Peace among humankind has been the laudable and heartfelt goal of well wishers throughout history. So why does war and strife keep marching along? Is this Peace on Earth idea just some shtick?
Is doesn't look like signing another peace treaty, holding another conference or limiting the amount of weapons work.
How about if we look at the genesis of any and all confrontation, disharmony or conflict? Looking at the most basic unit of society, lets look into the mind and body of the individual. Let's take a look inside ourselves.
What causes those times when you want to reach for a pressure relief valve, e.g. a liquor bottle, the valium, the running shoes, or punching that guy in the nose?
War or any kind of conflict breaks out when the accumulation of stress or tension in the minds and bodies of individuals demands relief. At those times, we need to "blow off steam". Every person periodically relieves his/her stress for the sake of his own happiness, health and well being. And the wiser man dispels it in a manner that and causes no damage to himself or to those in his world.
Can we eliminate stress from our lives? Not unless we can find a vacuum to hang out in.
Is there a way to reliably and harmlessly dissolve the accumulation of stress and fatigue in the psychology and physiology? Yes there is and you are already very familiar with it. It's called rest and we all take rest in the form of sleep. It goes without saying how important this rest is. We know how vital it is to spend adequate time in the sleep and dreaming states of consciousness on a daily basis. The mind and body take advantage of these resting states to heal, remove fatigue and refresh.
However, in spite of its value, the rest we get at night is not enough to dissolve deep rooted stresses that accumulate in the nervous system over the course of an active life. As stress builds up in the mind and body, we become prone to stress related diseases and conditions. The medical profession says that up to 90 percent of disease is either caused or exacerbated by stress.
When stress is wreaking such havoc in our lives, it is little wonder that when you watch the daily news, tragedy and violence dominates and history continues to repeat itself. Only the dates, places and faces change.
So what would happen if the mind and body were subjected to deeper levels of rest? Could we break the cycle? Could stress and all its ill effects be brought under control? Would we dare think anew about peace on earth?
Enter the story of an innocent yogi wandering the south of India in 1955. He reluctantly started to lecture and teach a mental technique. The number of people who sought his secular message and simple practice grew and grew. He speculated that this knowledge had universal appeal and value and he began to travel the world. People of all nations, cultures and religions were benefitting from his meditation and he saw the possibility of spiritually regenerating the world. In the 6os, college students, looking anywhere and everywhere for mind altering experiences, found a natural and effective answer to their searching. They started claiming all kinds of surprising results, prompting scientists to conduct studies.
The scientists discovered that during meditation, the students exhibited an unprecedented style of mental and physical functioning. It was so unusual that the scientists identified it as a fourth major state of consciousness, objectively different from the waking, sleeping or dreaming states of consciousness. They called it a state of restful alertness, where the mind is awake and alert while the body is in state of rest deeper than deep sleep.
So returning to the possibility of deeper levels of rest, what did the scientific research conclude about the experience of meditators during and after meditation?
During meditation, the activity of thinking settles down and the mind experiences higher levels of synchrony and coherence. The body experiences very low levels oxygen consumption and breathing slows way down. They noted a reduction in the biochemical indicators of stress.
After meditation, the mind experiences improved functioning, e.g. higher intelligence, more creativity, improved academic performance and moral reasoning.
The body is revitalized, freed from stress while becoming more disease and stress resistant. The meditator feels happier, more self actualized and relationships become more harmonious and fruitful.
So it appears that we have something that, among other benefits, promises to disarm the harmful effects of stress, that which may be the culprit keeping our dream of world peace from ever taking root.
But not so fast, you say? So what if we get a smattering of meditators dotting the globe being cool and calm in their own little berg? There are more than 6 billion of us occupying this little planet, everyone with their own idea of how to achieve the good life.
It turns out that we don’t need everyone marching in step on this one. The scientists also discovered that meditators produce such a unifying, healthy and harmonious effect in their environment, that when only a small percentage of a population participates, the trends of life change in that area. They found that crime, accidents, and hospital admissions fell while positive indicators rose. It looks like anyone, from the comfort of their own home, can make a real contribution to a cause whose time may have finally arrived.
If you would like to become a participant or to learn more about what appears to be the most viable means of creating a world of lasting peace and prosperity, I’d be glad to hear from you.