This article below is an adaptation of a letter I sent in response to Mike Carlton’s SMH article titled, “Israel’s rank and rotten fruit is being called fascism” on Saturday the 26th of July.
The escalating conflict in the Middle East is a wake up call to us all. It is clear that lasting peace cannot be created through diplomacy. If we want to break free of the never-ending cycle of hostility and violence, rather than destroying our enemies, we need to destroy our enmity! How do we destroy enmity? The answer is simple and has been unveiled by neuroscience.
Enmity is the product of a stressed incoherent brain. In a stressed brain, the higher human functions are sidelined as the more primitive reactive and highly emotional brain circuits take over. When a stressed incoherent brain is challenged, there are only 2 possible responses: fight or flight. A coherent brain’s response on the other hand is not limited to the immediate situation. It is more able to comprehend the big picture and be more tolerant, understanding and loving in its response. It can see beyond shallow nationalistic rhetoric and appreciate that the “the world is my family”. Coherent brains are the basis of a peaceful tolerant world.
To create a coherent brain we need to satisfy the basic needs of body, mind and spirit. For the body we need fresh food, pure water and healthy housing. For the mind we need a healthy balance of work, fun and rest. For the spirit we need to transcend! To transcend means effective downtime – time to allow the mind to let go of all concerns of the day, all thoughts and feelings and just be. Transcending comes naturally but to restore this natural human faculty we need instruction in the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. Brain EEG and imaging studies have confirmed that regular practice of TM develops a coherent brain.
A community, a nation or a world torn apart by political, ethnic and economic tensions however will only produce stressed incoherent brains which in turn add to the collective incoherence. On the other hand a coherent society will nurture coherent brains which in turn create more coherence in the collective consciousness. Interestingly it doesn’t take a lot of coherent brains to transform collective incoherence into coherence – to transform intolerance into tolerance, enmity into friendship
Just as a few vibrant happy people can lift the whole mood of a gathering, a few coherent brains can positively influence the local, national and global mood. Coherent world consciousness can be achieved through a dedicated group or groups of coherent brains regularly transcending together. Published peer reviewed studies have shown that if the size of such a group is sufficient, then whole communities, including war torn areas, shift from aggressive / fear-based behaviour to more tolerance, peace and harmony. One study found that global terrorism reduced by 70% during assemblies of such groups – groups large enough to influence the whole planet. Modern science has thus verified the wisdom of the ancient “Yoga Sutras” which states, “In the vicinity of yoga (coherence) conflicting tendencies unite to create a unified state of harmony”.
Hence we have at hand a rigorously tested practical technology that promises to bring lasting peace to our world. It only needs a few wise people, who have the means, to establish permanent coherence-creating groups. The group could be a school, a university, the defence force, a retirement village or even a dedicated group of advanced meditators set up just for this purpose. Moves in this direction are already happening in several countries but there is an urgent need for much larger groups. In this age of weapons of mass destruction it is imperative that the wise act quickly. Contact your local TM centre to find out how you can support this endeavour.
Dr Tim Carr MBBS