"Be the change you want to see in the world." |
August 21, 2009
Nearly two years ago I wrote a "begging letter" to you, my first ever to friends, to help send me to India representing U.S. peacemakers at the 6th International Conference on Peace and Nonviolent Action in Rajsamand's Children's Peace Palace. Thanks to you I had $4,000 for the trip, $2,000 from one person. Now, I want to report the results and ongoing efforts. For those of you able and willing I could use some more assistance. But, I do not want to take anything from people in need. This has been an astonishing journey for me. The urgency of our times informs the message.
At the end of 2007 I went to Rajsamand for the 6th ICPNA which included a second part added to the Conference, training in "leadership" or Preksha Meditation out of the Jain tradition. I attended this conference and addressed it dressed as Gandhi. This has led to a number of new relationships in India and other parts of the world, as my other involvements on this trip which went from December to February 2008.
Second, I was invited to Chandigarh to present Gandhi to seven peace and nonviolent groups through an NGO in three days. These were community wide institutional events with much publicity.
Third, I spent a week in Delhi making many contacts at the Gandhi Peace Foundation and several days at a Preksha Meditation Center with Swami Dharmananda.
Third, I participated at Wardha in the 2008 Gandhi Congress on the 60th anniversary of Gandhi's assassination sponsored by a French/Indian activist group which is now planning a major event for 2012.
Fourth, I was tracked down by the World Peace Center in Pune to participate in another 60th anniversary conference For Youth and a Culture of Nonviolence. They paid my way for 24 hour round trip to be a part of the keynote as Gandhi. I received a standing ovation by many students. (The primary presenter was a Secretary for the pope!) Here, I was among the leaders visiting Yervada where Gandhi was imprisoned, a huge Gandhi memorial site, and Aga Khan Palace where Gandhi was imprisoned during WW II.
Fifth, I attended the 3rd conference on Nuclear Disarmament and Peace in Nagpur and made a short presentation.
This trip led to two other invitations in 2008 which I attended as Gandhi. In August the World Peace Center invited me to the Round Table Conference on Science and Spirituality in Pune. (At this time I received another significant invite to Gujarat and Ahmedabad which I will piggy back on my upcoming trip to visit villages and Gandhi sites.) Second, I was invited to the 7th ICPNA in Jaipur last November. Again, I offered my words, made more contacts, etc.
So, your assistance enabled me to make three trips, participate in six conferences in one year, and meet people from all over the world who are trying to bring nonviolence into reality from many perspectives. (The August and November invites offered to pay half my airfare and room and board.)
Now, I am preparing for two more trips to India. (You may know that I traveled to Vietnam last December/January to visit the victims of Agent Orange/dioxin in commemoration of the DC Nine action.) I have been invited to Chandigarh for the Student Peace Festival from September 27th to October 1st. 500 students from India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan will attend. My presence will be as Gandhi.
After the Festival I will travel to the Preksha Meditation Center in Delhi to visit there and elsewhere. Then, I will go to the Children's Peace Palace in Rajsamand to present at a special program set up by Dr. Gandhi for me. (Also, I will receive a review of my book, THE AMERICAN GANDHI, My Seeking Truth With Humanity at the Crossroads, now in publication for a year.)
Then, I will travel to Aurangabad to see Drs. Sheshrao Chavan and R.B. Chavan who had me present Gandhi in 2005 for the first Indian experiences. Chavan has set up several other presentations for this visit. Those of you who have read my book will recall the transforming experience with the media persons who stood before me at the end and said "We want you to continue bringing Gandhi to the world."
From Aurangabad I will go to Ahmedabad where Gandhi had his first Indian Ashram to follow-up on the August 2008 invitation. We will visit many sites there and go to Gandhi's birthplace in Porbander and his home in Gujarat. The last four days will be at a university which Gandhi helped initiate, Gujarat Vidyapeeth, to visit students and profs, hopefully be inspired by their applications to Gandhi's principles.
I all this I maintain the urgency that we must deal with the treats to life: nuclear weapons and war making, global climate change, resource depletion, with all people in mind, especially the poor. Therefore the dhoti and the spinning wheel. The more I do this the more I find that I must go inside myself for my true identity and our true identity. That is what is, that is what "lasts" in human terms, which is what will prevail whether or not we learn to overcome our mistakes and foibles.
I ask your loving sentiments and prayers.
PS My web site is http://www.oly-wa.us/berniemeyer My blog is http://www.theamericangandhi.blogspot.com 402 Pattison St NE, Olympia, Washington.
PSS. For tax deduction, make check out to the Bridge Foundation, note Bernie Meyer, and send to the Bridge Foundation, % Bob Begin, 2027 West 65th St., Cleveland Ohio 44102.