Reykjavík 2019 The 4th International Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland 30 May – 1 June 2019 Discovering Harmony in a World of Difference – Spiritual Resilience in Practice Our world is characterised by diversity and interdependence. These are the virtues of healthy societies and harmonious ecosystems through which our world has flourished for millennia. However, in our current times the presence of difference can often engender dynamics of tension and anxiety. When people have divergent needs and interests, together with varying degrees of access to resources, opportunities and power, such dynamics can easily
Humility is not subservience or undervaluing myself, but the ability to recognise and bow in front of the greatness of others with true appreciation. Humility emerges when I respect myself, not for my roles or my achievements, but by recognising what I am inside, a well-wishing peaceful being and not dependent on approval from others.
Between every stimulus and response there is a space
A wise man once said, ‘Between every stimulus and response there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In those choices lie our growth and happiness.’
Over the last two years, I have been involved with others in creating and co-ordinating The Harmony Project. This Project, which is hosted by the Sustainable Food Trust (SFT), is a collaboration between four main people: apart from myself, they are Patrick Holden of SFT, the Headmaster, Richard Dunne, already known to some SoH followers, and Nick Campion of the University of Wales Trinity St David (U0WTSD). Then there are others that you might recognise, especially our SoH colleagues Scherto Gill, Sister Maureen Goodman and Sister Jayanti. Someone you won’t know, but who helps me hold it all together is
As part of our 'Wednesday Wisdom' series, in this article we look at 'subtle connections'. "When I see that every living being gravitates towards kindness, care, respect and honesty, even when expressed in just very small gestures, I recall that there are some basic ‘core human values’ which we all have in common."
As part of our 'Wednesday Wisdom' series, in this article we look at 'Self-realisation: I am spirit'. "When I recognise that I am spirit, the eternal life-energy playing my part through my body, all the scattered parts of my life come together and I begin to see the bigger picture."
Sacred Activism and the Freedom to Love: The relationship between science, spirituality and sustainability
On 4 October, another regional Spirit of Humanity Forum event in collaboration with The Schumacher Institute took place in Bristol, UK, on the initiative of Tom Stedall with the support of Jenneth Parker.
Living our values and self knowledge is key to effective action to make the world a safer place – by Dr Scilla Elworthy
Living our values and self knowledge is key to effective action to make the world a safer place
"In September 2017 I published The Business Plan for Peace. The book demonstrates how 25 tried and tested strategies for preventing war can be scaled up and extended over 10 years, with the aim of preventing armed violence worldwide."
An excerpt from 'Peacefulness: Being Peace and Making Peace'. In chapter eight of the book Steve Killelea looks at 'Positive Peace, systems thinking and the problems of our age'. You can purchase the book on Amazon.
Even if Peace is primarily a spiritual or psychological state, nevertheless, we also need to conceive of peacefulness as a set of social relations, including those that a person has with him/herself. In other words, if peacefulness is an inner state, then it will necessarily express itself relationally.
By Marianne Marstrand. Women can play a significant part in the global peace building process. In fact, women, when enabled and empowered, can be true peacemakers and there are many examples from around the world that demonstrate the importance of applying the feminine principle to peacemaking, which itself is nourished by all faith traditions.
An extract from 'Peacefulness: Being Peace and Making Peace', chapter four from Scherto Gill. "In this chapter I explore a different way of understanding community – community as communing and focus the discussion on those conceptions of community that stress the relational nature of our being."
Although this lakota word, WOLOKOLKICIAPI, might be defined by the title of this chapter, the translation is insufficient to capture what it truly means to the people whose language stems from the landscape of their ancestors. Nonetheless, it serves here as a guide for understanding the idea of inner peacefulness. It helps teach us about what conditions can bring us to it and then how to breathe it into all our relations.
By Maureen Goodman: "Asked to consider the connection between inner and outer peacefulness, I have reflected on that which I know best – my own work within the Brahma Kumaris and the work of my sisters and brothers."
By David Cadman: In writing this opening chapter and being mindful of the argument put forward in the Introduction, my proposition is this: peacefulness arises from within us as an expression of who we always have been and of whom we may become. It is rooted in love and compassion and is nurtured by stillness and silence.
