Honoring those who give

Something beautiful took place yesterday at the local half marathon. An organization called “Marathon Finishers” arranged for pre-registered runners, as they approached the end of their races, to take pre-registered children to run the last kilometer and cross the finish line with them. To make this even more special, those were kids with special needs from the “Running Buddies” group.

The runners who have decided to participate weren’t concerned about their own finishing time on the race. They made the decision to facilitate a special physical and emotional experience for those children. And they got a lot in return. By making the children happy, their races acquired a whole new meaning. They were the ones who took the greatest gift home with them: the beautiful feeling of having given of themselves to make someone else happy.

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I always felt that running was much more than mere a physical activity. For me it was also an emotional and, many times, a spiritual experience.

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It is in giving that we receive.

www.PieroFalci.com


 

The Beauty of Encouragement

Something I wrote many years ago came to my mind today: an invitation for students to try-out in the long distance running team I used to coach.

Here it is:

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It takes a special fiber to be a long distance runner.

Hicham El Guerrouj, the Moroccan runner, almost gave up. He had been to the Olympics twice before as the favorite in the 1,500 m. Both times, he lost. In 1996, in Atlanta, he fell on the final lap and finished last. In 2000, in Sydney, Noah Ngeny from Kenya got the gold medal finishing 0.15 of a second ahead of him. But El Guerrouj did not give up. He came back. On Aug. 24, 2004, in Athens, he won the 1,500 m gold and four days later, the 29-year-old won the 5,000 m, becoming the first man to win both races in the same games since Finnish legend Paavo Nurmi in 1924.

Hicham El Guerrouj, from Morocco: hero!

I tell my runners to repeat to themselves “Never give up! Never surrender! Never!” At the end of the race, when you think you don’t have any energy left, when you think you don’t have anything left to give, you repeat to yourself, “Never give up! Never surrender! Never!” and you do what needs to be done. You extend your limits. You go beyond. You discover someone you did not know: the hero inside!

Next time you meet a long distance runner remember that you are near a very special type of athlete. It takes persistence. It takes courage. It takes discipline. It takes guts, lots of guts.

John Stephen Akhwari took a terrible fall early in the marathon at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Long after the race was over for everyone else, the Tanzanian, bloodied and bandaged, limped into the stadium and collapsed across the finish line. He finished in last place. When asked why he did not quit, he responded: “My country did not send me over 11,000 kilometers to start the race. They sent me 11,000 kilometers to finish it.”

John Stephen Akhwari, from Tanzania: hero!

It does not matter if you finish first or last. If the intention is right, the hero is revealed.

I remember my first marathon – 26.2 miles – in Chicago. Several of us were having a hard time to get to the finish line: soreness, pain, cramps, nausea, you name it. Then this runner, who had already finished the race and was now back to mile 25 to encourage other runners, said “Don’t give up! You are almost there! Finish and you will be a marathoner and no one will ever take this away from you!” This was the last encouragement I needed. I don’t know who he is, but I will never forget his words! Encouraging others, helping each other, this is the spirit real heroes are made of!

Long distance running gives you a chance not only for you to become a better athlete, but to become a better human being.

Talk to the American Heritage Long Distance runners. Ask them about the excitement and joy of victory. They will tell you about pain and glory! Ask them about the joy of progressing and seeing effort pay off. They will tell you that they have learned that you get from it what you put into it.

And here’s what you put into it: miles and more miles. You build endurance first, and then speed. You come to your first 5 kilometer race – 3.1 miles – and you doubt you will be able to finish it. But you finish it: running, jogging, walking, or crawling. It does not matter. You finish the race! Finishing is the first victory! Finishing is a victory in itself! And afterwards, it gets easier. And you get better. And you get faster. And after a while you find yourself running against your old self, trying to run faster than you did before, competing against yourself. You are hooked. You have a passion that will keep you active and healthy for the rest of your life.

We have a great Cross Country program at American Heritage, but we want more. We are building a top-of-the-line program here and we want the best! I am inviting you to come out and join the team and be part of history in the making! I encourage you to try and to experience the noble and special fiber you are made of. I challenge you to be the best you can be and get to know, maybe for the first time, the hero inside!

Coach Piero – August 30th, 2005

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www.PieroFalci.com


 

The gift of the one who finished last

Yesterday, when the race was long over for the majority of runners, when the medals for the winners had already been given out, when exhibitors were packing and leaving, I saw her approaching the finish line.

There she was, in her final yards, all by herself. Her contortoted body and tense face revealed the pain she was going through. As she could barely move, it was difficult to tell if she had a physical impairment or if she was just struggling with a body that had very little left to give.

By then, there were just a few of us left on the sidelines, and we cheered her up with more intensity than we had applied to cheer the winners of the race.

She crossed the finish line and I was moved to tears.

She didn’t get a medal but she touched my heart more deeply than those who did.

She is the one runner, in that race, who I will remember more than any other else.

It is not always the one who wins who leaves the deepest mark.

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Yes, I admire the winners. I admire those who dedicate themselves to a goal and give their best to win. They deserve praise… But I guess that, at this stage of my life, I am more sensitive to the stories of those who finish last than of those who finish first.


