Peace in this Place

May our homes, workplaces and communities
shine with the light of peace

Peace in this Place is the second stage of our inner journey into the Peace Mantra.

As this page contains a lot of material, you may find it helpful to read just one or two sections at a time. You can always bookmark the page, and return to it later. Alternatively, you could print the page out; this may be of great help when you try the meditation practices.

If you share this material with others, please acknowledge that it comes from the Peace Mantra Movement website:

You may of course find you wish to change the practices, or use different ones. We would be delighted to hear how you get on!

Please scroll down to find the following items:


Part A: Fostering peace in our communities

1. Cultivating an open-hearted acceptance
    a) Embracing difference can help create social harmony
    b) Accepting others for who they really are
2. A smile is the beginning of peace
    a) Greeting someone with a smile helps to build bridges
    b) How a kind smile and greeting can help others
    c) What if we find it difficult to smile?
3. Let us speak peace
    a) How peaceful is the language we use?
    b) The daffodil picker
    c) Nonviolent communication (NVC)
4. Peace in the workplace
    a) Helping to enhance our working environment
    b) Helping to resolve conflict
5. Playing an active part in the community
6. The spirit of place
7. Peace-building needs much inner strength!

Part B:Five Meditations

Meditation 1: A Mantra of Love
Meditation 2: Peace in this Place using the breath (in three stages)
Meditation 3: Chanting Peace in this Place as a mantra
Meditation 4: Walking Peace in this Place
Meditation 5: Radiating the Inner Smile out into the Community

bullet point Introduction

Up until now we have been concentrating upon inner peace. However, the peace generated within us cannot stay hidden; it wants to flow naturally into all corners of our lives, starting with our relations with everyone we come into contact with in our home, workplace and community. This is reflected in the words Peace in this Place which form the second line of the Peace Mantra.

This page is in two main sections. Part A sets forward a series of practical suggestions to help establish and cultivate peace in our communities. Part B includes some meditations, most of which extend out of the ones offered on the previous page Peace in my Heart.

Part A: Fostering peace in our communities

bullet point 1. Cultivating an open-hearted acceptance

a) Embracing difference can help create social harmony

I invite you to stop for a minute, and reflect upon the diversity of the human race. Think of the rich variety of physical characteristics, personalities, experiences, cultures, languages, beliefs, modes of dress, forms of creative expression, political and spiritual beliefs ... the list is endless.

Now consider all the things which unite us. All of us have physical bodies which need to be sustained by food, drink, exercise and rest. All of us have an ability to think, feel, imagine and create. And all of us share a desire to be happy, to love, and to be loved. These common threads within all our diversity can help us become more accepting of one another.

Think of someone you know who seems to be very different to you. Think how you could react to them. You might choose simply to ignore or exclude them, but this could easily create a climate of mutual suspicion, prejudice, and even conflict. Or you might decide to reach out to them, and seek to befriend them, or at least strike up some kind of dialogue. Choosing this latter course of action would be a great help in establishing mutual understanding, respect and harmony.

If we are used to mixing only with people of a similar background, we may find it strange or daunting building bridges with people who seem very different to us. My answer to this is to start in a very small, quiet way. As we become more comfortable and gain in confidence, we will be able to embrace differences much more easily.

b) Accepting others for who they really are

To establish peace in our community, we need to learn to accept and respect everybody we meet, no matter what job they do, what they look like, and what they believe in.

To do this, we need to free ourselves of any prejudice, and any desire to criticise or change the other person. This amounts to holding them in unconditional love, or 'unconditional positive regard', to use a term coined by psychologist Carl Rogers.

This unconditional acceptance of others needs to be built upon an unconditional acceptance of ourselves. The approach is encapsulated in A Mantra of Love in Part B.

All this may seem fine in theory, but in real life it can often seem very difficult to cultivate a positive regard for everybody. some people may seem to have the knack of rubbing us up the wrong way. Others may not be prepared to accept us in the way we are trying to accept them.

In these situations, instead of retaliating or blanking them out, I find it helpful to take a mental step back and imagine that behind each person's words and actions lies their real being. It may seem very hard to do this, especially at first. But it is perfectly possible; when I manage to persist with this approach I often find that situations resolve themselves as if by magic.

