How to Change the World with Meditation

Written by on December 31, 2019 in Conscious Living, Meditation with 0 Comments

A Gift for Earth

Today on our walk home from the playground, I told my toddler that we are going to celebrate New Years in a few days. He me asked what New Years is and I told him that it’s kinda like the earth celebrating her birthday. “Papa,” he asked, “how does the earth eat cake and what does she want for her birthday?” I told him that the earth doesn’t mind if we eat cake on her behalf and that what she wants for her birthday is for us all to be more mindful. The earth wants us to meditate.


But let’s get real for a second—can meditation really make a difference in the world?


The Science of Meditation

I know that those of us who are rationalists or scientifically-minded might be thinking that navel gazing is not going to solve the world’s problems. So I’d like to share a little bit of what the science says about how meditation can make a real difference in the world. It’s important to remember that first and foremost, science and meditation have the same purpose: both are simply methods of inquiry. Neither is designed to “prove” anything but rather to practice observing. Both practices point us toward our ground of Being, that of Awareness itself. But Awareness can change the world and many scientists have shown how.


In one such carefully controlled scientific experiment in Washington D.C., a group of meditators were shown to reverse the violent crime trend in the area by 23%. They wanted to show how easy it is to reduce crime and social stress by using meditation. The regular trend toward violent crime resumed after their meditation. These scientists weren’t alone. About 40 earlier studies already showed how meditation could create more coherence in society. Their aim in doing this D.C. study was to show key government officials and lawmakers the power that meditation can have to change the world. 

(Scientific Research on Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Program vol 6 – 489; published by Maharishi European Research University and Maharishi International University.)


As scientists have continued to study this phenomenon of affecting the outside world through meditation, they have learned that the benefits come more from the quality of meditation rather than the quantity of meditators or time meditating. More focused meditation = better results.

As Above, So Below

So how does that work? How can one, seemingly autonomous thing possibly affect another? Ancient wisdom may give us a clue. Perhaps you’ve heard the ancient Hermetic phrase, “As above, so below.” This same ancient wisdom is also contained in the Gayatri Mantra, a mantra contained within the ancient Vedic the Rig Veda, dating back to about 5 thousand years ago. The Gayatri Mantra states quite succinctly that everything comes from Source and we if truly understood this we would see that we are no different than the thing we seek. We are all a part of everything else and that one part of the world and Universe effects another. 

In science, this principle is known as quantum entanglement. Dr. Nicolas Gisin of the University of Geneva conducted an experiment where they split a photon in two (a photon is an elementary particle which makes up the electromagnetic field atoms) and sent the now two different photons to different labs which were 14 miles apart. When they manipulated one photon in one lab, the other photon 14 miles away acted precisely in the same way as its twin, showing that it was still energetically linked even though it was in a different location.


And as a human twin, someone who was once one egg and split into two, I personally can tell you many fascinating stories that all could be chalked up to “quantum entanglement.” 


In more ways than we might think, we are all like twins, like these photons, separate beings originating from the same egg, the same source. We all have the power to affect everything else that was also originated by that Source. Science is catching up with ancient wisdom that teaches us that changing the outer world depends on how we hold our inner world. Truly we must become the very thing we wish to see change in the world. Perhaps one of the modern world’s greatest authorities on changing the world, Mahatma Gandhi, said:


“We but mirror the world. All the tendencies present in the outer world are to be found in the world of our body. If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change. As a man changes his own nature, so does the attitude of the world change towards him. This is the divine mystery supreme. A wonderful thing it is and the source of our happiness. We need not wait to see what others do.”

Respond vs. React

But what if our inner world isn’t leading us toward a better self or a better world? If history teaches us anything, it’s that it repeats itself. Many of the negative things that happen in the world are the product of individuals and nations continually reacting mindlessly to global events with fear, anger, and selfishness. While these are all natural, human qualities, we do have the power to wield other natural but more-elevated qualities like compassion in order to respond to these same events. 


To respond mindfully means to act from a grounded place of observation, often with compassion, and without reactive judgement about it. This does not mean being passive; quite the opposite. And at crucial times when it is our responsibility to respond powerfully to important world events— like climate change, dramatic political polarization, hegemony, and massive unequal distribution of wealth— we may do so from a place of grounded compassion and not from a reactive place of anger or fear, in order to break the cycle of negative reactiveness.


The first order of operations for any individual to respond positively to world events, is to first practice personal responsiveness by simply learning to draw inward and mediate. Before they can positively affect the world outside, they must do so inside. “As above, so below.” One individual can change the world and meditation can help break the vicious cycle of repeating negative events and can change the world. 


This New Year, let’s give the earth a marvelous birthday gift. Let’s change the world for the better by changing ourselves for the better through meditation. Start meditating today and practice responding to personal and global events from a place of grounded and compassionate responsiveness. Together we can change the world for the better! 


I truly believe in meditation and I consider it one of my most important missions in life to invite you to be your best self through the power of meditation. So, to make meditating fun and accessible I’m offering a 31-Day Meditation Challenge during the month of January. The challenge is to simply meditate at any time that works for you during the day, for 15 minutes a day, every day for 31 days. Many people have taken this challenge and have extended it to 60 days and even 6 months. 


For the novice meditator, I’ll give you plenty of guides and even guided meditations you can follow all month through emails and a support page on my website full of articles, recordings, and helpful links. For the experienced meditator, just do what you normally do but by joining our group you’ll be part of a cyber sangha. Either way, I’ll be giving you regular support and encouragement throughout the month. We will even have the chance to meditate together with some live, online meditation sessions. 


The challenge costs $31 and as an incentive to finish it, for everyone who succeeds, you will have the option to get 100% of your tuition refunded to you. Dead serious. Many people have even recruited their family and friends to enroll to create their own meditation tribe for added support and accountability. 


Join me!


Photo by Alex Adams

Scott Moore is a senior teacher of yoga and mindfulness in the US (New York, Salt Lake City, LA) and abroad and the author of Practical Yoga Nidra: The 10-Step Method to Reduce Stress, Improve Sleep, and Restore Your Spirit. When he's not teaching or conducting retreats, or traveling to teach, he also writes for Conscious Life News, Elephant Journal, Mantra Magazine, Medium, and his own blog at Scott also loves to run, play the saxophone, and travel with his wife and son. Check out his yoga retreats and trainings in places like Tuscany, France, and Hong Kong , his online Yoga Nidra Course and his Yoga Teacher Mentor Program. Scott currently lives in Southern France with his wife and son. 

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