Just last month on June 25, I had the opportunity to lead a public group meditation at Union Square in San Francisco. Over 250 people were present, and for 10 minutes we sat in silence with our eyes closed amidst the chaos and flow of tourists, shoppers, cable cars and traffic.
For the people who couldn't be physically present at the group meditation in San Francisco, we had also invited people from all over the world to meditate at the same time as we were at 12:45 p.m. on Pacific Coast Time. On our online event page, we had people from Egypt, Argentina, Italy, Spain, Canada, Mexico, New Zealand and many other places from a diverse list of geographical locations RSVPing to show their commitment to meditate for ten minutes at the exact same time.
Coincidentally, all of us were meditating in San Francisco during the same weekend as the annual SF pride parade, and a mere day after the state of New York ruled in favor of gay marriage. This synchronicity of events reminds me to never underestimate the power of a collective intent. When a small and determined group of people are unified by the same collective intent for greater peace and justice, the ripple effect of change is undeniable.
During the group meditation, I asked the participants to contemplate in silence how they can serve the world. I believe this is an important question that we need to ask ourselves every single day.
This is not an easy question to answer and there are no right answers. Serving others requires us to get out of our comfort zones. Serving others requires us to stop living life on auto-pilot and to consciously challenge ourselves to grow into a stronger, more loving and more courageous person. The fate of our world depends on all of us waking up to the greater reality of interconnection and helping others.
I am inspired that so many people consciously chose to meditate in peace and practice yoga in the middle of a busy weekend in San Francisco when they could have been doing so many other things. We need more group meditations for peace. We need more public parades celebrating the diversity of our human brothers and sisters of all colors, religions and sexual orientations. We need more people asking themselves what collective intent for the greater good they are willing to help manifest to bring greater change in this world.
No matter who you are and where you come from, you can be the person organizing the next event or movement in your community that inspires people to bring more peace into this world.
And so I challenge all of you to take the time today -- and for the rest of your days -- to truly contemplate what your intent for the greater good is. And then see what you can do to help actualize this goal. It can be as small as starting a blog expressing your authentic voice, creating a meet-up group in your neighborhood or organizing a weekly group meditation among your family and friends.
Give other people a venue, a forum, a space -- whether online or in the real world -- to do good and spread peace. You just may be surprised by how many people show up, eager to join your cause. Your courage just may be what others need to actualize their own collective intent to bring more goodness in this world.
By Mallika Chopra and Yumi Sakugawa
Photography by Wendy K Yalom