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Opening ceremony of the Torino 2006 Winter Olympic GamesWe normally don’t rush to get up early on a Saturday morning. We all look forward to a lazy start to the day after a long working week – well, that is what we aim for. This morning was different. We wanted to watch the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics being held in Turin in Italy.

As with all these ceremonies it was a spectacle. I kept wondering what it must feel like to actually be there. Then I realised that billions of people were watching the same thing we were. In different countries, different time zones, different cultures, different languages, rich and poor, young and old, the healthy and the sick. We were all watching the same things as they were unfolding over in Italy. Every now and again everything would go still on the screen or it would go blank, and we were reminded that we were watching a live satellite feed – oh, the wonders of modern telecommunications technology. The world seems like such a small place sometimes.

Yoko Ono appeared on stage during this ceremony. She asked everyone to spread the word; to spread peace. She recited the refrain from her late husband John Lennon’s 1971 peace anthem Imagine, which Peter Gabriel then went on to sing.

Imagine there’s no Heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Dove of Peace created by human performers at the opening ceremony Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

I have heard this song sung many times over the years. I have sung along to it. I can recite the words. Yet, this morning sitting in my living room as I listened it was as though I heard the words for the first time. They made sense, and I realised I wished for the same things.

On a daily basis I struggle to understand why there is so much hatred and bloodshed. I listen to the news and I feel sick and sad. There are whole generations of people growing up knowing nothing but war. Why? Then there are those people who create their own ‘war’ for one reason or another. I sat there wondering how far we had actually come since John Lennon wrote this song back in 1971.

I find it interesting how we can be so blind and deaf on a daily basis even though we are blessed with the ability to see and hear. How many of us actually use our senses for the purposes intended, and how many of us just function. Many of us look but don’t see, and hear but don’t listen.

Peace sounds so simple. As I get older I do wonder whether peace is something that can only ever exist in our imagination.

How many of us manage to achieve peace in our daily lives. Are you at peace with yourself … with your life … with others … with the reality that surrounds you?

I often wonder what it would take to make a difference. Increasingly, I believe it begins with us, as individuals, and the way we perceive things.

I hope you find peace in this moment wherever you are and whatever you are doing.

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