 

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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Medals and Trophies

During the eulogy at a funeral mass I recently attended, the officiator said, “In the end, it doesn’t matter how many medals and trophies, or how many titles and belongings you may have been able to accumulate. What really matters is how you treated others, and what you did for them, especially those who needed the most.”

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I feel that, in our modern world, we are living in a completely unhealthy state of constant comparison and competition. Everybody is seeking medals and trophies. We are living in an environment that keeps telling us that if we are not the winners, than we are nothing.

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Sadly, instead of celebrating their achievement as the second best in a tournament, I’ve heard them saying, “To finish in second place is a great defeat, a great embarrassment. We can’t celebrate that we are the first among the losers.”

Isn’t this sad?

I think it is very, very sad!

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It is unfortunate that we have so little self-esteem and so little knowledge of who we really are — eternal spiritual beings having temporary human experiences — that we need to derive our sense of worth from constantly comparing ourselves with others. The focus seems to be always on the outside, not on the inside. It seems that we are in a constant battle to have more and be better than someone else. This is such a common obsession in our days that we don’t even notice the level of absurdity and insanity it has reached.

Everything triggers competition. Everything becomes an opportunity to prove that I am better, that my belongings are better, that my team is better, that my school is better, that my culture is better, that my religion is better, that my race is better, that my ideology is better, that my political party is better, that my country is better, that my tribe is better, that my gang is better, that my ideas and initiatives are better.

Everything becomes a dispute to prove that we are right and you are wrong, we are good and you are bad, we are strong and you are weak, we are intelligent and you are stupid, we are winners and you are  losers, we are superior and you are inferior.

These are all activities that stem from the ego. The more one engages in them, the stronger the damaging grip of the ego becomes.

It seems that a great number of adults — sometimes it seems to be the majority — got stuck in the muddy field of the insecurities of their youth, unable to move on, grow, evolve. Every situation becomes an opportunity to put down, make fun of, and torment others. Every situation is used to belittle and bully, and squash someone else’s self-esteem. But the truth is that making others feel inferior does not makes us superior; it only makes us despicable.

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“Give all to the winner and nothing to the loser! Give all to the strongest and nothing to the weakest!”

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Many of those who we admire, or have admired in the past — the tough competitors, the overachievers, the hard workers (or should we say, workaholics?), the tough talking political leaders — have proven to be sick, unethical, egoistic individuals obsessed with winning at all costs, no matter who they would hurt on the race to the top. Lance Armstrong, for instance, is one of many who come to mind.

But where does this need to prove that I am better — that my team, country, gang is better — comes from? Where this obsession with competition and winning at all costs comes from? Does it come from the culture? From the upbringing? From the family environment? From the demands and pressures of competitive sports in early age? From exacerbated fanaticism, nationalism? What makes people so unsure of their worth and so insecure that they feel that they need to prove their value all the time?

Maybe this need to be on the top, to feel important and significant, to prove that one is better, actually comes from years and years of exposure to conditional love; poor, unskilled parenting, marked by abundant criticism and limited praising. Children learned that they would only receive love and admiration if their performance and behavior was pleasing to someone else. This generated beings greatly dependent of external approval.

Maybe those seeking medals and trophies are weak, tormented souls who did not receive enough love, who were bullied when they were younger, who are insecure and unsure of their worth, and therefore live in constant need of accolades, praise, and external approval. They were not loved. They never felt that they were good enough. They came to believe that in order to be loved — in order to be worth of receiving love — they need to prove that they are “someone,” that they are “better.”

“I deserve respect. Look at me. Look at all that I have done. Look at all that I have accumulated. Look at my success. Look how important I am. Look how knowledgeable I am. Look at my credentials. You must come to me. You must listen to me. You must worship me. You must follow me.” Those are the messages these insecure souls are constantly emitting. Their egos crave praise and recognition.

So, while one possibility is that those are individuals who never felt approved or admired, the other possibility is that they have received so much praise when they were young that they became addicted to it, and are in constant crave for more; they need to be the center of attention, and when they are not, they feel deprived.

It’s all very complicated…

I believe that the same need for love, attention, and praise is felt by some of the figures who seek positions of power and authority. Haunted by their insecurities, they become so obsessed in proving their value and superiority that they don’t care about others. They need to be in control. No one else’s ideas are good, only theirs. No one can initiate anything without first getting their approval. Teamwork is good as long as the team is working for them and in their projects. Does a boss come to mind? A friend? Maybe a dictator?

Hitler is an  example of one of those who, in his pursuit to prove that he, his ideas, his “race,” his country were “better than,” brought great pain and suffering to the world. He influenced and created hordes of insensitive abusers and mobs of assassins who used violence to dominate and conquer without care for others. And, who knows? Maybe he himself experienced abuse when he was young and defenseless. It seems that the fearful and the weak are in a constant struggle to gain and exert power and control. But they lack the skills, the wisdom, the compassion, to properly do so.

This is all very sad… all those tormented souls, those insecure egomaniacs, trying to prove their worth, looking externally for approval and love, creating their own cliques to feel that they belong, seeking to exert power and control to prove their importance, looking for enemies and heralding that it is “us versus them” to justify their existences, and pestering the lives of others… What a pitiful existence!

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I invite you to engage is some inner investigation and ask yourself what is going on?

I invite you to recognize your ugly ego at work, seeking approval and admiration.

