In recent weeks a number of people have contacted my office with concerns about the refugee and migrant crisis in Europe. Millions have fled their homes in places like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. These people are leaving behind countries torn apart by war and economic hardship in hopes of finding a better life elsewhere.
The question many ask is: what can I do? More than seven billion people live on Earth. This is an intimidating number, one that makes any attempt by an individual to solve a problem seem fruitless. After all, what happens if you do something to help? There’s no guarantee others will follow your lead and you may not know for sure if your efforts made a difference.
Let’s take a second to reframe this issue in the context of our own lives. Think about some problem in your life, maybe you’re falling behind on bills or maybe you’re having relationship issues. Whatever the concern, it can seem insurmountable. However, we know this isn’t true because we’ve seen people make incredible life changes by investing a little time and energy into themselves.
We know what it takes to create change in our lives. The process involves combining a clear intention with an elevated emotion. Through mental rehearsal we can populate a future outcome with such detail that our brain and body biologically look like it has already happened. If done properly, in this state we are more caring, grateful and selfless, which opens the door to possibility.
Coming back to the situation in Europe, what if we were able to harness that skill needed to produce individual change and apply it globally? Is this even possible? When it comes to the research the answer seems to be yes.
In 1993 a group of 2,000 practitioners of transcendental meditation took part in a unique two month study. Researchers wanted to see if this group could raise the level of coherent energy by focusing on peace and reduce the stress level in Washington DC and thus lower the rate of violent crime.