In my experience, entertaining a negative impression of just one person can quickly lead to forming negative views of others. This creates an atmosphere of isolation, distrust and disharmony. As well as hurting the other person (however subtly or tacitly) we are also doing ourselves great harm, as we are constricting the spirit within us which wants to reach out to all others.

On the other hand, the more open-hearted we become, the more harmonious and wholesome our community is likely to be; open-heartedness can be infectious!

If we accept someone as a person, it does not follow that we need to accept their beliefs or behaviour. This is an obvious, but crucial distinction. There are times when we need to ask people to behaviour in a different way; this issue will be examined below in the third section Let us speak peace.

bullet point 2. A smile is the beginning of peace

a) Greeting someone with a smile helps to build bridges

We are connected with everyone we meet. This includes everyone we pass by in the street, everyone we see in the shop, and everyone who crowds with us onto the underground train. As well as living on the same planet, we breathe the same air, drink the same water, and gain light and warmth from the same sun.

Every person we meet is our sister or brother, just as we are their sister or brother. I see this as a matter of great celebration! And what better way is there to recognise our kinship than to greet them with a smile?

However, we need to be reasonably sure that the person we pass by is ready to receive our greeting. Some people do not wish to be spoken to, or others may find a smile unnerving. They may be unwell, deep in thought, or just not feeling like interacting with other people; therefore they might feel irritated, embarrassed, or even intimidated if greeted by a stranger.

For this reason I have two basic methods of greeting: 'open' ones for those people I sense are receptive, and 'hidden' ones for those who seem to want to be left alone. The 'open' greeting comes in the form of a smile, and maybe a pleasantry; the 'hidden' one is just thought, with perhaps a slight nod. Both forms arise from a desire to include and recognise everyone as a universal sibling.

I find that if I am gently able to establish eye contact with someone, they are usually receptive to being greeted. If someone does not appear to register my presence, or seems determined to blank me out, then I usually greet them silently.

I find that merely remembering that every one of us is a brother or sister helps to soften my heart towards all those I meet. Like many people, I find it all too easy to make snap judgements about people whose physical appearance or mode of behaviour I don't like.

All this may seem trivial or glaringly obvious. However, in my experience the simple act of greeting someone - whether openly or inwardly - can have a remarkable accumulative effect, as it can encourage others to be more open and friendly to the people they meet. A 'knock-on' or ripple effect will then have been created.

It may help to remember two things Mother Teresa said:
'Peace begins with a smile.'
'In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love.'
I strongly believe that the small act of being open and friendly to everyone we meet can help create a much more open, friendly and peaceful community.

b) How a kind smile and greeting can help others

Imagine you have job working in the public domain, such as in a shop, a cafe, or at a reception desk.

You're having a very difficult day: a succession of customers have been argumentative, rude or impatient. Others have been patronising, disdainful, or have done their best to ignore you. Your boss has been unfairly criticising your work. On top of this, you are going through a sticky patch at home with your partner, or with a family member.

The situation begins to get to you. On the surface you are trying your best to put on a brave face, but inwardly you are seething, tense, or close to dissolving into tears.

Then a new customer approaches. Instead of scowling, or avoiding making eye contact, they are looking straight at you with an open, warm and friendly smile.

Something inside you begins to relax. It is as if the customer's smile is a ray of sunlight which is beginning to thaw the part of you which has become frozen with despair. Instinctively you begin to smile in return, and as you do so, you feel some more of your inner tension unlocking.

Suddenly, as if by magic, you feel as if things aren't quite so dark as they appeared to be a few moments ago. You have a feeling of increased self worth. This encourages you to exchange a pleasantry with the customer, who responds with another warm smile.

The customer moves away, leaving behind them the memory of their golden smile. You now feel sufficiently empowered to deal warmly and serenely with all of your remaining customers, no matter how 'difficult' they turn out to be.

In your imagination, you have experienced the healing and uplifting effects of a warm and friendly smile. Now imagine the roles are reversed: you are the one who initiates the smile.

Imagine the potential your smile or kind greeting has in brightening someone's day, and lifting their mood and sense of self worth. The effect may not be apparent to you; your kindness may take the form of a seed which may only germinate within the other person at some later stage.