I invite you to gently humble yourself, turn around, and focus on generously giving of yourself to others.

I invite you to go beyond love of team, love of family, love of country, love of gang.

I invite you to open your heart, love yourself deeply, and then love everyone.

I invite you to create an opening and find common ground so you can come to that place where you are able to love your enemies.

I invite you to recognize that we don’t need to compete so fiercely, and that we would do much better cooperating with one another.

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Observe how people behave in the aftermath of calamities, and see the goodness that exudes when people are selflessly helping people. What a wonderful feeling this is! Those are evolved human beings, communicating with each other, and working together for the common good. These are not inflated egos in need of power and accolades. What matters is working together to alleviate someone else’s pain and suffering. They don’t seek external approval and admiration. The approval that really matters is the one found inside oneself.

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Do you still need some competition? OK. I challenge you to compete with yourself. Strive to be the most selfless and collaborative, and the least competitive, individualistic, egoistic, and selfish human being on the face of this planet ever. Here’s a good goal to strive for. Dedicate your existence to take care of those who need the most, and be the best that you can be at it.

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“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ~ Maya Angelou

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It may be difficult for many to understand, but as part of my reflection about the connection between giving and receiving, I often think about the gift of joy that the team that loses gives to the team that wins. Maybe it’s just me, but think about it.

There’s no giving without receiving.

“In the end, it doesn’t matter how many medals and trophies, or how many titles and belongings you may have been able to accumulate. What really matters is how you treated others, and what you did for them, especially those who needed the most.”

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If you want to explore this further, I invite you to read

The Importance if Praise

The Gift of the One who Finished Last

~ Piero

 


 

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Let’s stay in touch.

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Take a look at my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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Eliminate Fear

We live in a state of fear.

Some scientists believe that this fear was passed on to us by our ancestors and what they had to do to survive. The theory of those scientists is that those who felt unsafe, those who anticipated danger around every corner and believed in the imminent attack of a predator — those who were always on the lookout — were the ones who survived. According to those scientists, we inherited their genes, and with that, their fear and apprehension.

So, many go through life feeling unsafe. Actually, some go through life without ever feeling safe. No matter how much they may have, they feel that disaster is just around the corner, so they are driven to accumulate more and more, without limit. No matter how much they may have, it is never enough. Afraid of losing the means to survive, afraid of losing their jobs, they silently accept and endure abuse. Afraid of losing the support of the communities they belong to, they put up acts to please everyone and upset no one.

Ultimately, just as a child cannot survive without the love of their parents, we seek love and acceptance because we are afraid that without the love of our families and the acceptance of our communities we may not survive. Consequently, we do not show who we really are. We do not disclose our beliefs. We don’t say what we think. We don’t do what we want. On the contrary, we do what others want us to do, say what others want us to say, and repeat without examination the precepts of our tribes, no matter how absurd those beliefs may be. We live inauthentic lives, focused on pleasing others, with devastating consequences to our spiritual, mental, emotional and physical health.

We live with ever present worries about our health and survival. We live with fear of death.

Dominated by all this fear, worries, and stress, we live miserable lives, always on the verge of a breakdown.

So, the questions are, “What can we do? How can we develop a sense that we are safe?”

Well, to begin with, we have to eliminate as much fear as possible from our lives. We can engage in practices that will help us replace this negative mindset with a more positive one. With practice, we can reach a state of mind that allows us to feel safe and protected, and feel that everything is OK, or is going to be OK.

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay then it’s not the end.” ~ Fernando Sabino, Brazilian writer.

How do we create a feeling of safety and protection? Well, psychotherapy certainly helps, but I want to suggest the practice of meditation and creative visualization. Meditation allows us to reach a state of calm and relaxation, and when we are calm and relaxed, visualization can more easily and effectively instill positive thoughts in our minds.

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Whatever we want to achieve, starts with a vision. When we visualize, we talk to your subconscious in a language that your subconscious understands. With visualization we can imagine and re-imagine situations that produce and enhance feelings of safety and protection. Such exercises allow us to believe in good and abundance. They enhance our confidence in better tomorrows. They allow us to acquire new understandings about life and death that are capable of bringing about peace and tranquility.

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We can live fearlessly. And the way of achieving this stress-free, worry-free, fear-free state is by retraining our minds.

Be not afraid.

Be fearless.

~ Piero

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Learn about upcoming workshops and retreats at the Peaceful Ways website www.peacefulways.org

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Buy my books at the Peaceful Ways online store

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– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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How Grateful I Am

How grateful I am for my life.

How grateful I am for this experience, this journey, this adventure.

How grateful I am for all the opportunities I have to learn and to teach.

How grateful I am for this Universe where I exist.

How grateful I am for all the beauty that surrounds me.

How grateful I am for the wonders that are all around me.

How grateful I am for everything and everyone.

How grateful I am for the opportunities I have to give of myself to others.

How grateful I am for being used by God to bring healing, optimism, joy, and peace to the world.

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I am healthy. My body is perfect. My body is a wonder of the Universe. How grateful I am for my body. It is constantly regenerating itself. It is constantly healing itself. How fortunate I am to have this body of mine. I am so grateful. I feel great!

I am happy. I smile. I am happy and I make others happy. I smile and others smile too. How grateful I am for my happiness, for my positive attitude, for my generosity, for my joyous spirit. I feel so happy!

