The UNIVERSAL HOUR OF PEACEstory
by Mari Hamersley
The Universal Hour of Peace iscurrently celebrated from 11:30 p.m. December 31st to 12:30 a.m. January 1st.
This is how it began — an idea, an ideal, a vision, and a practice that had the power to uplift the consciousness of every individual on Earth who chose to participate. And the ideal was that every sentient being on Earth would participate by dedicating one hour a year to peace. This would be the same hour all around the world and there would be an incredible unity of consciousness.
The vision of the Universal Hour of Peace to unite all people of the Earth toward a common pursuit of peace of mind was motivating and inspiring. Immediately individuals began to imagine how this simple act of an hour of peaceful thought and action could change their world and how that would increase in power with thousands of others of like mind participating as well. The potential was immense.
At the hour of 4 am in Los Angeles, noon in London, 5 pm in New Delhi, or 9 pm in Tokyo millions of people would be creating a common consciousness and action of something as holy as peace. What a transformative experience for an individual’s growth in consciousness and in building a true connection with others. And the benefits to humanity as a whole would then follow from the individual’s elevated thinking. This could be the shift needed to bring about a world free from war, a world in which people respected and valued others for their special understandings, a world in which aiding others became the common theme rather than fighting crime. These, and many more benefits are results of a peaceful heart and mind.
The recognition among the leaders of SOM was almost instantaneous. How right, how apt and how needed was an action of this magnitude. Whether used to meet the needs of humanity for a calmer, more productive existence or aiding humanity to evolve its consciousness for the new millennium, the next stage of our growth to becoming spiritually enlightened, the Universal Hour of Peace would aid millions. And it was only natural that this would be developed by the School of Metaphysics. For 22 years, the School had been teaching individuals how to create peace within themselves through meditation and other spiritual practices. This concept of peace is, in fact, part of the mission of the SOM. It defined and furthered the evolved description of our mission to promote peace, understanding and goodwill within Self and among all people to aid any individual to become a Spiritually Enlightened Being.
The “Andres” referred to above was Andres Guevara, a SOMA member, who had journeyed with his family from Venezuela to Chicago, then had made a 600-mile trip to the College of Metaphysics, having felt compelled to come. Speaking with Dr. Barbara Condron, he asked about worldwide internet connections. This stimulated a thought in Dr. Barbara’s mind of the need for the School of Metaphysics to unite humanity in some way.
Then in a meditation, she received insight for how this could be done. The idea received in the conscious mind, creation began. The idea was then developed further. The Universal Hour of Peace invited people of all nations, cultures, and creeds to join together in creating peace on Earth by dedicating their thoughts and actions to peace within Self and with others for one hour a year at noon Universal Time (Greenwich Mean Time). This simple request appealed to multitudes of people, encouraging them to experience peace in any way that was meaningful to them.
Then it was time to share the vision with others. From August through October, letters were rapidly sent to spiritual leaders of all religions, United Nations’ ambassadors, co-sponsors of the l993 Parliament of the World’s Religions, heads of state, Fortune 500 corporation chairmen and CEO’s, professors, media correspondents — anyone who had the ability to encourage and inform others. Those who supported the idea of peace in the SOM centers contacted governmental leaders to ask that the Universal Hour of Peace be proclaimed for their cities and states. And individuals told friends and co-workers. Almost immediately, letters, internet communications, and signed Pledge for Peace cards poured in to SOM headquarters from around the world.
On October 24, l995, the Universal Hour of Peace was celebrated. This first year, it was designed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the United Nations and the autumnal equinox. The United Nations is an organization which was founded to unite the world’s nations by resolving conflict and encouraging peace between governments.
It was a day looked forward to with anticipation, planned for (as it was quite early in the day or late at night for some parts of the world) and then practiced with reverence. Experiencing it, there was a very unique and special quality, a perceptible unity of mind with others that can only be experienced in living a common ideal.
After the hour of peace, participants were invited to write in to the SOM Headquarters to share their experiences. Some had spent time with their families, others had meditated individually or within a group, some had imagined what world peace would be like, and others had sent thoughts of love throughout the world. Whether alone or with others, the consensus was the same–what a profound and transforming experience the Universal Hour of Peace had been for them. They felt different, better, united with others, and aware of how even one hour of peace could change their lives.
The second Universal Hour of Peace was moved to January lst at noon GMT in order for people around the world to begin their year in the spirit of peace. Individuals discovered that a whole year can be changed in starting out this way, by creating a consciousness that lingers in one’s awareness and rests gently in all one’s interactions. Because this hour of peace had been practiced, the learning could be realized from it. And it was memorable because of its beauty, simplicity and rightness. Those participating made an inner and outer commitment to peace which enabled them to have the power to look at the world in new, more positive ways and to enrich any of their relationships. And this opens up doors to spiritual growth.
In l996, the idea of a global hour of peace developed further. “Living peaceably begins by thinking peacefully” became the motto. Moreover, it identified the consciousness that produces peace and reflected well one of the Universal Truths taught in the School of Metaphysics, “As above, so below.”
The document, the Million People for Peace, a kind of petition, came into being as well. Our goal is to gather the names of one million people dedicated to world peace by the year 2000. This will then be presented to world leaders at the time of the Millennium as a powerful statement of humanity’s conviction that the state of peace is the only way to live.
The Universal Peace Covenant, a beautiful document describing the principles of peace was drawn up by teachers and leaders in the School of Metaphysics in l996.
Drawing from their life experiences, from their inner wisdom, and from Universal Truth, they identified concepts of the essence of peace. This has been shared with both individuals and other organizations that are dedicated to world peace.
During l997 and l998, the expansiveness of the ideal continued, with even greater contact and communication from individuals, spiritual leaders, and peace organizations. The goal of the Million People for Peace is becoming a reality. The formation of an SOM website on the internet (www.som.org) aided in reaching out to thousands of people yearly to let them know about the invaluable, transforming experience that the Universal Hour of Peace is.
There have been high points in our efforts so far. Certainly one was receiving a plain, small postal card from India, with Mother Teresa’s sincere message supporting the Universal Hour of Peace. Even to hold it in your hands was remarkable because it was so filled with love. And then receiving a letter from a king–King Hussein of Jordan, and from so many other world leaders, showed us that there are enlightened leaders in the field of government as well who are willing to work for world peace. Additionally, the erection of the Peace Pole at the College of Metaphysics, proclaiming “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in four different languages, reminds us that we are connected with over 65,000 others who have planted peace poles.
Perhaps the simplest, but most repeatedly inspiring, aspect of the Universal Hour of Peace is the many letters received from thousands of people, very much like you, who have dedicated themselves to creating peace in Self and in the world. We know that this is where peace will truly begin, with individuals united in the common ideal of Peace on Earth. The creation of peace in the hearts, minds and actions of humanity is a dream that may very soon become a reality bringing about a more peaceful fulfilling existence for all of Earth’s inhabitants.
To become one of the Million People for Peace visit the School of Metaphysics' website at www.som.org.
May Peace Prevail on Earth.•
The Universal Hour of Peace symbol
Copyright® 2004, School of Metaphysics