'Want to avoid the rise of a new extremism? Values-based schools and a 'cosmocentric' education are the key', writes Neil Hawkes
This grassroots movement is finally being adopted around the world – and not before time, writes one pioneer of character education
Professor. Mike Hardy, Executive Director of Trust, Peace and Social Relations at Coventry University shares his thoughts at the SOH Forum...
"Wouldn’t it be better to focus not on who we were but how we behaved? Are you kind, gentle, are you generous, are you angry? That level of difference would be easier to manage."
Vladimir Yakunin with open, wonderful thoughts from his interview conducted at the 2017 Spirit Of Humanity.
"Very often we trust what we read in newspapers, or see on the TV, taking no efforts to learn or to study. That is a specific feature of human beings, not just to be curious, but to learn and to study. Education to my mind is the core element for future development of peace in the world."
Former Foreign Minister for Iceland (2007-2009) Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottirh spoke to Jim Paymar at the 2017 Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland
"I think they often approach them from an inner place, using their inner values, and it is important for us to not lose this. For me it is important women are to be everywhere decisions are made."
Elmar Givelet lives in Paris and was the youngest participant at the 2017 Spirit Of Humanity Forum. He gave a wonderful talk at the Forum, and here he gives us his thoughts on the Forum itself.
" Everybody here is concentrated in a way that they are interested, happy, here not just to learn but to discover. They are taking their curiosity."
Alexander Schieffer, Co-Founder of Trans4m, Transform Centre for Integrity Development, gave his thoughts on this year's Spirit of Humanity Forum.
"I want to evoke something, we need to activate the collective field of participatory democracy, out of which new visions can rise that we then see reflected in leadership"
Iceland's Foreign Minister address the Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland ahead of this year's Forum.
The challenge is not only to maintain the strong emphasis we place on gender, but also to push for new and innovative ways to further advance the work that is already underway. Only through equality can a society be deemed successful.
Towards inner-outer peace: Cultivating spirituality and relationship
“When we consider the problems our planet is facing right now, it is clear that the power of the human spirit must lead in healing and transformation.” Taken from Maureen Goodman's chapter in Peacefulness.
David Cadman reflects on the Spirit of Humanity since its inception in 2012.
"We try to create a place in which that depth can be accessed. We find that it is almost like providing a doorway into that depth by our silence, the prayers that are given by all traditions, by the energy that is felt by people, that breaks away from some of the static structures of a typical conference, to enable people to find a deeper sense of themselves and then of their lives."
Gudni Johannesson, President of Iceland, gave his opening remarks to this year’s Spirit Of Humanity Forum.
"For as long as there was harm that you could have eased, and there was fair battle you could have joined, but did not, the problems of this world are also your fault."
Scherto Gill speaks to Jim Paymar at the 2017 Spirit Of Humanity Forum in Iceland and looks at peace, conflict and connectedness.
One way to see peace is that it is relational. When peace is relational, conflict is therefore part of peace. Peace is our capacity, our collective capacity and intention to ensure conflict does not turn into violence. ....."
A Peace Booklet by award winning humanist and peace artist, William Kelly and peacebuilder, poet and performance artist Rama Mani is now available.
Lord John Alderdice: "This little book will introduce you to the remarkable way that Rama Mani and Bill Kelly weave poetry and art into a powerful rope that draws us to new insights....."
Lungi Makgoba speaks to Jim Paymar at the 2017 Spirit of Humanity Forum, her second Forum about 'coming home' and how 'love is the most intense power'....
"It is a coming home, to family. It is such an incredibly precious space. This is my second Forum – coming to Iceland, meeting local people, forming bonds of love and fellowship with them....."
Dr Rama Mani, Founder, Theatre of Transformation Academy with some beautiful thoughts shared with Jim Paymar at the 2017 Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland......
"I have come profoundly to know, having spent my earlier professional life working in the political arena, what I realised it is only through the reawakening of our sense of humanity, that needs to be rekindled in each of us..."
Golo Pilz, Adviser for renewable energy for the Brahma Kumaris with an insightful interview looking at climate change and caring for our planet at the recent Spirit Of Humanity Forum in Iceland......