I feel great. Life is good. Life is great. I love my life. I love this journey. I love this adventure. I am an optimist. My life is wonderful. It had never been better, and it is getting even better. How grateful I am for my life. How grateful I am for my positive attitude and outlook. I feel great. At all times, I feel ready to embrace life and everything it will bring with optimism.

I am strong. My body is strong. My mind is strong. I take good care of both. How grateful I am for the opportunity I have to take good care of my body and my mind. How grateful I am for having opportunities to exercise and meditate. How grateful I am for having learned how to take good care of myself. I have learned to recognize thoughts, emotions, and moods, and I have learned that I can choose to feel great. How grateful I am for having the discipline to do the things that make me healthier and stronger. I love myself. I protect myself. I take good care of myself. I feel so strong and healthy!

I am so successful. I am blessed for all the success that I have. I am blessed and I am a blessing. I give thanks for whom I am. I give thanks for everything I have. I have so much. I am so blessed. How fortunate I am. How grateful I am for everything I have and for everything life gives me. Life keeps giving in abundance. I am successful. I am prosperous. I feel so successful! I am so happy!

I am so peaceful. I am so full of peace. I radiate peace. I am a bringer of peace. I spread peace around me. People feel more peaceful when they are with me. How grateful I am for the peace I have and for the peace I give. How fortunate I am. I feel so peaceful!

I am a blessing to the world. I am a bringer of comfort, peace, and joy to everyone I meet. I am grateful for the opportunities I have to make other people’s lives better. I am grateful for all the opportunities I have to help other people. I give generously of myself and the more I give, the more I get in return. The more I give, the better I feel. How fortunate I am. I feel great. I look for opportunities to help, I help, and I feel great.

I am safe. I am protected. There’s nothing to fear. There’s nothing to be afraid of. God is with me now and always. People come into my life to bless me all the time. New opportunities are opening up for me all the time. Things are always getting better. When one door closes, another opens up, and the one that opens leads me to a much better situation. How fortunate I am that I am guided by the Holy Spirit to where I can learn, teach, be blessed, and be a blessing. I am so grateful for this wonderful adventure I am living. I love my life and I give thanks to the Forces of the Universe that give me such a wonderful experience. I feel great. I feel happy. I am free from all fear. I am full of joy. I am ready to give and to get.

I am perfect, whole and complete. I am unique. I am a unique combination of talents and skills. There’s no one else in the world like me. I am special, valuable and irreplaceable. I give contributions that only I can give. People recognize how talented and special I am. I am admired. I am loved. I stand upright, knowing my value. I am so blessed.

I make the world better, one individual at a time. I bless those that are close to me and also those who are far from me. I pause, I bring them to my mind, those who are still on this planet and those who have already departed, and I bless them with my wishes and visions of happiness, health, peace, prosperity and love.

I love and I am loved.

I am peaceful and I spread peace.

Life is good! Life is great!

I love my life.

I am grateful.

Gratitude is the key that unlocks the doors to enter the Kingdom.

www.PieroFalci.com


 

Peaceful Planet – 5 Steps to Peace

Many individuals ask me how we can bring peace to the world.

I am convinced that lasting peace demands inner work.

I believe that world peace – social, economic, and political peace – comes first from an inner exploration and examination of our own beliefs, and second from the commitment to courageously discard those beliefs that do not work while embracing those that do work.

And which are the beliefs that demand deeper examination?

Neale Donald Walsch, the author of the Conversations with God book series, listed five main beliefs (he calls them ‘fallacies,’ or false beliefs) that produce conflict. Here’s what he has to say:

There are Five Fallacies about Life that create crisis, violence, killing, and war.

– First, the idea that human beings are separate from each other.

– Second, the idea that there is not enough of what human beings need to be happy.

– Third, the idea that in order to get the stuff of which there is not enough, human beings must compete with each other.

– Fourth, the idea that some human beings are better than other human beings.

– Fifth, the idea that it is appropriate for human beings to resolve severe differences created by all the other fallacies by killing each other. 

The world is a manifestation of our thoughts and feelings. Peace, or lack thereof, is based on how we see the world, and of how safe, or unsafe, we feel. So, my answer to the question of how we bring peace to the world is the following:

Examine your beliefs. Engage in spiritual practices, have epiphanies, and experience oneness. Feel safe, protected, and free from all fear. Relax. Accept that:

1 – We are not separate from each other. We are interconnected. We are One.

2 – This is a world of abundance. There is more than enough for everybody to survive and be happy.

3 – There is no need to compete, to be better than, to win, to put others down. We can choose to cooperate and support one another in creating lives that allow each one of us to give our best contribution to the world.

4 – Since we are all parts of the same whole, every part is indispensable to the whole. No one is more, or less than the other. Every part is valuable and essential.

5 – There’s no need to kill.

These beliefs, once they become the prevailing ones, will manifest a new and peaceful world.

I am safe.

I am protected.

There’s nothing to fear.

 

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Here are the “5 Steps to Peace:”

Peace will be attained when we, as human beings…

1 – Permit ourselves to acknowledge that some of our old beliefs about God and about Life are no longer working.

2 – Explore the possibility that there is something we do not understand about God and about Life, the understanding of which could change everything.

