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News, insights and experiences from the Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK)
Issue 14 Jan/Feb 2011 Welcome to the Inner Wave. In this issue we look at some aspects of the art of communication. If you would like to comment on anything you read in this newsletter, please do write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All issues of the Inner Wave can be downloaded from www.bkwsu.org/uk/newsletter. Editorial Team
Your Inner Song
Communicating and Connecting
Do whatever you have to do To make silence your friend
Communication is an extremely important part of our lives. As we communicate, we express something of who we are and reach out to the other too. When communication is flowing well, we feel a sense of belonging and can easily begin to identify common ground. This applies, whether I’m communicating with myself, another person or an audience of 500 and also in my relationship with God. Communication is not only verbal; behind what I say is a variety of attitudes, beliefs, values and feelings. We may wish to communicate a particular message but often fill our words with ‘emotional noise’ – our personal feelings, opinions or agendas, which actually distort or override the message. It’s important to be honest and clear – both with myself and others – and to stick to what is relevant and helpful to the other person. Keeping my own self esteem will help me to communicate in a positive way. I have to stop sometimes and say to myself, ‘Hang on, my value doesn’t change with the outcome of this discussion.’ The quality of my communication reflects the quality of my relationships. Spirituality has taught me to give time in my relationships and communication for respect, trust, clarity and openness. Spiritual communication is about
Discover your inner song Of peace And happiness
expressing my own inner goodness and positivity; there is a positive flow of energy between us and each one feels valued and love.
So that its sound Echoes out Across the world
“ Spiritual communication is about expressing my own inner goodness and positivity. ”
Another aspect is the outcome of communication. Sometimes we think: ‘I’ve said and done this and so this should happen.’ However, I’ve forgotten to give space to allow other factors to work and for God to come in between and shape my picture of the future into a masterpiece. For me, that’s watching God at work – seeing things in real time and enjoying the process. Arti Lal is the co-ordinator of Inner Space in Covent Garden, the Brahma Kumaris meditation and self-development centre in the heart of London. www.innerspace.org.uk In My Life
What’s No Words Inside... Needed!
Tuning In To Silence
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke
A Powerful Listener
Masana De Souza
page 3 page 4
No Words Needed!
shade of the palm hut, observing the making of a piece of cloth, basking in the tranquillity of his friendliness. A few weeks later I returned having yearned to feel his peace in the intervening time. This time, I took some sweets which we shared as we drank his tea. Another time, he gave me a lesson in weaving but at no time did we exchange more than greetings in our respective mother tongues. But it never mattered. The following year, I took my new born son to meet Abdul. His whole family was so excited! As I write this, tears well up as I relive those true feelings of kindness and love from this humble and great soul. But I’m sure many people have had similar experiences where the lack of a common language is no barrier to communication. Nevertheless, it is a reminder of how we can connect with simply a look, a smile, a gesture and how something - so in reach of all of us - can enhance and transform passing encounters into lasting friendships. Jayne Beaumont is a writer/broadcaster working mainly abroad in the Middle East and for the United Nations in Vienna. Recently, she has been involved in several women's events with the Brahma Kumaris.
It can be such a joy to meet new people - to communicate and to share stories, ideas, humour! Sometimes it is even enough to be in their company and feel the energy created by their very souls. For a time I lived in Bahrain, a jewel of an island in the Arabian Gulf. The local people in those days made up the majority of the population and could be found in all strata of life from wealthy merchants to village craftsmen. Walking in one of the villages on a warm sunny day where the narrow streets were more like pathways, I came across a hut made of palm fronds, open on one side and housing a wooden weaving frame emitting the rhythmic tapping sound of cotton being transformed into cloth. Sitting behind the loom on a colourful homemade cushion, resting on the rim of a ‘leg deep’ hole in the ground was Abdul, the weaver, who immediately opened my heart with his huge slightly toothless smile.
It a “ weiscanreminder of how connect with simply a look, a smile, a gesture...
At that first meeting he didn’t announce his name. In fact, it was quite a number of visits later before we exchanged such detail. He simply offered me a large cushion to the side of him and poured me a glass of fresh mint tea. It was a kind of meditation to be in the
Tuning In To Silence Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke
The story reminds us that it is in silence that God’s word is heard and God’s presence known. How silently, how silently The wondrous gift is given! So God imparts to human hearts The blessings of his heaven sense our oneness with other people and with all life. Peace and goodwill to all becomes a reality. The gift that God gives in silence stays with us even when the noise of the world drowns the angelic choir, because at any moment we can tune into the silence of our heart. As Helen Keller, who became blind and deaf in infancy, said of her relationship with God: As the sun is in the colour and fragrance of a flower – The Light in my darkness, the Voice in my silence.
have to “ In silence we do notbut sense compete with others,
Why was it, in the Christmas story, that shepherds could hear the message of the angels? Was it that in the fields near Bethlehem in the silence of the midnight hour, listening for any sound from their sheep, they could hear words that were drowned by the noise of the crowded inns? Was it that as simple folk living in tune with the rhythms of God’s creation, there was room in their hearts for the good news?
our oneness with other people and with all life.
In silence, because words may distract us. They can never capture the wonder of God’s glory and God’s love. Indeed, even our words of worship may dull our ears to the whisper of divine love. Words also divide whereas silence is to be shared. And in silence we do not have to compete with others, but
Rev Dr Marcus Braybrooke is an Anglican priest, and President of the World Congress of Faiths, which has shared in several programmes with the Brahma Kumaris, most recently at the 2009 Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne. His publications include Learn to Pray, Beacons of the Light and 1,000 World Prayers.
