Tag - peace

Free to be Peace

by Michelle Sullivan

You are a perfect reflection of God, a divine soul going through a human experience.

All is truly One, Eternal, and of Peace alone. Your soul knows this but truth is buried

beneath fearful earthly illusion of separateness, beginnings and ends, and conflict.

The purpose of life here is to uncover the truth as we move through this powerful physical illusion.

We learn more deeply about who we truly are in the midst of who we truly are not.

Earth is a most challenging school but we long to be its graduate, however hard the lessons may be, because of the tremendous payoff.

The only thing real is the love we learn in great depth here that we take with us when we leave this earth.

Learning is eternal even though we are divine perfect souls already, because perfection doesn’t mean finished.  Eternity means eternal deepening/growth of perfection, of oneness, of peace.

All is in perfect divine order every moment; there’s purposeful learning in everything, no matter how hard it may be to believe. In eternity, upon looking back on earthly life, it all makes sense.

Each person’s life path is mapped out before arriving here, but how we walk it is up to us.  Each path is unique in order to learn the most from one another.

There are two ways to walk our path during challenges:  With life or struggling against it.

Since it seems there’s much to fear here, we naturally learn to cope by fighting against scary, painful trials where we judge situations, others and ourselves as wrong.

To judge/criticize is to struggle against, is to be in emotional pain, is to say:  “You, I, it shouldn’t be this way!” (and it really isn’t this way, isn’t the truth of who we truly are)

At first all we can do is be against trials by fighting them or giving up.  At first we believe that when we do something wrong, are wronged or when challenging life events occur, the only possible response is to be upset, victims of “what shouldn’t be.”   We either fight against the wrong or flee from it (i.e., in depression) thinking “I cannot accept this!  I am/they are/it is wrong!”

Struggling is purposeful, to a point.  The powerful illusion of pain from conflict from feeling apart from one another and fearing at risk of ending is a great teacher.  The first lesson is to struggle against “what shouldn’t be,” judge it as wrong, and be upset.  However, staying in struggle against our pain keeps us stuck in it with room only for more and more turmoil inside, and what’s inside us is what we bring to others, into the world.

Our inner turmoil includes worrying about what others think of us, so we do things we should do to feel good enough.  We feel badly about the past and worry about what might happen in the future.  We judge/criticize others as wrong, feeling justified; but when others judge/criticize us, we feel wronged, not seeing we are all the same judgers!

Who we are and what IS is from/of God.  We, not God, judge that certain actions and life’s trials “shouldn’t be,” as others taught us, and as they were also taught, ever-intensifying the cycle of pain.  We are here is to break this cycle, revealing pain for the illusion it is, by experiencing God’s unconditional love in the midst of it.

The first vital step in learning to break the cycle of pain is to see what’s inside.  When upset, see what’s going on inside as if you were outside yourself looking at yourself and watch the turmoil inside rather than blindly be one with it, all-consumed in pain from telling yourself how things “shouldn’t be happening.”

Our struggle over what we think “shouldn’t be” is an inner one.  Regardless of the person or situation prompting our pain, we see we are now in a tug of war within our self over what “shouldn’t be,” stuck in pain of our own making.

Here’s the thing about others or situations prompting pain that we take on:  What others do is all about them, how they feel inside about themselves and about walking their life path:  It’s all their path to walk with God, not ours.  And the same is true for us.  The closer we feel to someone, or the more challenging the life event, the harder this is to comprehend.

We don’t make each other unhappy.  We activate, not cause, one another’s pain that’s already inside us.  We all automatically took others’ pain and challenging situations personally when young, but now we are able to see our inner struggle as entirely ours, saying:  “I hurt” instead of “they/that hurt me.”

To say:  “They/that hurt me” and “What happened was wrong” is me keeping myself in painful struggle.  But knowing “I hurt and it is” brings peace.

“They/that hurt me and is wrong” versus “I hurt and it is:”  Believing “that hurt me and is wrong” is like having a brick wall between oneself and one’s core feelings; but seeing “I hurt and what happened is” allows in true feelings that can now be truly felt instead of being covered up with defensive & offensive feelings.

