It seems like every time we turn on the news, we hear about more terrorist activities, wars, natural disasters, shootings, etc. In these troubled times, the importance of peace in our world increases daily. So where do we start? As a well-known quote states “Peace begins with me.” Thus, our journey to find world peace should begin in our own minds and souls.
There is nothing that can give us greater peace of mind than prayer. The world is a noisy and distracting place. Stresses and worries replace our peace of mind with anxieties about the future, money, family, illness, politics, relationships and more. For some, finding peace seems an impossible goal, but a few minutes in meditative prayer not only will help to change your outlook, but you will find increased benefits in other ways.
According to Psychology Today, there are at least 5 different benefits to praying.
- Improved self-control
- Less anger and more kindness
- More forgiving
- More trusting
- Helps to negate stress (In other words, peace of mind)
Many scientific studies have been done on the physical and emotional benefits of prayer, but one that is most often referred to is the importance of peace of mind. Let’s examine for a moment how you feel when you feel happy. According to an article put out by the “Greater Good” website (University of Berkeley), when you are happy the following events happen in your body:
- Your heart rate and breathing slow to normal
- Your brain produces endorphins making you feel better and giving you more energy
- Your immune system is boosted
- You tend to have less aches and pain.
Just spending a few minutes a day in prayer can increase your overall health both physically and emotionally.
When we feel this good, then we are able to deal with the stress, crisis and worries in a more relaxed and logical manner. As the following quote states “Peace does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” (Author unknown) When we feel good, we spread positive feelings around us. If we are at peace within ourselves, then we can begin to share that feeling with others.
This brings me to the idea that by starting with the one, we can create a ripple effect that will spread throughout our communities. Many cities have begun programs to help their communities create more positive atmospheres through service, teaching and research. One of these cities is Toronto. To create more peace in Toronto (and surrounding areas), organizations are being created to explore how leaders, doctors, teachers, security officers, and families can utilize their religions, their knowledge, and their resources to create more peaceful communities.
But remember, these great ideas started out with one thing: prayer. The importance of peace of mind and prayer just can’t be underestimated in our society. Thus, we come full circle…prayer brings us peace, which helps to spread that peace throughout our families, which then spreads it through our communities, our cities, our countries and hopefully, one day, the world.