A Powerful Listener
Masana De Souza
It is said that more than 80% of communication happens not through words but through body language, facial expression, tone of voice or - more subtly still - through our vibrations. So, contrary to what we may think, the most active part of communication is not in the giving but the receiving. often begin to prepare an answer. We bring to the conversation our perceptions of each other, which dictate whether we communicate in a way that is authentic, open and mutually respectful or the opposite, where lots of triggers, blocks and misunderstandings come up. If I’m thinking either about how I’ll respond or some past feeling or opinion about the other, I’m not actually listening - I’m not present for them. As a listener I need to check: am I coming from a place of honesty and respect? If I am, the other will pick that up and be receptive to whatever I say. But, if I’m not, they will seek to protect themselves or be ready to resist or move away. In the past we may have reacted by confronting or avoiding those with whom we are uncomfortable – because we’re actually not comfortable with something within ourselves. When I am comfortable with myself, I’m able to give someone my full, unprejudiced, uncritical attention and just listen - without needing any approval or respect or gratitude. Then it’s as if I’m giving them a gift – and more often than not it’s what they need most. Masana De Souza is a specialist in conflict transformation and consensus building, a counsellor, life coach and facilitator. She has been a student of Raja Yoga for 5 years.
listener I need to “ As aam I coming from check: a place of honesty and respect?
A lot is happening between two people who think they are communicating through words. When we listen to someone, we can pick up what they are about to say before they even say it and consciously or unconsciously, we
National Sewa Day
Children create a good wishes card for the peace tree at Christ Church, Burnage, Manchester, as part of a family day organised by Brahma Kumaris for National Sewa (Service) Day on 21st November 2010. National Sewa Day is a new initiative encouraging individuals and organisations across the UK to come together on one day and make a difference through volunteering. Brahma Kumaris served communities in Cambridge, Leicester, Manchester, West Bromwich and ten locations in the London area. www.nationalsewa day.orgwww.nationalsewaday.org
Combined with God
When the mind is still, silent, detached Then thought becomes a thread That stitches itself to God. To be combined with God brings a consciousness Beyond matter, time, even thoughts. This is enlightenment.
From Reflections for Dawn, Day and Dusk, available from www.bkpublications.com
RECIPE: Chickpea and Yoghurt Soup
4-5 cups (approx. 1 litre) water 3 tbsp plain or gram (chickpea) flour 2 tbsp plain yoghurt Salt to taste 1 cup chickpeas, boiled 1 tbsp butter 1 tbsp dried mint 1 tsp red chilli powder Pinch of asafoetida/hing (optional) From Pure & Simple: Cooking for a Busy Lifestyle, available from www.bkpublications.com 1. 2. Heat the water in a pan. Mix the flour and yoghurt in a bowl until smooth. Take one cup of warm water from the pan, add to the flour and yoghurt; mix until smooth. Return the mixture to the pan of warm water, add salt and stir constantly on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Add the chickpeas. Stir constantly until it comes to the boil then turn off the heat. Put the butter, dried mint, chilli powder and asafoetida into a separate pan and melt. Pour the melted butter onto the soup and serve.
4. 5. 6.
Snapshots from our associate organisations around the world r e n
India: World famous cricketer Sachin Tendulkar presents a cricket bat signed with his good wishes to Sister Rajni (Brahma Kumaris, India) at the launch of a Shaswat Yogic Kheti (Yogic Agriculture) Campaign in Nagpur, November 2010. Mongolia: University students enjoyed an interactive session on the values of non-violence, such as discipline, peace, humility and co-operation run by Brahma Kumaris Mongolia, on the UN International Day of Non-Violence, Mahatma Gandhi’s birthday, October 2nd 2010 in Ulaanbaatar.
Togo: Children learning about how to improve relationships with their friends, parents and in school at a regular Sunday session at the Brahma Kumaris centre in Lomo, November 2010.
In My Life
inside me that most needed to be fixed. I’ve also always seen the importance of being able to say what you want and how you feel. Both these aspects have clearly played a part in my chosen line of work. The ‘desire to fix’ became a spiritual quest, and for many years I searched for God and a better understanding of myself through Christianity, Islam and Black African Movements. Nine years ago I discovered the Brahma Kumaris through a retreat for social workers and experienced the impact on someone of love and generosity that is freely given. My feeling was that, whatever religion was, these experiences/concepts were vital ingredients. the power of silence, keeping a positive attitude, remaining calm, responding and not reacting. I constantly ‘check in’ with myself and with God and ‘check out’ again, and this is invaluable in all situations. Lernor Findlay lives in Croydon and works in Southwark, South London. He is a facilitator of the Brahma Kumaris Positive Thinking course in Clapham, South London.
Learn to meditate
For information about free Raja Yoga meditation courses around the UK: www.bkwsu.org/uk/uk/whatwedo/ courses
I work on behalf of the Local Authority, supervising contact between social workers, children in care and their families. Speaking to unhappy and angry parents, my role is often to break down the ‘social worker speak’ about what has been done or what they have to do and to help them reflect on their behaviour and its consequences for them and their children. Then, when communicating with the children, I have to find the child in me, while being very clear with them; I find they’re comfortable with that. I’ve always had the desire to put right the people and things of this world that ‘need fixing’ – little realising that it was what was
I’ve learned about the importance of positive preparation, the power of silence, keeping a positive attitude, remaining calm, responding and not reacting.
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In my work I encounter angry people who can be violent, yet I’m rarely afraid. I’ve learned about the importance of positive preparation,
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© Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK) The Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University (UK) teaches Raja Yoga as a way of experiencing peace of mind and a positive approach to life. For more information about our activities around the UK, please see www.bkwsu.org/uk
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