A lecture for the 6th Meeting of the European Council of Grandmothers in Island
INNER PEACE I am Grandmother Helga from Germany. I am happy to be here in Iceland together with my European Grandmother Sisters, and I am happy to meet all of you. Our topic for this council is PEACE, and I am sure that this is one of the most important issues for all of us in these days and it is no coincidence that our council takes place in Iceland just in the time of the UN-WORLD PEACE DAY.
It is my part today to talk about our inner peace, our peace of mind. Why shall we think about inner peace? Many years ago, I thought about what I can contribute to the goal PEACE in the world! I felt overwhelmed by this immense challenge! I was about to give up, but I read about Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and other great peace campaigners and I understood that peace is not a state but a process. “There are no roads to peace, peace is the way”. (Mahatma Gandhi) Then I understood that PEACE in the world starts with us. That means I have to find peace inside of me. I remembered the cosmic principles of the Hermetic Philosophy of Ancient Egypt and Greece. One of them is “As the outer world, so the inner world – as the inner world, so the outer world.” The Dalai Lama: “If you do not know inner peace, you will not find it in your encounter with others.” These examples may be enough for the moment to explain, why I decided to think about inner peace, work on it and share my experiences with you. Now – a little break! Although I know, that there is only little time! Please -Take your time! Now! Close your eyes! Take a deep breath and exhale! Four times! Find your own rhythm now, be quiet and relax! Imagine you are at your favourite place in the nature! Realize that you are connected to everything! Stay there and enjoy this moment until I will call you back! – two minutes – Come back and open your eyes! Sometimes it needs not more to find our inner peace: Take some time! Be aware of your breath! Be just in this moment! Be in the nature! Feel connected! Sometimes it is much more difficult to find our inner peace. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that we are angry with ourselves. We are very often angry with ourselves, one aspect of us fights against the other as if we have war within us. We have to understand, perceive and accept that we do not really value ourselves.Most of us have a deep fear of rejection. That is why we try to live up to expectations of others and our own. For many of us this means a tremendous effort and causes great stress. Mostly the cause for this is in the past. That means, that we have to look into our childhood, sometimes even deeper – into the childhood of our parents or grandparents- to understand all the suppressed feelings, deep mental injuries we all have suffered. Children are very vulnerable, and dependent to their parents, they need their love. When parents have had to suppress their feelings, they are unconsciously afraid, that these feelings, especially deep pain, come into their consciousness. Where fear is there cannot be love, because fear makes our body tight and love needs space. So almost all of us have a lack of love. We have many ways to deal with it. Most ways do not lead to inner peace, because most of us do not understand that many of our activities and efforts have something to do with our need for love. That means that we have to look into our childhood and to our ancestors to see, understand, feel and accept the hidden wounds, pain and anger to heel them. Then we can learn to forgive our ancestors and ourselves. When we forgive, we are connected. This forgiveness, our connection leads to INNER PEACE!
My local, weekly commitment with a woman seeking asylum in Switzerland – a win-win-situation The village of 2000 inhabitants where I live, was assigned to care – among others – for a family of six people from Afghanistan by the federal authorities. I have known the family now for over two years. The eldest ofthe four children is twelve, the youngest 3 years old. The father has recently been allowed to do manual work for the community and to earn a little money.
Every week I study with the mother, who is taking two different German language courses, offered free of charge by volunteer organisations. We do her homework together. She was illiterate, and I am astonished how quickly she gets along with everything.
Again and again I also try to sum up for her the letters the children bring home from school and kindergarten. I practise with her to read the calendar, dates and appointments and the time. Great trust and love has grown between the two of us. She calls me her Swiss mom, and grandmother towards the children. Every time, I leave their flat gratified. From the start it was clear to me that I wanted to work with the mother, for, if a mother is psychically stable, the children profit most directly. After the death of her mother, this woman had to work in a factory sewing clothes, when she was only ten years old.
In our village we have a small group of mostly young people looking afterthe asylum seekers. We advise each other and provide the necessary materials. Somebody was able to find a sewing machine for my “Afghan daughter”.Now she is sewing for her children and girl-friends and is very happy about it.
My motivation for this engagement is my belief that an open, warm new home should be offered to these people, who were forced to leave their homeland and become refugees. In this way I can personally “better” theofficial Swiss position, which is a compromise with those Swiss people who fear the loss of jobs and the Islamic religion. They believe that in oursmall, closely populated country there is no room for more people, meaning first of all refugees and the costs they cause for the state. (I am sure you all know this!)