The Society

Inner Experiences During the War and Flowers of Peace

 [Note from the editor: In “Inner Experiences During the War and Flowers of Peace” you will find six personal and often touching accounts from our dear friends and fellow seekers in Ukraine. The short stories came to my desk in the English language. I decided to keep the editing to a minimum in order to stay as close as possible to what the writers tried to convey.]   

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Lavender: Mesmerizing lavender which is the ultimate peace flower. These flowers tend to bring peace and accord. The pretty flowers also symbolize serenity and strength along with ease. Lavender is a perfect flower for peace

My Inner Experience During the War

Svitlana Gavrylenko - Ukraine

My inner experience of the first day of the war was and still is very important to me. Early in the morning, I received a phone call that informed me about the beginning of the war. I was still asleep, and thus my consciousness was still on the border of two states, sleep and wakefulness. And this, as is known, gives the opportunity to communicate with one's own unconscious. Well, I was not surprised. Somewhere on the far periphery of consciousness, there were thoughts like: "Isn't this a dream? How can this be?", but the conscious dominant thoughts were such as: "This is a natural consequence of decades and centuries of deliberately inciting a certain atmosphere of enmity. It is an abscess that has ripened and must now burst through so that healing can take place through exacerbation."

At that moment, I even felt elation from the feeling that this is a defining time for my country, my people, to serve whom I came into this world. Also, I felt a huge inner force that unites me with some superhuman entity, or a huge human community, of which I am a part. I made a vow of devotion to this community from the bottom of my heart. I firmly knew that my place is now in Kyiv, that the work I was doing before should be continued and even strengthened and expanded by all possible methods, that this is exactly how, in such a critical way, the process of spiritual rebirth takes place, and this process has no alternatives. I could write in more detail about this very first experience of war, but the fact that it was actually the only one moment of awareness, no more.

Well, then there were the days of war, the search for effective ways of organizing the work for which I felt an internal responsibility, and which needed certain changes according to the conditions of wartime - the Theosophical Society, the Eastern Order of International Со-Freemasonry, the International Forum "Ways of Spiritual Development of Man and Society". These forms were different in their external manifestations, but for me they are full of related inner content - to affirm the high spiritual values of life, to contribute to the spiritual rebirth of humanity. And these were not just high and beautiful words for me, but it was a daily mundane work through a lot of small things, conversations, meetings.

I am happy that there are so many wonderful people around me who are selflessly striving for the same goals. I am overwhelmed with gratitude to each of them for their joint work, for their desire to improve and ennoble the world around us. I feel my inner changes towards patience, acceptance, empathy, greater self-control. I became convinced of the power of the united thought of many people, I became convinced that the Theosophical Society really carries through itself and manifests outwardly the spirit of unity, the Spirit of Brotherhood.

I am grateful to all the participants of the current Forum’s Dialogues "Building the Future of Ukraine" for their strong response to the proposal to dream of a new future Ukraine during the war. Deep thanks to my fate for the unique experience gained.

My gratitude for the patience and understanding to all around me. I dream of implementing new ideas!

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Apple Blossoms: Like the example of delightful apples, the apple blossoms tend to bloom entirely in the spring season with shades like white and pink. These lustrous flowers symbolize fruitfulness and peace.

My Inner Experience During the War

Iryna Koryttseva – Ukraine

February 24, 2022 was the day that divided our lives into two parts: earlier there was an ordinary life where there were smiles, visits to the theater, relaxations at sea, plans for the future and other common human joys.

Now we live in a different reality, where there is nothing of the above, instead there is military news, grief and many tears, and … volunteering!. How did this day come about? It started with the explosions, right next to us when we were still sleeping, and we, who were peaceful people and had never known about a war, suddenly realized that our native Kyiv was being bombed. I will not describe the horror of the first months of the war, I only say that I was shocked and still am. I can’t understand how people can do such things. Mind you, I was born in Russia and grew up with Russians. I have many relatives and friends there and that hurts me a lot.

However, I don’t hate Russians, even after the awful news of torture and murder. Gradually I came to realize that Russians eventually have to understand the depth of their sin, to comprehend and repent, while Ukrainians, on their part, have to find the strength to forgive them. This must be only sincere repentance from the heart, and sincere forgiveness from the heart. This will be very difficult for both Russians and especially Ukrainians since we are in a great pain, but I do hope that this will happen in the future.

What was it that changed in me during the war? Before the war we heard and read about the illusory nature of the outside world. We must live and  work, but in order  to be in a meditative state, we must understand that everything around us is an illusion. Theoretically it seems comprehensible, but in reality it didn’t work out very well living like that. My attention was focused on external things, work, and this took a lot of mental strength. The war came, and we felt death close. It was in that line that I began to change inwardly. You live and plan something for tomorrow, but tomorrow may not come in this life.