"If we change habits of needing more than we really need we can contribute to climate change in a positive way. But we have to change how we are wired, and meditation is a very powerful tool to initiate such a change.."
Steve Killelea is the founder of the global think tank, the Institude for Economics and Peace. Having given an inspiring talk at this year's Forum, he answered some questions from Jim Paymar.....
"I think the change needs to come from within. It comes about in an age where we are inter-connected. People now start to get disillusioned with the systems, there is a change going on."
Gulalai Ismail, Founder and Chair Person for Aware Girls, gives her thoughts to Jim Paymer at the 2017 Spirit of Humanity Forum on the work she does in Pakistan and some of the challenges she has faced....
"We engage whole communities, holistically. We engage them in dialogue so they can see the importance of what wonders can happen when both men and women are equally contributing to their community."
Professor of Educational Leadership for Change at Fielding Graduate University, Prof. Don Trent Jacob (Four Arrows) sat down with Jim Paymar at this year's SOH Forum... ...
" I think that, the idea of spirits, it is giving significant to other and other is not cut off at the human world."
Clementine Raphel, who helped bring the youth to this year's Forum, shares her thoughts on the Spirit Of Humanity with some quick-fire questions...
"The Spirit Of Humanity Forum is to me a place where I am seen for who I am - a loving and caring soul. It is a place where we recognise the importance of connecting to our deep and true nature."
An open and honest interview with Iceland's Minister of Health, Ottarr Proppe, has been at all of the Spirit Of Humanity Forum since its inception.
"Spirituality is a part of our make up as human beings and communities. It is an instinctive way for us to live together."
Jim Paymar sat down with Alexandra Asseily at this year's Forum. Alexandra has lived in Lebanon and talks about the conflict she has witnessed, and the possible path to resolution.
"My thing is forgiveness, forgiveness of oneself, in order to be less of a projector. If we can feel at ease with ourselves the more we can feel at ease with the other. It is fear that will drive us in the wrong direction."
At the 2017 Spirit of Humanity Forum in Iceland, Jim Paymar sat down with Lord John Alderdice to discuss conflict, bridging divides and the Forum itself.
"Having had a few days space with other people devoted to finding a better way, and in my world in politics, you don’t get that many spaces. There are people here who have experiences who are really good to engage with and learn from."
Maureen Goodman looks at what our collective responsibility towards communities and families directly affected by climate change and towards the generations to come is...
“Whatever we do, whatever place we are in, we should ask first not what shall I do, but what does this place, what does this Earth require of me? In other words we are called not simply to action, but to service. Caring for each other and for the Earth is just that, service, deep service.”
My life has been oxygenated and transformed by powerful bubbles arising without warning, from a deep source, a bottomless lake – by Alexandra Asseily
My life has been oxygenated and transformed by powerful bubbles arising without warning, from a deep source, a bottomless lake.
“How does my voice suddenly sing like an angel, with a song I have never heard before, when asked if I want to open myself to God? It must have hidden somewhere - deep in my lungs, until released in bubbles of pure sound.” An article by Alexendra Asseily
Dr Rama Mani, Founder, Theatre of Transformation Academy, Research Associate and Convenor, Enacting Global Transformation Initiative, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford.
"We are living now through such a moment in human history where we are called, each of us, to build the bridge between personal and systemic transformation. We are called to recognise that the old paradigms have asphyxiated not only our institutions but the very possibility of life on earth. We are called to shape and enact new paradigms that are regenerative and infused with care."
The best-selling author Mike George identifies the signs and symptoms of living the wrong way around.
“It seems the vast majority of us are 'outside inners' as opposed to ‘inside outers’. But we don't know it! We don't realise living from 'outside in' is the primary cause of an unhappy and unfulfilled personal life AND the reason why we see so much conflict in the world around us. But why?”
Ambassador Ragnar Ängeby, a former Swedish diplomat and one of the founders of Spirit of Humanity Forum, presents some thoughts behind the Forum.
“We need to give more space to a humanity that cares for compassion and love, honesty and respect, and other basic spiritual values which are part of our common human heritage.”