How to Observe the UN International Yoga Day
Pradeep B. Deshpande
Beginning this year the United Nations will celebrate International Yoga Day on June 21st. Also this year Malaysia will observe Global Peace Day on November 15th. Both aspire to make this world more peaceful. A great way to celebrate these events would be to show that Yoga can in fact make our world more peaceful. Humanity has become increasingly rational minded over the past fifteen hundred years possibly stung by Aristotle’s claim of the geocentric model of our existence. Therefore, it is essential to scientifically show that Yoga can make this world more peaceful if these celebrations are to have a meaningful impact in the 175 nations that supported the UN resolution.
For her path-breaking book, Trespassing on Einstein’s Lawn, Amanda Gefter met with dozens of renowned physicists, interviewed several Nobel Laureates, and exchanged emails with the likes of Stephen Hawking arriving at the conclusion, ultimately nothing is real since all fundamental forces of nature (gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear force, weak nuclear force) are observer-dependent and can only arise in an observer’s accelerated frame of reference. The ultimate reality is the nothingness of the void. Also in 2014, theoretical physicist turned medical doctor, James P. Kowall reached an equally startling conclusion, the nature of ultimate reality cannot be anything else but consciousness since nothing physical can pass through the size of Planck length (10-33 cm in diameter).
Now, if the universal consciousness had no effect on us humans, these findings would have been of interest primarily to theoretical physicists. Drawing on ancient Eastern wisdom supported by experimentation, western scientists have concluded that everything in the universe is connected to everything else even though not physically linked with a field of energy that has enormous intelligence in that it responds to the power of human emotion. Thus we may communicate with this field using emotion as the language of communication. Scientists have also shown that positive emotions (unconditional love, kindness, empathy, compassion) have a positive effect on human physiology while negative emotions (anger, hatred, resentment, hostility, despair, sorrow) have the opposite effect. These ideas suggest that our individual consciousness is connected to the universal consciousness. But, why should anyone bother to connect? Because, success brings a myriad of benefits from health & wellness, to exemplary performance in all walks of life, to better interpersonal relations, to better leadership decisions. These claims can be experimentally verified.
A process to connect that is better suited to the rational mind is meditation. Scientists and medical practitioners have shown that meditation improves health but it is also true that a healthy body is supportive of the efficacy of meditation practices. Therefore, diet, physical exercises, and breathing exercises are very important but positive emotions are paramount which meditation will produce. Finally, scientists have studied the benefits of collective consciousness showing: (1) Effect of collective practice on the individual participant is greater than practicing alone, and (2) A limited number of meditators can bring about a massive positive change in the larger society around them. For example, renowned quantum physicist and three-time presidential nominee John Hagelin and his team conducted an experiment in 1993 showing that a relatively small number of participants meditating over eight weeks were able to bring about a significant reduction in the crime rate in the entire Washington, DC area. For a global population of 6 ½ billion, roughly 8,000 meditators may be adequate to make our world demonstrably more peaceful.
In Malaysia, an estimated 25,000 will observe a minute of silence on November 15th at 11:11 am local time. A grass-roots movement to form groups across nations who will meditate on June 21st and November 15th would be a great way to observe these international days of peace.