Meditation, simply put, is nothing but mental hygiene— a practice of clearing out the daily mental garbage to boost your mental health. There are numerous studies proving the benefits of meditation for improving quality of life. But when I heard that more than 20,000 people are going to meditate together for Mental Health Awareness and Peace in America on July 24th, 2019 in Denver, CO a couple of questions naturally arose in my mind—will this really create the desired impact? Is world peace really possible through groups of people meditating together? Are there any more benefits of group meditation over personal meditation?
Although I teach meditation and know first-hand the impact that it can have on individual lives, I’m also a scientist in approach–and I wanted to know more. What I found in my research on the subject was so thrilling, and I believe that it’s worth the world’s attention. Here are 3 strong science-based reasons to support the effects of massive mass meditation and to show how this practice is not just a service to yourself, but a service to humanity as well.
Studies actually prove the existence of a ripple effect of peace in the surrounding environment when a group meditates together. I recall here my conversation with my meditation teacher Bhanu Narasimhan, who travels around the globe to conduct meditation retreats and teacher training, about this ripple effect. She says, “It is not about individuality or certain sections of society. It is all about recognizing that we are all connected and part of one universal being. We all are governed by vibrations. A happy person can make us happy and an unhappy person spreads unhappiness. When glaciers melt due to global warming the water levels rise around the planet. Global warming is such a glaring reminder that we cannot isolate ourselves.”
We have witnessed many times how a handful of people strongly unified by a common intent can profoundly influence a larger group of people. Great global movements for peace, from Martin Luther King Jr. to Mahatma Gandhi, have always begun with a coming together of people who want peace for the greater good.
A Russian scientist, Dr. Konstantin Korotkov, a professor of physics at St. Petersburg State Technical University explains how you can influence the world around you with your mind.
According to the superstring theory in physics, waves of vibration flow from everything in the universe, affecting the collective consciousness of others. Groups can enliven that field. Group meditation can be similar to a tug of war. You are all pulling on the same side, a certain synergy of energy is created, and a common goal is achieved. It is the same when you meditate together: the collective consciousness raises, and it acts like the ‘rising tide that raises all boats.’ The peace that is created actually becomes palpable, which is a special, collective experience and accomplishment.
Talking about the power of group meditation, best-selling author, Dr. Deepka Chopra has written, “In every wisdom tradition, meditation hasn’t been just a way to seek inner knowledge. It has the potential to transform the world. Research on the power of group meditation has been ongoing for several decades, and the results seem to validate what the ancient sages said.” These studies have shown extremely positive social, political and economic results correlated to synchronized group meditations.
“When thousands of people come together with the single intention of creating a more peaceful planet, it is certain to manifest”, says Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, a global spiritual icon and meditation expert who has lead many such meditations in large groups world over. In 2012, he had led a group of 100,000 in Buenos Aires in South America and later in 2016, 3.5 million people at the World Cultural Festival in New Delhi, India for world peace.
An experiment conducted during the Lebanon war in the 1980s showed that when 1,000 people in Jerusalem meditated on world peace, war deaths in Lebanon went down by over 75%. Not only did war deaths go down, but crime and other destructive happenings also went down on the days the group meditated. There are many such experiments and given such huge positive social changes brought about by group meditation, it is very much possible that large meditation gatherings will become very popular very soon, just as meditation has become mainstream.
I meditate in small and big groups on a regular basis. The group practice feels deeper, tapping into a more profound silence than what I experience when I meditate on my own. I also had an opportunity to meditate for global peace at the World Cultural Festival which Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had led. The experience was magical, the resultant peaceful energy was so evident and the silence experienced was way much deeper than any regular group meditations. I would recommend all peace warriors to grab any such opportunities that come your way, not only you will personally benefit but you will also help manifest the common intent of the group!
When I was in my twenties, I read a book about Peace Pilgrim, who traveled across America spreading her message, “This is the way of peace: Overcome evil with good, and falsehood with truth, and hatred with love.” Events like the World Cultural Festival, America Meditates or any such massive peace meditations can bond people together and inspire us to enliven and promote this beautiful message. The encouraging part is entry to all such huge events is generally free!
The non-believer may say that the concept of world-peace is unreal, but scientists say it is possible with the power of collective consciousness! Let us use that power and make the voice of PEACE louder and fill this planet with more love and harmony!