Do you ever shake your head while watching the news at night and think to yourself, “Why is there so much violence and suffering in the world?” and then think about how impossible it would be for one person to make a positive impact?
If so, then you will be very enheartened to learn that over twenty-three peace meditation research studies have been performed that demonstrate when an appropriately sized group of individuals collectively hold a coherent peaceful internal state, there can be an external measurable impact. This research demonstrates that when we are skilled at holding a state of coherent peace, we all have the ability to “vote with our hearts” to create the change we want to see in the world.
As people learn how to move their nervous systems into more coherent loving states they simultaneously lower blood pressure and insulin levels, increase their well-being and enhance their relationships and make better decisions. It is a win-win-win-win!
In the center of our hearts, many of us hold an ideal of world peace, a state of cooperation, freedom and peace within all nations and people.
The Global Peaceful Cities Project is helping people organize around these ideals and utilize evidence based tools idea to measure heartfelt intentions for local geographic areas.
The coherence meditation with intention approach to peace, the hallmark of the Global Peaceful Cities Project, is measuring exactly that.
Coherent meditation promotes a state of balance within the individual that results in better brain and heart functioning, both hallmarks of relaxed harmonious behavior. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/alicegwalton/2015/02/09/7-ways-meditation-can-actually-change-the-brain/#f29869714658 , Cardiac coherence, self-regulation, autonomic stability, and psychosocial well-being. (R. McCraty & M. Zayaa, Frontiers in psychology 5 (2014), https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4179616/)
When a relatively small amount of people reach this coherent state, there is often a corresponding measurable calming of the local population.
Our current understanding of who we are as individuals would make this idea seem to be a far-fetched. However, quantum physics and intentional research keeps challenging our notions of separateness and our relationships to each other which has opened the door for an increased understanding of how we are all truly connected.
We are at the beginning of an exploration of what is possible. Most reasonable people would be skeptical that coherence meditation with intention approach could have a measurable effect.
As a scientist, being skeptical is a must. We should only accept theories when there is strong evidence to corroborate it. What if scientific research is already finding evidence that peaceful intentions of an individual actually does have a collective impact. work? Please open you mind and read on….
Peace Meditation Research
Is there scientific evidence that coherence with intention approach is effective improving the quality of life in a region as measured by the reduction of crime in the area?
Is there scientific evidence that individuals influence each other at a distance?
These are the questions that are at the heart of the Global Peaceful Cities Project.
Research carried out in the 80’s and 90’s has shown the unexpected effectiveness of the meditation approach to peace in preventing social violence when it was conducted on US cities, and in preventing terrorism and war when it was conducted on behalf of cities affected by armed conflict. More than 23 scientific research studies on the subject have been published in leading, peer reviewed academic journals. The methodology of the central studies has been carefully evaluated by independent scholars, who’ve published their critical reviews. In every case, the researchers were able to answer the critics’ questions and offer additional analysis confirming positive findings. The research is controversial because of the lack of research tools. There are so far no scientific tools to measure the effect of intention or the effect of meditation on a proposed “field of consciousness”. Just like astrophysicists look at the Doppler effect on stars to find the exoplanets we cannot see, researchers have looked at measures of violence to show, after accounting for other contributing variables, that meditation had an effect, producing statistically significant reductions of crime, social violence, terrorism, and war, and increased peace and positivity in society.
Meditating for Peace in a war conflict zones: The following are the leading research studies that showed TM meditation had a significant effect in reducing index of violence (created independently by the Rand corporation) in armed conflict zones, in chronological order:
1Orme-Johnson, D. W., C. N. Alexander, J. L. Davies, H. M. Chandler, and W. E. Larimore. “International peace project in the Middle East: The effect of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 32(4) (1988); 776–812.
2Orme-Johnson, D. W., C. N. Alexander, and J. L. Davies. “The effects of the Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field: Reply to a methodological critique.” Journal of Conflict Resolution, 34 (1990); 34:756–768.
3Orme-Johnson, D. W., M. C. Dillbeck, C. N. Alexander, H. M. Chandler, and R. W. Cranson. “Effects of large assemblies of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program on reducing international conflict and terrorism.” Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 36 (2003); 283-302.
4Davies, J. L. and C. N. Alexander. “Alleviating political violence through reducing collective tension: Impact Assessment analysis of the Lebanon war.” Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 17 (2005), 17: 285-338.
These articles address a study that was conducted during the peak of the Lebanon war, 1983-85. They showed that, on days when the number of participants was high, war deaths in neighboring Lebanon dropped by 76% (p = .0006). For more information about the results, please visit: https://www.gusp.org/defusing-world-crises/scientific-research/
What was interesting about this study is that groups of people were meditating around the world for peace in Lebanon. This would indicate that people could be located anywhere in the world and still have a measurable effect on the area that was intended.
