On December 12th – 14th, a group of us came together in the Dances of Universal Peace Camp Thailand 2022 at Gaia Ashram – a learning center and community for ecological lifestyle. This camp is the final event that concludes a series of DUP workshops in multiple countries in Asia and also the first regional camp with participants attending from different countries in Asia. We stayed together for a few days to immerse ourselves deeply in the practice of Dances of Universal Peace, connecting with ourselves, each other, and the universe.
The diversity of the camp participants was striking. It was a privilege to be a part of this camp along with the presence of 30 people from 15 different countries in Asia and beyond. Each of us enriched the camp with unique culture, stories, and energy making the camp very colorful and interesting. We all engage in this collective dance exploration under the guidance of Arjun Calero from Colombia, our senior mentor of the Dances of Universal Peace, who has been traveling to India, Vietnam, Indonesia, The Maldives, and finally Thailand in the past 3 months to share the Dances of Universal Peace in Asia.
The two-day camp started with us getting to know each other, knowing each other’s names and where we come from. A lot of us knew each other already as we have been together participating in another preceding activity hosted by the center called Gaia Calling. However, there are some friends who came especially for the DUP Camp, so we warmly welcomed them to the group and made them feel at home. And from then, the dances began!
Over the course of two days, we had dance sessions in the morning, afternoon, and evening. By the end of the workshop, we have experienced more than 35 songs and dances from different wisdom traditions of the world including the teachings of indigenous tribes like the Mapuche people of South America and Zulu people of Africa, and various religions of the world including Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, Christianity, Judaism, and more.
In some of the sessions, we had specific themes such as Zikr night where we focused on songs from the Islamic tradition of the Middle East. We also had one session where a representative from the four countries Arjun visited to share the dances (India, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Maldives) to lead one dance each. This session symbolically represents the seeds of DUP growing in Asia, as people who participated in the workshops in those countries have started to practice leading dances.
In between sessions we ate, sang, and did home chores together. This was also time for folks who need time to space out from the group to process the experiences that they have had. The space between sessions is just as valuable to us as the dance sessions themselves. It was where we got to talk with each other, exchange stories, and connect on a personal level.
The Dances of Universal Peace Camp provided us with a safe space to open up our hearts, let our sense of individuality dissolve, and learn to integrate ourselves to be a part of a larger entity and the universe. Through singing songs and body movement, we are invited to be in the present, concentrate and co-create beautiful life-affirming vibrations. All throughout the camp we bathe in the energy of love, forgiveness, peace, and the harmonic relationship between all beings.
By the end of the camp, we bonded deeply to the point that we really feel like we are a family that genuinely wishes each other to be well and live wholesome lives, ready to support each other in whichever way we can, whenever needed. It is powerful to be a part of and witness people representing different parts of Asia (and the bigger world) coming together, blending, and moving together in harmony. We each brought home this embodied realization that despite all differences we have between us, we share a common denominator – that we are all human and we are all interconnected with each other.
The camp was a really rich experience for all involved indeed. We’d like to express our deep gratitude to everyone who contributed to making this camp possible. We thank Arjun and the Beyond Initiative Project for the energy and resources they have poured in to share the Dances of Universal Peace in Asia; Gaia Ashram community for providing us with a beautiful, natural, and loving space that allows magical things to happen; and all participants for coming to Thailand and heartfully co-creating a safe and loving atmosphere throughout the camp.
May all beings be well and happy,
may all beings be free from strife.
May all beings return to love,
peace be with you forevermore…
The sense in deeper into the camp experience by looking at reflection pieces from participants:
Reflection of 2022 – Peace a reflection article by Joanne Chua