3 – Announce that we are willing for new understandings of God and Life to now be brought forth, understandings that could produce a new way of life on this planet.

4 – Courageously examine these new understandings and, if they align with our personal inner truth and knowing, enlarge our belief system to include them.

5 – Express our lives as a demonstration of our highest beliefs, rather than as a denial of them.

~ Excerpt from The New Revelations: A Conversation with God by Neale Donald Walsch

It is a beautiful life. It is a beautiful world. Be not afraid.

Watch the video:

Piero Falci on One Planet United

www.humanitysteam.org/5-steps-to-peace

www.PieroFalci.com

 


 

 

Justice through Peace

I have been reflecting on how to bring about change with minimum conflict.

Is it possible to bring about social justice without violent confrontation, and without fueling negative emotions such as anger, hatred and resentment?

Is it possible for social reform to take place peacefully?

Is it possible not only to maintain, but actually to enhance peace during times of change?

Is it possible to bring about justice through peace?

It is my belief that the best way to promote change is to change your own self first, and then inspire in others the desire to change.

I have been asking myself how to inspire those who detain power to do what is right and just. How do we persuade them to become champions for justice, and defenders of significant causes such as assuring everyone the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How to persuade them to stop the selfish accumulation and concentrate their action in helping others live a free and dignified life, not only with opportunities to pursue, but actually with real chances to achieve happiness?

I still don’t have satisfactory answers to those questions, but I am leaning toward the idea that humanity is in need of a new paradigm, a new way of thinking, one that values cooperation more than competition, selflessness more than egoism, and generosity more than greed and tightfistedness. It is my belief that in order for this new paradigm to grow and become prevalent, we need to guide more and more individuals to engage in spiritual practices that can allow them to have those mystical experiences that reveal our spiritual nature and oneness. Those are the experiences that enhance empathy, compassion, generosity, and solidarity.

While thinking about all these things, a speech delivered by my son, when he was 14 years old, came to my mind. Here’s his speech, where he quotes Dr. King:

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Nonviolence
Speech by Mateus Falci
The 17th Annual MLK Jr. Celebration
Coral Springs, 1/12/2007

Hi Everyone

I’m very happy to be here and I want to thank the Martin Luther King, Jr. Committee for
inviting me to speak.

My name is Mateus Falci. I am a freshman at American Heritage School.

We’re here tonight to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and all the hearts he touched.

I’ve always admired Dr. King and I know he certainly left his mark on the nation. I was
traveling throughout Florida and I commented to my dad how many cities have streets
named after Martin Luther King, Jr., and I truly think that is a beautiful thing.

I recently saw Arun Gandhi, Mahatma Gandhi’s grandson, speak in Fort Lauderdale and he spoke about nonviolence. I know that Dr. King was also a great admirer of Gandhi and emulated Gandhi in many ways.

In fact, Dr. King once said, “If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable. He
lived, thought, and acted, inspired by the vision of humanity evolving toward a
world of peace and harmony. We may ignore him at our own risk.”

Seeing and speaking with Arun Gandhi was very cool. He even wished me good luck on
the speech I am giving right now, and I thought to myself, “Now I can’t go wrong.
Gandhi’s grandson himself wished me good luck!”

One thing that always stood out for me and that I admired of Dr. King was his philosophy on nonviolence.

I love Dr. King’s message when he said, “We shall match your capacity to inflict
suffering by our capacity to endure suffering.” I feel it makes so much more sense
than fighting back, because violence only generates more violence. He was so right when  he said, “We’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win
our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves, we will so appeal to your
heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a
double victory.”

Martin-Luther-King-Jr-Memorial-washington-ftr

I look back at history and I notice that many violent revolts failed, but the nonviolent
ones always achieve their goal and are the ones that leave the greatest marks, such as
Gandhi’s for the independence of India and Dr. King’s for civil rights.

Nonviolence also requires the ability to forgive and Dr. King shone through in this too.

I’ve seen the videos of defenseless African-Americans being beaten senselessly and I am always appalled. But I forget I am appalled when I become overcome with amazement over how Dr. King and the African-American community were able to forgive such acts.

Once again Dr. King said, “We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive.
He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love.”

With all the turmoil going on in the world today I believe Dr. King’s message of
nonviolence and forgiveness can easily apply to situations all over the world. From the
war in Iraq to the genocide in Darfur his message is one that can help resolve these
issues.

Dr. King once said this when talking about the war in Vietnam, “It’s time for all people
of conscience to call upon America to return to her true home of brotherhood and
peaceful pursuits.” He continued by saying, “We must work unceasingly to lift this
nation that we love to a higher destiny, to a new plateau of compassion, to a more
noble expression of humaneness.” I feel this message is just as relevant today as it was
then.

Dr. King’s message was of peace, love and forgiveness, and I feel all of us gathering here tonight is very important, because we can reflect on his message and continue to spread it afar.

Thank you.

Friday, January 12, 2007
Coral Springs Center for the Arts

Well said, my son.

I feel blessed. I feel proud. I feel called to action.

http://opunited.org/mcfmlkspeech.pdf

http://opunited.org/newsletter-winter07.asp

http://opunited.org/speaker-mcf.asp


 

 

Promoting Change the Gentle Way

The guys are abusing power, and again you are faced with the question. “What should I do?”

