The Beatles opened our doors: a new kind of spirituality
24 August 2016
The Beatles opened our doors: a new kind of spirituality
I was inspired to start the Cities of Light (Dutch: Stadsverlichting) meditation network in Holland when I read about The Beatles’ visit to India in the sixties. In the beginning of 1968 John, Paul, George and Ringo learned to meditate in the ashram of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of Transcendental Meditation. The Beatles were at the height of their fame at that time. Their album Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band had sparked the flower power movement that blew like a warm wind across the world.
All over the world colorful young people from all walks of life got together to oppose wars and stifling bourgeois ways with peace signs, long hair, flowers, Indian dresses, miniskirts and Love-Inns. Instead of violent revolts and angry mobs, the hippies organized fun, crazy and peaceful events. Partly because of the war in Vietnam the movement became a global phenomenon in just a few years time.
The visit of the Beatles to India and their interest in Eastern philosophy and meditation opened the doors for millions of people around the world to a new kind of spirituality. About a year after their visit there were cities in the West where meditation had become a true rage. It was in these cities that strange things seemed to be happening. There seemed to be less crime and violence, less accidents and an overall feeling of more harmony and flow.
To check out what was actually happening American psychologists Candace Borland and Garland Landrith compared eleven U.S. cities in which at least one percent of the population meditated regularly with eleven cities where this was not the case (from 1967 to 1972). The crime rate in the meditative cities dropped by 8.2 percent per year. In the control cities the crime rate did just the opposite. It rose by 8.3 percent.
This remarkable result inspired other scientists. Sixteen universities and two research institutes investigated the so-called Maharishi Effect and almost all of them confirmed the results of Borland and Landrith: people who meditate not only have a positive effect on themselves, but also on their environment.
Researchers think the Maharishi Effect is caused by a coherent force field (coherence implies a certain order and unity) which meditating people seem to generate. This force field seems to be the cause harmony, alignment and flow – not just in the body and mind of the person who meditates, but also in the environment surrounding her or him.
Not just scientists, but also yogis – especially those of the Transcendental Meditation movement – began to experiment with this force field to see if shared meditation sessions could indeed change the environment.
When yogis meditated during a five months period in New Delhi in 1980 crime rates dropped by eleven percent. In Puerto Rico (1984) and Manila (1980 and 1984) similar results were seen. Experiments over a six years period (from 1987 to 1992) in the British Merseyside district showed that this was the only police district (out of 42) where crime rates dropped.
In the summer of 1993, four thousand TM practitioners met in Washington DC – one of the most violent cities in the U.S. – with the aim of lowering the crime rates by twenty percent. The Chief of Police cooperates, but was skeptical: “Only six feet of snow can bring the crime rates down by twenty percent.” It turned out he was right, but only just. Crime rates fell by eighteen percent.
When people meditate in war zones, the same effect is seen. During a period of intense meditation there were 71 percent fewer deaths, 68 percent fewer injuries and an increase of 66 percent in activities that led to more peace and mutual cooperation. Because the effects rapidly diminished when the meditations stopped, people of the TM movement decided to teach their techniques to the locals.
Once inhabitants of Lebanese town Baskinta had mastered the technique, the shellfire attacks were reduced to almost zero. In previous years the town had been hit no less than eight hundred times. The five surrounding towns were still hit by the same frequent attacks.
Shared meditation sessions are even effective over long distances. When people in America, The Netherlands, Italy and Israel focused their attention this was measurable in Lebanon. If these results are indeed correct, then that is great news! It means that we can actually affect our environment, our towns, our cities, our world and its future. We are not powerless, quite the contrary. We are, if we join forces, probably more effective than politicians, the military and religious leaders.
So, the key to flow, harmony and peace in yourself and the environment is this state of coherence. Coherence means your thoughts, feelings, emotions, intentions and actions are all aligned. You are what you think, feel and do. There is no resistance, no noise.
I once asked an elder yogi in India about the essence of meditation. His simple answer was: ‘Get out of the way! Everything you have been looking for is already there. All the love, all the peace, happiness and joy. Just become silent, open and receiving. Let the Sun shine through you into the world.’
How many people do we need to make a measurable difference in our towns, cities and countries? It turns out that if about one percent of the population of a city is into meditation, then results are measured. These results can also be obtained by fewer people if they are trained in coherence. In that case you only need to the square root of one percent of the population. So, for the city of Amsterdam with a little less than 800.000 inhabitants you need approximately 900 coherent people. For the whole world to experience the effects of meditation we need some 80 thousand dedicated yogi’s.
So please join us on Sunday evening October 2 at 8:00 PM in De Duif in Amsterdam for the World Peace Meditation to help create happiness, flow and peace on a large scale. We are inviting all 950 living rooms in 25 countries to tune in and will also hook up with meditation networks around the globe to participate at the same time. Thank you for joining in!