world. I mean we have been taught to become so firm in our world that we can change everyone around us, but what of becoming so deep that we can accommodate and transform ourselves and people around us?
What if we can spend a day, a week, or even a month in the perspective of someone else? What if we can step out of our comfort zones and embrace newness in how we do things? What if this was possible?
Well, it’s possible to do so, and fresh and enriching in just how much someone can learn from the self and from others when they step out of the way to see things differently.
But there is a catch, you don’t just go in blindly, but with an intention to learn and transform. Transformation occurs when we trust ourselves well enough to let go of the reigns and know that we are alright to swim. When we really pay attention to what is it that is being said… is it useful right NOW? How about its use in ten years to come…? And how sustainable is it within the context of this fast changing world? These are questions that we must ask ourselves all the time as we embark on transforming our perspectives and learning new things.
So, the next time you get a chance to attend that cool retreat with friends or visit school, remember it’s not enough to share what you have, but also to learn from what is offered…and all these can only happen when we let go of our fears and listen to the other person from their point of view as well. Then we can see the trunk, tail, belly and ears of the elephants… Does it change what the elephant is, not really, just brings more understanding in the room…at the end of the day, an elephant will still be an elephant, whether defined by the tail or the trunk.
From cultural centres to medieval castles, from remote villages to vibrant cities, Peace Revolution for the first time will stop in Latvia to spread the mission of PIPO through a meditation tour Peace In Peace Out (Miers Tevī, Miers Apkārt) organized from December 1 to 11 with the Teaching Monk Luang Phi John Paramai from Thailand. The tour will gather around 500 people in all sessions together introducing them to a variety of topics, such as mindfulness, creativity, self-development and others, as well as allowing everyone to experience meditation.
The tour will start in Riga with a session Mind Your Mind at MANSARDS, the centre for the creative initiative and spiritual development. Then, the tour will move to the West part of Latvia – Zaļenieki Manor with a session about meditation and self-development, as well as Jaunpils Castle with a session about how to be here and now. On December 4, the tour will continue to Lielvārde with a morning session in the museum of Andrejs Pumpurs, and then to Ogre Cultural centre with a title session Peace In Peace Out. After visiting different parts of Latvia, the PIPO mission will be carried further to several venues in Riga, offering sessions about creativity (MANSARDS), daily discipline and achieving goals (ATMA centre), as well as loving kindness meditation (Goethe Institute) and finally PIPO Night at I-DEJAS MĀJA, the closing event organized as a candle light ceremony.
There will also be sessions offering an opportunity to learn more about the Monk’s Life and living in harmony with nature (Kaņepe Cultural Centre), as well as a session Google with Monk, where participants will be allowed to ask to the Teaching Monk any questions that they may have.
Luang Phi John will also give some private sessions, for instance, a session about improving concentration at Riga Jugla Secondary School, a session about mindfulness at BITE telecommunications company, as well as a session about creativity to the Tour Friend social community portal Draugiem.lv.
Apart from exploring a certain topic, each session will offer an opportunity to learn about the basic Dhammakaya meditation and its techniques, to realize the importance of the inner peace, as well as experience a 30 minutes long guided meditation session.
No previous experience in meditation is required to participate in the sessions. Everyone is welcome to explore the art of meditation. The sessions are free of charge (or for donations to help us cover the tour expenses).
It is recommended to register for each session, which can be done by filling a registration form in Peace Revolution Latvia Events on Facebook. To register, once can also send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Peace Revolution’s slogan Peace In, Peace Out (PIPO), stands for each individual’s choice to be the change that they want to see in the world. We believe that world peace is achievable if each individual works on developing his inner peace first. Hence, when improving our inner peace, we are contributing to a peaceful environment around us.
On October 17 and 19, World Peace Initiative Foundation organised meditation workshops in Almaty, Kazakhstan. We held workshops which covered the following topics: Stress management and Meditation, Finding happiness through inner peace, Yoga and meditation.
It was the first time for World Peace Initiative to come to Kazakhstan and we are very grateful to our partners and participants for supporting the idea, helping with promotion and showing interest in meditation. Thank you Yoga Center Gayatri, Yoga Dom Almaty, and KIMEP University for hosting us!
We hope in the future we can organise more interesting events, including workshops and meditation retreats in Kazakhstan, as there are many people interested in inner peace, meditation and self development.
Meanwhile, we would like to invite all those from Kazakhstan who are interested to deepen their experience with meditation to come to our annual event in Georgia, Bridge Peace Fellowship. Applications are open now, please apply soon! Do not miss such a wonderful opportunity to meet like minded people and meditate in beautiful Georgia with the monks from Thailand.