You can let them know that you know that what they are doing is not right, and demand that they change. Well, they already are aware of their wrongdoing, but now, knowing that you don’t approve, and not wanting their power and authority to be challenged, they may try to get rid of you. You may quit or decide to continue fighting for change. You now go full force against them, and denounce them publicly. You let everyone know that what they are doing is wrong. As you antagonize them, they fight back, and things get worse before they get better. You sue them, and get the legal system to force them to do what is right.

In the end, what will the outcome be? What will be accomplished? How will you feel? How will they feel? How will the people affected by the change feel?

This is one way of dealing with injustice. Is there another?

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Let’s begin by reminding ourselves that we are eternal spiritual beings having temporary human experiences. I believe that our job on this Earth is to be love and spread love, to be happy and spread happiness, to be peaceful and spread peace, to be just and spread justice. Our job is to love unconditionally and express ourselves fully and fearlessly.

My advice is to go ahead and try to bring about change. But first ask yourself, “How can I use happiness, laughter, love and peace to promote change and bring about justice?”

You are powerful. Your presence brings healing and peace. You are a mystic without a monastery. Use your power.

Be happy. Spread happiness. Smile, laugh, and make them smile and laugh. Have a good time and make them feel good about themselves. Remind them of how great they are, of their potential to do great things, to do what is right. Love them and let them feel that they are loved.

Do you love them? Can you love them?

We cannot change anyone, but we can inspire others so they develop the desire to change themselves.

Can you be a source of inspiration that will inspire them to do what is right?

Can you inspire them in such a way that they will want to change?

Can you promote change using love, kindness, gentleness, compassion, generosity and peace as your tools?

Try not to engage in a battle of egos. Let go of the need for your ego to prevail.

Speak your truth gently.

What you told me is true: these fights for justice in minor instances allow us to learn, practice and get ready to fight for justice in bigger occasions. Thank you for reminding me of that.

Justice, peace and unity.

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org


 

 

Mystics without Monasteries

The mystical experience is a beautiful occurrence in one’s lifetime, one that profoundly changes those who go through it. Once it takes place, you begin to see things that you weren’t able to see before. You begin to have singular thoughts that are quite different from those you once held. You begin to question the predominant and widely accepted values of our modern, materialistic culture. You begin to reflect on what life really is and why we are here. The mundane themes of conversation don’t seem important anymore. And because your interests change, you begin, involuntarily, to isolate yourself. In the process, you even question your mental sanity.

Since you had a glimpse of what the spiritual realm looks like, not only you want to share this experience, but also want to get together with those who had similar experiences of the Divine, and hear what they have to say. You look for companions for your spiritual journey.

I first heard the expression ‘Mystics without Monasteries’ from my friend Liz. She described them as those individuals who, having had mystical experiences, begin to perceive the presence of the Divine everywhere. This new state of awareness radically expands their understanding of what life is, and alters their behavior in this world, leading them to respond to life’s challenges in non-traditional, somewhat unexpected ways, with much more unselfishness, kindness, patience, generosity, forgiveness and compassion. They become those individuals who emanate a calming energy and whose sole presence brings healing and peace.

I found interesting that when Liz was describing those ‘Mystics without Monasteries,’ I felt that she was describing herself. This is who she is: a calming presence that brings healing and peace.

Liz told me that she heard the expression in ‘Entering the Castle,’ a live lecture on the nature of mysticism by Caroline Myss.

What attracts me in this concept of ‘Mystics without Monasteries’ is the idea that anyone can have a transformational, mystical experience. I am at a point in my life that I want to help demystify the current belief that the mystical experiences are reserved only to a few gifted, highly evolved individuals. I want to demystify the idea that only hard work can lead to a close encounter with the Divine. I want to popularize the idea that anyone can experience communion with God.

How?

Here’s my easy-to-follow 3 step formula:

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1 – Pay attention! Be alert!

The Divine is present everywhere, all the time.

Pay attention! Be alert!

Seek and you will find.

Look and you will see.

2 – Connect. Communicate. Commune.

Seek connection with God all the time.

Communicate with God all the time. Seek to listen to what God has to say to you, all the time.

Reach a state of supreme communion with God, a state where there is no separation. Feel the connection, the unity, the communion. Feel that we, all of us, everyone and everything in the entire universe, are one.

3 – Remember. Recognize. Reveal.

Remember to connect, communicate and commune with the Divine everyday.

Recognize the Divine every moment, everywhere, in every situation, in every person you meet.

Reveal the Divine Presence to everyone you meet. Become a ‘Mystic without a Monastery,’ one of those individuals who emanate a calming energy and whose sole presence brings healing and peace to the world, just like my friend Liz.

There you go: three easy steps that will take you to become a mystic without a monastery. Go for it!

www.PieroFalci.com


 

Peace and Unrest

“Am I doing enough to promote peace?” Knowing that peace is an offspring of justice, and that without justice there can be no peace, peacemakers ask themselves, “Am I doing enough to promote justice?” These are questions that afflict many peacemakers.

It is paradoxical because in order to bring peace to the world, in an effective manner, one must be peaceful. But many bringers of peace live with some sort of peacelessness. “Blessed Unrest,”  the title of Paul Hawken’s book, is what comes to my mind when I think about what moves peacemakers. Promoters of peace live with an inner restlessness that calls them to take action and do something to eradicate violence and bring peace to the world.

