Articles

Open Letter to Institutionalized Religion

CBS News recently reported that group meditation will be an emerging health trend in 2016, especially among the millennials. [1]  We at Peace Centers International, Inc. think collective meditation is much more than a wellness or lifestyle trend. While this may be the invitation many churches and spiritual centers have been waiting for to engage the millennials, it is also a call to dive deeper into something that touches all of humanity: world peace through starting a Waves of PeaceSM group meditation initiative.


People want peace now, but don’t know where or how to find it. We are here to suggest that Peace Already Is – it exists here and now. We are also here to remind you how easy it is to bring about within the context of your own spiritual tradition and history of group meditation!


What the CBS News report verified was that collective meditation is no longer something only aging hippies do. What it failed to show, is that collective meditation is part and parcel of humanity’s social DNA that has been documented in cave drawings dating back some 30,000 years or more.


My recent book, Waves of Peace: Collective Meditation in Worldwide Practice,[2] illustrates collective meditation practices in 48 different religious and secular instances across world cultures. You should get a copy and see for yourself the depth and breadth of this incredibly simple and effective practice around the world. You should get a copy if you don't know about your own particular tradition. There is nothing weird, strange or foreign about coming together with others to amplify peace through meditation – it is human nature to do so!


Of all the ways humankind has tried to acquire more peace, from having more police and guns, to legislation, to punishing wrongdoers--one method stands out as most effective, as proven by almost 50 scientific studies: collective meditation for peace. We call it our new breed of activism![3]


At Peace Centers International, Inc. we have been demonstrating this principle for ourselves. Our techniques are quiet, easy, accessible, and are reiterated in the discoveries of quantum science. From the first experiments in the phenomenon of the observer effect,[4] to understanding the secret life of plants,[5] to discovering how good intentions of Person A impact the feeling state of Person B,[6] and seeing molecular changes take place in bodies of water,[7] we know that the impact of human consciousness reaches to people, places and things outside an individual's brain.


All spiritual traditions studied believe in the healing power of prayer and meditation -- it is perhaps ironic that science has only recently verified what sages of old knew thousands of years ago!


The beauty of group meditation is that it is not dependent on humans achieving consensus or going through expensive training or having specialized skills to be effective. All it requires is the dedication to show up and execute the work of directing our attention, our awareness, our hearts, our minds, our intentions, our knowing, and our faith to the unfolding of global peace through consciousness. Do you value peace enough to amplify it with your peers? The world needs you to join this Wave of PeaceSM!


Signed,

Rev. Dr. Margo Ruark


[1] http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/from-seaweed-to-matcha-top-wellness-trends-for-2016/  on December 22, 2015.


[2] Ordering information for Waves of Peace: Collective Meditation in Worldwide Practice (2015): 


[3]  Toliver, Lawrence J. Here's Peace! A vision and global demonstration of peace with a short guide for creating peaceful communities. 


[4] The Observer Effect was well documented in The Double Slit Experiments which are based on a theory presented by British physician and physicist Thomas Young in the early 1800s on the nature of light. These experiments demonstrate how particles and waves actually respond to the expectation of the experimenter and do what he/she wants them to do. 


[5] Backster, Cleve. Primary Perception: Biocommunication with Plants, Living Foods, and Human Cells. WhiteRose Millennium Press, 2003.


[6] Grinberg-Zylberbaum, J., Delaflor, M., Attie, L., and Goswami, A. 'The Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen paradox in the brain: the transferred potential', Physics Essays, 1994:7, pp. 422-428.


[7] Emoto, Masaru, The Hidden Messages in Water. Hillsboro, Oregon: Beyond Words Publishing, Inc., 2004.

Why Do We Meditate?

Collective meditation for peace

Outside Peace Centers International, people will tell you all kinds of reasons why they meditate: 


Because It’s Good for My Body - it reduces stress hormones, increases relaxation, lowers blood pressure, etc. Not bad!


Because It’s Good for My Relationships. I've become less judgmental, more compassionate, less reactionary. High five!


Because it calms me down - it quiets the internal chatter of my mind, reduces anxiety, and I even "bliss out" sometimes. Two thumbs up!


This is all wonderful. But these are not the reasons Peace Centers International wants you to meditate. . . 


We want you to meditate together with others to Amplify Peace Everywhere! We want you to uplevel your meditation practice to make a difference in the world. We want you to magnify Peace from deep within and teach others to do the same thing. We want you to teach others to move beyond a self-centered feel-good meditation practice and make the world a better place for all.


Does this resonate with you? 


Why do we teach others to meditate? Why is it so important to come together in collective meditation as part of the program? 


Because it makes an impact on the community and surrounding environment! Numerous studies by quantum scientists and others have shown that when people come together with a common intention, changes occur in the surrounding environment that are reflective of the intention. These studies support our core tenet that with proper training and support, a consciousness and energy of Peace Creates More Peace. 


A new form of activism is being born, an activism of the "still small voice." The New Activism is in the business of great and powerful change through inspired action. This is not the Peace Movement of yore - the days of pressuring, protesting, riots, and blame games. It is the Peace Movement of Now and it is pushing from the inside out within each one who will heed its call to become and Instrument of Peace, a Peace Donor. 


Read more about the new activism in Lawrence Toliver's book Here's Peace!

Spirituality of the Future

In a  recent article in The Huffington Post, David Bryce Yaden, a Phd Student in Psychology at The University of Pennsylvania, paints an optimistic picture of the spirituality of the future. Instead of asking the question How can we get more people into the church pews? the question becomes How will current trends eventually transform spiritual practice? You see, spirituality doesn't leave human nature just because the institutions of religion are going through some changes. 


