I had the privilege this week of listening to Kofi Annan, the one-time Secretary-General of the United Nations (1997-2006) address a group of 6000 students at the University of Buffalo. As a backdrop, it might be helpful to know that this university has one of the highest percentages of international students in the United States. - at least 4000 of the university's student body. The UB students gathered in this jam-packed auditorium, many from all over the world, having resoundingly requested Kofi Annan to open their Speakers Series.
What I experienced as I listened to Kofi Annan speak in his gentle, quiet manner is that he embodied peace. It was a privilege to be in his presence as I noticed myself and those around me drop deeper into our natural state. The impact of the atmosphere of spaciousness that he created was a room filled with silence, deep listening, and respect. What he had to say was powerful - and my experience was that his very 'being' as he shared his insights was what touched all of us who were there.
There was lots of engagement between Annan and the students through questions and answers, and he received a full-house standing ovation as he ended his time with us. His core message was one of tolerance.
What I know as a coach is that much of the suffering that occurs internally (in the mind) has to do with resistance - the attempt to 'try' to avoid painful feelings, to erase what we define as negative thoughts, to strive to have what we want or think we should have, to judge ourselves and our lives when we're not getting what we think will bring us a sense of fulfillment. As we move through our resistance to what is and open ourselves to all of our experiences as human beings (not an easy task but one well worth the journey), the veil of intolerance is lifted that surrounds our hearts. That opening beyond resistance sets the stage for true tolerance - of ourselves, of others, of life. This inner work (our relationship to our personalities and to the Divine within) is a prerequisite for our ability to experience a deeper love, peace and toleration that includes this world.
Being a part of the audience, I had the sense that yes, we are collectively evolving. As a unified field, all is well. We were engaged in conversation about war, climate change, polarization, leadership - highly charged topics. And, yet, there was this sense of all of us being together as one - a unified field. Open. Awake.
It doesn't mean that we don't take action. When we're awake to truth, the actions come from this place of openness and willingness rather than a fear-based urgency. One step at a time. One person at a time. We take action flowing with the evolution of life.
I embrace the darkness and the light. I feel fear, doubt and insecurity. I feel happy and confident. Throughout it all, I know who I truly am. I practice the embodiment of peace for the sake of all of us.
© 2009 Jeannie Campanelli, Inner Confidence Coaching. All Rights Reserved.