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TWO WAYS VIOLENCE MANIFESTS ITSELF

Peace seekers want the end of violence, and the majority of them focus on the end of the so-called Direct Violence, the one that wounds and kills people fast. Unfortunately, few make the connection between this kind of violence and the other violence, the less visible one, the so-called Indirect, Structural, Systemic Violence, the one that through oppression and exploitation erodes hope, and wounds and kills slowly.

The truth is that Indirect Violence engenders Direct Violence. War, terrorism, social unrest, violent crime, and other forms of Direct Violence are rooted in the grounds of social injustice with its utter poverty and lack of opportunities. That is where ideas of change through violent means are born and spread. Social injustice breeds despair which breeds violence. So when violence erupts and becomes visible, we are called to remember the other violence, the one that is not so visible. Peace seekers who want the end of the visible violence are called to work to put an end to the invisible one.

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THE DAMAGING EFFECTS OF EXACERBATED COMPETITION

We live in a non-peaceful world. Unrest seems to be the norm in our modern societies. Many forces are at play to constantly put people in some state of disquiet. Many are pushed to participate in the fight of egos early in their lives. They are taught to see themselves as separated from others, and pushed to prove their superiority in all fronts of life. They grow up being compared with others, and, sadly, they end up living pitiful and unsatisfying existences. They are the ones who are constantly comparing themselves with others. If they are not number one — if they are not at the top — they are not happy. They derive their sense of worth from competing, winning and defeating. Think about it… People are conditioned to believe, for instance, that to finish in second place, even among the best in the world, is reason to be ashamed.

Immersed in an environment of constant comparison and competition — feeling that they are not enough — people are, then, seduced by the promise that they may placate that sense of worthlessness, and the inner void they feel, through consumption, which in many cases may lead to over consumption, uncontrolled debt, and unnecessary accumulation.

Unfortunately, this is the process that down the line fuels exploitation and social injustice. In other words, there are many forces at play that move individuals away from experiencing satisfaction, recognizing who they are — their intrinsic worth — what they already have, and what they have achieved already.

Systems currently in place do not promote self-recognition of one’s innate worth independent of comparison and competition. Systems current in place do not promote gratitude and peace of mind. The prevailing paradigm is that we are separated from one another. Our interconnection, interdependence, and the importance of cooperation is not emphasized.  It seems that we have created a world of perennial unrest and permanent nonsatisfaction; people feel uneasy if they are not competing all the time. People feel guilty if they pause, even if just for a short moment, to appreciate life and give thanks. They feel they need to demand more and more and more of themselves all the time.

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It can be argued that inner peace is independent of external conditions. A destitute man can be peaceful while one who is materially rich and has his physiological and safety needs more than met may live in despair. Wealth alone does not guarantee joy and fulfillment in life. But peace, both inner and outer, is more likely to be found in just societies, those where individuals have organized themselves in such ways that all members have their basic needs met and have opportunities to develop themselves to be the best that they can be in order to give their best contributions to humanity.

By doing what we were brought here to do; by doing what we do best; by doing what we love, we bring our best contributions to the world. By doing all this, we are happy, and simply by being happy we bless the world around us with happiness and peace.

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A society where many of its members live without their basic needs met is not and cannot be a peaceful society. The potential for social unrest is everpresent. Repression and fear can curb discontentment only for a time.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

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The paradox is that in order to promote peace one must be peaceful, while, at the same time, in order to promote justice, the prerequisite for peace, one must experience some sort of affliction. Inner unrest calls for action that many times calls for and brings up social unrest. In order to promote social justice we are called to review the ways we have organized ourselves to live on the planet, and do away with those structures that exploit the vulnerable in order to preserve the privileges of the powerful. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr., known as mighty peacemakers, were leaders of social reform movements which, through the application of nonviolent active resistance, successfully brought about more just societies, while generating no shortage of social unrest in the process.

I am here for you.
I am here for you.

Am I doing enough?

Each individual is different, and each one has different gifts to offer to the world. Some are called to get directly involved in the movements for social change. Some are called to offer support in other ways. Each one shall contribute according to their talents and skills. Some are bold, courageous and outspoken. Others are more reserved. Each one is different. Each one of those who feel called to work for peace must find the way that best suits his personality. We have to find our way of contributing to create a more just and peaceful world.

Working on our own selves to enhance our peacefulness is a must. Many times, the sole presence of a peaceful being softens hearts, enhances compassion, calms down individuals, and brings about more justice and peace to places of conflict.

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In a environment of unrest, where there is so much violence, how can we bring peace? What can we do? What can I do? Am I doing enough?

In all honesty, I don’t have conclusive answers to these questions, answers that could be be suitable for all. I guess each one has to find their own answers. Each one has to find and pursue his or her calling. Each one has to discover the way they feel they are best using their talents and skills to make the world a better place. For instance, my calling is to cultivate my inner peace and help people find and cultivate theirs. This is what I do through my inner work and my writings and workshops.

Am I doing enough?

I am not sure if what I am doing is enough, or will ever be enough, but, at least, I am doing something. I am trying to cultivate inner and outer peace. I am trying to reflect about peace, practice peace, and teach peace. I am trying to bring peace to everything I do, every person I meet.

