Social change - for a forest to be green
Creating world peace is not the reason that most people give for why they want to learn to meditate. Yet this was Maharishi's goal when he first introduced Transcendental Meditation in 1958, emphasising that individual peace is the basic unit of world peace. He used the analogy that just as there cannot be a green forest without green trees, there cannot be a peaceful world without peaceful individuals. Even though there are many sincere individuals dedicated to the cause of peace, establishing peace requires more than simply adopting a psychological belief in peace. It can only be achieved through a transformation at the very deepest level of the human mind and through a corresponding change in the physiology. Maharishi explained that when the mind and body are deeply at peace, then thought, speech and action will spontaneously radiate an influence of harmony into the environment.
Increasing coherence in collective consciousness
Extensive research published in leading scientific journals demonstrates that the powerful, stress-reducing effect of Transcendental Meditation has a calming "spill-over" effect in the surrounding population. When individuals practise Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques together in groups, the research has shown a dramatic and immediate reduction in societal stress, crime, violence, and conflict - and an increase in coherence, positivity, and peace in society as a whole.
The unique effectiveness of this approach in preventing social violence, terrorism, and war has been confirmed by more than 50 demonstrations and 23 scientific studies. This research has been carefully scrutinised by independent scholars and accepted for publication in top academic journals.
This work deserves the most serious consideration.
The claim can be plausibly made that the potential impact of this research exceeds that of any other on-going social or psychological research program. The research has survived a broader array of statistical tests than most research in the field of conflict resolution. I think this work, and the theory that informs it, deserve the most serious consideration by academics and policy makers alike.
- David Edwards, PhD, Professor of Government at the University of Texas at Austin