Letting what is be brings peace.  We either own, accept and truly feel our hurt, moving us through it or we make it someone/thing’s fault that “shouldn’t be happening” keeping us stuck in it.  Struggling against what is is turmoil’s quicksand.  Letting what is be is peace’s free flight.

Peace is letting go and letting God.  “This shouldn’t be!” melts away, allowing in divine truth of “yet it is.”  Letting what is be is to let go of our struggle against it, which frees/releases our pain to God, thus allowing God’s peace to come to us and move us. In peace there’s no judgment, no turmoil, only peacefulness.

In peace, I’m in the flow of life.  I view what is as what is, trusting God knows the big  picture (no matter how wrong it may seem to me), knowing that whatever is ultimately teaches me more deeply of God’s peace.  To experience God’s unconditional peace is to learn to accept myself and others unconditionally too, is true forgiveness.

When peace resides where nothing but turmoil used to be, whatever is in this moment can now and only now be something better in the next moment because the peace of God decides what happens next & how it happens (peacefully), not fearful, full-of-turmoil me making things worse.

Example of “shouldn’t be” versus “it is” involving another:

The boss yells at me for doing a bad job (that was actually her fault).  I leave in a rage, totally upset, unable to work at all, with my morale plummeting OR I leave her office quietly, improve my work product, and maybe even receive an apology (but I’m peaceful regardless of any forthcoming apology).

When I see, feel and release my own fear to God, allowing in God’s peace, I’m able to accept (not necessarily agree with) others as they are too, and the outcome is always better.  If others don’t do this, they can’t possibly be there for themselves or for me and to expect otherwise is like expecting a fish to breathe air.

Example of “shouldn’t be” versus “it is” involving challenging life event:

My dear, dear loved one has disappeared in many ways since she has Alzheimer’s.  As I compare her now with who she used to be, I feel a stab in my heart, the pain growing the more she disappears OR as I interact with my loved one, I learn how to connect with her heart (that I’m able to feel in essence is the same) in ever-new ways.

Being peaceful may not always feel joyful in this situation; however, I feel closer and closer to my loved one instead of farther and farther apart as I continue returning my focus on what is and on who we truly are, keeping me in God’s peace.

Life here is either us trying to control fearful happenings ourselves, by struggling against

perceived wrongs in the attempt to feel safe, resulting in ever-increasing turmoil everywhere OR us being moved through challenges with God, knowing we’re always safe in God, resulting in ever-greater peace and ever-lessoning turmoil everywhere.

Letting it be, letting God requires the focus, courage and resolve of a warrior in battle, only this battle is within.  This entirely inner prayer with God that sees others and situations as is is all about what you allow into the world; what others do is entirely up to them.  Most won’t let go of their struggle and you can’t make them.  The more you focus on what others should do, the more turmoil they bring and the less you focus on the only person you can do anything about: You.  Your shift to “it is” does help others indirectly feel more peaceful, even though they don’t know why (but they don’t have to know).

This requires doing something completely different than ever before, entirely on one’s own with total faith in God’s peace, even while others continue to blindly judge & blame, creating nothing but ever-intensifying turmoil.

Going from human pain to God’s peace is far from easy and takes a lot of practice.  Releasing our struggle to God feels like disappearing, so accustomed to struggling against life challenges we are, and so identified with our pain from that struggle we are.  But little by little, as we gradually break free of fearful illusion revealing who we truly are, we allow in ever-deepening connection with God and with each other, allowing in ever-greater peace on earth.

Be patient with yourself.  With each challenge, see your best as perfect (as God does) while learning to let it all be there as it is, starting with yourself/where you’re at in any given moment.  This is a gradual understanding of and ability to experience an entirely different way of being from what you’ve always believed was the only way to be.  This is something you experience and once you do, you know it’s all you want to continue doing.

God, Jesus, Buddha, Muhammad, Gandhi, Angels, Archangels, and many more beyond human judgment are always with us and want to help us.  We must remember to ask for this vital help!  We can feel so alone but God is always with us!  Experiencing earthly pain’s transformation to God’s peace is knowing that nothing tops peace beyond highs and lows, peace no matter what, peace past side-taking, peace we bring into the world thereby lessoning the world’s turmoil, peace that’s our purpose here to learn to grow so deeply.

