Russian tanks entered Ukraine, population 44 million, second largest country in Europe, after Russia, at 3.55 am (CET) on Thursday 24 February 2022.
Friday evening, 25 February 2022 via Zoom. I offered a 30-minute a guided meditation for an international group of meditators. I spoke two or three sentences and then paused for around 30 seconds before making another contribution. This is an edited version of the meditation with some adaption.
This is a loving kindness meditation with a reflection. We sit with eyes open or closed, as you wish. Allow your whole being to harmonise, stay steady and calm. Experience the oneness of the whole being. Calmness and stillness support friendship, love and loving kindness.
I would like to dedicate this meditation/reflection on the current unfolding tragedy in Eastern Europe. We sit with a warm heart without limits. Kindness includes ourselves, friends, family, colleagues and neighbours. We expand calmness to our local community, our village, town, country and beyond.
Our mind is not creating divisions of I and other, us and them. We remember that clarity and calmness contribute to the dissolution of such divisions.
We expand our kindness to the Ukraine. We sense the anguish and deep anxieties people feel. We extend to our kindness to those citizens living in countries surrounding Ukraine, who live with uncertain days – Poland, Hungary, Estonia, Latvia, Moldova, Slovakia, Belarus and Russia.
We extend kindness to people in Russia. Many experience emotions, thoughts and views about this conflict and suffering. Gratitude extends to all those in Russia who engage in finding non-violent resolutions.
No limits are set on the power of kindness to safeguard against getting caught up divisions or taking sides. This meditation contributes to experiencing concern and finding empathy for those under threat.
We find ways to understand those who issue orders. We can go deep into the nature conflict, violence and war to find resolutions rather than be prisoners to fear and blame.
I had contact yesterday and today with friends from Eastern Europe. Upon hearing of the Russian army invading Ukraine, a Russian friend told me:
“I can’t believe it is happening. It feels like a bad dream. I’ve been crying most of the day.”
I spoke with a friend today from Poland. She arrived back in the UK from seeing her parents in Poland two days ago.
She told me: “I met with my Ukrainian friends this morning. We had a big cry.
“My friend is on his way to Kyiv today to see his parents.
“Another friend told me her parents in Poland are heartbroken over what is happening and living next to a war zone.
“My parents telephoned me this morning. They said they were scared.
“My friends in Ukraine, Poland and other nearby countries tell me that the invasion of the Russian army triggers for their elderly parents very painful memories associated with World War 2.
“It is so unimaginable what’s going on.”
The personal stories convey a little of the tragedy of it all. In the personal stories, we feel our response our concern, so we stay in touch with our heart.
We do not neglect the harsh realities while finding ways to take small steps. Let us be mindful of what we say and what we write. Let us share our experience. Let us not feed fear and blame.
Violence and hate depend upon identification with fear and blame. It is an enormous challenge stay steady and free from reactivity.
Calm and clarity show an act of kindness towards ourselves, as well as others, near and far.
We use our mind to see steps forward – thoughtful, caring and supportive for those who suffer.
We also keep our heart in touch with the personal stories.
May our mother and father live in peace and harmony.
May our brothers, sisters, relatives, loved ones living in peace and harmony.
May we extend kindness, friendship and hospitality as a contribution to peace and harmony in all the directions.
May we not be afraid to find our voice.
May we endeavour not to get caught up in the creation or the sustaining of conflict.
May we remember the impact of violent events on human life cultural life, social life and environmental life
May we know skilful ways to communicate wisely and steadfastly as we listen including the distortion in violent views.
May we not succumb to the pressure or seize upon fear and blame.
Let us challenge ourselves and other to stay true to something much deeper than the views of the nation, deeper than what powerful politicians offer, deeper than the views and actions of the military and military organisations.
We endeavour to find integrity, compassion and wisdom – not as a personal feeling but as a direct active response to those who suffer.
We commit ourselves to ending the conditions for suffering.
May all beings live in peace.
May all beings live in harmony
May all beings in all the realms and in all the universes
live in peace and harmony