Joining the Universal Peace Corps: Transforming the World from Within, Part II
Most of us have been trained to view the world from a material perspective, although this outlook is indeed changing. We have tended to think that the only way to cause change is through direct action on the surface level of life—like a billiard ball hitting other balls. But this, modern physicists tell us, is the “old school” perspective in science (sometimes referred to as “material realism”). Science is now revealing with ever greater clarity what the ancients understood : to affect change in life, we must engage deeper levels of nature.
Modern physics explains that our material world is an expression of deeper, invisible fields of existence. Whether we consider the flowers in a garden or the stars in the night sky, a computer screen or the cat jumping in front it, physical matter is not wholly what it appears on the surface.
We know that physical matter is composed of increasingly minute components, and is governed by invisible force fields, such as gravity and electromagnetism. For example, we are surrounded by various electromagnetic waves of radio, television, Wi-Fi, and cell phone technology. These energies are present everywhere in our environment but are invisible to our eyes.
These basic elements of life—the tiniest particles and the fundamental force fields—are understood to be essentially nonmaterial energy and patterns of intelligence. Physicists are still working on the details, but they understand that there is a single, underlying field of energy and intelligence—a unified field of nature.
The surface level of life, with all of its interactions, has its source in something deeper—an unseen and unmanifest field of infinite intelligence and energy. Most of us accept that perspective relating to the material world. But can we understand human beings in this same light? Does this understanding from physics apply to our consciousness? What is our relationship, as human beings, to the unified field?
Dr. John Hagelin, a Harvard trained physicist and leader in the investigation into the relationship of consciousness and physics, says that there is a “universal field where all the forces and particles of nature are united as one….They are ripples on a single ocean of existence.” ( Please see article.)
This unified field is the source of all matter AND consciousness, and is the most fundamental level of consciousness. It is the pure field of consciousness itself. This view is supported by other renowned physicists such as Sir Arthur Eddington, Nobel Prize winner Max Planck, David Bohm, and Amit Goswami. (See Pearson, The Supreme Awakening, Chapter 10)
Just as physical reality is structured in layers—ranging from concrete levels of matter to more subtle and powerful levels, from surface to molecular to atomic, subatomic, and ultimately beyond physical matter to the unified field—human awareness is also structured in layers, from the active, surface level to more silent, refined, and powerful levels. Gaining access to these more silent and powerful levels is key. Through the TM technique our awareness settles down to more silent, expansive levels, until we experience “ultimately the unified field itself, the most powerful, limitless, universal level of our own consciousness,” says Dr. Hagelin .
What is the impact upon our environment, upon others, when we experience this field of pure consciousness? The sages of the world describe the extraordinary influence of harmony that comes from the experience of pure consciousness, as quoted in my prior post. What about views from science?
Dr. Hagelin states , “Since the unified field is an all-pervading field at the basis of consciousness and matter, when unity is enlivened in the individual, unity is enlivened everywhere. This is a field effect of consciousness.” We might picture this effect as a pebble falling into a pond: waves ripple throughout the entire pond.
Extensive research on the effects of this phenomenon —creating life-supporting influences in the environment, simply from the level of consciousness—is revealing a new dimension of investigation into the field of conflict resolution.
As far back as 1974, a group of scientists at a conference with Maharishi were discussing the larger impact of meditation on the health of society. Maharishi suggested a formula: in geographical areas where one percent of the population practices the TM technique, the quality of life would improve. (There are analogies in the physical sciences of this coherence-creating influence by a small percentage of a system, such as with laser light.)
As the group talked and their enthusiasm grew, they decided to test this principle by examining quality of life factors that had hard data, such as crime statistics, in cities where the threshold of one percent had already been reached. Maharishi’s prediction was substantiated: in cities with one percent of the population practicing TM, the crime rate significantly decreased in contrast to cities with matching demographics.
In 1978, this experiment was extended to other countries. As explained by Elaine and Art Aron in their book The Maharishi Effect: “In the fall of 1978… the international organization of TM teachers made an offer to ‘any Head of State…faced with a crisis which needs an immediate solution.’ They declared that their organization was ‘fully prepared, in complete privacy and confidence, to undertake measures to resolve the crisis.’” Nicaragua was the first to accept the offer, and “within forty-eight hours 250 advanced experiencers of pure consciousness…had landed in Nicaragua and the surrounding countries of Central America. In the first few days after their arrival, the violence in the area subsided and negotiations between the opposing factions moved forward. The meditators had nothing to do with local affairs and took no sides. They stayed in their hotels and experienced pure consciousness.”
Following that successful initiative, groups of advanced practitioners of the TM program were sent around the world to trouble spot areas: Central America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and various countries in Africa. Even later, large groups assembled at various times in Holland, India, Puerto Rico, Washington, DC, and Iowa.
In all cases where a critical number of advanced meditators gathered—the square root of one percent of a population—the data were clear: negative tendencies such as crime, war and even accidents were significantly reduced. This research was done extremely rigorously, using statistical methods to rule out the influence of other factors, such as weather. Much of this research has been published in conventional scientific journals , which are carefully examined by scientists within the field.
The editors of the highly regarded Journal of Conflict Resolution were so impressed with the quality of the research that despite the fact that this phenomenon was foreign to their worldview, they said they felt obligated to publish the research. They had scrutinized the methodology and statistics and found them to be of the highest standard.
What was challenging for these scientists to accept is how a group of individuals meditating together inside their hotels in these trouble spots of the world, and not interacting with the public, could have such an effect on crime, war incidences, etc. And the effects on the environment were dramatic.
These numerous social experiments show us how we can effectively help transform our world for the better. Learning TM in our own community is a way to contribute to world peace. Joining a larger group, such as the one in Fairfield, Iowa, would be another step. Both the Fairfield community and the university, Maharishi University of Management, are dedicated to creating individual enlightenment AND world peace.
The worldwide TM movement is partnering with other philanthropic leaders and communities around the world who recognize the value of contributing to peace by enlivening the field of pure consciousness. These include communities of American Indians as well as communities in Africa, Central America, India, and European countries. Orphanages and schools in poor areas of Uganda, Kenya, Columbia and the U.S. are demonstrating how the group practice of TM, nourishing individual communities and the world, can be done with so few material resources.
Ancient and contemporary sages, from many cultures, understand and value this orientation—nourishing the world from the deepest levels of consciousness. And the wonderful thing about experiencing the field of pure consciousness, especially in groups, is that individuals augment their own personal growth while bringing peace to the world. One participant in the group meditation program in Iowa shared, “…I clearly perceived everyone and everything as nothing other than my own silent Self…. This grand, blissful, soothing, infinite silence was also saturated with love…love for everything and everyone. It was not a flashy or overwhelming thing. It was very quiet and very profound and supremely unshakeable.”
Here is an effortless way to join a “universal peace corps” and profoundly nourish others worldwide without having to leave our responsibilities in our own homes and communities. As women, this approach to creating world harmony allows us to reclaim our role as leaders in bringing about peace in our families, communities, and the world.
The Maharishi Effect: A Revolution Through Meditation by Elaine and Arthur Aron, pp. 91-92
List of published research studies on TM and world peace: https://tm-women.org/research-world-peace.html
Journal of Conflict Resolution, December 1990 vol. 34 no. 4 756-768. http://jcr.sagepub.com/content/34/4/756.abstract
Quote by meditator: p 327 of The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time—And How You Can Cultivate Them by Craig Pearson, Ph.D.
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.