Posts Tagged ‘reducing social violence’

New book suggests how governments can use meditation to help defeat the virus of violence

June 20, 2020

Summary: While it is now accepted that Transcendental Meditation (TM) can create peace for the individual, can it do the same for society, and if so, what is the mechanism? In An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders examine peer-reviewed research suggesting that Transcendental Meditation can influence the collective consciousness of society, leading to decreases in violent crime and war fatalities, and increases in quality of life and cooperation between nations. (Source: EurekAlert!)

An Antidote to Violence

The COVID-19 pandemic has put societies everywhere under extreme stress, and collective stress is often a precursor to outbreaks of violence. Striking features of this global health crisis have been the collective anxiety of the population, the wide variations in the way governments have responded, and the varying degree of their success.

While there is significant scientific research showing that meditation has a positive influence on the health and well being of individuals, is there any evidence that large-scale meditation can can also reduce stress and levels of violence in society?

“Yes” is the surprising inference from the authors of a new book. Published June 26, An Antidote to Violence provides evidence that the level of collective anxiety and tension in society, or incoherence in collective consciousness, is the key element, which determines the success or failure of a government in tackling crime, violence, social unrest and ill-health.

Written for the social scientist and the lay reader alike, An Antidote to Violence offers answers to key questions, including: does group meditation actually influence society? If so, how does it work? What is the evidence? What do skeptics say?

Weaving together psychology, sociology, philosophy, statistics, politics, physics and meditation, the book provides evidence that we have the knowledge to reduce all kinds of violence in society by creating coherence in collective consciousness and thereby neutralizing collective stress.

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders describe how a rise in collective tensions spills over into increased social unrest, crime, violence, accidental deaths and hospital emergencies. They examine 20 peer-reviewed studies from over four decades, indicating that it is possible to neutralize or reduce stress in collective consciousness through the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its advanced programs by a sufficient number of individuals, which is amplified in groups.

Evaluating the Evidence

During the experimental period, U.S. rates of homicides, motor vehicle fatalities, drug-related deaths, violent crime (homicides, aggravated assault, robbery and rape), fatalities due to other accidents and infant mortality, all decreased compared to the baseline period.

These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest. — Barry Spivack

“These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest,” says Spivack, and offers three examples from the studies cited in the book. Each of these experiments consisted of sufficient numbers either meditating on their own or together for a period of weeks or months, and in some cases, years, in societies wracked by violence: on 93 experimental days in Lebanon between 1983 and 1985, Cambodia between 1990 and 2008, and USA between 2007 and 2010 compared with the previous four years. In each case measured statistically, significant drops in violence occurred during the periods when the numbers meditating were above the predicted threshold.

Foreword by Bob Roth | Introduction by John Hagelin

In the Foreword to the book, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, and author of the NY Times bestseller, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation, writes: “Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders have opened our eyes to an entirely new vision of possibilities about human potential that is both sweepingly grand but also immediate and practical.”

In the book’s Introduction, Dr. John Hagelin, quantum physicist and International Director of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, suggests “the existing research, while compelling and rigorous, presents a direct challenge to established mainstream sociological paradigms and may be difficult for some to accept. Even more rigorous and repeated testing of the theories presented here is therefore essential to ensure widespread acceptance of this demonstrated sociological phenomenon.”

Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence. — Tim Ward, publisher Changemakers Books

Changemakers Books publisher Tim Ward was struck by the book’s thought-provoking premise and explained his reasons for publishing it. “While the evidence gathered in this book is striking, more research needs to be done to prove it true. And that’s why I chose to publish An Antidote to Violence. Too much is at stake to let this possibility slip through our fingers. Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence.” 

Barry Spivack was invited to speak about his new book to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences in the UK, Sunday, June 21, the International Day of Yoga 2020. Speakers will include High Commissioners and Members from both Houses of Parliament. Conference proceedings will be streamed via Zoom, 12 noon to 5 pm, London time (6 am to 11 am CST). Dr. Tony Nader will speak at 12:55 pm (6:55 am CST) and Barry Spivack at 2:45 pm UK time (8:45 am CST). It will also live stream on Facebook under Indian Traditional Sciences.

