This Week, Over 1 Million People Are Meditating For World Peace
Meditation is often praised for its health benefits: It can help us deal with stress, reduce our inflammation, and maybe even live a little longer. But this week, the second annual Ekam World Peace Festival in India is exploring how the practice can transcend individual healing and promote a brighter future for the whole of humanity.
Spiritual leaders Preethaji and Krishnaji are hosting the festival from September 12 to September 22 in Andhra Pradesh, India. They expect that over 1 million people will join them, physically and virtually, in what is poised to become one of the biggest mass meditation events ever.
Each day of the festival, Preethaji and Krishnaji will host a 60-minute meditation focused on one of society's most pressing problems, such as violence against women, racial discrimination, and economic exploitation. While they don't expect to solve these issues overnight (or over the course of 10 nights), the hope is that the people tuning in will become "peace ambassadors" of sorts: They'll internalize the meditations' messages and leave feeling empowered to share them in their own communities.
This idea that our individual experiences can reverberate around the world is a very You. We. All. sentiment—and it makes sense. When Preethaji was on the mindbodygreen podcast earlier this summer, she described why meditation can be so far-reaching in saying, "Just as much as we are focused on the external world, it is so very important that we bring attention to our consciousness because consciousness is the foundation on which the entire life is being built." She believes that peace travels linearly, and it can literally be passed down through generations. From this perspective, individual awakening can become a collective awakening over time.
By bringing so many people from around the world together (last year, 100 countries were represented), the festival also hopes to spark a sense of togetherness in an age that feels increasingly polarized and isolating.
"If you're seeing that more and more people do not know the purpose of their lives, that means more and more people are living in states of disconnection," Preethaji said on the podcast. "More and more people are living in states of disconnection because they are engrossed in loneliness, engrossed in anxiety, engrossed in hurt, engrossed in fear."
If you can't fly out to India to experience the festival in person, its meditations will be streamed online here. Peace, love, and mindfulness for all.
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