Can 70,000 people from around the world sitting shoulder-to-shoulder and meditating bring about world peace? People from 150 different countries at the World Culture Festival in Berlin thought it was worth a try.
The purpose of the event was to bring people from the world to celebrate both their diversity and their unity within a global community. Ravi Shankar, famous sitar player and leader of the meditation session, said, “It is also an opportunity for one to see that they are a global citizen and part of a global family. It is where each one can celebrate the diversity, shun the prejudice against race, religion and culture, and find deep inner peace in a dynamic atmosphere.”
By going deep into themselves through meditation with the intention of bringing about world peace, meditators believe they might be able to have a positive effect on the possibility of world peace.
Meditating for World Peace, The Scientific View
An experiment conducted in the early 1980s, during the height of the Lebanon war, sought to discover whether meditation could reduce war. When 1,000 people in Jerusalem meditated on world peace war deaths in Lebanon went down by over 75 percent. Not only did war deaths go down, but crime, traffic collisions, fires, and other destructive events also went down on the days the group meditated.
From this and other similar studies that showed that war deaths and injuries went down on days groups were meditating on peace, scientists reluctantly concluded that group meditation seems to prevent war. In reporting on these unexpected findings, world-renown quantum physicist John Hagelin Ph.D. commented: “There is far more evidence that group meditation can turn off war like a light switch than that aspirin reduces headaches. It is a scientific fact.”
World Peace Meditation Day
Since 1986, December 31 is World Peace Meditation Day. On December 31, 1986 over 500 million people of all religious faith in over 70 countries joined their minds in peace, love, forgiveness and understanding. The event is still going on, for one hour starting at noon Greenwich Mean Time, with groups gathering in all U.S. states and around the world.
Also called World Healing Day or the International Hour for Peace, this simultaneous global linking of minds takes as its basis the principle of quantum physics that thought can direct energy, creating reality. Meditating on peace can create peace.
Daily Peace Meditations around the World
The Maitreya Peace Meditation aims to bring out loving kindness, which is the antidote to war. To maximize the collective impact of the loving kindness meditation, individuals meditate at specific times and places. For example, the daily peace meditation is at 5 a.m. and 7 p.m. in France, at 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. in India, at noon in the United States, and at 8 p.m. in Russia. Organizers in other locations conduct meditations once or twice a week at set times. The project believes that when millions and millions of people around the globe embrace patience, loving-kindness, and compassion world peace will become a reality.
Peace and Loving Kindness
In his book Wherever You Go, There You Are: Mindfulness Meditation in Everyday Life, Dr. Jon Kabat-Zinn explains the connection between meditation and world peace this way: “Being whole and simultaneously part of a larger whole, we can change the world simply by changing ourselves. If I become a center of love and kindness in this moment, then in a perhaps small buy hardly insignificant way, the world now has a nucleus of love and kindness it lacked the moment before.”