Stephen Collins is a distinguished American actor, writer, director, musician, philantropist, and long-time participant of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programme.
by Global Good News staff writer
3 September 2010
I was intrigued when a speaker at a recent university commencement brought up the topic of patriotism in 2010. His angle was different from my own traditional notion of patriotism, love of one’s country.
Instead, the speaker, actor and philanthropist Steve Collins, charged the students to be patriotic in 2010 by promoting sustainable living and by making a particular programme—which can both strengthen one’s nation and simultaneously nourish all other nations—well-known and a living reality. Mr Collins spoke of the ‘Maharishi Effect’.
What is patriotism?
Before exploring the Maharishi Effect more completely, let’s take a brief look at different expressions of the concept of patriotism.
Giuseppe Mazzini, an Italian patriot, politician, and philosopher of the 19th century, spoke beautifully of love of one’s homeland. ‘Love your country,’ he said. ‘Your country is the land where your parents sleep, where is spoken that language in which the chosen of your heart, blushing, whispered the first word of love; it is the home that God has given you that by striving to perfect yourselves therein you may prepare to ascend to him.’
Former US President Calvin Coolidge, also spoke of love of country, but added an element of nationalism saying, ‘Patriotism is easy to understand in America. It means looking out for yourself by looking out for your country.’
Nathan Hale, an American patriot in the Revolutionary War, gave extremely strong feelings in this direction (after being caught by the British as a spy and about to be hung) saying, ‘I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.’
A more compassionate patriotism
While this angle, which puts the two concepts of nationalism and patriotism together, still lingers today, many people now have a softer and much more expansive view of patriotism, one which embraces both social responsibility and cosmopolitanism.
Spanish musician, Pablo Casals, put it very simply saying, ‘The love of one’s country is a splendid thing. But why should love stop at the border?’
These words are more in line with Steve Collins’ commencement words to the students of Maharishi University of Management (MUM). He was able to charge them to exhibit a very global form of patriotism because, to these graduates, the concept of a harmonious, peaceful world is neither new nor an unachievable ideal.
As practitioners of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Technique, they have directly experienced a deep peace within themselves. As MUM students, they have enjoyed a peaceful, blissful, nourishing community. And now, Mr Collins suggests, it is their responsibility to share the knowledge which they have to create a peaceful world, to get the word out about the Maharishi Effect, the Extended Maharishi Effect, and the Global Maharishi Effect.
The Maharishi Effect
In the very early years of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Movement, Maharishi predicted that only 1% of a population practising the Transcendental Meditation Technique is sufficient to outweigh the negative tendencies of the other 99%. More specifically, he said that the effect at the national level would be a reduction in sickness and crime and an ‘unprecedented leap in progress and prosperity’. At the international level, the influence would be intense enough to become visible ‘as the spontaneous occurrence of world peace’ (Enlightenment and Invincibility, p. 419).
In 1974, the first research came in verifying Maharishi’s grand expectations. In 4 towns where at least 1% of the population was practising the Transcendental Meditation Programme, the trend of rising crime rate was reversed, an indication of increased order and harmony (see Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence). Not only were the meditators enjoying personal benefits, but criminals started thinking rightly for benefit of themselves and the society.
Another study, also conducted in the mid-1970’s, showed that a high concentration of Transcendental Meditation practitioners resulted in decreased hospital admissions. That the Maharishi Effect decreased both crime and hospital admissions indicates that its influence takes place at a level which affects such diverse aspects of life as behaviour and health.
The Extended Maharishi Effect
In 1976, Maharishi introduced a more advanced programme, called the TM-Sidhi Programme, including Yogic Flying, and expected an even more powerful effect than that produced by the practice of the Transcendental Meditation Technique alone. He tested his prediction in 1978 during his Global Ideal Society Campaign in 108 countries.
Global research demonstrated that the TM-Sidhi Programme offered a new formula. Only ‘the square root of 1% of a population practising the Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi Programme, morning and evening together in one place, is sufficient to neutralize negative tendencies and promote positive trends throughout the whole population.’ (Maharishi’s Absolute Theory of Defence, pp. 452-453)
This much-reduced requirement (from 1% to the square root of 1%) allowed repeated verification of the formula in cities, provinces, and nations.
In an international demonstration inspired by Maharishi, also in 1978, practitioners of the Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi Programme went to the five major worldwide trouble spots at that time—Central America, South Africa, the Middle East, Iran, and Southeast Asia. In all five areas, the influence produced by the Extended Maharishi Effect created coherence in the collective consciousness of the society, dissolving collective stress and thereby neutralizing the basis of conflict and violence. The result was calmness in these five areas. World peace had been practically achieved and a formula had been demonstrated to prevent future eruptions of violence.
The Global Maharishi Effect
The same formula can be applied on the global level. When a group the square root of 1% of the world’s population practises the Transcendental Meditation and the TM-Sidhi Programme together, life throughout the world is positively affected. Three such large assemblies of practitioners gathered between 1983 and 1985 in the US, Holland, and India. In all three instances, as validated by scientific research, international conflicts decreased while the World Index of international stock prices significantly increased.
Patriotism in 2010—the whole world is my family
A vision of the Maharishi Effect—and its ‘extended’ and ‘global’ varieties—shows Steve Collins’ charge to the graduates of Maharishi University of Management to be grand and yet simple. This university is not only a place which cultures big visions, but which gives the practical knowledge to make the visions become realities.
So, in telling the graduating students to get the word out about the Maharishi Effect, Mr Collins is simply suggesting that they apply the knowledge they possess. In saying that ‘a patriot in 2010 gets the word out about the Maharishi Effect,’ he is telling the graduates to be patriotic on a global scale, to tell the world of a formula to prevent future crises or eruptions of violence in any country, to bring an end to disease, weakness, or negativity of any kind.
With this vision, patriotism takes on the status expressed by Buddha: 'To him in whom love dwells, the whole world is but one family.'
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