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Can meditation change the world? The amazing story of the 'meditating president'
by Steve Taylor

Psychology Today    Translate This Article
10 December 2012

A recent article in Psychology Today explores the case study of the 'meditating president', Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique. After the country's long, devastating civil war ended in 1992, 'Chissano treated the rebel forces who had been trying to overthrow his government with respect. . . . Rather than trying to crush the rebels, he began to work with them,' writes Steve Taylor. '[He] set about the task of establishing lasting peace by reducing poverty' and child mortality, and increasing primary education. 'Mozambique was brought back from the brink of self-destruction and has instead become one of Africa's most stable and peaceful countries.' Taylor asks, 'What was it that made Chissano so rational and compassionate as a leader? In 1992, he learned Transcendental Meditation.' It is a joy for Global Good News service to feature this news, which indicates the success of the life-supporting programmes Maharishi has designed to bring fulfilment to the field of government.

The Psychology Today article explains that President Chissano also introduced the meditation technique to his cabinet, government, and thousands of military and police recruits. 'Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country. As he said, ''The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country. . . . The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war.'' '

After leaving office in 2004, President Chissano became an 'elder statesman, campaigning for peace and working as an envoy and negotiator for the United Nations'. In 2007, he was honoured with 'Africa's equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the $5 million prize for Achievement in African Leadership'.

Taylor also describes effects of meditation in reducing anger and aggression and increasing empathy, compassion, and rationality, noting research on meditation showing, for example, more activity in areas of the brain related to positive emotions.*

The article concludes, 'Discord in the world stems from discord in our minds, and there will only be harmony and peace in the world once there is harmony and peace inside us.'

Click here to read the full article on

© Copyright 2012 Sussex Publishers, LLC

Global Good News comment:

* In addition to research on Buddhist and mindfulness meditation mentioned in this Psychology Today article, hundreds of published scientific research studies on Transcendental Meditation have shown improvements in mental and emotional development as well as health and social behaviour. See 'Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs'.

As noted above in the Psychology Today article, President Chissano credited the impact of large groups practising Transcendental Meditation with the dramatic improvements in Mozambique during his time in office—an effect of increased social coherence and reduced social stress, violence, and conflict also well-documented by a body of peer-reviewed, published research. Several key studies are referenced in a recent op-ed article by Dr David Orme-Johnson and Dr David Leffler—'Reducing Tension in the Middle East'—which has been published worldwide in the last month and is available online in over 50 locations.

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