An inaugural forum on ‘Meditation and Peacebuilding – Learnings and Opportunities’ was held on Friday 16th June 2023, at Trinity Chapel and the Old Warden’s Lodge, Trinity College, University of Melbourne.
With the backdrop of increasing international tensions, conflict and violence, and the rhetoric of enmity becoming normalised in public discourse, there is ancient wisdom in living traditions of meditation which can help humankind have a more beautiful and peaceful future. To do this we need to tap into contemplative wisdom and practices to help us better meet the challenges of this time. The idea for this forum evolved from many conversations, prayers, meditations and advocacy actions as a response to the level of global suffering caused by conflict and violence.
Contemplative wisdom and practices give the experience of a calmer mind, harmony within our own being, subsequently flowing into compassionate peace-building and responses, more careful listening and respectful dialogue, and fosters unity as a lived experience.
Integrating meditation into peace-building therefore – at every level – is our possibility frontier; we invite you to be part of this frontier conversation, stay connected to this space to hear more as it evolves.
This event initiated by Meditation Australia, partnering with the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies (M3CS), was a gathering of like minded yet varied individuals including teachers of meditation, academics, politicians, media, multi faith leaders, business leaders, and students of spirituality and of peacebuilding. It was live-streamed to a global audience of more than 300 people.
We started with a meditation in Trinity Chapel, with music contributed by award-winning pianist and composer, Galliano Sommavilla, and a welcome by our generous host, the Dean of the Trinity College Theological School, The Revd Canon Dr Robert Derrenbacker.
The forum was facilitated in the adjoining Old Warden’s Lodge, Trinity College, by Asher Packman, the President of the Meditation Association of Australia, with special guest contributors, Professor Craig Hassed, Sister Jayanti, and Bishop Philip Huggins.
Sister Jayanti is a spiritual teacher for precisely these times. For more than 50 years, she has been an emissary of peace with a daily spiritual practice woven into a life that seeks to support and uplift others. In these unstable times, her presence is one of deep peace and the kind of hope that can move us forward. She is relevant, soothing, practical and, understanding the serious challenges that people face, she connects authentically. Born in India in 1949, Sister Jayanti’s family moved to England when she was 8 years old. She began her life’s path of spiritual study and service with The Brahma Kumaris at the age of 19. Sister Jayanti embodies a unique blend of Eastern wisdom and Western education and culture; imparting the deepest spiritual truths with the utmost clarity. She has a vision and experience that are truly global and deeply spiritual. Her prominent speaking themes include leadership, environment & climate change, women ́s empowerment; health & well-being, racial harmony, inter-religious friendships & global peace.
Professor Craig Hassed MBBS, FRACGP, OAM has worked with the Faculty of Medicine at Monash University since 1989 but also teaches into many faculties. He is coordinator of mindfulness programs across Monash and is the Director of Education at the Monash Centre for Consciousness and Contemplative Studies (M3CS). Craig has authored 120 papers and published 14 books and 17 book chapters. He is regularly invited to speak and run courses in Australia and overseas in health, educational, government and corporate contexts. He is patron of Meditation Australia, a regular media commentator and co-authored the world’s two leading mindfulness massive open online courses. In 2019 Craig was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to Medicine.
Bishop Philip Huggins was ordained in 1977 and, since then, has been a meditator in the Jesus Prayer tradition. Philip has been an Anglican Bishop since 1995. He is the immediate Past President of the National Council of Churches in Australia and now the Director of the Centre for Ecumenical Studies at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, Charles Sturt University. Philip actively contributes to multi-faith and multi-cultural issues both locally and internationally. Philip understands peace to be both a divine gift and our task as peace-builders.
Integrating meditation into peace-building therefore – at every level – is our possibility frontier; we invite you to be part of this frontier conversation.
Some images from this beautiful day.
‘Postcards from the Peace frontier’
We asked our guests to share a few thoughts or inspirations that had arisen during the event, the resulting cards are heartwarming and a joyous map forward to the evolution of Peacebuilding through Meditation.
Meditation and Peacebuilding : Learnings and Opportunities Full recording view here
View video excerpts here