At Snowdonia Mountain Lodge we have just celebrated the 24th anniversary of the lighting of the World Peace Flame and my heart and mind go back 20 years to one of my early connections with the World Peace Flame Foundation. It was during one of my visits to Europe from the States. Gijs, a well-established member of the Dru team in The Netherlands, very kindly invited me to stay with him in his chalet.
It was a very hot summer and the sun, although a blessing to some of the sun-starved Europeans, had not been so kind to the paintwork on the chalet and it badly needed attention. So we bought paint and brushes, hired scaffolding, and set to work. Itr wasn't long before we were painting other chalets on the site too. And word soon spread further afield around the neighbourhood. Requests for our services started to pour in.
How to use our new-found popularity? Ahaa... We could "paint for peace". We would set up a fund and all proceeds would go to the World Peace Flame Foundation. That summer we raised 20,000 euros for the World Peace Flame!
Another welcome spin-off from this venture was a very practical confirmation (as if we needed it!) of the efficacy of mantra. One day when we were painting into the evening we realized it was the time when we normally did our japa chanting. So, there and then, on the top of the scaffolding, we eraised our voices in harmony and chanted for all we were worth. Turning round to survey the countryside as we chanted we were amazed to see all the cows from the adjoining field making their way towards the fence where they stood and quietly watcdhed and listened to us.s Peace spreads in many ways.
That incredible time together really bonded Gijs and me in a lasting friendship and it is with sadness but great reverence that I pay tribute to Gijs who passed away peacefully last week (age 84). His work for peace will live on in many hearts.
If you have ideas for using your skills to spread peace around your neighbourhood, please don't hesitate. Go for it! You never know what great friendships await you - and you may even be able to help the World Peace Flame in the process! - Ned Hartfiel