Yesterday we spent the day in Oxford attending Peace in the Park – The Festival of Spirit. This was held in the beautiful grounds of the Global Retreat Centre at Nuneham Park; a remarkably peaceful place.
The Retreat Centre is run by the Brahma Kumaris who work around the UK in local communities teaching Raja Yoga as a way to experience peace of mind and a positive approach to life.
Brahma Kumaris is also a worldwide spiritual movement dedicated to personal transformation and world renewal. It was founded in 1937 in India and is now spread over 110 countries on all continents. Their commitment is to helping individuals transform their perspective of the world from material to spiritual.
From the moment we drove through the gates we seemed to shed our ‘everyday skin.’ Kindness seemed to envelop us from all sides; every member of the parking team waved and smiled and welcomed us in. The people checking our tickets were helpful and calm and always ready to answer questions. We were given a programme and a map (it’s a big park)
The aim of the weekend was to bring together people from all corners of the UK to experience the dream of peace for our world. The event was free, and every single volunteer and performer offered their time out of love, meaning the event was open to everyone, no matter what their income. At the Retreat Centre, they rely totally on donations to keep the magnificent historical building, and its grounds open.
There was a wide list of events we could choose to attend in various large tents dotted around the grounds. The atmosphere was very relaxed and one could dip in and out of any class at will. Many people just laid on the grass and subconsciously soaked up the sounds, the music and the peaceful words. Some chose to attend guided meditation in the ‘Imagine Pavilion’, others liked the ‘Emergency Optimist’ (brilliant – a few minutes with helpful ideas resulting in a new way forward, or at the very least, helping you find some powers you didn’t know you had). There were sessions called ‘Answers to Life, the Universe and Everything,’ with various guest speakers. We attended one with Mike George, a favourite speaker of ours and we were inspired by his take on dealing with life and coping strategies. It is always encouraging when you encounter someone who is in such a good place; has been through many stresses in their earlier life but has come shining through. ( And can be lighthearted too)
There were too many classes of interest to mention here, but there truly did seem to be something for everyone, including fun and creative classes for children. There was ‘Tea Under the Trees’ providing free tea and coffee for all, and there were food tents selling wholesome vegetarian food. As we walked around, we visited the chapel, where there were musical events taking place, and stood and looked at the amazing angel sculptures dotted among the trees.
After a day full of inspiring events and musical interludes, the event was brought to a close with a ‘Meditation for the World’ on the main stage, with beautiful music an inspiring words, and was followed by the Peacemaker Concert with Lucinda Drayton, Marcus Cliffe and friends. Lucinda’s voice is truly that of an angel; indeed she finished with the song ‘A Hundred Thousand Angels’ which has become a classic all around the world.
As we walked back through the newly cropped fields with the warm sun on our backs we didn’t really want to leave. We had chatted to friendly strangers, hugged people we didn’t know, had meditated, listened to an outpouring of wisdom and been poleaxed at times with emotion. We were tired. We wanted to stay in the bubble of peace and gentility, in a place where everyone seemed good. And kind. And cared. Really cared. And accepted us for who we were without needing to know where we had come from, or what we did for a living. We wanted to stay in a world where everyone was free to love, and live and let live.
Of course, when I woke up this morning I was home in the real world with its usual stresses and strains, worries and yes, sometimes fears. And I know that life will never be perfect and peaceful all the time – (though maybe it could be if we all prayed hard enough!) But part of me is still back in the park, and I hope I can remember for a long time some of those words of wisdom.
‘Consider for a moment this special day….think it…feel it…experience it…know it…enjoy it….’
Blessings to you …...