*This is NOT a religious post*

The young priest in my church said that he and a few recruits were clearing out the store room in the novitiate house last week. One of the older priests is a bit of a hoarder and they came across boxes of photographs belonging to the priest which catalogued the international rescue efforts when the tsunami hit Phuket on December 26th, 2004.

Fr Rebi said that the thing that struck him most was the images of so many people working together for humanity: people from different nationalities, age groups, religions, colours, everything, coming together to work with one common goal in mind. He said it was as if the people of the world spoke the same language again as they collaborated in rescuing, healing and rebuilding. The possibilities are endless, boundless.

I too hope that humanity can find that one common language again.

This sentiment, neither new or unique, is captured so beautifully in John Lennon’s song:

But really, that unity starts from the self, extends to the couple, then family, then community, outwards, radiating like the spoke of a wheel. Let peace begin with me, as the saying goes. It really does; you have to find it in your own heart before you can share it with your partner, family, community and the whole world.

How? I hear you ask.

By breathing: devote 9 minutes a day before bed to sit in silence, one hand on your lap, the other resting over your heart, and connect the separate bits together. It’s amazing, you’ll feel peace descending on you. If you are with a lover, do this practice together, sitting in bed, facing each other, just before going to sleep. It’s beautiful.

I often think that teaching people how to breathe is my little gift to the world (hence my job satisfaction as a yoga teacher and lover). Here’s the science, click here to read how breathing can change your brain patterns.

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We often think of peace as the absence of war, that if powerful countries would reduce their weapon arsenals, we could have peace. But if we look deeply into the weapons, we see our own minds – our own prejudices, fears and ignorance. Even if we transport all the bombs to the moon, the roots of war and the roots of bombs are still there, in our hearts and minds, and sooner or later we will make new bombs. To work for peace is to uproot war from ourselves and from the hearts of men and women.

– Thich Nhat Hanh, in “Living Buddha, Living Christ”.