On Friday evening the setting sun glistened through the windows of the Center for Spiritual Living, casting shades of blues, reds and yellows onto a dozen people’s folded hands and closed eyes.
“Brazil. May peace prevail in Brazil,” a woman prayed.
Eleven people chanted back, “Brazil. May peace prevail in Brazil.”
“Truly keep peace in your heart and in your consciousness,” the Rev. Joe Niemiec Jr., of the Center for Spiritual Living, told group. “This period of time right now is one of the most peaceful times in history. We’re aware of these wars because we’re involved in them, but on a worldwide basis we’re at greater peace now than we ever have been.”
Steven Pinker, Harvard professor of cognitive psychology and author of “The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined” argues that death caused by violence is at an all-time low. He sites, for example, that there are more chances of Americans dying in a bathtub (one in 950,000) than in a terror attack (one in 3.5 million).
The Rev. Toni Niemiec, also of the Center for Spiritual Living, said although it may be a time of peace globally, the prayer and chanting ceremony was important because bloodshed is still too common.
“So many of these countries, in my lifetime, have had war and as we were going through them (during the prayer) it made it so much more real,” she said.
Joan Broeckling, of One Peace, Many Paths, which organized the Pathways to Peace Project, said the ceremony was effective because it “sends ripples out” to others who are praying for peace.
Pathways to Peace was an 11-day series of events dedicated to created a peaceful future.
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