One of the main attributes of the spirituality of the future is seeking and sharing more spiritual experiences. But beyond feeling good at the individual level, the writer suggests that as we seek and find more spiritual experiences, there will be more emphasis on transforming these experiences into service. Volunteering for example will be as important to life as yoga class or meditation group.


Service opens the door to another attribute of the spirituality of the future, being more socially inclusive and respectful for the values we share with others, as well as those that are different from our own. 


With more scientific studies showing the benefits of spirituality, meditation, especially group prayer and other collective contemplative practices, it is entirely possible that mental health professionals will soon be prescribing "go have a spiritual experience" to their patients rather than drugs. Imagine that!


How encouraging to us who practice collective meditation in any of its forms! (Find 48 different ways to meditate with others in my book Waves of Peace - some of which date back over 10,000 years!)  What better way to give yourself the physical and mental benefits of meditation while at the same time providing a public service of demonstrating more peace?


Let's begin to think of our collective peace practices as public service or volunteering. Just as blood donors give voluntarily to help complete strangers, those who gather together to meditate for peace, become PeaceDonors(SM) to intentionally create more peaceful harmonious communities for all. 

 

Two Easy Peace Meditations

NOTE: Our philosophy is based on collective peace meditation. These are two of the meditations we use collectively.


By Lawrence Toliver


The first meditation was drawn from my understanding of the peaceful manifestation of the vital, essential processes of life in every living form.  My reason for describing  peace in this concrete, physical way is that I am convinced that these bodily processes are the most accessible forms of peace for humanity to contemplate. God has chosen to express life peacefully—the existence of nebulas and volcanoes and earthquakes notwithstanding. Every individual, whether refined or not, can contemplate the peacefulness of the breathing function and the infusion of oxygen into the blood stream and exhaling of carbon dioxide through evaporation. The peaceful impregnation of an egg by a sperm is undeniable to every mother. Life processes, when healthy, manifest peacefully! 


In the second guidance, I used these words to introduce us to the way peace—which is wherever life is—flows into, through and out of us—radiating in all directions without boundaries. 


Together, these meditation guides were intended to inform you of  


·  how I think about peace, to  


· convince you that every individual is an instrument of peace and to 


·describe how collective meditation magnifies peace. 


1st Guide


Let us each go within. Become aware of your heart, your breathing, various parts of your body, your mantra. Consciously relax the muscles of your face, your ankles, your neck, your hips, your shoulders drop, you breathe easily and softly.


Permit me to speak for you. Let my I be your I. I go into my body just below the skin to the blood stream. The substance of life flows through tiny capillaries nourishing every molecule of flesh in my body. Bone marrow constantly produces my red and white blood corpuscles.  Oxygen molecules constantly merge with blood cells—nourishing each of them 24/7. These and many other processes of life manifest so quietly that I cannot hear the blending of air, liquid, vitamins and minerals with and within my body. How peacefully life manifests itself in me. That butterfly over there, that bird, that bee, that loved one, these people surrounding us on every side are vessels of peace. Life and peace express themselves everywhere silently and in perfect right order. Every life is a vessel for peace. Peace is prevailing everywhere.


I am an instrument of peace.


I am an instrument of peace.


SILENCE then RETURN TO THIS SANCTUARY


2nd Guide


I am an instrument of peace.


The peace of God flows through me.  That same note of peace is radiating from everyone in this sanctuary.


My energy field radiates peace in all directions. Together, we strengthen the field of peace. As it resonates, this field of peace radiates further and further in every direction. I am a vessel for more Peace—peace—peace

FAQs on Collective Meditation

Is collective meditation a religion? 


Meditation is a spiritual practice found in all religions. The earliest occurrences were documented in 10,000 year old cave drawings.  


 Is it even Christian?  


Yes, it is mentioned by name 20 times in the Bible and described as many times.  


Do you have to believe in God to be part of the collective meditation? 


No, you do not. However, as fervently as some meditation leaders attempt to make meditation secular, it is, nonetheless, rooted in spiritual practice, and spiritual stuff is going to happen when people start meditating. We want to be upfront about that.


 Is there a guru I have to obey? 


No gurus. However, all collective meditations under Peace Centers International, Inc. are facilitated processes.  


Do I have to sit in the lotus position on the floor?  


Only if you want to! We usually sit in chairs, with our feet on the floor, spine straight and tall, eyes closed. Arms relaxed, hands on our lap. 


Will I have to dissociate from whatever faith community I belong to now?  


That is a cult thing. We are not a cult.  


 What kind of meditation is this? Is this TM? Zen?  


We use all kinds of approaches. We are not affiliated with any trademarked school of meditation. 

How much does attending the collective meditation cost? Where does the money go? 


We usually take up a love offering to cover our expenses. Peace Centers International is an Illinois nonprofit educational organization.  


Can’t I meditate by myself just as well? Send good vibes?  


Sure, we will accept your good vibes! However, it is a completely different experience to meditate on your own than it is to meditate with others in a group. Our mission is to teach and encourage more people the benefits of meditating together. The one is not a replacement for the other.  


For all other matters, drop us a line and let us know of your successes with group meditation big and small! We will share them on our social media pages and newsletter!


Send in your questions and our editors will post the best ones here!


 Where can I find out more information about collective meditation?


   We have written extensively about the benefits of collective meditation in Here’s Peace! by Lawrence J. Toliver and Waves of Peace: Collective Meditation in Worldwide Practice by Margo Ruark. You can also stay connected by signing up for our newsletter!

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