It’s hard to imagine the severity of suffering that people of Iraq have gone through over the years. The present uncertainty has only added to it. With current sectarian divides, the future looks precarious. Nobody feels safe in Iraq today.
I am happy that since 2003 Art of Living is doing its bit to bring solace to Iraq. Last week, two of our volunteers Christoph Glaser and Mawahib al Shaibani ventured into Kurdistan and imparted training in leadership and peace building to 35 Members of Parliament.
The Parliamentarians had a deep experience of peace through the breathing exercises and meditations. They mingled, shared and empathized with one another irrespective of their political and ideological differences. Many of them felt if more people could connect like this, they would be able to bring peace to Iraq.
Some of them talked about how the workshop helped them move from “knowing” to “trusting”. This is what is actually needed to end long-drawn conflicts like the one Iraq is going through. Many admitted, the workshop helped them realize that beneath the differences, there is a common desire, a common goal to serve the people of Iraq. During my interaction with them over Skype, I felt we have a great opportunity for peace and progress if we could nurture this common thread.
All of them wanted the whole Parliament and all the ministers to do the Art of Living program. It’s heartwarming to hear these voices of solace from a country which has suffered so much conflict and destruction in the recent past.
Here are some of their experiences:
“The whole Parliament has to do this course and the Ministers should do it”
“If everybody in Iraq could do this, we would live in peace!”
“Before we did not know each other, did not want to know each other personally. Now we trust each other”!
“For the first time in 10 years I have been able to sleep properly. I want all my family to learn this. I want to practice this with my family!”
“We had seen so much trauma. And we were not able to sleep. Here we got much rest. I feel very comfortable and sleep very well now.”
“We are from four different parties but if we can talk together like we are one, then the problems will be solved.”
“We thought that we have leadership capacities from birth or not at all. But now we realized than we can learn them.”
“We feel like a family now!”