“The nonviolent approach gives (people) new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage they did not know they had.”
~Martin Luther King, Science & Spirituality, p. 172
On Friday of this week, Deepak Chopra, M.D. inaugurated what was claimed to be the largest orchestrated worldwide meditation ever presented, 100,000 strong. It was well developed and undoubtedly had a wide and indepth influence. People in the audience where this was held sat silently as they were told about the impact meditation can have on not only the inner life of the individual but also on bringing about world peace. After learning about the potential influence meditation can have, a global meditation was held, with quiet music in the background. The one-hour program ended with a process of bringing the audience slowly out of the state of meditation.
Meditation is important in the process of moving beyond violence and war. The United States seems to be addicted to war, and the world now has an unusually large number of “hotspots”, especially in the Middle East. Once again, Iraq is being threatened, this time by a group called “the Islamic State”. Our response has so far been to do two things; first to send food aid, and at the same approximate time to fire drones into the country in an attempt to stop the potential take-over by the militants.
If our solution to problems such as this one, and also with respect to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is to meditate, then all we would need to do is to sit quietly and meditate or pray for a solution to the various crises in the world. There is a place for the spiritual solutions to these problems, but for most people the inner solutions are only one part of the answer. The other part of what is needed is a change of consciousness in terms of how we handle our day-to-day living in the world.
Martin Luther King pointed out that returning violence for violence multiplies violence. There is another way, the way of nonviolence. Mahatma Gandhi called it “satyagraha”, which is declaring one’s truth and living by that truth, at the same time being willing to accept the consequences of that action. When the people of India had a hard time living up to Gandhi’s way of nonviolence, he would fast as a reminder that they needed to follow his courageous lead.
The point is that for most of us there is more to helping bring about peace than just meditating, as important as meditation and prayer are to prepare us for our nonviolent, Spirit-centered action. Nonviolent action needs training, and it needs courage and a respect for all life. A new film has just come out called “Beyond Right and Wrong.” Its point is that perpetrators and victims need to make an effort to understand each other and finally to transcend the times and attitudes which caused the conflict in the first place. It is a way of practicing forgiveness and achieving justice.
All of us need times of meditation and prayer as a way of centering our lives and giving us the courage of our convictions. But then, in most cases, we also need to be willing to serve the Highest Good in an active way, even if it means making the ultimate sacrifice. What we might have to do through military service, can also be our own choice in a nonviolent way which is based on respect for all life and the transformation of the world.
May peace prevail on earth!!!