Most people admit that world peace is something they’d like to see in their lifetime. However it’s not usually one of the reasons people give for wanting to learn to meditate.
Solutions to the conflict and the disasters facing the world today are on the minds of most of us. Along with hearing the news that we just might be on the brink of financial disaster, there are plenty of wars going on right now between and within nations.

History has shown us that it’s not possible to legislate against conflict. Perhaps this is because wars are first fought in the minds of humans - and it is nearly impossible to change someone’s mind - never mind enacting legislation to change the way someone thinks.

Thoughts such as, “things should be different than they are,” “this person should act a different way,” ” they shouldn’t have done that,” “those people should believe what we believe,” or “their natural resources should be shared with us,” are the seeds of disagreement that can grow into, in extreme circumstances, war or some other calamity.

I have spent many hours trying to change people’s minds. Not only have I worked within the mind/body health field to encourage complementary medicine, I’ve lobbied for legislation to protect National Forests, conserve water, encourage commercial recycling, educate people about green building and alternative energy, and to promote humane treatment of animals.

And yes, sometimes I have found myself arguing with those who don’t agree with me. Unfortunately, disagreements do not usually create peace, and they usually don’t net the results I am looking for.

Most people have heard Einstein’s assertion that goes something like this: You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created it.

This is why I always come back to meditation. It is different thinking…. literally. Through meditation a shift naturally occurs - instead of being at war with what is, I more easily experience a sense of peace with the way things are. This doesn’t mean I roll over and give up my convictions, but it simply means I can be more peaceful while advocating change.
In addition to finding more peace within, meditation can create an effect in our environment (this might sound a bit far-fetched but I am writing to you from Sedona).

As long ago as 1974 people have been experimenting with meditation to create change in their own minds and their environment. Studies have shown that where the proportion of people in any community practicing a silent meditation, reached a particular threshold (about 1% of the population), changes started to occur in social trends. Crime, road accidents and hospital admissions decreased.

It may seem surprising that a few people meditating - simply meditating - not thinking of anything in particular - can, by the effect of their practice, influence the behavior of others in the environment, but it does make sense that our behavior is affected by the quality of our environment. This research gives great hope to those who have the vision of a better quality of life for humankind and all life.

When two nearby loudspeakers emit the same sound, these sound waves create a synergistic effect. They produce a sound volume equivalent to four loudspeakers (the square of the number of speakers, which is two). This is a universal principle of wave behavior, and commonly held knowledge in physics. When individuals meditating together in a group generate a ripple in consciousness or awareness, the power of their combined waves grows as the square of the number of individuals. So if four people were meditating, it could conceivably affect 16 people in their environment in a positive way.

Research confirms even relatively small groups can have enormous impact on their environment, and therefore their society.
Perhaps the reason that meditation as a means to peace hasn’t garnered much media attention is because with meditation there is no conflict, no drama, no winner or no loser, there is nothing to buy, and little money to be made from it. It is simple, anyone can do it, and it just might work. Here is my simple formula to increase peace in your life and in your environment.

1. Learn to meditate.
2. Meditate every day for at least 20 minutes
3. Meditate with a group whenever possible
4. Ask yourself, Who am I? What is my heart’s desire? What is my purpose in life? And listen
5. Speak your truth sweetly
6. Walk your talk
7. Don’t take anything personally
8. Live in the present moment
(of course I have a lot more advice, but this is a start)

Author's Bio: 

Sarah McLean, Director of Sedona Meditation Training & Retreats, is a sought after presenter in the personal growth arena and in in corporate environments. Her presentationsthroughout Arizona and the U.S.  include self-awareness training, stress reduction techniques, and mind/body health and lifestyle programs.
Sarah lives in Sedona where she teaches meditation, writes, and offers personal health lifestyle changes. She is a frequent contributor to health and lifestyle publications on mind/body health and the benefits of meditation.