The research study is a scientific demonstration of the power of individuals to control the destiny of their communities by the simple act of meditating quietly in their own homes.
The message for the people of Syria is clear. Even when your country has deteriorated to open warfare, there is still hope.
The research shows that you are able to influence any situation however dire and however desperate by taking some time out every day to sit in the silence of the transcendence.
|View of Baskinta village valley|
The prelude to this study occurred when two teachers of Transcendental Meditation (TM) arrived in the village of Baskinta in May 1981 and began teaching the Transcendental Meditation technique to local villagers.
Their stated objective was to teach enough people so that the village could quickly achieve the magic "1% effect".
Previous research had already predicted that when 1% of a population learns Transcendental Meditation then there is an immediate reversal of negative social trends within that society and an onset of positive ones. Typically in normal circumstances we see crime start to reduce, motor accidents reduce, divorces decline, business activity and employment rise and so on. Baskinta was a major test to see what impact meditators would have on a society convulsed by open warfare.
As it happens, Baskinta occupies something of a strategic point in central Lebanon. So the unfortunate result was that the people in this small village had been caught up in the continuing battles between opposing leftist and rightist forces for several years.
However, by June 1982, the TM teachers had taught 100 people in the village to meditate. With a population of 10,000, this meant that from that time onward, the village had reached the goal of 1% of the local population meditating. At that point there was an abrupt cessation of attacks on the village.
This outbreak of peace, predicted by the researchers from the outset was unique for the region, lasted for the rest of the war, (study period 1978 - 84) and was in complete contrast to both the village's previous recent history or the ongoing experience of nearby villages.
The statistics show that after the 1% threshold was reached Baskinta experienced an immediate and complete cessation of hostilities as measured by:
As a research control, the improvements in Baskinta were compared, over a period of five and a half years, to those of neighbouring villages. These comparison villages were chosen for their similar size and agricultural economic base.
To help analyse the impact, the researchers adopted an index of conflict. They used the measurement of 25 incoming shells per season for each point on the index. When the results came in they found that:
The conflict index showed a drop for Baskinta from 3.9 to zero.
At the same time, worsening trends were observed in the surrounding control villages where there was an increase in the index mean for the control villages from 1.9 to 4.0 (p<.00001) see chart above.
Incidentally, after the 1% effect had been achieved, Baskinta also experienced improvements in crop yields, increased social and sporting activities and accelerated municipal development.
Again it should be emphasised that these improvements occurred despite the civil war continuing to rage in the rest of the country. Furthermore the violence dissipated without any political activity or diplomatic interaction carried out by the villagers or any one else. The fighting just stopped spontaneously.
The Maharishi Technology of the Unified Field and reduction of armed conflict: A comparative, longitudinal study of Lebanese villages.
Abou Nader TM; Alexander CN; and Davies JL; American University of Beirut, Beirut, Lebanon; Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.A.; and Macquarie University, North Ryde, New South Wales, Australia, 1984.
You can read the full research paper in the 'Collected Papers on Scientific Research on Maharishi's Transcendental Meditation and TM Sidhi programme' volume 4 paper 331. MERU Press.
Read 53 research summaries that show how groups of specially trained meditators can prevent crime, terrorism and war.