Peace Wheel Meditation
by Dr. Lorne Ladner PhD
As you begin turning the peace wheel, recall the wishes, prayers and aspirations for peace and compassion within it from so many faith traditions and individuals around the world. Connect with your own aspirations for peace and compassion for yourself and others.
Imagine that the peace wheel itself begins drawing all the suffering related to war and hatred into itself. You may think of the suffering of parents who have lost children or of children who have lost parents, imagining that suffering being drawn away and dissolving into the peace wheel. There are countless variations on the sufferings that come from a lack of peace in the world: people dying, being injured, losing loved ones, becoming traumatized, experiencing fear and terror, losing their homes and communities, experiencing hunger and thirst, becoming hopeless and disconnected from the best in themselves. Contemplate the many variations of horror that come from war and from a lack of genuine peace, and imagine all of it being absorbed into the peace wheel and dissolving within it. You may also wish to imagine weapons and tools of war being absorbed and dissolved into the peace wheel (as swords can be melted down to then be turned into plowshares).
Also imagine all of the anger, hatred, mistrust, rage, paranoia, fear and cruelty in the hearts of people and imagine that all of that also gets absorbed and dissolves within the peace wheel. It is only by facing and dissolving these sorts of emotions and experiences within the deep capacity for compassion that lasting peace can come. So, take all the hatred in the world and dissolve it into the peace wheel.
As you think of specific conflicts in the world—of specific groups of people who have waged war, committed acts of terrorism, committed war crimes, engaged in genocide, or done horrifying acts of cruelty—you may notice difficult feelings arise within yourself. This is part of the practice of the peace wheel. Notice those difficult feelings. Acknowledge them as parts of your own human experience. You are not alone in having such feelings. Then release those feelings and imagine them also being absorbed and dissolved into the peace wheel. Let yourself be lightened as you allow your feelings to be let go, recognizing that giving peace to yourself in this way is part of the process of bringing peace to the world.
Use the above descriptions as a basis for your own improvisations, allowing whatever arises related to the lack of peace in ourselves and in the world to absorb and dissolve until you experience some sense of peace or equanimity within yourself.
Then continue turning the peace wheel and imagine the energy, light or prayers for peace, love and compassion going out from the wheel. Imagine that it reaches all beings giving them experiences of being loved and living in peace. Visualize that that energy gives each being what they most need: loving families; healthy, peaceful communities; safe homes; beautiful environments; food and drink; meaningful work; opportunities to serve those around them. You may imagine people who formerly feared or hated each other gathering in friendship and mutual respect or people treating each other with deep kindness. Imagine old wounds being healed and the world as you wish it to be and as it can be when people are motivated by an altruistic love that includes all people. Imagine people you thought of earlier as suffering and see them smiling and feeling safe and at peace.
Include yourself. Imagine the energy and light of the prayers from all those traditions within the peace wheel flowing into your body. Recognize how all those prayers from faith traditions and individuals around the planet include the wish for you yourself to have peace! Feel loving kindness, peace and compassion flowing into your body and mind, filling you up with peace. Recognize how your feeling safe, peaceful and deeply connected with love is part of the world becoming more peaceful because you are part of the world. When you feel some of that in yourself, as you imagine that peaceful, loving energy flowing outward, imagine others feeling as you do.