silent peace walk
how to initiate one



Instructions on how to create a silent peace walk



"If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace."
~ Thich Nhat Hanh

"Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
~ Margaret Mead





IT IS EASY

Thank you for considering leading a Silent Peace Walk. The Silent Peace Walk is easy. Anyone can do it. All it takes is for someone to set the mood prior to the walk, and lead it. Prior to engaging in leading Silent Peace Walks we suggest that you have it clear for yourself what is moving you and why you want to bring a Silent Peace Walk to life. This will give you the motivation you will need to touch, move and inspire other individuals, and the strength to stick with the initiative during the inevitable down times.


GETTING STARTED

If you feel inspired, then it is time to put a group of Peace Walkers together. Talk to your friends or groups in the community who might support the initiative. Promote the Silent Peace Walk, and educate people about it.


PLACE AND TIME

Find a suitable place and a good time for the Silent Peace Walks. We hold them at the local International Peace Garden every first Saturday of the month, at 7:00 in the morning. We have realized that silence and peace are more easily experienced early in the morning, when we have the garden almost entirely for ourselves. We usually walk for 20 minutes in silence.


SIGNS

It is advisable to let those passing by know what is going on. Bring signs or banners with information about the Peace Walk and place them in visible spots. Wear shirts displaying sayings such as, “Silent Peace Walk. I walk in silence for peace. Join me.”


CREATE YOUR OWN SILENT PEACE WALK

What follows is a suggestion, with examples of how we do our Silent Peace Walk. Feel free to create your own.


THE OPENING

When you are ready to start, ring the Peace Bell and invite the Peace Walkers to assemble in a circle or semi circle so they can hear you. Make sure everyone is comfortable. Acknowledge all for coming, especially the newcomers. Invite participants to hug one another by announcing, “It’s hug time!” Be considerate of those who don't feel comfortable giving or receiving hugs. Give a short explanation about the Silent Peace Walk. Explain, for instance, its purpose and how it contributes to peace in the world. (see the suggested Script) Create a calm atmosphere by saying a few words, such as “Let’s prepare ourselves. Soon we will be walking together in silence for peace. Let’s close our eyes, and take a few deep breaths.” Provide instructions on how to behave during the Peace Walk. Say something along these lines, “Let’s walk slowly, paying attention to the environment around us, noticing the big and the small, feeling the breeze, letting go of all the thoughts, the past and the future, putting aside the to-do list, and being in the here-now. Let the sound of the Peace Bell remind us to release the thoughts and come back to the present moment.” Recite the Peace Poem.


THE WALK

Sound the Peace Bell and start walking. Peace Walkers usually line up in a single line and walk behind the leader. Sound the Peace Bell a few times during the walk, as a reminder to participants to release the thoughts and return to the here-now. Walkers can choose to be on a meditative and completely silent mode. But walkers can also choose to break the silence to greet those passing by. Remember, we are promoters of peace, and as such we smile and we are the first ones to say Hello.


THE CLOSING

After walking for 20 minutes, stop -- if possible at the same spot where the Peace Walk began -- remain in silence, and allow time for the Peace Walkers to gather around. After all Peace Walkers get in position and settle down, sound the Peace Bell, recite the Peace Poem, and finish by sounding the Peace Bell again for one last time.


Invite participants, at least those who feel comfortable with it, to hug one another, by announcing, “It’s hug time!” Be considerate of those who don't feel comfortable giving or receiving hugs and let them know that they can choose to shake hands.


After the hugs / handshakes, invite the Peace Walkers to briefly share what may be in their minds and hearts. Some will share what they have observed during the Silent Peace Walk, while others will express their gratitude. Some will ask participants to direct their thoughts and energy to people who are hurting and in need of peace, while others will make announcements of upcoming events and initiatives of interest for the members of the group.


After the sharing and announcements, invite the Peace Walkers to gather for coffee and conversation. It can be a potluck breakfast in the garden -- picnic style -- or a gathering at a local coffee shop. During the meal, as much as possible, invite everyone to position themselves in a circle and allow the conversation to flow freely. After a while, bring all participants together to discuss possible peace-building initiatives. We are a happy group, and we encourage human contact. So here’s what we suggest you do: Try to be the first one to say "Hello." Smile and introduce yourself to someone you have not yet met. Do your best to make sure everyone experiences a warm welcome. Be positive and create a place of positive vibes. Get to know your fellow Peace Walkers and help them achieve their dreams.


We have promised to do something to bring more peace to the world, and we are keeping our promises every time we walk for peace. So, let's celebrate! Put down all your shields, look your neighbors in the eyes, and give them a hug. Hug, don’t hate! It's “Hug Time!”





"It's hug time!"