The purpose of this exercise in imagination is to encourage us all to cultivate the habit of offering a warm smile and greeting to everyone we meet. (When passing someone in the street, it is often appropriate to greet them silently: this is highlighted in the previous section Greeting someone with a smile helps to build bridges.)

c) What if we find it difficult to smile?

Many of us find smiling difficult at times. We may be in the middle of dealing with some tricky issues in our personal lives, and simply don't feel we can honestly smile or laugh.

I empathise a lot with people who find themselves in this situation. The question of working through our emotional blockages is discussed on the Peace in my Heart page. The more we manage to do this, the more at peace we feel, and the more those around us will benefit, because we are better able to exude kindness, warmth and happiness.

I find it useful, particularly when faced with a crisis, to focus my thoughts upon a role model; someone who I know has undergone great pain or hardship, but still manages to smile and laugh wholeheartedly, without putting on a falsely brave face. This kind of role model points the way; they teach us that it is always possible to cultivate and draw upon inner strength to deal with major crises. (A role model may be known to us personally, or they may be someone from the past.)

Some people become discouraged and stop smiling, because their efforts in being open and friendly are continually rebuffed. Again, I empathise with those who find this. Sometimes I experience days when every effort I make to be friendly seems to be thrown back in my face. I then try to remember that we have a choice: either we can buy into the pervading feeling of gloom, unhappiness or cold indifference, or we can choose to offer something much more warm and positive. At the very least, smiling can help us maintain a happy spirit within ourselves.

A few people may be concerned that their smile may be misinterpreted as being forced, smug or hollow. I believe that if we have the intention of smiling in a warm, natural and spontaneous way, then we shall manage to do so. The more we cultivate this habit, the more like second nature smiling will become. It can become quite infectious!

I will conclude this section with words spoken by Zen Buddhist monk Thích Nhất Hạnh: 'Smiling is very important. If we are not able to smile, then the world will not have peace. It is not by going out for a demonstration against nuclear missiles that we can bring about peace. It is with our capacity of smiling, breathing, and being peace that we can make peace.'

bullet point 3. Let us speak peace

a) How peaceful is the language we use?

Each one of us has a compassionate, peace-loving nature. Deep down we care about the well-being of other people, as well as ourselves. However, I believe that our essential nature is often heavily disguised by the way we speak and act.

I invite you to recall the words you have spoken in a recent conversation:

Now recall the words the other person used, and ask the same questions.

Next I invite you:

If we wish to live in peace, let us make sure that we speak peace. Each time we open our mouths let us remain connected to our essential compassionate nature. Let us remember that our words have the power to hurt or to heal.

b) The daffodil picker

I shall highlight the difference between peaceful and hostile communication by relating an incident which happened in the past. I have given two alternative reactions, one true and the other false. The name of the boy involved has been changed.

Several autumns ago we planted a quantity of small daffodil bulbs into our stone garden hedge bordering the lane. By the middle of the following February many of the bulbs had sent up spikes, promising a lovely display of pale gold. One Sunday, while washing up, I happened to look out of the window. To my horror, I saw the flowers were being picked by Kieran, a teenage boy who lived up the lane.

Reaction 1: Spluttering with rage, I rushed out of the house, and confronted the boy. 'What the hell do you think you are doing, you wretched little thief?' I yelled. 'How dare you pick those flowers? They don't belong to you. Now, get out of here, and don't ever let me catch you around here again, otherwise I'll give you what for.'

Reaction 2: While hurrying out of the house, I reminded myself to go easy, and to try to put my point across as calmly as possible. 'Kieran', I said, as I drew near to the boy. He looked up, and quickly hid a bunch of picked daffodils behind his back. 'I've just seen you picking the daffodils from our hedge. I'm feeling very upset about this, because I want everyone to enjoy seeing them. this can't happen if you pick them, so I'm asking you to go somewhere else to find daffodils to pick.' Kieran immediately said he was sorry, offered me all the daffodils he'd picked, and asked me not to tell his dad - a request to which I readily agreed. We then parted amicably.

It is worth looking at each reaction in more detail.

In Reaction 1, I allow myself to rush headlong into a confrontation, with all guns blazing.

In Reaction 2, I choose to step back a little. This enables me to calm down sufficiently to speak, rather than shout, to the boy.

