Friday, February 24, 2006


I was recently talking to a friend about the list of unfortunate actions taken by the current Bush Administration. My friend remarked that surely Bush would not mess with a particular freedom, because everyone would be up in arms.

Every week, this administration fails us in some way, yet we are not up in arms. Our privacies and liberties are invaded, our earth damaged irreparably, our illegal war fought and paid for by the poor. Our right to choose an abortion is back in question, our right to choose a leader in serious Diebold doubt.

Still, we go on about our lives.
We do not take it to the streets.
What might constitute the final straw that would get us out from in front our televisions and computers and movie screens and form a public outcry that must me heard?

Will we respond as the good citizens of Nazi Germany, and allow the unthinkable because it happened in degrees?
Are we too complacent, lazy, busy, comfortable, blind?
Is protest inconvenient?
Or do we just feel helpless?

A few months ago, I stood with dozens of people at a vigil in Somerville’s Davis Square, holding a candle and sending my silent thoughts to Cindy Sheehan. On Wednesday, a similar vigil was held in protest of unwarranted wiretapping.
It was a moving occasion, but what was its practical purpose?

Consider the work of the Raja Yogas who have conducted several experiments over the years to test the effects of meditation.
In June 1999, the Social Indicators Research journal reported one of the most dramatic sociological experiments ever undertaken.
Intense group meditation was done over an eight-week period in Washington, DC, during the summer of 1993. Researchers, before the experiment, had predicted a reduction in crime of at least 20 per cent.
Findings later showed that violent crime--including rapes, murders and assaults--had decreased by 23 per cent during the June 7 to July 30 experimental period.

The odds of this result are two in one billion.

The demonstration had involved nearly 4,000 practitioners of Transcendental Meditation from 81 countries.

Hagelin stated: "Previous research had shown that these meditation techniques create a state of deep relaxation and coherence in the individual and simultaneously appear to produce an effect that spreads into the environment, influencing people who are not practicing the techniques and who have no knowledge of the experiments themselves."

Hagelin, an eminent physicist, drew terminology from quantum field theories to refer to the results of meditation as "a field effect of consciousness."

"It's analogous to the way that a magnet creates an invisible field that causes iron filings to organize themselves into an orderly pattern," Hagelin said.

He also said that meditation has been shown to create high levels of coherence and orderliness in individual practitioners.

This "orderliness" appears to spill over into society and can be measured directly through the positive changes that occur.

Dr. Ann Hughes, a professor of Sociology and Government at the University of the District of Columbia, later said of the experiment: "What we are looking at here is a new paradigm of viewing crime and violence. Hughes was part of a 27-member project review board composed of independent scientists and civic leaders who approved the research protocol and monitored and the process."

Sr. Jasmine, co-ordinator of the center, said that the most powerful instrument known to man is the power of thought.

"Crime begins as a thought," Sr. Jasmine said.

I love it. Hard science and the New Age together at last.

Because the problems appear overwhelming, many of us default into despair, believing that what we do does not count,
that one person cannot effect change.
But what we do does count, and you know it.
And one person can effect change.
Cindy Sheehan proved that once again.

As a proponent of peaceable solutions,
I don’t believe that up in arms is the best way to go.
Up in arms is the bully route. Up in arms ain’t working, just take a look around.
I believe we should continue to sign petitions, call and write our representatives, make sure our voting machines work, and hang onto our democracy however we can.

Take it to the streets? Yes, more ande more of us. March on Washington? I'm ready.

Imagine a public outcry transformed to peaceful silence.
Imagine those up in arms, laying them down.

What do you think?