And we are not alone even here because all is truly One.  Look into another’s eyes and know you are them, the only difference being walking a different illusionary (but oh-so-purposeful) path.

Ways to hear God more easily, allowing divine truth to guide us:  Listen to peaceful music, be in nature or a place of worship, take a relaxing bath, listen to meditation tapes, play, create (hobbies), exercise, stretch, eat and drink healthily, be with gentle people, children, animals, read inspirational books, anything peaceful that helps clear your mind of turbulent chatter and your heart of turbulent, struggled-against feelings.

Every day brings new challenges to be moved through, new opportunities to allow God’s peace to grow as it flows more and more through our oh-so-human, fearful selves into the world, allowing in more and more heaven on earth.

No End,
No Beginning either.

About the author

The truth of who we are (one, eternal peace) came to me/was one with me over 30 years ago in response to letting go of my struggle over knowing “why” for everything.  Practicing this truth is to allow in heaven on earth.

Michelle Sullivan
I’d love your feedback!
[email protected]


World Peace: Could Better Communication End Wars?

War. A large majority of people would prefer to live without it, yet it’s all around us.  Countries fight other countries, or they fight themselves in bitter civil wars. Spouses and siblings square off against one another and neighbors cannot see eye to eye. It seems that war will always be with us.

For Mary Ann Callahan, who spent nine years in Afghanistan working on humanitarian projects under the aegis of the U.S. Agency for International Development, the lessons learned there could make a significant contribution toward mitigating the effects of war in all its forms. By opening real lines of communication, many conflicts can be stopped before they start. 

It’s a simple, yet profound concept. If conflicting parties could begin to understand one another, a large percentage of the violence and misfortune in the world that comes with war could be avoided, or at least lessened.

“As human beings, we’re naturally very conversant with our own points of view. Most of us do not hesitate to expound on them whenever possible.  What we often lack is the ability to listen to and understand the viewpoints of others, especially if they come from people who are very different from us.” says Callahan, (http://callahans-pen.com/), author of “Clouded Hopes”, the second in a series about her experiences overseas that also includes “Clear Differences: Short Stories from Afghanistan.”

“The failure of mutual understanding because of missed chances for real communication accounts for a large percentage of human conflict,” says Callahan, who lived independently in Afghan neighborhoods from 2003 to 2011, when she was forced to move behind international barricades because of increasing threats to foreigners in Afghanistan.

“When I think about the various failings in Afghanistan, America’s longest war, it’s clear to me that the inability to understand differences in culture and unsuccessful communication account for a tragic cost in human life and treasure. They also helped to ruin a remarkable opportunity to build bridges between two very different cultures, which might have produced real peace founded upon mutual respect.”

As a journalism teacher, Callahan’s job was to communicate with Afghans who spoke a different language and had a very different world view.

She shares some of the lessons she learned:

•  To really listen.  A great deal of human communication is really a series of talking at rather than dialoguing with.  Real dialogue is a series of questions whose answers are absorbed by the person asking the question.  If done well, it usually leads to more questions and can produce the kind of understanding that can build bridges rather than bomb them.

•  To promote empathy.  America’s love of individuality and personal rights is one of our most cherished characteristics, but we must understand that our society, not to mention the world, is a cooperative of millions of people different from us. Empathy is a fundamental and necessary component for being able to live together. By putting ourselves in the shoes of another we gain insights into why they do what they do. Understanding that “why” can build positive relationships that lead to conflict resolution. 

•  Know who you’re talking to. Most people stay within a fairly closed and comfortable circle. Foreign locations, whether they are the different sections of the same country or a war-torn land like Afghanistan, can pose a real challenge. Whether the talk is between a Northern Yankee and someone from the Deep South, or an American and an Afghan, understanding something about the other person can help to make communication more effective and better communication can make so many things possible, maybe even peace.

