Easily I think we can say world peace is a place free from conflict with absolute equality. Personally, when I was asked this question that was my initial response. I envisioned a utopia where everyone got along and no one experienced suffering. This is unrealistic. Obviously we have seen society’s attempt to make every person equal. However, these societies, ultimately, do not achieve their goal. At Tiriji we practice mindfulness. We are working on finding inner peace, but again the question of what is peace presents itself. I think we are all on a lifelong journey for this definition. Via the different experiences and points in our lives we are at we will hold different definitions of what it means to be at peace. In terms of my definition of world peace, I still believe equity plays into it, but it is more about maturity and understanding. The maturity to accept to disagree, the understanding to still coexist with that person, but most importantly the maturity to compromise.
Naomi and Dr. K introduced us to a game called the balloon game. We were each given a balloon and a toothpick. The balloon was to represent our dreams. We then walked around with our objects and were told to protect our dreams. No one was sure if we should pop the balloons. We are inadvertently taught that a toothpick can be used to pop a balloon. Dr. K posed the question of why our minds immediately revert to violent actions? In round one, no one popped balloons, purposefully. This could in part speak to our character or in part speak to the fact that we were confused on the game. In round two, however, everyone began to pop the balloons. It was a fun twist to the game and laughter encompassed the room, but eventually we were done. All the balloons were popped and it wasn’t until then that we’d realized what we’d done. We killed each other’s dreams.
I thought the conversation yielded from the game was increasingly interesting. Dr. K and Naomi taught us about the need to be secure in who you are, just because your balloon was popped did it really mean your dream was over? When someone calls you a name they cannot call you something they don’t have within themselves. You must identify whether their attack is truly about them or you. I think we as humans are extremely selfish and most of our hatred comes from something that we are experiencing, not the other person. When these emotions come up it is important to question our intentions. Ask yourself why you are feeling this way and eventually the result will be a problem within yourself that you have yet to identify. Someone cannot call you something they do not have within themselves and part of the solution to this is having an open dialogue. Argument is often consumed with people not listening whereas if we have a dialogue we can more easily identify the true source of the issue and the conflict within ourselves.
While these activities only lasted two hours the lessons within them are invaluable. Coming to Kenya on a trip like this we can easily assume we are coming to help others. Instead, we are welcomed into this village with open arms and hearts. During our time here we are being taught about ourselves, just as much as we are being an ally to others.