My husband, Bud, and I spent the weekend in Chicago. This metropolis, on the shore of Lake Michigan is a spectacular city. We love to spend time there. The architecture and cultural life delights us with its excellence and variety.
You may have read that this week NATO is convening in Chicago. A convention of this size and power invites not only worldwide delegates, but also protestors wanting to be heard by the individuals in power. Thousands of people lined the streets and parks in Chicago. And, what seemed to us like thousands of police also marked the sidewalks and surrounded the beautiful parks.
In 1968 the violence between police and anti-Vietnam war protesters in the streets and parks of Chicago gave the city a black eye from which it has yet to completely recover.
Let’s all hope that the NATO convention doesn’t trigger the same type of breakout.
In 1968 it was the police, not the protesters who were held primarily responsible for the violence. This was because of their reactions to a perceived threat. Certainly the police in 2012 also perceive the protesters as threatening.
We saw police carrying bully clubs in their hands, angry scowls on their faces and we heard them yelling at sign-carrying protesters. These experiences reminded me of the power of negative interactions and how negativity can bring about violence.
We could feel tension in the air and sense a growing anger. I heard one woman carrying an “end all wars sign” call out to a policeman who was corralling her off the sidewalk, “Why do you treat us like this? We aren’t mad at you. We are here for peace.” I’m sure there were some serious troublemakers in the protesting crowd, but the ongoing reactions from the police (that Bud and I observed) seemed over the top.
The Chicago police definitely desire peace and safety. I’m sure in many ways they have done and are doing a terrific job. However, if the reactions on the street that we observed are indicative of their general attitudes and behaviors then they will certainly bring about, at the least, some unnecessary skirmishes.
How we react to perceived threats is always pivotal in meeting our goals. I know the policemen’s goal was to insure a peaceful city but I wondered if they were unwittingly sabotaging themselves. Watching their behavior I was reminded of how well meaning parents often sabotage their goals for their children by becoming oppositional and negative when they perceive a threat to family values. I was reminded of the skirmishes that often occur between parents and children—-especially parents and teen-agers.
I was also reminded that industrial psychologists believe that one person carrying a negative attitude and exhibiting negative interactions can cause tremendous problems in a total work force. I was reminded of how easily the human being becomes oppositional when he is threatened. Unfortunately opposition usually brings about that which we desire to avoid as it increases opposition in the people we are opposing.
In sum: I was reminded of the power of opposition and negativity when it exists in our personal lives.
My thought processes led me to a mental review of research on the TM technique and how that technique is helpful in creating peace. Practice of the TM technique has been shown to create increased peace in families, in the work place and in society at large.
Scientific research informs us that negativity and oppositional tendencies are reduced through practice of the TM technique. Ample research shows that meditating families are, in general, significantly happier than non-meditating families. Research also shows that meditating families are able to avoid becoming caught up in escalating conflict. Of course meditators experience stress but their physiologies are able to brush stress off instead of incorporating it into mind and body.
Many companies now suggest and support the practice of the TM technique for their employees. Research shows that absenteeism, accidents and substance abuse are reduced while efficiency and productivity in these businesses increases.
In addition, at least ten large-scale studies, carefully controlled for all demographic influences known to affect crime, have demonstrated that when one percent of a population practices TM, the crime rate in that city or country drops markedly, as do the suicide and accident rates. One study found a significant overall drop in crime rate in a sample of forty-eight American cities and reported results in the Journal of Crime and Justice.
There is no doubt that the TM technique helps the individual, the family and society avoid negativity and oppositional tendencies. It helps us to avoid conflicts and tension and to resolve differences in a peaceable way.
In Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way Sandra and I discuss how the practice of the TM technique helps the individual in a myriad of ways. In general we focus on the helpfulness of this technique to avoid and to treat depression. Do you want to know more about the power of this technique? If so I suggest you click on TM.org and read some of the impressive research that has been done on the effects of this practice.
You don’t need to be a protester in Chicago carrying an anti-war sign to make an impact on society. Instead you can begin by creating peace within that radiates outward to all around you. May I suggest that you investigate learning the TM technique? One does have to pay to learn but no one is ever turned away for lack of funds. Check it out. Again—-that website is TM.org—-
As always, Sandra and I wish you perfect health and happiness. Today we also wish you peace in your relationships, your work place, and in society at large!