About Mary Ann Callahan

Mary Ann Callahan (www.callahans-pen.com) worked in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2012 in a variety of capacities, most involving communications. She developed and implemented an independent journalism program that trained Afghans to accurately report on international development efforts in their country, and received recognition from both the U.S. and Afghan governments for her work. She is the author of three books based on her experiences. “Clouded Hopes” is the second in a series that also includes “Clear Differences: Short Stories from Afghanistan.” Her children’s book, “Little Heroes,” is about two cats growing up in Kabul and Paris and helps to acquaint young readers with the disparities of our world


The Nest of Peace

by Joyce & Barry Vissel

Finding peace in your lives and relationships, especially if you feel stressed with financial, health, or relationship challenges, can sometimes seem almost impossible. And yet finding that peace is essential.

There is a story of a king who offered a prize to the artist who could paint the best picture of peace. Many artists tried, and the king finally chose two of the best. From these two, he had to choose one to receive the prize. The first picture was of a perfectly calm lake, with majestic mountains around it. The sky was pure blue with soft fluffy clouds. All who saw that picture thought that surely it would win the prize. It appeared to be the essence of peace.

The second picture was very different. It also held a lake, but the wind was creating high waves. The mountains around the lake were bare and rugged. Above was a turbulent sky with rain and lightning. Down the side of the mountain tumbled a raging waterfall. This painting did not look peaceful at all.

But when the king looked closer, he saw behind the waterfall a tiny bush growing in a crack in the rock. In the bush, a mother bird had built her nest. There, in the midst of the rush of angry water and noise, sat the mother bird on her nest….in perfect peace.

Which picture won the prize? The king chose the second picture. “Because,” explained the king, “peace does not mean the absence of noise, trouble or hard work. Peace means to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart. That is the real meaning of peace.”

When we do couples retreats, we always challenge the couples to create in their lives 10 minutes to connect in a peaceful, spiritual and loving way with one another. There are many different ways to do this. Barry and I say a prayer of gratitude and trust each morning while we hold hands. Saying this prayer together allows us to connect in our hearts and feel our spiritual connection with each other. We create our own nest of peace and safety to which we can return again and again when life challenges us.

Nineteen years ago, we were experiencing a great financial challenge. We had lived the first twenty-three years of our married life without financial stress. We lived in very inexpensive rental homes, drove old cars, and bought our clothes and our children’s clothes from second-hand stores. We kept cash on hand and only bought something if we had the cash for it. We didn’t have a credit card and had never been in debt. All that changed in 1989 when the earthquake destroyed our small rental home. We had been paying only $270/month rent and suddenly were forced out into the real world of high rents.

We decided to follow our dream and were able to purchase 16 acres right next to the rental home at a very good price. We were very naïve about mortgages and decided at the same time to build the house of our dreams, a home in which we could raise our three children and, at the same time, hold some of our workshops. Then we got the first mortgage bill and realized how very high it was. How could we ever come up with so much money each month? Our children were happy to have a home once again, after camping for six months in order to save money. We did not want to leave our new home, but the mortgage was so high that we wondered if we might go into foreclosure before we even had a chance to really live there. We were scared and started taking it out on each other. The picture of the turbulent sky and waves on the lake might describe our situation. Each day got harder and harder for us.

Finally we realized we must create a place of peace for this challenge and it was at that point that we began saying a prayer every single day. We sat for ten minutes each day and asked for help and guidance from a loving power greater than our own minds. Our financial situation did not immediately change, but these ten minutes of peace every day brought a trust into our lives that calmed the turbulence. Every month we somehow made that payment, sometimes by just a few dollars. When we would pray together it felt as if we were sitting in that nest of peace behind the rushing waterfall. We still return to that nest day after day as other challenges and situations come into our lives.

I feel very grateful for this “nest” and the peace that comes from sitting in it each day. For the people who have taken us up on our “ten minute challenge,” their lives change in a special way. We will forever encourage couples and singles to create this nest of peace.

Joyce & Barry Vissell, a nurse/therapist and psychiatrist couple since 1964, are counselors near Santa Cruz, CA, who are widely regarded as among the world’s top experts on conscious relationship and personal growth. They are the authors of The Shared Heart, Models of Love, Risk To Be Healed, The Heart’s Wisdom, Meant To Be, and just released, A Mother’s Final Gift: How One Woman’s Courageous Dying Transformed Her Family.


