Peace found in the middle of the Vietnam War

(Part 1 of 2)
Recall a time when you felt calm and peaceful, even though the circumstances were not peaceful. Write down a description of that event, and describe how you were able to be calm in that situation. What was the source of this peacefulness if it didn’t come from outside? — Deepak Chopra 21-Day Meditation Experience (Day 3 — “Feeling Peace”)

I had led my platoon in Vietnam for several months. We had encountered several firefights, but no one was killed or injured, thank God. But, you never knew what the next day would bring and so we were on edge, on the ready so to speak for anything that might have endangered us.

And then one day, I lead one of my two squads into an area where we came across a humongous crater that had been carved in the earth. I don’t know what kind of bomb had created such a massive hole. It looked as if it had been done several years before the ten or twelve guys I was leading had approached it and circling it, decided to make our overnight “camp” there.


It was broad daylight, however, when we got to it and there were still several hours of light left. I’ll tell you, I have never felt so much peace as I did when settling in at that moment. I don’t know what it was that gave off such calm and relaxing vibrations. Perhaps there had been a monastery or some sort of temple there at one time. Perhaps spirits from those prayers offered up to whatever gods existed at their time were still lingering in the vicinity.


Peace of God found in the middle of the Vietnam War for some lucky grunts


I felt secure and comfortable. I felt I could rest and not worry about any type of attack, even though we didn’t let down our watch through the evening and overnight. It just seemed as if God had gathered us in his arms and was protecting us.

I hadn’t felt the presence of God since I was twelve years old. I didn’t recognize it as a “presence” until recently when I reflected on the more peaceful times in my life and determined that strangely enough, it was right smack in the middle of a war.

The peace came from within but also from the birds and critters that had returned to what must have been a burned-out shell shortly after the massive explosion. Bushes and small trees had started to grow along the sides of the crater. There weren’t that many flowers, but the foliage was pleasant to look at and comforting to believe it could conceal us from outside forces. Maybe it did.

And maybe that is what peace is all about, being able to go within protected from outside forces.

— Michael J Contoveros, former US army lieutenant, responding to meditation question posed.

(For part 2, please see:

(For more on meditation see Chopra Center Meditation Experience)