“One flame uniting people worldwide”
I was asked recently about why I have a candle burning during my Dru Yoga classes. So, I thought I’d best explain.
Many yoga teachers use candles, incense or flowers in their classes to bring a sense of occasion, ritual and ‘sacred space’ to the practice and their teaching of yoga. (I suspect as many don’t for all sorts of reasons, because the venue won’t allow them, they don’t have time or can’t be bothered.)
I do it because I like candles. Ask my mum, she was forever hiding matches from me when I was a child!
Well, OK there are other reasons.
The candles I burn are not just any old ordinary candles. And they’re not those fancy soy wax and essential oil candles either. They’re World Peace Flame candles. And the story of the World Peace Flame is a remarkable tale of vision, determination and generosity.
The World Peace Flame has been burning continuously since the eve of the new Millennium, when seven flames lit by peacemakers on five continents were flown to the United Kingdom. On the 31 July 1999, the five were brought together and united into a single flame.
Getting five Flames flown to the UK is a remarkable achievement in itself. In 1999 only one commercial airline would agree to carry a naked flame, albeit a flame housed in a traditional Welsh brass miner’s lamp, and it was only through the help of the military that all five flames made it. I imagine now in our post-9/11 world of ultra-high airline security no commercial or military plane would agree to carry a lit flame full stop.
But they made it and the World Peace Flame still shines brightly at the home of Dru Yoga in Snowdonia National Park, North Wales a universal symbol of global peace, hope and unity. It’s a striking moment for a beautiful initiative set in the breath-taking Nant Ffrancon Valley. A place for both contemplation and inspiration.
There are other World Peace Flame monuments around the globe, including outside the Peace Palace, home of the International Court of Justice, in The Hague and in the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, USA. I’ve not yet had the good fortune to visit any of these but they’re on my travel wish list.
It has now been lit in every country on earth. That’s all 195 countries, including North Korea, China, Russia, Iraq, and a whole host of place you (and I) have probably never heard of. And not just lit but lit at the same time on the same day!
I don’t just light the World Peace Flame in class. It is part of my daily rituals and I, like many people around the world, light the flame every morning and evening after waking and before going to bed. I find it gives me time. Time to pause. Time to reflect. I find it brings me a sense of peace.
The World Peace Flame reconnects us with the light we all carry within ourselves and reminds us to allow that light to shine brightly.
It reminds us of our ability to bring positivity, hope and compassion to all situations by illuminating any darkness.
The World Peace Flame Foundation is the charitable foundation behind the World Peace Flame. It runs educational projects and provides support to grassroots peace initiatives. These include, introducing peace education into schools worldwide, like ‘Peace in Your Hands’ for primary school age children, and funding free medical camps, eye clinics and youth education programmes in India.
So that’s why I light a candle, a World Peace Flame candle in my Dru Yoga classes. It shines a light on global peace, supports charitable initiatives, brightens my day, and lets me play with matches.
What more could reasons could I need?
You can find out more about the remarkable story behind the World Peace Flame – I’ve just touched the surface – and the work of the World Peace Flame Foundation at www.worldpeaceflame.org