Changing the world, one individual at a time.

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Changing the world is no easy task. As for world peace? For many people that would seem to be beyond impossible.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that people aren’t trying to achieve these ambitious goals. One such group is the World Peace Initiative Foundation, a group that hopes that by spreading inner peace in individuals, peace will be reflected in larger society as a whole.

Cholpon Zhunusova, Asian Project Coordinator and mindfulness trainer at the World Peace Initiative, explained the link between meditation and world peace.

“Through meditation you are able to connect with yourself, understand yourself, accept yourself, respect yourself and clear your mind. All these things lead to inner peace, becoming more aware, more mindful, and help to develop compassion. Self-love, respect, acceptance, and compassion will help to build sustainable peace in the world.”

It is an idea that is certainly applaudable and the foundation seems to be doing its job on an individual level. In fact, their staff is made up of young people from various countries throughout the world and they have offices in Thailand, the UK, and Peru.

One of their major activities is organizing ways to spread mindfulness to a large number of people through their “Peace Revolution” programs. According to the website of the Peace Revolution, they aim to “promote the culture of peace through the practice of meditation and mindfulness.”

The peace program consists of a 42-day free online program as well as the mindfulness and meditation retreats and courses that the group holds throughout the world.

Of course, running a free program means the group is able to reach a large number of people. In fact, the group says that they have had a massive 55,000 users from 235 different countries and territories start their online program since 2008.

The numbers for real life interactions are arguably more impressive. Their promotional video says they have reached over 37,000 people through the group’s local initiatives.

But what do the people who attend these events and take these online courses actually get from their experience?

Cholpon explained that at their workshops people come away with six different takeaways. These are that they to, “learn to live in the present, learn to be mindful, reduce daily stress, find harmony between work and life, to learn to connect with themselves, and to understand the purpose of life.”

These workshops are run by mindfulness trainers like Cholpon, many of whom have become mindfulness trainers after completing the World Peace Initiative’s courses themselves. This is testament to the strength of the courses that the group is running.

Cholpon explained about how the course helped her, despite the fact that she wasn’t originally even looking for mindfulness.

“I was looking for myself and three years ago I found this program. I started to meditate and then I learned about mindfulness. When I started meditation I learned three things: to live in the present moment, to let go, and to live without expectations.”

Of course, many people may not even be sure what mindfulness is. Cholpon explained it simply as:

“Mindfulness is being present and aware of what you are doing. Usually human beings don’t live in the present, we think about the past, which we cannot change or we worry about the future, which is unknown […] because of this, mindfulness helps us to be in the present and to be aware of every single action that we are doing, how we are feeling, and how we are responding to different challenges and outcomes.”

Of course, if everyone had to attend a workshop to become mindful, the road to world peace would be a slow one. However, Cholpon was keen to point out that anyone can practice mindfulness.

“Mindfulness is closely related to meditation. Meditation is the time for yourself, to know yourself and connect to yourself. Meditation is a very simple tool, there is no need to spend a lot of money or have access to great knowledge but you do need a little patience and discipline to meditate for 10-15 minutes a day in the morning and in the evening.”

In terms of the first steps that people can take, she mentions that simply observing yourself can help to start bringing about positive changes.

“Observe yourself while you wake up, take a shower, eat, and talk. Observing helps you become mindful.”

Really, it is significant that she mentions these simple small steps. If observing yourself while doing everyday activities can help bring about positive changes in your life, then why can’t these positive changes to the individual lead to something bigger?