Call Toll-Free 1-800-766-0629 (locally 831-684-2299) or write to the Shared Heart Foundation, P.O. Box 2140, Aptos, CA 95001, for free newsletter from Barry and Joyce, further information on counseling sessions by phone or in person, their books, recordings or their schedule of talks and workshops. Visit their web site at http://sharedheart.org/ for their free monthly e-heartletter, their updated schedule, and inspiring past articles on many topics about relationship and living from the heart.


Conscious Peace: World Peace Depends upon Our Collective Consciousness

From the book Radical Peace: People Refusing War
By William T. Hathaway
Published by Trine Day 2010

I was sitting in full lotus, body wrapped in a blanket, mind rapt in deep stillness, breathing lightly, wisps of air curling into the infinite space behind my closed eyes. My mantra had gone beyond sound to become a pulse of light in an emptiness that contained everything.

An electric shock flashed down my spine and through my body. My head snapped back, limbs jerked, a cry burst from my throat. Every muscle in my body contracted — neck rigid, jaws clenched, forehead tight. Bolts of pain shot through me in all directions, then drew together in my chest. Heart attack! I thought. I managed to lie down, then noticed I wasn’t breathing — maybe I was already dead. I groaned and gulped a huge breath, which stirred a whirl of thoughts and images.

Vietnam again: Rotor wind from a hovering helicopter flails the water of a rice paddy while farmers run frantically for cover. Points of fire spark out from a bamboo grove to become dopplered whines past my ears. A plane dives on the grove to release a bomb which tumbles end over end and bursts into an orange globe of napalm. A man in my arms shakes in spasms as his chest gushes blood.

I held my head and tried to force the images out, but the montage of scenes flowed on, needing release. I could only lie there under a torrent of grief, regret, terror and guilt. My chest felt like it was caving in under the pressure. I clung to my mantra like a lifeline to sanity. I was breathing in short, shallow gasps, but gradually my breath slowed and deepened, the feelings became less gripping, and I reoriented back into the here and now: my small room in Spain on a Transcendental Meditation teacher training course.

I lay on my narrow bed stunned by this flashback from four years ago when I’d been a Green Beret in Vietnam. I had thought I’d left all that behind, but here it was again.

I sat up and was able to do some yoga exercises but couldn’t meditate. Instead I took a walk on the beach. For the rest of that day and the next I was confused and irritable and could hardly meditate or sleep. But the following day I felt lightened and relieved, purged of a load of trauma, and my meditations were clear. My anxiety about the war was much less; the violence was in the past, not raging right now in my head.

Gradually I became aware of a delicate joy permeating not just me but also my surroundings. I knew somehow it had always been there, inhering deep in everything, but my stress had been blocking my perception of it. I felt closer to the other people on the course, connected by a shared consciousness. Then I started feeling closer to everything around me; birds and grass, even rocks and water were basically the same as me. Our surface separations were an illusion; essentially we were all one consciousness expressing itself in different forms. Rather than being just an isolated individual, I knew I was united with the universe, joined in a field of felicity. This perception faded after a few days, but it gave me a glimpse of what enlightenment must be like.

The whole experience was a dramatic example of what Maharishi Mahesh Yogi called “unstressing,” the nervous system’s purging itself of blockages caused by our past actions. Since my past actions had been extreme, the healing process was also extreme.

I had begun meditating in 1968, several months after returning from the war. I’d come back laden with fear and anger, but I had denied those emotions, burying them under an “I’m all right, Jack,” attitude. I was tough, I could take it, I was a survivor. Within certain parameters I could function well, but when my superficial control broke down, I would fall into self-destructive depressions. I finally had to admit I was carrying a huge burden of stress, and I knew I had to get rid of that before I could live at peace with myself or anyone else.

