Every day I wake up in a beautiful retreat center, over-looking an organic farm and the ocean. Many days I have to pinch myself because it feels like paradise. It’s almost surreal. Then I turn on the radio and listen to the news. I am horrified by what happens half way across the world. I am beside myself that I can wake up in peaceful beauty and hear about brutality of violence made of the Middle Ages. It is traumatizing to listen to, even.
I wonder, how do I contain such knowing? What do I do about it?
I go on the Internet.
I’m reading about research studies done at Stanford. They are eye-opening studies about the practice of Metta meditation, which is the practice of “loving-kindness.” I learn that it’s been scientifically proven that wishing for the well-being of others actually increases our own health and well-being. Then I happen upon the Peace Intention Experiment conducted in Sri Lanka with top universities, and how meditation can possibly change the outcome of war-torn countries. People from around the world prayed for those suffering in a 25 year civil war in Wanni, the north part of Sri Lanka. After 7 months of the Peace Experiment in which people meditated on peace in Wanni, the civil war ended. Even when people were far away, half-way across the world, they could affect outcomes just through intention.
Another amazing experiment was in Washington D.C., where 4,000 meditators of Transcendental Meditation®, went to D.C. to see if they could lower the rate of crime in D.C. They reduced by 23% in 7 weeks! After the study, crime rates shot up.
Science based studies that show that when you pray for the well-being of others, you too are healed in the process. This includes decreased stress and cortisol levels, decreased inflammation, positive emotions, increased social connection and more.
How amazing. I’m blown away. Our well-being depends on how we feel and project towards others, including those we feel most difficulty towards.
Our health actually depends on it.
I decided to share through this blog post and create this guided metta meditation. Will you practice it with me? I loved making this. It feels like an amazing possibility for the Middle East. Even when we’re half-way across the world, we can do something: we can send positive intentions. And even though those intentions are invisible, they are still powerful.