The awareness of the insignificance of what I used to love came to me. Suddenly I discovered that I had become different internally. I live and work in the same way; I do everything automatically, but internally I am somewhere else. My attention and energy are focused on something else: helping Ukraine, helping and comforting the wounded and simply be there for any living creature who is in need of my help. That is the change I feel inside of me. People around me also change. The volunteering in which we participate provides a huge example of service. I concluded that victory is only possible when we are united.

The feeling of mutual assistance and support is very important. We all realized that being united we can overcome everything. I felt this energy of unity both during meditation and in our Masonic rituals, especially after them. This energy of unity permeates us and we feel like one whole unit. Then we disperse but the feeling of unity remains with us, it guides and helps us to overcome the hardships of war. I do believe when we come together in the name of our future, we will overcome all external and internal adversities.

One will never return - we will never be the same, because we will have grown as persons in particular, and the country will have evolved as a whole.

 

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Violets: They are honored as the pure representation of peace, healing and tranquility. According to culture in Rome, these flowers are believed to bring peace in the afterlives of the ones who are no more. These majestic flowers stream tranquil vibes into the surroundings.

My Inner Experience During the War

Mykola Shcherbyna – Ukraine

Was it a surprise for me that Russia started a full-scale war?  Yes, it was.  Although there was a vision of the situation since 2014, there was hope that Russians as a people would change, change their ideas regarding neighbors and friends, and their great power would change, respecting others.  Unfortunately, this did not happen. Therefore, when you see that they just want to completely destroy us, you naturally mobilize with the whole nation, you feel the shoulder of your neighbor, you thank the whole world for their help.  Because the whole civilized world understands that atrocities committed by non-humans are evil, all this must be stopped.

Have I become stronger and more resistant?  Yes, the spirit has become stronger, and from this comes the need for endurance, although sometimes "hands fall".

Increased responsibility towards the family and the country has appeared, because responsibility is the performance of certain actions that are available to you to protect and support relatives and people who are suffering.

Have I become more intolerant?  Yes, I became intolerant of lies, manipulation, unfounded accusations that are heard quite often these days. I understand that tolerance requires seeing the Higher, even in the enemy, on an instinctive level you cannot do this, and you support our army and its soldiers as much as you can. You understand that when you get tired of the war, as happened to the majority of the Ukrainian people in 2019, then the enemy will penetrate your home even further, his tactics will be those of penetration into consciousness and destruction will acquire IPSO, which must be recognized and not succumbed to.  Such is the reality now, such are the challenges.

I admire the Ukrainian people who showed and continue to show their heroic feat in defending the right to live in freedom and the rejection of injustice. We are strong together, we will endure and withstand this lesson and God will help us in this.  Let it be so!

In the last few months, there have been interesting changes in my inner perception of events and the world.  Once I decided that I need to affirm life from a different point of view, from another angle.  Despite the fact that there is a war going on and it seems that you can't change anything, I am convinced that if you affirm life support daily with your actions, the manifestation of just such an affirmation takes place.  For example, I decided to do major repairs at work.

In this way, you affirm the energy of peaceful life, the energy of creativity, the energy of life's victory over the losses war brings.

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Lotus Flower:The majestic lotus flowers are highly glorified in varying parts of the world. In Buddhism, the lotus flower is considered to be a pure representation of internal peace and calmness

My Internal Experience During the War

Volodymyr Pavlov – Ukraine

Life goes on. The world around us is changing rapidly. Internally I knew about the imminent start of a new active phase of the war about two months before February 24, 2022. In January of that year, I saw a military tank attack during my meditation. Three years before that, I had been pondering on the Divine Plan. Does it really exist, does it encompass our earthly world in all its essential components, or, are its key players familiar with the Plan in totality, or just in part? What is our role in this, and do we understand it? These are important questions.

Each one of us received initiation in real life, so what do we think about it now? Do we consider this moment as a kind of progress in a spiritual sense? Any personal experience of penetration into the Higher Worlds, gradually mastering our principles within and inner consecration, is a consequence of accumulation of merits, making spiritual efforts, causing transformation deep in our hearts. Therefore, the internal personal exceeds the external. Spiritual processes are wider and deeper than any mental concepts.

In such difficult times, it is important to develop the qualities of a balanced mind, equality of feelings, and spiritual integrity. But even more important will be the manifestation of these qualities in the real life of duality. Achieving this will exceed even some individual states of clarity if we lack balance. We strive to love all of Humanity, to feel Brotherhood, but for some reason we can descend into manifestations of hatred towards our neighbors, near and far. Sometimes we focus on ourselves, our nation, our issues and start to believe that everyone owes us something and for some reason.

The Divine Plan accommodates All. Every imperfect stone must be polished from all sides to take its place in the Temple of the People. We need to remember this and think about it from time to time if we really want to develop in the direction of achieving Wholeness and Universal Brotherhood.