Research provides evidence consistent with a causal interpretation

The authors emphasize this is the first book that draws on all the peer-reviewed research and looks at the implications of the research as a whole rather than just individual papers. “Compiling so many consistent experimental results may indicate more than a statistical correlation; it justifies further research into a causal hypothesis.”

Establishing causality in the social sciences is difficult. “Nevertheless,” says Spivack, “there are at least 6 reasons why the research provides evidence for the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation reduces conflict and divisions in society, and improves economic performance, which is consistent with a causal interpretation.”

1) Repetition: There are 20 peer-reviewed studies, which show statistically significant results.

2) There is a dosage effect—the bigger the group the larger the impact.

3) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation—often varies at random in these experiments so you get a repeat effect within the same experiment whenever the relevant threshold of numbers is passed within the same study.

4) Studies have controlled for other possible causes in social changes, such as population density, median years of education, per capita income, the ratio of police per population, weather, holidays, seasons, political events, percentages of people in the age range 15-29, of the unemployed, of those below the poverty line, and of people over 65.

5) Normally unconnected variables, such as crime, accidental deaths, infant mortality, deaths from opioids, all move in the same direction at the same time when the relevant threshold of people practicing Transcendental Meditation is surpassed.

6) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programs—changes before the dependent variables change, such as crime or war fatalities or the misery index.

What people are saying about An Antidote to Violence

I was initially skeptical that such a simple solution could be effective. However, after examining the evidence, I changed my mind. An Antidote to Violence is a serious and well-researched book that offers an unconventional but effective peaceful solution to violence and terrorism. Lieutenant General Clarence E. McKnight, Jr, Former Director of Command, Control and Communications Systems for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington DC

This book is especially good at discussing the evidence and the alternative explanations that have been advanced for the results. I can recommend the book to all readers with an open mind. Huw Dixon, Professor of Economics, Cardiff University

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders address the problems of preventing violence and war with a high level of professionalism, and, by examining a means to achieve sustainable peace supported by long-term research, have created a book that is hugely relevant. Most importantly, they highlight the interdependence of power, violence, security, and individual and collective consciousness. This book will be extremely useful for people of all nationalities, regardless of their status, different religious beliefs, personal preferences and life strategies. The theoretical and methodological principles outlined here deserve to be studied carefully and disseminated in the world. Lieutenant General Vasyl Krutov, former First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine and First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine

My most sincere congratulations to the authors for their research and presentation of this book. I hope it will be read and applied by leaders of government and by all in general for the good of society and each person in particular. Lieutenant General José Martí Villamil de la Cadena, former Chief of Staff of the Army and Commander of Ground Theatre Operations, Chief of Staff of the Joint Command, Vice-Minister of Defence, and General Secretary of the National Security Council in Ecuador

Based on hard evidence corroborated by rigorous scientific studies, …the book compiles an array of incredible success stories from all over the world in an easily readable style for all those interested in addressing the monumental challenge of eradicating violence and conflict. Ved P. Nanda, Professor of Law, University of Denver

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RELEASE DATE: June 26 in the UK and July 1 in the US 2020ISBN: 978-1-78904-258-0 | $24.95 | £15.99 EISBN: 978-1-78904-259-7 | $12.99 | £5.79

Changemakers Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing www.johnhuntpublishing.com.

EurekAlert: New book shows meditation can aid governmental efforts to bring peace and heal divisions

Updates: In his presentation on the International Day of Yoga, Barry Spivack gave the example of how Mozambique President Jaochim Chissano adopted the widespread use of Transcendental Meditation and what it did for his country. See Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

Yesterday, June 20, co-author and Fairfield resident Patricia Saunders received her doctorate in Maharishi Vedic Science from Maharishi International University. In addition she was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Student in Maharishi Vedic Science.

On July 8, 2020, David W. Orme-Johnson posted a comprehensive review of the book on Amazon: A thoughtful and well documented account of the greatest scientific discovery of our time.

This section powerfully nutshells an underlying issue, which involves a paradigm shift in the understanding of reality.

