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Creating peace in the Middle East with Transcendental Meditation: 'Not a matter of hope, we know how to do it'

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21 March 2013

Recently Israel's leading newspaper, Yediot Ahronot, published an extended article by an Israeli journalist who attended the Third Annual Middle East World Peace Assembly, which convened over nine days in Turkey. The journalist, Moshe Ronen, wrote about the 150 participants from 13 countries who came to practise Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programmes, including Yogic Flying, together every day—a programme designed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi to reduce social stress, violence, and war, and create coherence, harmony, and peace in the world. The article, which filled a two-page spread and featured a photo of people practising Yogic Flying, was headlined: 'Flying for Peace'.

'Forget about negotiation and talk about politics. . . ,' Mr Ronen wrote.* 'Those who are present—Israelis and Iranians, Algerians, and Lebanese, Turks, Tunisians, Palestinians, Americans, Australians, French, and more—intend to influence the situation [in the Middle East] in one way only: by Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying.'

When he arrived at the course, Mr Ronen said, 'I met a group of serious people—impressive, admirable former Air Force pilots, former paratroops, officers in the armed corps, owners of international companies, physicians, lawyers, architects, engineers, scientists, computer people, and also an Israeli woman who held a senior position in the United Nations.' Several spoke to him about benefits they have felt from their Transcendental Meditation practice.

'The meditation and the Yogic Flying put you into focus,' said a former Air Force pilot who is now a manager of a large international company. 'As a flying instructor, I was capable of going on six flights a day with my course participants, which other instructors couldn't.' Even in intense military situations, 'I was levelheaded and focused thanks to meditation.'

'After meditation I'm like a well-tuned violin,' said a retired lieutenant colonel on reserve duty, another former Air Force pilot who today is an entrepreneur in the field of energy. 'The concentration is greater, the endurance is greater.' He also found Transcendental Meditation effective in dealing with the after-effects of traumatic stress.

One theme explored in the article is the mechanics through which groups of people practising meditation and Yogic Flying could hope to resolve persistent conflict in the Middle East. On the basis of scientific findings on American cities, Maharishi originally brought out the principle that when 1% of the population in any society practised Transcendental Meditation twice a day regularly, 'the wars, tensions, and disasters would come to an end', the article states. Later scientists found that with the advanced Transcendental Meditation Sidhi programme, including Yogic Flying, the square root of 1% of the population practising it simultaneously would be sufficient to bring peace.

'One thing is certain,' Mr Ronen went on to say, '—the atmosphere here is good. To the members of the Arab delegation, there was no problem speaking to an Israeli journalist. ''There is no point in just sitting and hoping for peace to come between us,'' a member of the Lebanese delegation explains to me in a very convincing manner. ''Once it was like that, we were hoping and praying for peace. Today we know how to do it. It is all a matter of doing, not of hope.'' '

Another senior member of the Palestinian delegation is optimistic. ' ''We will tempt peace to arrive,'' she announces. The members of her delegation also related that during the last few years, 570 Palestinians learned Transcendental Meditation in Ramallah and in Bethlehem'—with support 'mostly from American Jewish people, as part of the Palestine Peace Project', the article states.

* Translated from the original published article in Hebrew by Dr Alex Kutai, director of the Transcendental Meditation programme in Israel.

Copyright © 2013 Yediot Ahronot

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