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The cosmo flower: Cosmo means the reverse of ‘chaos’. These flowers are chiefly considered to be the representation of dignity and peace

My Inner Experience During the War

Natalia Berezanska –Ukraine

During the war I went through three lessons.

At first, when there was war on the Balkans, in Israel and Palestine, in Africa and Georgia and other countries, I had compassion for the people in those countries, but it was somewhere far away and did not occupy my attention. But only now, when we ourselves have experienced explosions, murders, violence, our compassion has become more acute. My initial feeling was shock: how can such things happen in the 21st  century, how can people abandon being human? The first lesson was the understanding that suffering has a positive side because it develops in us empathy, love for all mankind, deeper compassion for all those who suffer, it softens our heart, and this leads to the realization of unity and brotherhood. People who have lived through the horrors of war become more united and responsive to help others, selflessly  and altruistically.

Another lesson I had to learn was how to react to a life-threatening situation when I found myself exposed to explosions. A lesson in perseverance and endurance, a lesson in composure. A shell destroyed a house 30 meters away from where I live, shrapnel fell through the roof of our house and blew out the glass in the windows. But it did not cause fear,  only some kind of supreme collectedness, which made it possible to act correctly in such circumstances, taking care of my neighbors. I learnt to perceive all these horrors dispassionately, philosophically, without remaining indifferent. I have developed stamina to cope with difficulties - lack of light, water, heat and communication. This stimulates to undetake action, when you do not allow yourself to get upset, to give up.

Finally, the third lesson is a lesson in gratitude and faith. Values change, all material things become not so important. The main value is life! You rejoice every day, you live and are thankful for every day of life, for the lessons and realization. In the depths of your soul your conviction grows, having the certainty about the victory of the forces  of Light over the dark ones, in the struggle for freedom and independence, for  faith in cosmic justice. Realization and acceptance of karmic reasons comes, which were laid down in the distant past, and only now their consequences are manifested.

Trust in the beauty of the human soul and in the bright future of humanity has strengthened!

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peace 6

White Poppies: The huge striking flowers of white poppies are immensely famous for their stunning looks and the undeniable medicinal properties they carry.. The white poppies actively symbolize peacefulness and calmness.

My Inner Experience During the War

Olena Shcherbyna – Ukraine

My life is being divided into two parts. The first part is life from birth to the beginning of the war, and the second - from the first day of the war up to the present.

Until the last moment, I couldn’t  believe that Russia would start the war against Ukraine, but the explosions at 4:00 AM. on February 24, 2022, confirmed the beginning of the war.

It was very scary because of a large number of air-alarms, and it was not clear how to defend ourselves against the missile attacks. I was under constant stress.

The war is still raging on, the second year of this full-scale war is completed. A lot has been experienced and rethought. What has changed in me during this time?

1)         The main thing that I understood is how much I love my Motherland - my Ukraine. I pray for her every day, for our glorious soldiers, people and children. Everyone suffers, even the animals.

2)         Shelling still continues. Fragments of downed Russian missiles fall on residential buildings, kindergartens, schools, and theaters. Peaceful people die, including children. I recognize that I could also die at any moment. Death is always close. I pray to my guardian angel to protect me, my family and not only my family, friends, but all citizens of Ukraine.

3)         I hold no hatred against the enemy. But the comprehending came to me that there is this adversary that needs to be neutralized. This, however, done with love, allowing souls to be purified and reincarnated at a new qualitative level.

4)         From April 2022,  my husband and I started volunteering. The first convoy with food and hygiene products went to the newly liberated villages in the Borodyansky district of the Kyiv region. There were many damaged and destroyed houses in the villages. People had nowhere to live and nothing to eat. I have never felt such joy from helping others. This activity is very inspiring and gives strength to continue living.

5)         After one year of war, I felt a certain brokenness in myself. Before the war, I almost never cried. From the first days of the war, I began crying a lot because of the constant stress that we are all under and the understanding of all the horrors war brings. It is said that tears cleanses the soul, and I really want us all to pass through this purifying process, hoping that this senseless war ends as soon as possible.

6)         The war and a lingering illness revealed new qualities in me: tolerance, patience, compassion, love and gratitude for  the people of Ukraine, our glorious soldiers, my family and my husband. I also thank the TS in Ukraine, especially our General Secretary Svitlana Gavrylenko, for stability, everlasting activity and moral support in these difficult times. Gratitude to our fellow theosophists elsewhere and friends for material assistance.

7)         How has the war changed me?

There have been big changes inside of me. The war and my illness didn’t make me better or worse, but I gradually  became another person. I guess that I will fully realize the changes that are taking place. I do understand that it will never be the same again as it used to be. The old disappears. Old energies, attitudes, relations, ideas will eventually be dissolved  Colossal changes are in the making. Life will not be better or worse, but it will be new and different,  and we will have to get fully involved with these new changes.

In due course life will rearrange everything, putting all in its right place.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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