September 17, 2018 by Kgalalelo
On the evening of Wednesday, 12 September 2018, I had the honour of serving as the master of ceremonies at an event hosted by the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University known as ‘Pause for Peace’. The Brahma Kumaris is a spiritual movement with the headquarters in Mount Abu, India. The organisation has centres of spiritual learning all over the world including South Africa.
The programme was part of the upcoming commemoration of the annual International Day of Peace on Friday, 21 September endorsed by the General Assembly of the United Nations. The day is therefore dedicated to world peace thus calling for non-violence and cessation of hostilities. There have been many observances of the international day of peace around the world in various ways since conception and first celebration in 1982.
The Pause for Peace campaign is based on the premise that “when we learn to disconnect from the busyness and noise of the world and of the many thoughts in our minds, we find inner stillness. It is in this stillness that we are able to tap into our true nature, which is peaceful, loving, truthful, pure, joyous and present in the moment” (Braham Kumaris World Spiritual University – www.brahmakumaris.org.za/pause-for-peace). Anyone can pause for peace anywhere they are and it is in the controlling of one’s emotions and observing ones' thoughts that victory comes. Peace, therefore, starts from within yourself and it would be reflected in the world that you live in.
One of the ways that one can find stillness and peace within, is through meditation. I had the opportunity in my early twenties of learning raja yoga meditation through the Brahma Kumaris. This is an open eyed meditation denoting that even in the buzz of life, you can still find your centre which is peaceful. It is a way of remaining connected to God while going about doing your business of the day either working, eating, cooking, cleaning or the like. You embark in all these activities being mindful about who is it that is with you all the time, 24 hours of the day and that is God. You keep your mind focused on Him because as you focus on Him, everything goes well in your world.
There are times when you will need to take time to reflect in your own space and be silent. Meditation doesn’t require much, no special music or mantras. As you focus on your breathing, in a quiet space, the mind calms down and becomes still. This is when you would be able to hear when the Holy Spirit speaks to you. This has been my own experience; when my mind quietens, I am able to hear the inner voice of the Spirit of God. “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). When I went to India the second time in my life with the Brahma Kumaris, I had gone with one of my Christian friends, who had told me that the only thing that she wanted to learn was to meditate as the her mind was always wandering around. Often, it is our minds that wreak havoc in our lives because we don’t take the time to observe our thoughts. You need to catch yourself thinking and be aware of those thoughts, this is what I was taught and everytime I notice my thoughts, my mind becomes quiet.
From a biblical point of view, meditation takes the form of studying the scriptures and taking time to digest them and apply in your everyday life. I believe that the concept is the same, keeping your eyes focused on your Creator is always key, whichever way you do it. It’s meditation. In the book of Joshua in the Bible, God gave Joshua strict instructions about making it in life and leading the Israelites across the Jordan river and over to the Promised Land. He said to Him “Be strong and very courageous. Be careful to obey all the law my servant Moses gave you; do not turn from it to the right or to the left, that you may be successful wherever you go. Keep this Book of the Law always on your lips; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful” (Joshua 1:8).
You can only prosper and succeed if you are focused on God, taking time to be with Him, formulating an intimate relationship with Him, spending time with Him and thinking about Him when you are doing any kind of activity. This is observance of His significance to you, your love for you, thinking about His grace, goodness, mercy towards you, His favour and blessings. In Phillipians 4: 8 Paul and Timothy says in the letter to the people of Philippi, “brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things”. They were beseeching the Philippians to think godly thoughts and this is meditation.
In the gospel of John, amongst the many sayings of Jesus, He sought to comfort and encourage His disciples because He knew that His time was near to ascend to heaven. He said “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world” (John 16:33). Jesus was trying to explain the same thing as above that things in life can be chaotic, one crisis after the other but peace is found in clinging to God, by meditating on His Word, praying and intimacy. Our focus should only be on God and nothing else. As we focus on Him, He resolves every problem for us. When we read the journey of the Israelites from Egypt in Exodus right through to the book of Numbers, everytime the Israelites lost focus on God, everything went wrong but when they repented and followed the laws that God gave to them through Moses, they succeeded.
Peace is our nature and it is within us. We need to draw it out through observance of who we are. We are children of the Most High God and should act in the power that He has bestowed in us. He says in the Ten Commandments, “You shall have no other gods before me. You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below. You shall not bow down to them or worship them” (Exodus 20:3-5). God wanted the Israelites to behold Him only and so should we because our triumph is in Him.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful” (Colossians 3:15).
Footnote: Scriptures taken from the The Holy Bible, New King James Version, 1982: Nashville, TN, Thomas Nelson, Inc. & The ESV Global Study Bible®, ESV® Bible, Copyright © 2012 by Crossway. All rights reserved & The Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™
Kgalalelo Saane Mphephuka
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