In Reaction 1, I resort to name-calling by branding Kieran a 'wretched little thief'. This label contains a damning judgement, which is almost guaranteed to make a situation worse. No-one likes to be judged. When it happens to us, we often respond either by lashing out at the person physically or verbally, or by taking it to heart and persecuting ourselves.

Reaction 2 does not contain a single iota of judgement. Instead, I begin simply by observing what I have seen. I then say how I feel about it. I believe it is crucially important to identify and express our feelings clearly, and 'cleanly', without apportioning any blame to the person who acts as their catalyst. Next, I state what I need, which is for everyone to enjoy seeing the daffodils. I finish up by asking (but not demanding) Kieran to do something positive, 'to go somewhere else to find daffodils to pick'.

Reaction 1 contains nothing positive to help the situation; instead, it is full of aggression, with a judgement, and order, and a threat. This all stems from failing to find a suitable way of dealing with my feelings of great hurt and anger. Reacting in this way can so easily cause lasting bad feeling, and may lead to escalating conflict.

In Reaction 2, my feelings are still very strong, but I am able to maintain sovereignty over them. Fortunately this is how I really did react, but it was a very close thing.

c) Nonviolent communication (NVC)

The way I handled the daffodil picking incident was inspired by reading Nonviolent Communication - A Language of Compassion, by Marshall B. Rosenberg. I cannot recommend this book and approach too highly.

As the author sates, NVC 'is a way of speaking that facilitates the flow of communication needed to exchange information and resolve differences peacefully. It helps us identify our shared values and needs, encourages us to use language that increases goodwill, and avoid language that contributes to resentment or lowers self-esteem'.

NVC 'focuses our attention on compassion as our motivation, rather than fear, guilt, blame, or shame. It emphasises taking personal responsibility for our choices and improving the quality of our relationships as our goal. It is effective even when the other person or group is not familiar with this process.'

Marshall Rosenberg has initiated peace programmes in war-torn areas across the globe. NVC projects and training have also been widely used in schools, community groups, health centres, counselling centres, prisons, businesses, religious centres, and other domains.

While it is possible to learn NVC by ourselves, many people find it useful to consult a trainer. More details can be found on the following websites: and

You may of course already have come across other techniques or ways of communicating peacefully.

bullet point 4. Peace in the work-place

a) Helping to enhance our working environment

Some of us may be fortunate enough to work in a calm, friendly, and co-operative atmosphere. But how can we hope to bring peace into a working environment where bullying, backbiting, point-scoring, clique-forming, cynicism or apathy are rife?

I suggest we can start by treating everyone at work in an open and non-judging way, whatever they choose to do or say. If we persist with respecting people's differences and points of view, greeting them with a friendly smile, and communicating with them in a compassionate and gentle manner, the working environment should begin to change. Progress may be hard to detect at first, but if we keep heart we may notice a gradual turning of the tide.

This does not mean that we should do nothing to protect ourselves or others from being bullied, abused or unjustly treated. In situations like these, we need to speak out as soon as we can. If we do this in a non-violent and compassionate manner there will be a much better chance (but no guarantee) that the situation will be resolved harmoniously. If the situation continues, we will obviously need to follow up our words by taking swift action through the appropriate channels.

b) Helping to resolve conflict

There may be times when management and the workforce are in conflict over issues such as pay and conditions. It is obviously up to each one of us to decide how best to react to this kind of situation. I believe if we are in a managerial position, we have a responsibility to ensure that everyone is fairly treated, no matter what level they work at in the organisation. I also believe that the taking of strike action should be used only as a very last resort, after all avenues of negotiation and meditation have been fully explored.

As peacemakers, we may wish to take an active role in trying to bring conflicting sides together. To do this, we may decide to learn mediation skills. Whatever we decide, it is vital we continue to communicate in a non-violent manner, and respect everyone's right to voice an opinion, even if it differs greatly from our own.

We may find it appropriate to make a further positive contribution by sharing our peace-building methods and experiences with our colleagues. This would be especially appropriate if we have received training in NVC, or its equivalent. I believe it is crucial, though, to broach the subject very sensitively (maybe waiting until prompted), and proceed only if we are reasonably sure we have a receptive audience. Otherwise we risk alienating ourselves from our colleagues, and end up creating discord.

bullet point 5. Playing an active part in the wider community

If we wish to foster peace within our community, we need to play an active part in it. We could get involved by:-

We may find that our family or work commitments may allow us to give just a small amount of our time to the wider community. Every little helps, especially if we do it 'with great love', to use Mother Teresa's phrase once more.

bullet point 6. The spirit of place

Every place has its own quality. This is created partly by physical characteristics, for instance the landscape, the buildings, the climate, and also by all who live there. Another factor is the invisible energy, vibrations, or 'atmosphere' which are present within the place.