My best friend from Special Forces, Keith Parker, had started doing Transcendental Meditation and said it made his mind clear and calm. I tried it and found he was right. When I meditated, I sat with eyes closed and thought a mantra, a sound without meaning that took my mind to quieter, finer levels and eventually beyond all mental activity to deep silence. Subjectively, TM was like diving down through an inner ocean into a realm of serenity. The effects were more real than anything I’d experienced through prayer or psychedelics. My stress and pressure began to be relieved.

I started going on World Peace Assemblies, large courses led by Maharishi or one of his assistants where we meditated as a group. This strengthened the effects, making me feel both tranquil and energized. Then I attended this four-month course to learn to be a teacher of Transcendental Meditation. Every day we did hours of “rounding,” repeating cycles of meditation, yoga and breathing exercises, each taking us deeper towards transcendental consciousness. Afternoons and evenings Maharishi would answer questions and teach us how to be teachers of meditation.

One of his favorite topics was the connection between modern science and Vedic science. After getting a master’s degree in physics, he had studied metaphysics with one of the great swamis of India, so he could integrate both worlds. He taught us how the unified field that physics has discovered is the same as our own consciousness, that the fundamental level of the universe is the fundamental level of ourselves. And most importantly, he taught us how to experience this unity, where the duality of subject and object disappears and separation merges into oneness. This is the source of creation, a realm of bliss where even the concept of enemy doesn’t exist. It’s the level from which energy manifests into matter and form. Enlightened people live there all the time, but all of us can experience it, and once we do, our reality is different.

Ordinarily, our awareness is directed via sense perception outwards to physical objects. When we meditate, we reverse this direction and move our awareness back towards its source, the unified field. The mind goes inward and perceives progressively more refined levels of thinking until all thoughts drop away and we reach the ground state of transcendental consciousness, in which the mind is alert but without thoughts, pure awareness without an object. In place of thoughts, we are filled with a joy that can only be described as divine. Here we are united with all of creation. We are no longer observing the universe; we are the universe.

The path to transcendental consciousness, however, is not always smooth. Our stresses — the inner effects of past actions — can make our mind murky and unsettled, thus blocking us off from a clear experience of the transcendent. But stress can be healed. During Transcendental Meditation the nervous system repairs itself and removes the obstructions so that our awareness isn’t confined to the surface thinking level but can flow into the silent depths, providing deep rest for the mind and body. In this physiological condition, stress is cured and higher states of consciousness experienced.

The process can be unsettling because as stresses are dissolved, some of their qualities may affect our awareness in the form of physical pain, old buried emotions, or hectic streams of thoughts. Sometimes the unconscious has to be made conscious before it can be healed. I’d had a first-hand experience of this sort of unstressing, and it cleared away my war trauma. I haven’t had a flashback in all the years since then, but I’ve had many experiences of the blissful unity that came afterwards.

The deep calm of meditation is more than just a subjective experience. Physiological research has shown that during TM oxygen consumption decreases twice as much as it does during deep sleep. Brain waves become more coherent, changing from the usual scattered, disordered patterns into synchronized waves coordinating across both hemispheres, an indication of more integrated mental functioning. Blood flow to the brain increases. On the skin, electrical conductance decreases, a sign of relaxation. In the blood stream, the stress hormone cortisol decreases; serotonin, a neurotransmitter that relieves depression and promotes well being, increases; arginine vasopressin, a hormone that regulates blood pressure and improves memory and learning ability, increases; blood lactate level decreases, indicating lessened anxiety. And rather than being in a trance, the person is fully alert and aware of the surroundings. This physiological condition defines a fourth state of consciousness distinct from the three usual states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep. In this rejuvenating transcendental consciousness, the physiology repairs the damage done by traumatic events and illnesses.

More than anything else I’ve experienced, Transcendental Meditation creates a peaceful inner change. The personality and basic self remain the same, but fear and hostility diminish. We become friendlier to ourselves, and so we can be friendlier to others. As our personal stresses are healed, the mind functions better and we gain access to more of our mental potential. We’re more able to perceive and correct the sources of social stress that surround us.

