Ten of us from the Sri Chinmoy Centres in New Zealand recently visited Indonesia – Yogyakarta, Lombok, Bali. We were there to bring Sri Chinmoy’s global torch relay to old friends and new friends in a year that is the culmination of 30 years of Peace Run editions, a milestone achievement.

During our month long stay the relay, manned by runners from 18 different countries, visited villages and communities in many beautiful locations and we were met everywhere by the smiling faces of hundreds of children, responsive hearts, moving civic receptions.

It was memorable to be so immersed in another culture, predominantly a Muslim one, and to find such openness, humility, generosity, acceptance and a deep interest and recognition of the Peace Run message – that we are one world family, that in our individual lives we can contribute to a better, more peaceful world. And so many remarkable people, products of a simpler world where community and spirituality are cornerstones of life.

In Bali we joined over 300 students of Sri Chinmoy, travellers from all over the globe converging on the Ayodya Resort for 10 days of meditation, recreation, swimming, twice daily functions that included concerts, plays, Peace Run activities and fun. Sitting on an evening beach, I was reflecting on all the countries I had once visited with Sri Chinmoy – 54 in all ! – and remembering both the uniqueness of each place but also feeling the underlying commonality of the human experience, the one world family. How easily such deep kinships can form with strangers, the recognition of others we have never previously met, the heart’s embrace of our wider human race – travelling reminds us that a part of us belongs anywhere and everywhere, we are world citizens and everyone is our family.

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Peace Run at Howick College THEY swapped stories, meditated on peace, sang songs, played the ukulele and shared the peace torch.