Power of Mind


Scientific studies have recently shown that groups of meditating people have actually slowed down crime rates in major cities in various parts of the world This article appeared in the Sunday Star Newspaper in Johannesburg - Gauteng Province South Africa.


"Now you can meditate your way to a safer Gauteng" (written by Kurt Swart) All we need to reduce Gauteng's crime rate is for 200 people to sit together quietly with their eyes closed, twice a day for 20 minutes. Absurd? Maybe not. This is what Transcendental Meditation (TM) advocates for successfully combating crime. The organisation has impressive scientific findings to back its seemingly outlandish claim - including a nod from eminent scientists in the field of quantum physics, no less. According to Maharishi Vedic Institute President Richard Peycke, a safer Gauteng is within easier reach if 200 people meditate daily in the same place. Said Peycke: 'TM is renowned for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, increase intelligence quotients and creativity, and enhance memory and health. Yes it can do all those things but can also bring down the crime rate.' How? Through the Maharishi effect.


The theory is that human consciousness is like an electromagnetic field radiating human thought waves. Quantum physics describes nature as a unified field in which every tiny particle of matter exerts an influence on every other particle - even if they are light years apart. Thus, say scientists, it is not implausible that the human mind can generate similar field effects. The effect of a large group of transcendental meditators is a spread of coherence throughout the unified field, or collective consciousness, and the result is reduced stress and violence, and improved harmony in society -the Maharishi effect. According to TM theorists, the number of meditators needed to produce this effect is the square root of one percent of the population. For Gauteng's 8.5 million inhabitants, the number of meditators needed is 200; for the country 1000.


The Maharishi effect has impressed scientists because of it's repeatability in research surveys. Whenever group meditation is practised and its effects measured, statistically, with all variables taken into account, crime and violence have dropped significantly. Said Peycke: ' TM is a very ancient programme. It's been working for thousands of years and there has been more scientific research on this programme than on any other.' More than 500 studies at 200 universities by independent panels of scientists have been conducted on TM during the past thirty years and the results published in 100 academic journals. One of these, the Journal of Conflict Resolution, published results of a two-month study on a coherence group in Israel. While the group was meditating there was a 76% drop in the number of war deaths in Lebanon, a 68% drop in war injuries and a 66% increase in co-operation among the protagonists. The journal's editor, Yale political science professor Bruce Russett published the study 'although the theory seems impossible, the study met the stringent scientific standards needed for inclusion in the journal.'


From the British Psychological Society comes evidence that the crime rate in Merseyside dropped 60% in 1988 when meditators reached the required square root of one percent attendance. Merseyside had the third-highest crime rate in England and Wales in 1987. By 1992 it had the lowest. In a similar study in Washington DC, from the American Institute of Science, Technology and Public Policy, police figures showed a sharp decrease in violent crime when the meditating group reached the required attendance level. The institute described the findings as 'statistically significant'. Research surveys conducted in Zimbabwe, Nicaragua, Canada and several other countries show the same phenomenon. Said Peycke:' When the attendance of meditating groups reaches the square root of one percent, there is an immediate growth in positive aspects of society - fewer incidents of crime, smoother relationships, a lower disease rate, improved economic circumstances and more jobs created'."

The inclusion of this article does NOT constitute a recommendation for TM. It is reproduced to publish this empirical evidence of meditation's effects.

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