The Maharishi Effect is not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is how it should be. Science advances through a dialectic between conservative forces that try to hold on to the prevailing worldview, and evolutionary forces that try to expand knowledge to a more comprehensive framework that encompasses more of reality into a consistent picture, in this case integrating our understanding of the physical universe with consciousness.

The August issue of Enjoy TM News published an article by Harbour Fraser Hodder reviewing the evidence for reducing collective stress in society in An Antidote to Violence: How the TM Program Helps to Bring Peace and Heal Divisions.

Global Peace Initiative: 13 Questions and Answers with Ramani Ayer

November 6, 2011

Global Peace Initiative: 13 Questions & Answers with Ramani Ayer

Ramani Ayer, former Chairman and CEO of The Hartford Financial Services Group (USA), Chairman of the Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation Development Council

1. What is the Global Peace Initiative?

Ramani: It is a powerful, practical, scientific, and highly cost-effective initiative to reduce violence and conflict in the world. We call it a “brain-based approach to peace.”

2. What do you mean by a “brain-based approach to peace?” And how is it different than other approaches to reduce conflict and terrorism?

Ramani: I think the approach is different because conventional approaches to reducing social violence don’t address the underlying cause which is acute societal stress—whether its political, ethnic, or religious. All of our behavior is directly linked to brain functioning. We know now how stress impacts the brain. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex—the CEO of the brain. Everyone has heard of the “fight or flight” response. Stress can also over stimulate the amygdala, the brain’s “fear center,” causing fear-driven, and aggressive, violent, antisocial behavior. Acute stress on a societal scale impacts the brain and behavior of everyone in society, and that fuels crime and social violence. The brain-based approach to peace solves the problem on a deeper level.

3. How does it work?

Ramani: It is actually simple to understand. Extensive scientific research shows that an easy to learn, evidence-based meditation practice, revived by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi from the Vedic Tradition of India called Transcendental Meditation (TM) dramatically reduces acute individual stress and its deleterious effects on brain and behavior in a far more effective way then other methods. Equally important, TM and its advanced procedures called the TM-Sidhi program activate the prefrontal cortex and different areas of the brain, while deactivating the amygdala—the fear center of the brain. Research has shown it to be highly effective in treating acutely stressed individuals –even difficult cases such as soldiers with PTSD and prisoners in jail.

4. I can understand how meditation works to reduce stress in a person, but how does it reduce societal violence?

Ramani: I do not think it is surprising that if you reduce stress on an individual level, it causes a corresponding reduction of stress on the societal level. But what is surprising, and what has been shown by extensive research, is that a small proportion of a population practicing TM and the TM Sidhi program in a group produces a significant reduction in social stress, and crime and violence. To understand how it actually works, one has to turn to a “field model of consciousness” in which consciousness, at its deepest level, is a field that underlies and connects individuals throughout society.

5. Isn’t a “field model of consciousness” beyond our current theories?

Ramani: It may seem to be, but such a theory is consistent with the latest findings of physics, physiology and neuroscience. In any such model the peace promoting influence of a group will grow as the square of the size of the group. This is what makes the  “brain-based approach to peace” practical. It only takes about 9000 individuals—the square root of 1% of the world’s population practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program in a group in one place to create an effect large enough to significantly reduce global violence and conflict.

6. Is there any proof?

Ramani: Yes. To date there have been over 50 demonstration projects and 23 scientific studies that confirm the effectiveness of the “brain-based approach to peace.” This research has been carefully scrutinized by independent scholars and published in top academic journals. The demonstration projects have been conducted in many parts of the world including those most prone to violence, such as the Middle East. What the demonstrations show is a dramatic reduction in violence, crime, and war and increased peace and positivity in society. As far as I am aware, there is no approach to create peace that has been so thoroughly tested and rigorously established.

7. Have any of these demonstrations been conducted in India?

Ramani: The first sustained global demonstration project of this approach was held in India from 1987-1990. It involved a group of 7,000 highly trained Maharishi Vedic Pandits from India. The group was located for several years in Noida, outside Delhi.  During the time of the demonstration there were historic, unprecedented, totally unexpected changes in the world: the fall of the Berlin Wall, the end of apartheid, end of the Cold War. It was an amazing time for our world family.

