John Bond
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13 February, 2018

It is always fascinating to hear a person tell of finding a new and more satisfying direction in life. One delight of Beyond Walls is that you can dip into it anywhere, and read a profound experience, told in a couple of pages.

In this book 92 people share their personal discoveries resulting from an encounter with Initiatives of Change or its predecessor Moral Re-Armament. ‘Remarkable stories,’ writes Rajmohan Gandhi in the foreword, ‘revealing the hope-giving things that happen when human beings obey nudges from an inner director, an inner source of wisdom-cum-strength.’

The stories have been compiled by Suresh Khatri, a Fijian Indian who, with his wife Leena, take leadership in the work of Asia Plateau, the Initiatives of Change conference centre in Western India. He has collected first-hand accounts from 26 countries and a wide range of perspectives – Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Jain, agnostic and more. 

The thread which unites these stories is the challenge at the heart of Initiatives of Change – to ‘be the change we want to see in the world’. Many writers tell of the transformation they found through taking time in quiet to shine the light of absolute moral standards onto their own lives, see where they fall short, and take remedial action.

Change in their own lives has opened their eyes to the possibility of change around them, and their stories tell of healing disputes in families and workplaces, of reaching out across divided communities, of helping resolve conflict within and between nations.

In numerous accounts, the writers tell how the experience of a change of heart has prompted them to explore their own religious tradition more deeply. Invariably this has enhanced their respect for other religious traditions.  I find this a source of hope. It suggests that at the core of our traditions are fundamental values and insights which transcend cultural difference.

Beyond Walls offers evidence that those values and insights can bring us together in working for a just and harmonious world. Its stories introduce us to a fellowship of people with wide cultural differences, but a common sense of calling and a joy in working together. In a world where global challenges can only be met through intercultural cooperation, this is a significant contribution to international wellbeing.

Beyond Walls is available to purchase from the IofC Shop website

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