Some people are finely attuned to the feeling or spirit of a place. When visiting somewhere they may say things like 'this place seems to have a benign, peaceful quality', or 'I'm picking up negative vibrations here', or 'the energy here seems to be blocked'.

However, I believe that many, if not all of us are consciously or subconsciously aware of the energy around us. Many of us may have observed how the atmosphere within a room can change dramatically after someone has cracked a good joke, or after someone has spoken out aggressively. We may also have enjoyed a feeling of peace and tranquillity when entering a particular building. The building may be small, and architecturally not very remarkable, but whenever we enter it we experience a similar feeling.

I believe that when we experience a particular feeling we are sensing energy vibrations which are present in a place, and which resonate deep within us. These vibrations may have built up as a result of something which has been going on over a long period of time, or they may have been the result of a single event. Many of us will find we have similar experiences (maybe stronger ones) outdoors in nature.

I also believe that all our actions, words, and even thoughts create vibrations, which may ripple further into the environment, and for longer, than any of us realise. This means we all have an opportunity to use our actions, words and thoughts as instruments of peace. By being at peace, and by saying or thinking 'Peace in this Place' (as a form of blessing) we can help bring or maintain peace wherever we go, and help heal any disturbed energy.

The photograph below between sections 6 and 7 (and repeated elsewhere on this page) is of the Mausoleum of Jalaluddin Rumi, a 13th century mystic poet who lived most of his life in Konya, in present-day Turkey. Barrie and I made a pilgrimage there in January 2011. I have never found myself in a place so charged with the energy of compassion and peace; a feeling so strong that it pierced me to the core, and has stayed within me ever since.

Reflecting upon this afterwards I believe that the atmosphere has been created by the pure compassionate energy within Rumi himself, and also within the devoted hearts of countless pilgrims from all over the world who have been visiting his tomb for nearly 740 years.

I have heard various people say similar things about other places they have visited.These experiences bring to life the words 'Peace in this Place'.

bullet point 7. Peace-building needs much inner strength!

It takes a lot of inner strength to keep going along the path of peace. We may find all kinds of difficulties along the way, we may make plenty of mistakes, and at times we may feel like giving up.

During times when I feel discouraged I find it helps to take a deep breath, and remind myself that I cannot force the pace or scope of change. If I think I lack the strength to be patient, either with myself or with somebody else, I take some extra time out to rest and to practise some breathing meditations. After a while - a few minutes or hours - I usually find there is enough new strength in me to continue.

For most of us, the process of strength-building is a very slow one; there appear to be few exceptions to this norm. I believe it helps to think back to a situation which we've handled well. Someone may have thanked us for listening to rather than advising them, or we may know within ourselves that we have helped to resolve a difficult situation through peaceful communication. Thinking back in this way can give us much-needed encouragement.

More and more I find that inner strength comes from regular meditation, from learning to open the heart wider and wider. Each time we meditate it is as if we are breathing in new life, while releasing all that is worn out, stale, or dead.

Part B: Five Meditations

Please feel free to print out these practices. If you use them in your group, please acknowledge that they have come from this website:

bullet point Meditation 1: A Mantra of Love

Dear _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Wherever you are
Whoever you're with
Whatever you do, say or think
I shall always love you
as a brother/sister, friend and teacher


This is a slow spoken, mouthed or 'thought' mantra.

I find reciting or thinking these words helps the process of forgiveness, as well as the acceptance of someone whose appearance, values or behaviour we may find 'challenging'.

It can of course be used to affirm your unconditional, no-strings love for somebody.

Before beginning to speak the mantra, bring the person (which may be yourself) to mind, and imagine you are gently speaking to them.

As you repeat the mantra slowly and softly, imagine your chest and heart are expanding, and let any obstructions, obstacles, or unresolved issues gradually dissolve into the liquid gold of unconditional love.

At the end of each line, breathe in slowly.

