Imagine getting the world to shut up for just one minute

  • Living
  • Friday, 07 Nov 2014

One minute’s silence for global peace at 11:11am every day. Would that be enough to generate peace worldwide? How does it work?

The movement began in the year 2011. The new millennium had sparked off a trend when people started looking for unusual dates to have mass weddings, create celebratory events and such. 

One man, a master called Eternal Light, said that “One Minute Silence @ 11:11 am on 11/11/11” for global peace would start a snowball effect, creating peace around the world. Similar words became popular on the web at the time, and people in the US began synchronising with each other across the Eastern and Western Seaboard to observe one minute of silence for peace.

Why 11:11?

The number 11 is a special number. It stands for the moon in numerology, as well as the mind of man. It is a number denoting new beginnings and renewing cycles. Asian cultures are used to observing numbers such as 11, 101 or 1001 as auspicious.

On that “auspicious” day in 2011 at 11:11am, a group of dynamic people in Malaysia under the banner of Global Peace Day started a new movement for Global Peace. It was conducted at a venue donated by Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew of the Zhang Ho Multicultural Trust at the Mines Resort in Kuala Lumpur.

The Chairman of the event was Dr Amir Farid Ishahak, Qigong Master and Chairman of Interfaith Malaysia. The event was coordinated by the Universal Peace Sanctuary Malaysia and the Tasly Group. Among the directors were Mother Mangalam of the Pure Life Society, Datuk Vaithilingam from the Hindu Sangam, and members from the Buddhist, Christian, Tao, Bahai and Sikh faiths. Also present were members of the Malaysian Consultative Council of Religions.

It was a gathering of people who were in harmony. A sizeable representation were members of the Universal Peace Foundation in India, led by the spiritual master Paramjothy Mahan. About 5000 people turned up to hold a minute of silence for global peace. Since then the event has been an annual affair and “custodians of peace” turn up from all quarters.

This phenomenon is now slowly spreading to other countries as well. In Singapore, the US, Europe and Canada, people who feel the calling get together for a minute of silence every year. It's a peculiar event as people rarely get together to be silent. And yet this positive trend seems to have caught on.

What is its significance?

Some believe that this is a “thought wave” that goes around the globe, creating vibrations of peace calling forth the consciousness of human beings to become attuned to it.

The Global Peace Movement needs a few factors to succeed: faith and belief in the value and need for peace; a critical mass so that the end result is achieved; passing on and practising the one minute of silence every day with others; and a dedication to the cause which is peace.

What does peace mean to you?

Like the proverbial answer in Shakespeare’s A Winter’s Tale, where Cordelia says to her father King Lear that her love for him is like salt, we also may have taken peace for granted. Never more is the importance of peace felt than when it is absent.

(For those who haven’t heard the story, King Lear had asked his daughter how much she loved him. She answered like a pinch of salt. The king was outraged and expelled her from his palace. Before leaving, Cordelia arranged for salt to be left out of the king’s food. Only then did he realise that being loved like a pinch of salt was better than it first appeared.)

Still, there remain pockets of unrest all over the world, despite the general consensus for the need for peace. In fact, this very date 11/11 was declared World Peace Day after WWI. After WWII, it was renamed Veteran’s Day. Now, imagine if it takes on another revival as an affirmative action for peace. (World Peace Day is now celebrated on Sept 21.)

After all, is this world not a one-room schoolhouse with all kinds of people in it? It's up to the peacemakers among us to create the Global Peace Movement, in whichever way we see possible using the building blocks for peace – thought, word and deed.

So would you donate a minute of your time each day for global peace? You can attend the Global Peace Day event on Nov 11, or you can observe silence in your own homes. At 11:11am, quieten your thoughts with the following affirmation in mind:

I am Peacekeeper.
I am Family Peacekeeper.
I am National Peacekeeper.
I am Global Peacekeeper.

You may be surprised by the synchronicity of events that flows into your life as you observe that special peaceful minute every day.

> Dr Sarasijam Nair is a family physician with a practice in Tanjong Sepat. She is the President of Universal Peace Sanctuary Malaysia, an NGO committed to teaching and promoting meditation and peace. Global Peace Day will be celebrated with One Minute’s Silence @ 11:11 am on 11/11/2014. The function is from 10am–noon at the Kalamandapam Hall on Scott Road in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. All are invited regardless of race, colour, creed or belief system, to join in a minute’s silence to make a statement for peace. Admission is free.

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