Like all things in life, there is a circle of causation. It is true that justice is a prerequisite for peace, but I also feel that peace is a prerequisite for justice. Successful promoters of social justice begin with peace in their hearts. I believe that  hateful hearts don’t go far in producing lasting peace. A peaceful society is the result of Social Justice and hearts full of love. The desire to promote Social Justice and the inspiration that will indicate the right, nonviolent actions to be taken are born in the hearts of those who cultivate Inner Peace.

Peace in our hearts brings peace to the world.

Let there be peace on Earth, and let it begin with me.

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If you would like to continue this exploration I invite you to read my books which are available at the Peaceful Ways online store. Let the conversation continue. Thank you. Piero

http://peacefulways.org/store/

Book Cover Image

– “Peaceful Ways – The Power of Making Your Wishes Come True”

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Pay Attention Book Cover

– “Pay Attention! Be Alert! Discovering Your Route to Happiness”

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– “Silent Peace Walk”

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www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.peacefulways.org


 

Peace is an offspring of justice

Imagine waking up every morning and going to bed every night worried about your survival and the survival of your loved ones.

Imagine not having the means to properly provide to your family.

Imagine not knowing if you will have food to eat, water to drink, or shelter to protect you and your loved ones from the rigors of the elements the next day.

Imagine living day in and day out concerned with your physical safety.

Imagine living in a war zone, a refugee camp, or in the middle of the aftermath of a natural disaster such as an earthquake, a tsunami, an avalanche, a forest fire, a tornado or hurricane.

Imagine not knowing if you are going to be able to get medical assistance for you and your loved ones in the event something bad happens.

Imagine being unemployed and not being able to find a job.

Imagine only being able to get low paying jobs that pay by the hour and nothing more.

Imagine living with the fear that you will be completely on your own if you find yourself out of work or unable to work.

Imagine not being able to get a job through which you may make enough to cover the costs of your basic needs.

Imagine living in debt and with the fear of losing what you have.

Imagine feeling like a failure for not being able to provide a worry-free existence for your family.

Imagine living without seeing opportunities that will guarantee a better future for your children.

Imagine having to live like this, unable to realize your dreams, unable to become the best that you can be, unable to give your best contribution to society.

Imagine living day in and day out with this uncertainty, with this impending storm approaching you.

Imagine living all the time with fear of lack, worry, anxiety and stress, and with the feeling that the situation will never get better.

Imagine living without being able to see a way out.

Imagine living in despair, without hope.

Imagine knowing that there is a blue sky of a safe and productive life somewhere, although you are never able to see it because there is a dark cloud of fear constantly hovering over you.

Just imagine.

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Here’s the point… if you do not have enough for your survival you cannot be at peace. Having the basic physiological and safety needs met is a pre-requisite for inner and outer peace. Go back to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Human Needs and check.

Peace is an offspring of some degree of social justice. Without social justice there can be no peace.

But the world does not need to be like this. This is a place of abundance where there is more than enough for everybody. We just need to better organize ourselves. We can do it. It is possible. Believe it!

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org

www.PieroFalci.com

 


 

Existential Discomfort

Francesco Petrarca, often called the Father of Humanism, once said, “Five enemies of peace inhabit with us – avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride; if these were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.”

I experience an existential discomfort. I see too much pain around me. I witness too much injustice and hypocrisy. I see the rich getting richer and the poor getting poorer; rich nations getting richer and poor nations getting poorer, and as this gorge gets deeper and more difficult to cross, I see us becoming less capable of understanding one another.

I wish I could live in a world of economic and social justice, ruled by solidarity, without exploitation. I wish I could live in a world without violence, be it the direct violence that wounds and kills people, or the structural violence that kills people slowly by depriving them of opportunities to experience life to the fullest.

It is a scandal to live in a world where thousands of people die everyday of hunger and diseases that are perfectly curable, while so much is wasted in wars and frivolities. It is revolting to see exploiters making in one day what the exploited will not make in a lifetime. It is heartbreaking to live in a divided world where leaders of nations, instead of engaging in mature, respectful, and constructive interaction for the improvement of life in the planet, act as gang leaders, spying on one another, undermining each other, acting in immature ways that create unnecessary tension and conflict. It is also sickening to observe how people ignore the moral mandate to care for the downtrodden.

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The truth is that we, human beings, can evolve. We must remember that what is morally right always prevails. We should always have in mind the greater good, what is best for all, and work for the advancement of all humanity. Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or the darkness of destructive selfishness. This is the judgment. Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

We should renounce our selfish impulses to solely seek personal benefit with complete disregard for the well-being of others. We should leave behind the selfish drive to advance our own personal agenda, or the narrow agendas of the groups we belong to, without concern for the distress we may bring to others, here or in other parts of the world. We must remember that the pain we inflict upon others inevitably comes back to trouble us, one way or another. What goes around, comes around. We must refrain from exploiting others because there is no victory in exploitation; only defeat.

I live in the United States of America, and no matter how poor I may be, I am fully aware that I am amongst the richest people on the planet. I am aware that directly or indirectly, either as a stockholder or as a consumer, I benefit from injustices and exploitation that are taking place somewhere in the world. I am not innocent, and I don’t claim to be.

www.PieroFalci.com

www.SilentPeaceWalk.org