Creating Peace in Nicosia

Venue: Nicosia Youth Hostel
Country: Nicosia, Cyprus
Date: February 12, 2016
Number of People: 28

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

It was already in Slovakia, a training course in Demänovská Dolina, that I met Giorgos, and we started working on the idea of bringing peace to Cyprus to unite Greek and Turkish Cypriots. Due to historical reasons, there are no equal rights for the citizens of Cyprus, and that clearly creates a divide in the country. We decided to use meditation to allow people realize that peace needs to start from within. It is only when individuals can achieve their inner peace, they can share that peace with their families, friends and the entire society. This is what PIPO (Peace In, Peace Out) mission of Peace Revolution stands for. After experiencing a Peace Revolution Fellowship in Thailand (a more extended training of practicing meditation and mindfulness), Giorgos and I decided to share our peace with others.

When the opportunity came for me to go to Cyprus, it was more than clear that we would organize a Peace Revolution workshop in Nicosia, the last divided capital in the world, to share the mission of peace and inspire Cypriots to try meditation, a well as inform them about its benefits. Thanks to a successful cooperation with Cyprus Youth Council, we found a space for the workshop – Nicosia Youth Hostel – that kindly welcomed us on the evening of 12th of February.

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

The workshop focused on reducing stress and emptying one’s mind from unnecessary thoughts, thus allowing more creativity to come. Why do we need creativity? Because no matter how rich or poor, how successful or less successful, we all are facing problems since the day we are born. If we are able to deal with our daily-life problems in a peaceful and creative way, we would be able to solve bigger problems and conflicts, that exist in communities and countries. It all starts with the cleanliness of the mind. Here are the main conclusive statements that were delivered during the workshop:

Creativity is the quality of a mind that allows us to make new things or think of new ideas. Since everyone has a mind, everyone can be creative.

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

The nature of the mind is to wander, to jump from one thought to another, not really finishing any of them. That causes us not being productive, but consuming our energy and often creating negativity, regrets, anxiety and stress. That kind of mind has no space for creativity to come.

What facilitates the “jumping mind”, is our modern world with technologies, with possibilities for things to happen fast. However, no matter how fast things can move these days, our mind can still have only one thought at a time.

Meditation is the state of a mind that is standstill, peaceful and focused. During meditation, we clear the mind, and return it back to its original pure state.

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

Contemplative neuroscience studies states that the meditation practice decreases the activity in the right side of the prefrontal cortex of our brain where negative emotions as sadness or anger lies, while increasing the other side where creativity, happiness and compassion lies.

Meditation continues as a practice of mindfulness, and this is where the change happens: we learn to take control of our mind. We simply become more aware of what we think, say and act while performing our responsibilities or dealing with smaller or bigger problems.

Some other benefits of meditation: (1)reduce emotional instability; (2) improvement of memory and cognitive functions; (3) better capability to perform intellectual and professional activities; (4) reduce stress; (5) better acceptance of oneself; (6) Improvement of immune system; (7) improved relationships with everyone because of developing compassion and empathy;

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

As human beings, we consist of a body and the mind. Mind controls our body. It happens through our thoughts, speech and actions. Thoughts are very powerful – everything we are now, is the result of what we have thought in the past.

However, every day our mind is attacked by defilement while performing our responsibilities (work, study) and interacting with other people. When it happens, the mind wanders out of the centre and is not clear and pure anymore. Mind becomes dark and manifests that darkness through anger, greed, delusion.

The feeling is like wearing muddy glasses. We cannot see an accurate picture, because our mind is affected by impurities. Meditation helps us clean the glasses. When the glasses are clean, we can see ourselves and everything that is going on.

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Photo by Giorgos Polykarpou

We live in a world attached to external stimulus. Every time that a conflict arises we try to seek for reasons or a solution outside ourselves, forgetting and detaching ourselves every time more from our great inner power and wisdom. Most of the time solutions and understanding lies within ourselves.

There is no need for a specific course on creativity. Creativity comes when the mind is clear, pure and powerful and ready to reach hidden potential within.

 

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