Opening Hearts and Minds:

Flash-Mob Meditation

By Suzen Fiskin
Reader Columnist

“When the power of love overcomes the love of power, that’s when we’ll know peace.”
Jimi Hendrix

I love a good synchronicity, don’t you? A synchronicity is a series of weird coincidences that defy logic by showing up together in unpredictable ways that seem to have a meaningful connection. I had one of those today.

I was doing research for a presentation I’ll be giving to some Sandpoint High School students this week. Leslie Villelli invited me to tell a couple of stories as part of her three-part mini-course of Happy On Purpose for Erin Roos’s class.

I knew the first story. “The 100th Monkey” is a tale of some scientists on a small island in Japan, shortly after World War II. The scientists gave sweet potatoes to the Macaca Fuscata monkeys they were studying. While the primates liked the taste of the inside of the potatoes, they weren’t too crazy about the sandy skins.

One day, a young monkey discovered that she could solve this problem by washing the vegetables off in the nearby stream. She taught this trick to her mother and young friends. They, in turn, taught their friends and mothers and so on.

After approximately 100 of the monkeys washed their food regularly, something remarkable happened. Suddenly all of the other monkeys on that island began to wash their food.

Then, something even more miraculous happened. Within days, all of the Macaca Fuscata monkeys on all the neighboring islands began the food-washing habit as well. Whoa!

The theme of this story is that when a new behavior or belief achieves a critical mass, and that can be way less than a majority, that new piece of info becomes part of the common knowledge of the species.

Our individual evolution affects the whole. Maybe I am, or you are the 100th monkey in creating peace or the evolution of humanity . . . Hmmm.

The next story was new to me. There was a scientific experiment done in 1993 by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation organization. This rigorously conducted, peer-reviewed study was judiciously monitored by 27 independent scientists and leading citizens to measure the effect of 800-4,000 Transcendental Meditation (TM)practitioners meditating in their city for four weeks would have on violent crime in Washington, D.C.

They wanted to attract the attention of relevant authorities to demonstrate how powerful group meditation can be for war and crime prevention. They did!

Around 800 TM meditators showed up the first week, and by week three, over 4,000 were involved. The Maharishi group predicted a 20-percent drop in violent crime – homicide, rape and aggravated assault.

This study was conducted in the midst of a major heat wave when crime historically jumps. The police chief joked that the only way the crime rate would drop 20 percent that summer would be if 20 inches of snow fell to the ground!

Surprise, surprise – there was a 23.3-percent drop in violent crime during the four-week test period. The statistical probability that this result could reflect a chance variation in crime levels was less than two in 1 billion (p < .000000002).

Thought affected physical events once again. I’ll be telling the kids that shifting our thoughts to being happier can actually make the world a better place.

Now for the synchronicity and the Flash-Mob Meditation.

I was scrolling down my home page on Facebook this morning, and a video caught my eye. It was aimed at “all meditators.” Well, I’ve been meditating since I was 18, so I watched it. The video was by a group called Elevate the Vote.

The group is calling on all meditators to meditate at our polling places on Nov. 8. The intention is to “elevate the consciousness of every U.S. voter on election day, impacting how we feel about ourselves, politics, this election, and each other.” (

Their site offers that “this is a non-partisan participatory event that is open to everyone. It’s about the fundamental unity of human life that seems to have been so forgotten in this campaign.” Their goal is to inspire a tangible shift in perspective and unification of our global community. I can get behind that!

If you don’t want to or can’t go to a polling place, you can just tune into the intention of the group and meditate on your own any time that day or night. They suggest 3 p.m. Pacific Standard Time as a special focal time across the country.

When I dug a little deeper, I learned that this group was using the scientifically validated “Maharishi Effect” as evidence of the value of doing this. Yup, I bumped into a group who is using the 24 year old results of my research for Leslie’s class. What are the odds of that connection showing up with a mere glance at Facebook? I’d never even heard of the “Maharishi Effect” nor Elevate the Vote before today.

I love synchronicities!

Suzen Fiskin is a Happiness Coach, multi-media marketing wiz, and inspirational speaker. She’s also the author of the book, Playboy Mansion Memoirs. If you have any questions or comments, email her at: [email protected]

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