March 21st: World Day for Inner Peace
A huge success in hundreds of schools
around the world
Our initiative has grown out of certain considerations that are by now generally recognised. Today’s world is tormented by constant crises, conflicts and divisions. Before this state of conflict translates into actions, it takes shape in the minds of human beings in the form of racism, religious intolerance and a lack of openness towards others.
Great figures of universal significance have repeatedly declared that it is impossible to achieve peace in this world if humans do not first experience it within themselves. Despite this progress in human thought, the dramatic reality of war and violence unfortunately remains the main focus of daily news stories.
Our hopes rest with the new generations, and with the decisions they will make with more awareness in the future.
This is why it is necessary to sensitise young minds, not with mere sermons, but by stimulating in them respect, tolerance and appreciation of different cultures through experiences that are significant to them.
Pursuing Socrates’ old admonition, “Know thyself”, our research has shown us that one of the most concrete and accessible ways to feel the universal value of inner peace and truly develop a person’s best qualities is the experience of meditation based on proven scientific studies. Above all, the increasingly widespread problem of adolescent bullying makes it essential that appropriate solutions be found. Given that psychological and/or physical violence stems from a mental attitude, a tendency of these young people to assert themselves through aggression, it is only by helping them rediscover, and truly experience the beauty of inner peace that we can put a stop to this disturbing trend.
This type of activity can marry teachers’ educational requirements with the desire for diversification in the educational offer expressed by students down the generations. Additionally, that the event takes place concurrently around the world creates the perception in the students that they belong to a global community participating in an initiative that promotes universal ideals.
The path to Inner Peace
The importance of meditation is rooted in ancient wisdom but its validity is confirmed by a body of medical and scientific evidence.
If we clear away all the labels and the clichés, we can agree that meditation represents something we all aspire to: a moment of serene tranquillity, of mental stillness, in which a subtle inner joy emerges. In an instant, our thronging thoughts subside and all that remains is a calm awareness: the recognition of the beauty of existence. It is a state that we have all felt, however briefly, at least once in our lives, when touched by the beauty of a natural landscape, the perfume of a flower or the splendour of a sunrise. It is the grace that inspired Mozart’s glorious melodies, the power and harmony of Michelangelo’s sculptures, and the skillful, musical lines of Shakespeare and Dante.
Meditation is effective for stress reduction and has the potential to improve physical and mental health as well as quality of life.
During meditation, the over activity of the brain is calmed through an increased parasympathetic activity. This state is called ‘Thoughtless Awareness’, it allows the practitioner to experience a state of deep awareness, where their attention is alert, yet relaxed. Electroencephalogram studies have shown that the limbic system in the left frontal lobe, the key area of the brain in creating positive emotions, is activated during the state of thoughtless awareness. Once this state is achieved, the practitioner begins feeling sensations akin to joy. This sustained feeling, combined with the ability to concentrate without creating stress, is a significant factor in fighting depression and anxiety, thus contributing to a higher quality of life, as well as better performance in school and social life.
Before and after Meditation
The graphs below have been generated on the basis of the students’ testimonials collected during the World Day for Inner Peace March 21, 2014.
The benefits relative to this meditation technique are widely documented and demonstrated by various research studies. Here are some of the related publications drawn from a large selection of medical literature:
Balk, J., et al. (2012). ‘Effect of Sahaja yoga meditation on quality of life, anxiety, and blood pressure control’ Journal of Alternative Complementary Medicine, 18(6):589–96.
Harrison, et al. (2004). ‘Sahaja yoga meditation as a family treatment programme for children with attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder. Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 9(4):479–497.
Manocha, et al. (2002). ‘Sahaja yoga in the management of moderate to severe asthma: a randomised controlled trial’. Thorax, 57(2):110–115.