Exploring outer & inner peace
Why do humans behave the way they do?
Facinated by that question, I studied Sociology and Political Science at Universities of Amsterdam, Berlin and Damascus, and specialized in Conflict Resolution (MSc). I examined the extremely destructive and constructive sides of human behaviour: war, conflict and genocide, but also peace-making, cooperation and reconcilliation. I worked for various NGO’s that are involved in peace-talks and inter-cultural dialogue.
I learned that true peace is much more than the absence of war. According to the World Health Organisation, suicide claims more lives than actual physical wars (and murder and natural disasters combined!). And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Apparently, many people in peacefull societies are fighting horrific wars too. Inner wars. How to get more inner peace?
In search for answers, I turned my focus inwards. I started exploring my body, emotions and mind through yoga, therapy and meditation. I developed a way to discover and navigate my own inner being. And most importantly: how to experience inner conflict as something positive. As a starting point for surrender, trust and enormous personal growth.
Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.
The more experienced and knowledgeble people I worked with over time. The ones who helped, inspired and shaped me professionally because of who they are as people, what they do and how they do it.
Ram Manikkalingam. Director Dialogue Advisory Group, former personal advisor to former president Chandrika Kumaratunga (Sri Lanka)
-for introducing me to diplomacy. How idealism and good intentions mean nothing in violent conflict, and that yet dialogue and peace are possible when you’re strategic, creative and a little quirky.
Esther Ritman. Director of the Embassy of the Free Mind
– for helping me to understand the meaning behind symbols, metaphors and stories of her collection of ancient books on wisdom. But also for the visionary way she leads the historic library into today’s modern society: with grace, wisdom and intelligence.
Patrick Vermeulen & Gösta van Dam – owners of Svaha-yoga, first Vinyasa Yoga studio in Amsterdam
– for introducing me to the deep roots and lineage of the yoga tradition, an anchor in today’s overwhelming supply of modern interpretations of yoga. And for being such colorful characters.