“I’m keeping the elephants away,” the inmate replied.
“But there are no elephants around here,” said the psychiatrist.
The inmate smiled. “See? It’s working!”
As physicists are discovering, in this entangled universe of interrelated thoughts, it’s not always easy to determine “cause and effect.” So as we consider a worldwide prayer for peace in the Middle East -- specifically a preemptive peace strike to forestall a preemptive war strike on Iran -- it’s interesting that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinanejad has already initiated a preemptive peace move of his own. Say what you will about his motives, a de-escalation of tensions is a step in the right direction for a change.
Did positive prayers and thoughts make any difference or are we just keeping the elephants away? Who knows?
But I did get to experience first hand a very curious event about eight or nine years ago. It was at a time when Bill Clinton was in the midst of his impeachment crisis. With his back up against the wall, there was only one thing he could do -- order air strikes against Iraq. I was at a conference in Florida, and one of the speakers was Gregg Braden, a scientist by training who has done a lot of research on meditation and prayer. Long before there was any news of air strikes being launched, Gregg and a number of other presenters had planned a worldwide meditation for peace with this particular conference as the focalizing event.
He instructed the group in a kind of prayer he called “The Lost Mode of Prayer” that involved using the “juice” of emotion to feel and see the prayer already answered. As I closed my eyes, I imagined a true “arms pact” between opposing sides. I saw a stage, and a line of individuals coming from either side to meet in the middle. I imagined they were Israelis and Palestinians, but they could have been Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, Serbs and Croats, Greeks and Turks, or even Democrats and Republicans. In military fashion they strode to the middle, and when members of “opposing” groups met, there was the cry of “Present arms!”
At which point, both individuals would open their arms -- and hug. And thus, I watched this procession continue until the end of the meditation. Later in the day, we heard the news that for some inexplicable reason, the planes turned around. Did our prayer have anything to do with it? And, can our intentions actually impact outcomes continents away?
Says Gregg Braden: “The authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls -- the ancient Essenes -- were very clear that the world around us mirrors the feelings, emotions, and perceptions we hold inside our bodies. Emotion is the power source, but it is scattered until thought gives it direction. Feeling is the power of emotion merged with the guidance of human thought. It is this language of feeling that Creation responds to. In this feeling state we have the ability to touch Creation and the world around us through prayer. As it says in the Essene manuscripts, ‘when these three become one then you say to the mountain, move, and the mountain moves.’”
Did the shared intention cause the mountain to move, or are we simply making a mountain out of a mole hill? And if the mountain did move, then why did the bombing get relaunched on another day? Says Gregg, “What happened was that the people stopped their prayers. Most people view prayer as something we ‘do’ on occasion when we think we need God's help. We set a moment aside, sit down and say a prayer asking for circumstances or events to change. Then we stop our prayer, get up, and go about our business. In The Lost Mode of Prayer, the prayer -- our heart's desire -- becomes a consciousness embodied, rather than just an action performed on occasion. The author Neville terms it ‘living in the wish fulfilled.’ We hold the feeling of our heart's desire day in and day out, rather than simply praying for a moment when we'd like to see a change and then leaving the state of prayer to go on with our daily lives. As we are surrounded and enveloped by the feeling of our wish fulfilled, we are actually living in a state of compassion, gratitude, and appreciation.”
In other words, when we focus a strong positive feeling with the laser of intention -- and when we embody this feeling over time -- we may actually be able to impact the field of possibilities. The science of how this is being done can be found in books such as The Field by Lynn McTaggart, Entangled Minds by Dean Radin, and Gregg Braden’s latest book, The Divine Matrix. For now, let’s consider how as many of us as possible can hold the field for “mutually assured survival” in the Middle East, and how we can reinforce an ongoing field of peaceful dreams to supersede the field of nightmares we seem to have going now.
There have been news reports indicating possible air strikes on Iran beginning on Good Friday. Again, is this true? Not true? We don’t know. In any case, if we want to broadcast our intention that Good Friday not become Bad Friday, that leaves us with Holy Thursday ... April 5th. We are asking you and anyone else you forward this to to make April 5th the day we begin to hold our intention of preemptive peace and mutually assured survival.
So ... in keeping with Gregg’s notion of prayer, what is your vivid and joyous vision of peace? What does it look like? Sound like? Feel like? Does it have to do with opposing sides hugging? Planting olive trees together instead of land mines? Celebrating that a ruling majority in each land has adopted the “we’re all in it together” world view? Whatever this scenario is, feel it. Hold it for the entire day, whenever you think about it. Enroll others in doing the same. As Swami is fond of saying, “An enrolling stone gathers no remorse.”
Another thing Swami has said is, “Life is like photography. We use the negative to develop.” Out of the apparent negativity of the stories circulating that a bombing attack in Iran was imminent, a great “positive” opportunity has emerged. Thanks to a dedicated webmaster in New York, BriAnna Olson and an associate in Northern California, Suzanne Keehn, we are creating a website to help hold this ongoing field of peace. We call it preemptivepeace.org and it will be up and running shortly. We will keep you apprised. We’re in the process of growing, so when you go to our website, please add your name/email to keep in touch.
So, as one might ask during Passover week, “Why is this site different from all other sites?” Seriously, there are lots of peace organizations and peace sites, so how and why is this one different? For one thing, we are creating a context that relates what we call “peace” to all of the factors that prevent peace or make it possible -- spiritual, emotional, political, spiritual, environmental. We face directly the powerful and persistent beliefs that make us secretly fear that peace isn’t possible, we affirm practicing the “operating system” offered to us by all religions via the Golden Rule and we offer a portal to the projects and practices that are most likely to bring peace.