Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, and Slovenia: report by Lorraine Watts
My seven days of celebration commenced at the Natural Healing Resort in Tunjice, Slovenia. I chose this place to start my journey as it lies on a major fault line where the geopathic energies have been proven scientifically to have positive healing effects on the body. The people who have developed this site to welcome visitors have lovingly developed a peaceful sanctuary for those seeking peace and healing.
On the 10th of May seven of us performed a flag ceremony to pray for peace in each country. At the beginning, we concentrated our prayers on each district of Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia, as these were the places where I would be journeying over the next seven days. To start the ceremony I talked about ‘bright thinking,’ and I explained how we were adding to the positive pool of light in the world with our positive words and peace prayers. At the end of the ceremony I spent some time with the two participants who were new to this ceremony, explaining the philosophy of Masahisa Goi and its significance in our lives today, as many of us are releasing old negative patterns and starting to create better ways of living. I presented Drago, the owner of the healing resort, with a mandala of peace prayers for all the districts of Slovenia.
Two days later, John and I set off on the train to Zagreb, the capitol of Croatia. This country was badly affected during the break up of the former Yugoslavia when its citizens voted to become an independent country again. When I was in my early thirties, a terrible war was raging here, and I remember making a heartfelt wish that I could do something to help. Now, over twenty years later, I felt like I was fulfilling my wish.
On the 13th of May I awoke at 3 am, and quietly started to recite prayers for peace, along with other prayers. At 7:30 my husband John awoke, and I introduced him to a method of harmonious breathing, after which we prayed for peace together. John had set himself the goal of joining me as much as he could in maintaining a positive, uplifting, non-judgemental way of being throughout the week.
At 10 am we entered Maksimir Park. I quickly found a woodland pathway, and commenced my first peace prayer walk. Within a short time I felt a great connection with all the beauty around me. The bird songs sounded louder, and everything in nature was vibrant. After about twenty minutes a great peacefulness fell upon me and we rested on a park bench for a further twenty minutes, as I was feeling the effects of an early rising. Here, I continued my peace prayers quietly in my mind. During my peace walk John quietly accompanied me and in his own way created peace. I re-commenced walking and praying, and by the end of the hour I felt totally refreshed and energised. Our walk had come to a natural end right next to a church in the park grounds, where the Peoples Temple had stood for centuries before. We spent the rest of the day sightseeing and relaxing.
On the 14th of May my day started early, with quiet prayers. We made our way to the railway station to begin a journey which I shall never forget—a journey that took us through areas where some of the worst atrocities took place between 1991 and 1995. We were joined in our small compartment by one lady. Her husband was Bosnian, and she explained how they often travelled to Sarajevo, our destination. She spoke about how Bosnia had been affected, to a much greater extent than Croatia, by the war. We discovered that it was not just the differences in the regions but also the religious factions that led to the persecution and death of many thousands of people, and millions being made refugees. People had paid dearly for their freedom, and no one I have spoken to who was directly involved believes it was worth it. Once we had passed across the border into Bosnia, we saw more and more war graves. I wrote down the name of each town where we stopped on our seven-hour journey, and recited peace prayers for each place.
We stayed for four nights in a small apartment owned by a wonderful lady who lost her husband during the final stages of the war. During that period eight of them lived in the house, which was now split up into different apartments. They had no electricity or water, nor sufficient food, for four years. She and her eldest daughter had to make four trips a day across the river Bosna to a well to collect water. The opposing soldiers sat in the surrounding hills sniping at them. One fifth of the population was killed and many more were hurt.
She and the others I came to know well spoke bravely about their ordeal, and the thing that struck me most was how they all appreciated their lives. I detected a peacefulness in the people, even though their circumstances remain difficult compared to the people in more affluent countries. I felt that they had come to realise the preciousness of life after being so close to the brink of extermination. They seemed happy to be alive and grateful for what they have.
One night, we saw a brave man, about 30 years of age, just standing on his crutches in the centre of the old square. He had lost both his legs, and with a haunted lost look on his face, was standing tall for all to witness the consequences of war. I shall never forget his image, an image that says, “look at me and don’t dare think about war again.”
On the morning of the 17th of May I finished my second mandala of peace prayers, for the districts of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which I presented to Jasmina, our landlady. I had prepared our room for a peace prayer ceremony, which we performed at noon. On receiving the mandala, Jasmina said that it was greatly needed. Many were still suffering the after-effects of living through four years of constant stress and anguish. She said that she and all her children had suffered some ill health.
After our ceremony I completed a one-hour peace walk, ending up at the bridge where the first two victims in Sarajevo (two teenage girls) lost their lives. I stayed here for a while, praying silently, alone on the bridge.
We spent a final few days at the coast in Dubrovnik, Croatia, where we stayed in a resort close to the centre of the city. Here I completed another one-hour peace prayer walk and a mandala of peace prayers for the districts of Croatia. The end of my walk took me to some rocks on a peninsula overlooking an island in the distance. There was just sea and blue sky and a wonderful feeling of peacefulness. A small shoal of fish jumped out of the sea just feet away from me, flying across the water as if to celebrate with me the end of my week dedicated to peace and prayers.