By Dr. Patricia Saunders, Arlene Schar and Dr. David Leffler
In The World Report on Violence and Health (WRVH) the World Health Organization (WHO) defines violence as “the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment or deprivation.”
Violence is a pervasive problem worldwide. Many governmental and nonprofit organizations have attempted to curb this trend by reducing easy access to lethal weaponry, more long-term investment in social outreach programs, and harsher sentencing to help prevent violence and senseless tragedies.
One innovative social program for reducing the stress and tensions resulting in violence is the widespread implementation of Transcendental Meditation® (TM®) programs. Extensive research shows that the implementation of large groups practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique and its advanced practices in unison twice a day creates a field effect. This field effect has a localized impact on social problems by reducing the stresses and tensions which are causative of those problems in the immediate area. Plans for introducing this approach can be set in motion now, with the intention of actual implementation of TM programs once COVID-19 is brought under control.
It is generally accepted that TM practice increases energy and inner peace on the individual level; recent research indicates it also produces similar effects for society. A new book, An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence, examines 20 peer-reviewed studies which indicate that governments can achieve a lessening of violence, not on the basis of political rhetoric or a stronger police presence, but by a rise of harmony, coherence, and order in the collective consciousness of the majority of people who make up a society.
Early TM studies found that when 1% of the population of US Midwestern cities learned the TM technique, crime rates decreased. A follow-up study published in 1981 took new factors into account: population density, median time of education, percentage of people in the same home after five years, and per capita income. All the crime data was taken from public sources. The results of the research supported the initial hypothesis: a comparatively small number of people practicing TM can reduce crime rates in a given area.
Over the years, other peer-reviewed studies have noted repeated indications that the collective consciousness of a society or a nation is a real phenomenon TM and its advanced practices have demonstrated a positive, measurable effect on reducing stress in the collective consciousness of America. A series of four studies, published in 2016 and 2017, charted changes in US crime and fatality rates between 2007 and 2010 that were attributable to TM and its advanced group practices. During the experimental period of these US studies, rates of violent crimes, including homicides, aggravated assault, robbery, and rape all decreased compared to the baseline period. A follow-up study, which has been submitted for publication, provides evidence that after the group diminished in size in 2011, violent social trends again worsened. This outcome indicates that the improvements only took place and had a lasting effect when the group was of a sufficient size and engaged in group practice daily.
An Antidote to Violence weaves together psychology, sociology, philosophy, statistics, politics, physics, and consciousness to provide evidence that we can reduce violence in society by using this brain-based technology. By decreasing violence and increasing quality of life, positive changes in collective consciousness have significant consequences for a community and its environment. The good news is that when TM programs are properly implemented — in schools, the police force, or the military—the current norm of horrific violence could become a thing of the past.
About the Authors:
Patricia Saunders, Ph.D. is the coauthor of An Antidote to Violence and a Ph.D. graduate in the Department of Consciousness and Human Potential of Maharishi International University, USA.
Arlene Schar has served as Dr. Leffler's Executive Assistant at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS) StrongMilitary.org since 2015.
Dr. David Leffler, Ph.D. served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. Currently, he serves as the Executive Director at CAMS.