Recent research has shown that the effects don’t stop with the individual. Large groups of people meditating together produce coherence and stability not just in themselves but also in the society around them. This extended effect has been demonstrated in experiments in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Iowa, Washington DC, New Delhi, Manila, Puerto Rico, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Iran and Holland where large groups met for long meditations. During every assembly, crime, violence and accidents in the surrounding region dropped and the composite Quality of Life Index for public health, economics and social harmony rose. All the changes were statistically highly significant. The groups of meditators improved the whole society: negativity decreased, positivity increased. After the assemblies ended, the figures returned to their previous levels. The results were calculated by comparing data from different time periods to insure that the only variable was the meditation course, thus establishing it as the cause of the change.

I attended two of these assemblies, in Washington DC and Iowa, and the experiences were wonderful. Meditating with thousands of other people strengthens the results. The mental emanations reinforce one another into a palpable effect of group consciousness. I enjoyed deeper levels of inner silence and clearer infusions of transcendental energy. Outside of meditation, we treated one another with a harmony and tenderness that I’d never experienced in a group of people before. It was a taste of what an ideal society could be like.

How can meditators sitting with their eyes closed influence people many miles away? Quantum physics describes how everything in the universe is connected through underlying fields of energy. The electromagnetic field is an example. A transmitter sends waves through this invisible field, and receivers many miles away instantly convert them into sound and pictures. Similarly, our minds send mental energy through the field of consciousness that connects everyone. We are all continually transmitting and receiving these influences. The mental atmosphere we share is loaded with them, and the program they’re broadcasting is frequently one of fear, frustration, anger and aggression. This toxicity pollutes the collective consciousness, resulting in cloudy thinking and harmful actions. All of us are affected — and infected — to some degree by this. Under this sway, persons with a heavy load of personal stress become more prone to turn to crime to solve their problems. As this negative atmosphere intensifies and the pressures mount, groups of people turn to the mass criminality of warfare.

Wars are hurricanes of the collective consciousness. Hurricanes relieve the physical atmosphere of excess heat that has built up. They result afterwards in a more balanced climatic condition, but they do that destructively. Similarly, wars relieve excess stress in the psychic atmosphere and bring a temporary peace, but their destructiveness generates more stress and another war.

In contrast to this stormy approach, a meditator in transcendental consciousness broadcasts the qualities inherent to this plane: peace, orderliness, harmony. And when many meditators reach transcendental consciousness together, their energies reinforce one another into a surge of positivity that overrides the stressful emissions of the surrounding population. The minds of everyone in the area receive this broadcast of coherence. It’s a very subtle effect that is under the limen of most people’s perceptual awareness, but they are influenced through this field where all human minds are joined. This life-nurturing energy purifies the collective consciousness of fear and hostility before those negative forces can build up and erupt into crime and war.

New experiments demonstrated the effects on war. As civil war was raging in Lebanon, a group gathered nearby in Israel to practice long meditations. During their assembly, the intensity of fighting in Lebanon lessened and war deaths plummeted. In Israel, crime, traffic accidents, fires and other indicators of social disorder decreased. All the changes were statistically highly significant.

A further experiment showed even more dramatic results. According to the ancient Vedic tradition, if a very large number of people meditate together, positive influences will occur globally. Maharishi decided to test this with 7,000 meditators, the square root of one percent of the world population. He gathered them together at the TM university in Fairfield, Iowa, for long meditations. The results thousands of miles away in Lebanon were a 71 percent decrease in war deaths, a 68 percent decrease in injuries, a 48 percent decrease in combat incidents and a 66 percent increase in cooperative efforts to end the civil war. A time-series analysis of the results confirmed the causation.

Groups of 7,000 meditators also reduce terrorism. During three of these large assemblies, worldwide terrorism dropped by an average of 72 percent as compared to all other weeks in a two-year period, based on data compiled by the Rand Corporation. Statistical analysis ruled out the possibility that the reduction was due to cycles, trends, seasonal changes, or drifts in the measures used.

Peer-reviewed studies of these experiments have been published in the Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Mind and Behavior, Journal of Crime and Justice, Social Indicators Research and other academic publications. Twenty-three studies based on 50 experiments document the long-distance effects of large groups of meditators in reducing violence and improving quality of life.