Meditation Effect on Cities: The following are the leading research studies that were able to show that TM meditation had a significant effect reducing crime on the city they meditated, in chronological order:
1 Iowa 1982-1985: Dillbeck, M. C. “Test of a field theory of consciousness and social change: Time series analysis of participation in the TM-Sidhi program and reduction of violent death in the U.S.” Social Indicators Research, 22 (1990); 399–418.
2 Canada 1972-1986: Assimakis P., and M. C. Dillbeck. “Time series analysis of improved quality of life in Canada: Social change, collective consciousness, and the TM-Sidhi program.” Psychological Reports 76 (1995); 1171-1193.
3 Merseyside, England, 1978-1991: Hatchard, G. D., A. J. Deans, K. L. Cavanaugh, and D. W. Orme-Johnson. “The Maharishi Effect: A model for social improvement. Time series analysis of a phase transition to reduced crime in Merseyside metropolitan area.” Psychology, Crime & Law , 2 (3) (1996); 165-174.
4 Washington DC 1993: Hagelin, J.S., Rainforth, M.V., Orme-Johnson, D.W., Cavanaugh, K.L., Alexander, C.N., Shatkin, S.F., et al. “Effects of group practice of the Transcendental Meditation program on preventing violent crime in Washington, DC: Results of the National Demonstration Project, June–July 1993.” Social Indicators Research, 47(2) (1999); 153-201.
For a more complete list of research papers, visit:
The Global Peaceful Cities Project in Albany, NY-
According to prior research, there seems to be enough evidence that the meditation approach is effective in reducing crime or violence in an area. The above studies all used transcendental meditation (TM) and were conducted by researchers affiliated with Transcendental Meditation Institute.
The Albany Peace Project is an independent replication study. We are not affiliated with the Transcendental Meditation Institute and we use different technique: anchoring the mind in the body, focusing on the heart, entering a state of coherence and intending peace for the City of Albany. The questions this study addresses are:
Is there scientific evidence that other forms of meditation are also effective improving the quality of life in a region, as measured by the reduction of crime in the area?
Can participants apply the coherence with intention method at different times and locations and still achieve similar results?
Does the “dosage” – the number of participants needed in the study to have an effect – change if we use the coherence with intention technique and participants do not all meditate in the same place at the same time?
The Albany Peace Project started in 2014, with people coming into coherence and intending peace for a specific number of days, with the intention of a peaceful City of Albany. The number of participants every year has fluctuated between 200 and 350. This is a good start but not enough to make a significant effect. According to predictions from prior research (Borland and Landreth, 1976) when the number of participants practicing meditation at home is about 1% of population, they have the same effect as groups of the square root 1% of the population meditating together in the same place, with cities showing significantly reduced crime during the next year compared to matched control cities.
The City of Albany has a population of roughly 98,000 people. Therefore we would need at least 980 participants before we can see a measurable effect in the local crime. However, because our participants are not meditating all at the same time and in the same place, we expect that a higher “dosage” may be needed. Our goal is to have at least 2,000 participants. To achieve this number we need your help. By joining us, you will not only help us to achieve our goal for effective statistical analysis but you will personally learn and be practicing the tools to achieve greater personal coherence and inner peace in your own life!
The Global Peaceful Cities Project.
As we grow, many other cities are joining us in the effort to bring peace to different areas in the country and around the world. This project intends that participants in each city will participate in their own city event, as well as in events organized by other cities in the project. We are asking participants to donate their meditation time, meditating on behalf of the city that is holding a coherence-for-peace event. Uniting efforts among all persons interested in demonstrating that the coherence with intention is effective in promoting peace in a region, we will be able to achieve a sufficiently large number of participants to demonstrate statistically and independently the efficacy of the coherence with intention approach to peace.
How can you help?
Your participation in this historic study will contribute to peace in the world and help you become more peaceful yourself. You will help us to demonstrate that by being peaceful and intending peace for a city or the world actually produces a measurable effect.
As you participate, you will be showing the world that a simple 15 minute coherence based meditation, with intention, not only works by promoting greater states of well-being within yourself but also you would be helping this research gather the necessary data for this replication study. Together we hope to reach a significant group size that would validate the study with the pregnant possibility of showing that this technique does have a measurable effect, and that it is equally effective as the transcendental meditation in bringing peace to the intended area by positively impacting the local quality of life indicators.
A committed group of peaceful participants could make a significant, measurable impact on decreasing violence in our cities and the world at large. Join us making a difference, join us helping the world, as you help yourself, “One Breath At A Time”!
Please consider join us by becoming a participant in the Global Peaceful Cities Project. Change your life and together let’s change the world, “One Peaceful City At A Time”!