3 events: Palma de Mallorca, San Sebastián, Urrez
Palma de Mallorca, Spain: report by Marta Nogareda Moreno
The 2014 SOPP in Mallorca was a really unique moment for me. I conducted peace prayers completely alone, and at the same time felt entirely connected to everything and everyone.
It was an opportunity to pray with no limits, to include everything that could be seen, to be embraced, to be acknowledged, and to be loved. It was like a big open prayer, very connected to my own life and the life of humanity itself—now, yesterday, and tomorrow.
The past, present, and future were permeated with a deep sense that everything happens in order to vanish and allow God’s love to shine more and more. I could feel that this is the truth of life—that love is the only truth. I felt that I was emanating pure love, pure reality, and true unity with all living beings. I wished it could last forever.
San Sebastián, Spain: report by Lola Sousa
This year, our doors were open wide, and light was shining from the start. The sun enveloped us with its warmth, the almost turquoise sea surrounded us, and beautiful, multicolored flowers in the garden allowed us to feel the infinite beauty of nature in all its glory.
Inside the Miramar Royal Palace in San Sebastián, we gathered in silence and harmony, with the beauty and oneness of divine beings. I felt as though we were kings and queens walking through life at our own pace, meeting each other along the way, and on this day decided to share our steps and our vibration of peace with the world.
We started the ceremony with violin music, which continued to accompany us throughout the whole celebration. We performed a salute to the seven directions, marked by the sacred sound of the conch, and then there was a brief introduction and reading of Masami Saionji’s message. We were then led in the peace dance “Namaste” to honor the place in us in which the entire universe dwells.
We did a guided meditation led by a Brahma Kumaris representative. Faith representatives from Christianity read the original version of the ‘Our Father’ prayer, translated from Aramaic, and then we all recited the modern version together. A representative from the Amalurra community read the message of Irene Goikolea, the founder of that project, then led us in the devotional songs of the humanitarian and spiritual teacher Amma. Representatives of the Red del Uno (We Are One) initiative led us into silence and talked about how their project came about.
We then read the beautiful poem “Creation of the Universe,” the same poem that Masami Saionji read at the Fuji Sanctuary SOPP, and we offered a special prayer, ‘Humanity is One with the Universe,’ using vocal sounds and hand movements, as the sound of the gong merged with us. One of the participants offered his own prayer of peace, and we also listened to an inspiring text written by spiritual leader Jose Argüelles.
During the ceremony for peace in all nations, we raised the flags of the world, one by one, while repeating the word ‘peace’ in the official languages of each country. We concluded the ceremony holding hands in a human spiral, feeling how the energy flowed among us, and travelled around the spiral. At this point, more friends joined us with their guitar and voices in the final celebration, with lots of hugs, songs, and dances.
Finally, we went outside to the grounds of the palace, where we danced, sang, and sent light to the world, enjoying the beautiful spring afternoon by the sea. It was a beautiful symphony of peace, light, and life that became one with the universal symphony. Each year, I feel that our union is more real than the last. The names and our ways of engaging may be different, but the essence is the same, and so is the shared feeling of heart.
Urrez, Spain: report by Asun Serna
On May 18th, a group of ‘friends of peace’ gathered in the small Spanish village of Urrez to celebrate the Symphony of Peace Prayers, world peace, harmony among religious and spiritual traditions, and the joy of sharing the multicultural tapestry that characterizes our world. Most participants were familiar with the SOPP, while others were new to it.
The sun was shining, and after gathering in a circle in front of the local church to introduce the SOPP, its concept and its origins, we read the message from Masami Saionji, which was the inspiration and the send off for our walk to the Hermitage, three kilometres down a beautiful path in magnificent nature. The path is not just any path, for the group has made it a ‘prayer path’ to the Hermitage, a place where prayers and gratitude to nature have resonated over the years.
Carrying the banners of different colors for the different continents, we stopped at specific points on the path to offer universal peace dances, mantras, and mudras that honored various faiths—Hinduism, Christianity, Islam, Native peoples, Sufism, and the Esoteric traditions, as well as universal prayers for humanity.
We offered songs and prayers for each continent to feel a sense of oneness with the people and their culture. Then we prayed for peace to prevail in each nation, with deep intent and focus, and a wonderful feeling of symphony with nature and synchrony with the people around the world who were praying with us grew as the prayers unfolded. A young girl spontaneously played the flute for us at the start of the prayers for the European continent, and we listened quietly and with emotion.
Though the wind played with the flags during our flag ceremony and it was challenging to keep the mandala of flags from flying away, the world seemed in perfect order in the end, and a sense of total harmony with nature and the universe set in. We danced with joy and felt that the world was rejoicing also. We closed with the beautiful prayer from Fuji Sanctuary, “Creation of the Universe.”