If you wish to say 'Amen', save it until the very end, after the final repetition.

Leave plenty of silence and stillness afterwards.

bullet point Meditation 2: 'Peace in this Place' using the breath

This meditation is an extension of Meditation 2 on the Peace in my Heart page.

Stage 1: Tuning into your heartbeat

(This is the same as shown on the Peace in my Heart page.)

Become aware of the pulse of your heartbeat.
Breathe in, counting four heartbeats.
Hold the breath, counting another four heartbeats.
Breathe out, counting four more heartbeats.
Repeat the cycle until you get used to the pattern.

Once you are used to the cycle, move on to the next stage if you wish:-

Stage 2: Energy breathing

(This is the same as shown on the Peace in my Heart page.)

Continue the breathing pattern described above in Stage 1.
Imagine you are breathing in new, fresh energy.
Hold the breath.
Imagine you are breathing out old, stale energy.
Repeat the cycle as often as you wish.

Either bring to a close by watching the natural rhythm of your breath, or go on to Stage 3:-

Stage 3: Breathing 'Peace in this Place', 'This Place is at Peace'

This can follow on from Stage 3 of 'Peace in my Heart using the breath'.

Think the words 'Peace in this Place' on the in-breath.
Hold the breath.
Think 'This Place is at Peace' on the out-breath.

When focusing upon Peace in this Place on the in-breath, be aware of the current of peace entering your lungs, your heart, and the room or place in which you are sitting.

Each time you breathe in, imagine that this peace energy reaches further and further into the room, radiating throughout the whole building.

When holding the breath, imagine that the peace current goes even further, encompassing every part of your street, neighbourhood, village, town, city and district.

When focusing upon This Place is at Peace on the out-breath, imagine that the whole of your community is radiating, glowing, and shining with this ever-expanding energy of peace.

Bring the meditation to a close by watching the natural rhythm of your breath, or continue using the words Peace in our Land - this extension can be found on the next webpage.

Allow plenty of silent rest at the end of the meditation.

bullet point Meditation 3: Chanting 'Peace in this Place' as a mantra

This can be a sitting or standing meditation. It uses the second line of the Peace Mantra as a mantra in its own right, and is very similar to Meditation 3 on the Peace in my Heart page.

The four syllables of this mantra can be chanted slowly on a single note, or using a very simple four-note melody.

While chanting this short mantra, focus upon peace gradually spreading into the community in which you live and work.

Allow plenty of time at the end of the meditation for silent contemplation. This allows the vibrations to go on working at a deep level.

bullet point Meditation 4: Walking 'Peace in this Place'

This is very similar to Meditation 4 on the Peace in my Heart page.

Find a quiet spot where you are unlikely to be disturbed.

Begin to walk very slowly.

Breathe in as you walk three steps, breathe out as you walk another three, and continue in the same way.

Once you are used to this cycle, introduce the following words:-

As you breathe in, think the words 'Peace in this Place'.

As you breathe out, think the words 'This Place is at Peace'.

Repeat this cycle continuously until you wish to bring the walking meditation to a close.

There are many possible ways to adapt and vary this meditation. Sometimes, when breathing out, I prefer just to think 'Peace', and imagine this energy fills every nook and cranny of the place in which I'm walking.

bullet point Meditation 5: Radiating the Inner Smile out into the Community.

This is an extension of Meditation 5 on the Peace in my Heart page.

Sitting or standing, quietly watch your breath.

Allow yourself to break into a gentle smile, or imagine you are smiling.

Smile with every aspect of your being: your physical body, ego, imagination, thoughts, feelings, the higher self.

Now imagine that this sunny, golden smile is filling your room with light.

Send this light further and further out into your community, until everyone and everything within it is embraced by the smile.

When you are ready, just return to watching your breath, while imagining the smile carries on glowing within you, and within the whole of your community.

bullet point bullet point bullet point

Thank you for trying these meditations; I hope you find them helpful. If you wish to receive further guidance in finding a meditation teacher, or discuss anything on this website, please contact me (Steve) at

If the above link does not automatically open your email client, please copy the email address and paste it into another window.

bullet point The significance of the Foundation's logo
Our logo has been created by Pharic. It reflects the twin aspects of the Mantra: the journey within (spiral) and the radiating outwards (like flower petals or sun-rays):-