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Updated on January 30, 2016

Meditation Curbs Violence

A few days ago one of my yoga friends posted a photo on the face book page which is so wonderful because it captures an important chapter of Minneapolis history. He is smiling and with the man who would become Swami Veda, one of the important leaders who developed the Meditation Center in Minneapolis. Thirty years ago yoga was not the big thing among the populace it is today. Swami Veda made his transition to other dimensions not long ago. I feel very fortunate to have heard him speak of the Himalayan tradition which is the original Vedic tradition in Hinduism. It is matriarchal in its essence.

If you go to the Meditation Center today, you can take yoga and meditation classes. You can also go to lectures on spiritual topics and participate in kirtans where the holy name is chanted in all its forms. This center gives you tools to live in the world of conflict we live in today. Many people remember the Vietnam War. The youth opposed this unjust war and in the end they are the ones who made a difference in the world. Dr. King and Gandhi used non-violent methods of social activism. Swamis in the United States and other countries offered an alternative to the drug culture. The Beatles eventually gave up the drugs when they discovered meditation, yoga and the Krishna Consciousness Movement. These swamis did much to get kids off drugs and offer a better way of solving their conflicts.

Experiments have been conducted on the use of meditation in reducing violence levels. Violence levels have been reduced in cities where a certain mass of people started meditating. Recently the school systems have used meditation and yoga and the results were dramatic. Kids focused better in the classroom. less harmful incidents happened, kids achieved higher test scores and were calmer in the classroom. Recess is also important to reducing violence and harmful incidents in the classroom. Kids need to run off their energy to focus better.

Unfortunately violence is promoted worldwide as a way to solve your problems and the way to get what you want. A lot of movies promote this philosophy. Some groups use violence to make a statement or protest against another group. Some promote their philosophy or religion by using violence. White supremacists and fundamentalists of all traditions use violence to promote their views. It is good to see that a number of spiritual people are using tools to reduce violence.

True spirituality is peace oriented. It is about service to humanity and the creation, not about destruction of humans and the ecosystem. When you have these tools, you want to resolve conflicts in a collaborative way where all parties discuss their view points and try to reach consensus on a solution which works for all parties. You use mediation to discuss first those areas where you both agree with the solution. Then you discuss your differences to promote a win-win situation for all parties.

In college one of my majors was Social Work where the collaborative approach was promoted as the best approach to conflict resolution because it actually leads to solving the problem between the groups or parties. One method my social work teacher promoted in the classroom was use of the sitting in a circle where each person spoke and everyone had to listen. No one could talk until the the end. This comes from the Native American traditions where the chief had everyone sit in a circle and share their view point until each person was heard. The chief sometimes then would decide how to proceed or carry out the solution. Sometimes the chief would have the group come to a consensus. This is one method which can be effective in some situations. The social work teacher said it is also effective in getting all involved in class discussion instead of just having certain people always dominate the classroom discussion.

The collaborative approach is the basis of all matriarchal societies. Ancient Kerala promoted this approach. The senior lady and her brother administered the tarwad, but they spoke and collaborated with all members to bring a better solution to any problem. Matriarchal philosophy sees collaboration as superior to autocracy.

This ancient wisdom of the Vedas, the Gita and Vedic philosophy influenced not only ancient Kerala but Gandhi and other social activists even today. Peace is within you and so individuals go out and share it with others. You can make a difference in the world. Blessed are the peace makers. They shall be called the Children of God.




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