8. Why did the demonstration end?

Ramani: Quite simply, we ran out of funds to support the large group of Maharishi Vedic Pandits. Today, with a larger world population than the 1980’s, in order to create and maintain this peaceful effect on a global scale will require a permanent group of 9000 Vedic experts in one place. This is the square root of one percent of the world’s population, which is a formula derived from science. To endow such a group requires a fund of about $1.1 billion—which is negligible when compared to the 8 trillion cost of global violence in 2010.

9. Why was a large group of Vedic Pandits from India used to create the effect of peace? Could not any group practicing TM and the more advanced TM-Sidhi program create the effect?

Ramani: Yes, any sufficiently large group of properly trained advanced meditation experts can create this coherent and peaceful effect. But the Maharishi Vedic Pandits, who also practice Transcendental Meditation and its advanced techniques, have a crucial advantage. As beneficiaries of their great family traditions for centuries, these Vedic Pandits have learned how to recite in Sanskrit specific peace-promoting sounds from the level of the Unified Field, the Transcendent—sounds that Maharishi describes as “reverberations of Natural Law.” Through this precise art and science of Vedic recitation, the Vedic Pandits amplify the peace-creating effect. It is for this reason that Maharishi said, “When the Vedic Families of India are able to uphold their tradition of daily recitation of the Vedas from the transcendental level of consciousness then the whole world enjoys peace.”

10. Are there any efforts underway now to build and maintain a large group of Vedic experts?

Ramani: Yes. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of this Vedic Peace Technology and the Global Peace Initiative, created in the geographical center of India (near Jabalpur) a 1,700-acre campus for Vedic Pandits. Currently, there are 1,500 Vedic experts in residence there. And very fortunately, in America, at Maharishi Vedic City in Iowa, there is a second campus with about 1,000 Vedic Pandits.  Our goal is to raise the number to 9,000 Vedic experts in India and 1,250 Vedic experts in the USA. This will complete the first phase of the Global Peace Initiative. Subsequent phases will focus on creating additional groups of Vedic experts sufficient to focus specifically on individual countries.

11. What is the money used for that is being raised?

Ramani: Donations from around the world principally are received by The Brahmananda Saraswati Foundation (BSF), a tax-exempt (501c3) organization in the U.S and it’s sister organization in Europe that shares its goals and mandate. The foundation is independently audited. Maharishi established the trust in the name of his Guru, Swami Brahmananda Saraswati, to create a permanent financial basis for peace for the world. The funds are used to create infrastructure on the campuses, train the Vedic experts (which takes years to do), and then pay the Vedic experts an appropriate salary.

12. What kind of training do the Vedic Pandits receive?

Ramani: It is a very thorough training that takes place in three phases. The first phase is in the local villages; the second phase is in regional centers; and the third phase is in the national centers established throughout India. It is important to note that those who complete the training receive academic degrees from Maharishi Vedic Vishwa Vidyalaya, a statutory University established by the government of Madhya Pradesh in India. In the past Maharishi’s organization has actually trained about 50,000 of these Vedic experts, but never been able to maintain them in a group.

13. You were CEO of one of the largest financial firms in the world. How did you get involved in this initiative?

Ramani: I personally had benefited in my own life by practicing Transcendental Meditation. It helped me in so many ways as an individual. And when I met Maharishi, and I saw his deep concern for the future of the world and how he had worked most of his life to create this opportunity for mankind, I really felt I should do whatever I could to see his work come to fruition. Most people don’t even think world peace is possible, that it’s a dream. But I am convinced we now have a scientific, practical, and reliable way to use mankind’s most ancient knowledge, the Veda, to usher in a new destiny for mankind. It’s a very big thing—historic—and it is a joy to be part of the global efforts. As Indians who cherish the Vedic tradition in our hearts, we should feel very proud that this great knowledge has given us a practical means to create peace in the world.

For more information, visit www.GlobalPeaceInitiative.org and www.VedicPandits.org.

See: Chandrika Tandon Concert to Benefit 1000 Maharishi Vedic Pandits Launches Global Peace Initiative and Chandrika Tandon Benefit Concert in Iowa Helps Launch Global Peace Initiative.


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