Sometimes the simple wisdom of an elder can echo in your mind for many years. In 1998 I was at an international gathering of indigenous elders called Belonging to Mother Earth. Each morning we drove through Camp Pendleton National Guard Base at dawn to participate in a traditional sunrise ceremony on the beach. Before the ceremony one morning an elder spoke:
Every day we see these fine young men and women awake earlier than us practicing and preparing for war. They are making their war ceremony and they outnumber us. We must one day outnumber them by greeting the sun with peace ceremonies. Then, perhaps they will join us and the world will know peace.
This concept has been with me ever since. As war continues to dominate headlines, with the help of the Internet there is a worldwide movement to create peace through globally synchronized ceremonies and meditations. With the help of people like Deepak Chopra, Oprah Winfrey, Gabriel Bernstein, and India Arie, the movement is gaining a whole lot of mainstream attention. Starting August 8th and culminating on September 21 we will witness the unfolding of a global narrative for peace and healing unlike anything we have ever seen.
Sensationalizing something like meditation seems a bit silly, especially because meditation is all about slowing and quieting the mind. So my initial response at the notion of superstars like Oprah Winfrey, Deepak Chopra and others popularizing this simple, effective tool for calming the mind was to roll my eyes. Yet it is undeniable that star-power and the support of mainstream media to broadcast this deeply held desire for peace is needed. The loudness of the story of war, death, destruction, and injustice needs to be met with as much energy as the yearning for peace, healing, and justice.
Humans are indeed ruled by the stories that our society, culture, and religions tell us. Stories that we continue to tell ourselves, and our beliefs in these stories create the world around us over and over again. We are social beings who emulate our role-models. So any person who has reached the top of the social ladder who speaks and acts on peace should be honored for using their position in society in a noble way. Every single person carries the same potential to influence their friends, family, community but a little inspiration from super-stars is always helpful. Together we can re-write the story and create the history we would like to leave for those who will come after us.
Almost 50 studies have been done further confirming the benefits of global meditation and it's direct impact on everything in the world, even so far as to have the results published in the Journal of Crime and Justice in 1981. We know meditation has endless health and psychological benefits, but it is now being explored by politics and sociology because of its undeniable energetic impact. -- Group Meditation Can Change The World
1 Giant Mind has created a fantastic 'learn to meditate' program in a free app designed to help beginners start their own mindfulness practice. Organizations like The Global Consciousness Project at Princeton University also confirm the notion that group meditation can alleviate global stress and violence. Arianna Huffington's GPS For The Soul has also created an app to de-stress through meditation as well as curating a wealth of articles and resources on the topic.
Unify.org, a grass-roots organization with large social reach that has been organizing globally synchronized meditations since 2012, is promoting the events on their Facebook Page leading up to International Day of Peace on September 21. Deepak Chopra and The Chopra Center are kicking off the campaign on August 8th with the worlds largest global meditation in conjunction with the Seduction of Spirit Retreat that includes India Arie, Gabriel Bernstein, and Maya Tiwari. Many great resources are available by searching #iampeace.
On August 11, Oprah Winfrey joins the collaboration with a 21 Day Meditation Experience. August 27, New Orleans is inviting the world to join in drum dance and pray for peace on the 20th Anniversary of the birth of The White Buffalo. Pope Francis has announced that he will be joining the global celebration on International Day of Peace inviting all Catholics to join in prayer for peace.
Search #makepeace on your social networks to see what others are saying and doing to bring solutions to a world in turmoil. Post your own picture, quote, inspiration on Twitter, Facebook with #makepeace so the world can learn about how you make peace.
This is a world-wide invitation to a global celebration, integration requires your full participation!
Clearly we know that praying, meditating for peace is only one small contribution towards peace, but it is easily within each persons reach to start within and build from there. All of these efforts increase the opportunity to cultivate the personal, internal atmosphere for reducing stress and increasing peace. Though we may not have the power to stop all wars and suffering, we DO have the power to increase our own level of peace. Peace starts within, and if the researchers are correct, an increased number of people turning up the volume of peace internally might just have an effect on the unfolding events around the world.
*Article originally appeared on Culture Collective*