Joining the Universal Peace Corps: Transforming the World from Within, Part I
I realized how relevant this was for my post—relevant to the question many ask today: CAN we possibly transform this world of ours, on a large scale, for the better? Buber’s life was devoted to urging others to realize that this possibility is there each and every moment.
But how? When we want illumination to significant questions, there are three sources we can turn to for knowledge: wisdom of the sages, both ancient and contemporary; modern science; and our own experience. Maharishi calls these the “Three Eurekas.”
Let’s start with the wisdom from the sages. Rabbi Abraham Kook, another great 20th century Jewish leader, addresses our question of how we can transform our world and underscores a point made in my prior post on peace: the individual has the potential for a profoundly harmonious effect on the whole. Addressing the experience of higher states of consciousness, Rabbi Kook said, “It turns out that the unity achieved in our souls serves to unite the world as a whole. And all those noble effects of the riches of the souls which everyone who is wise of heart, of a sensitive and holy nature, can feel within himself…because of the manifestation of the mystical discovery of inner unity—these spread and release light and vitality and become a source of blessing and an ornament of peace to the world and its fullness.”
To get a perspective from another culture, we travel back in time to Lao Tzu of ancient China:Tao te Ching
This principle—that an enlightened individual automatically affects powerful, positive change in the larger community—is articulated in yet another time and culture. The 14th century anonymous author of the Christian classic, The Cloud of Unknowing, says that even a momentary experience of the transcendent, within the silence of pure consciousness [“pure contemplation”], has a more powerful impact of good upon the world than anything done in the field of activity: “The whole of mankind is wonderfully helped by what you are doing, in ways you do not understand…. It is more profitable to your friends, natural and spiritual, dead or alive.” “It is more powerful, I can assure you, than anything else.” Yet, it is “the lightest sort of work there is.”
That phrase, “the lightest sort of work there is,” is a perfect description of the transcending process during the TM technique. The mind finds it increasingly easy, more natural, and simple to go beyond its usual concrete level of functioning to experience quieter levels of activity, where consciousness entertains softer levels of thought, and then to experience silent consciousness by itself without the activity of thought. Pure consciousness is the mind’s own nature and is effortlessly experienced at the mind’s most fundamental state. From within this state, we automatically become “instruments of peace,” nourishing our environment with an influence of harmony.
In my next post, I’ll explain how the field of consciousness, easily experienced by every individual, is at the fundamental level of all life, all people, and the entire manifest world. And how, when experienced, it’s universal qualities of peace and coherence are enlivened throughout everything and everyone. We’ll understand this from the perspectives of both hard science and personal experiences, and look at research on the collective practice of TM and how we can have “a powerful impact of good upon the world.”
Martin Buber, Between Man and Man
Quote by Rabbi Kook, 1865-1935. Essential Writings of Abraham Isaac Kook, p 160, as cited on p 142 of The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time—And How You Can Cultivate Them by Craig Pearson, Ph.D.
Quote by Lao Tzu from Tao te Ching: The Definitive Edition, trans. Jonathan Star, p 52, as cited in Pearson, p 451,The Supreme Awakening, ibid.
Quotes from The Cloud of Unknowing: chapter 3 from C. Wolters translation, as cited on p 40 in The Maharishi Effect: A Revolution Through Meditation by Elaine and Arthur Aron. And from chapter 3 (p 48) and chapter 16 (p 69) of William Johnston translation, The Cloud of Unknowing and The Book of Privy Counseling.
Quote by Teshima, J.Y. as cited on pp 40-41 in The Maharishi Effect: A Revolution Through Meditation by Elaine and Arthur Aron
Cynthia E. Johnson is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a mother, wife and writer. She is a contributor to the book, A Symphony of Silence: An Enlightened Vision by George Ellis.
About the Author
Cynthia Johnson is a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation program. She holds a Master of Theological Studies from Harvard Divinity School and is a mother, wife and writer. She is a contributor to the book A Symphony of Silence: An Enlightened Vision (1st and 2nd editions) by George Ellis.