With this overwhelming evidence Maharishi approached the governments of the world and requested that they establish these groups on a permanent basis to secure peace and social harmony.

The governments of the world weren’t interested.

So Maharishi decided to build a long-term group. With the help of a wealthy donor he constructed a residential center in India and filled it with 7,000 meditators practicing several hours a day. The other experiments had been short-term, lasting a few weeks or months, but this one lasted two years — a time that fundamentally changed the world. The Cold War ended, communism collapsed, the people of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union freed themselves of totalitarian rule, the Berlin Wall came down, 80 nations signed an agreement that saved the ozone layer, black and white South Africans dismantled apartheid, hostile borders became open and friendly, former enemies signed arms reduction and nonaggression treaties. It was a period of unprecedented good will, a breakthrough for world peace.

But the donor ran out of money. He had already expended most of his fortune supporting the group and couldn’t continue. Maharishi tried again to convince governments to take over the funding, an amount per year that was a fraction of what they spend on the military per one heartbeat.

Again, no government was interested. Why did they turn down such a scientifically verified program that would cost little, harm nothing and possibly bring world peace?

In three of the countries that participated in the initial experiments, the governments were thrown out of office after the assemblies. Three dictators — the Shah in Iran, Somoza in Nicaragua and Marcos in the Philippines — had invited the TM teachers because their populations were rising in rebellion. They hoped the meditating groups would act as a social tranquilizer that would pacify the rebels. The opposite turned out to be the case. The increased coherence generated by the groups enabled the whole society to join together and throw out the dictators with a minimum of violence. Other governments didn’t want to risk losing power through a similar upsurge in the collective consciousness of their people.

Another reason was that although many governments pay lip service to peace, they don’t really want it. What they want is to use the military to control their people and enforce their aggressive foreign policies. They also profit from the arms trade; peace would be bad for business.

A third reason is that the concept of meditators being able to decrease violence half the world away is just too unconventional for most politicians to comprehend. It doesn’t fit the worldview they’ve been educated into. Our society is still living in the shadow of 19th-century empiricism, where matter was seen as the basis of reality. Science has moved far beyond this position, but the old view still has a lingering effect on our thinking, causing us to reject what we don’t understand. The insights of unified field physics are only slowly being absorbed by the general population. Most people can’t yet comprehend that energy rather than matter is the basic component of the universe, and that this energy is identical with our own consciousness.

In addition, the intellectual rebellion against dogmatic religion has gone to the opposite extreme where many people now embrace skepticism as the ultimate wisdom. Doubt has become the new orthodoxy, and definitive statements about the world are automatically suspect.

Seeing consciousness as primary and matter as being manifested from it is a whole different way of looking at the universe and will require some getting used to. But every paradigm shift in human thinking has had to confront the prejudices of its time. As Arthur Schopenhauer said, a new worldview is first ridiculed, then attacked and finally accepted as self-evident.

But unfortunately in the early 1990s when the group of 7,000  meditators had to be dissolved, negative consequences followed swiftly: The USA decided for full-spectrum dominance and developed new nuclear weapons; the first Gulf War broke out; Yugoslavia dissolved into violent chaos; terrorism multiplied. Destructive trends in all areas of life continue to engulf us.

Maharishi didn’t give up, though. He started rebuilding the group on his own. To finance it, he raised the prices for learning TM and for his ayurvedic health programs. Although Maharishi died in 2008, there’s currently a group of 4,000 in India and 2,000 in Iowa, both of them growing. If the number of meditators continues to increase, we could all be in for a new era.

Scientific evidence indicates this technique can cure the root cause of war — stress in the collective consciousness — and bring world peace. This could be the most important discovery of our time, and we can all participate in it. Several studies have shown that individuals meditating on their own for 20 minutes twice a day also contribute to this effect. More information and citations on the research can be found at www.permanentpeace.org.

William T. Hathaway’s other books include A WORLD OF HURT (Rinehart Foundation Award), CD-RING and SUMMER SNOW. He was a Fulbright professor of creative writing at universities in Germany, where he is currently living. A selection of his work is available at www.peacewriter.org.