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Meditation Cannot Save the World

By: 
Roger Copple

Many of the so-called spiritual people--who are into meditation, exploring higher states of consciousness or   nondualism,   psychic phenomena,  and other   spiritually transformative experiences--have the belief that if a sufficient number of people are transformed by these experiences, then that alone will dramatically improve the world.  Many have expressed the sentiment that we don’t need to think or learn about all the bad and negative things going on in the world. We don’t need to be political or to get angry about what our government is doing to us and other nations.  We just need to be more loving in all of our daily relationships. Without a doubt there is power in love. However, to disempower the wealthiest one percent, the Shadow Government and Deep State that control our government and the mainstream media--it will take more than just love.  It will take large numbers of people becoming informed and demanding political and ecological change to make this world a better place.  


 

Meditation methods, such as the popular  mindfulness meditation approach, may help a person relax, be more creative, and experience joy and bliss, but meditation alone cannot solve world problems.  I have promoted meditation for many years and have participated in many Buddhist, yoga, Unity, Science of Mind, and Unitarian Universalist meditation groups.  However, if intellectuals are those who enjoy thinking and studying about how to improve society, then the world needs intellectuals more than it needs meditators. 


 

In an article about the  myths of meditation,  it was stated that meditation starves the mind  of stimulus. The mind is considered a barrier between us and the absolute.  It is believed that the very energy of thought keeps us from experiencing God.  Meditation stifles the questioning, rational mind. 


 

It is true that when we concentrate and become aware of just our breathing or body sensations in the ever-changing now moment, our natural, sequential thinking process is blocked; but if we do this a few minutes a day, it is a good thing.   Not identifying with our habitual thought patterns can give us a fresh perspective about our life concerns. There is nothing to “do” in meditation. Meditation is about awareness. If while we are meditating, we are trying to be calm and relaxed, then that “trying” is “doing,” and it is not considered meditation.  It might be considered contemplationinstead, which is also be good thing, but it is not meditation.   Meditation seems so simple, yet it is a challenge to just unconditionally accept and be aware of this very now moment without thinking about it in the usual, natural way that we do.  If you try it and keep getting distracted or bored, just gently bring your attention back to the focal point or task without getting upset or impatient with yourself. So, yes, there are benefits to meditation, but in order to be responsible world citizens or to learn skills other than meditation, we will have to think, study, and learn using the rational mind.         


 

Back in the 70s, many of us erroneously believed that people who could become enlightened would get infinite knowledge about everything.  I am reminded of Ram Dass  who reported in one of his books that when he first met his guru   Neem Karoli Baba,  the revered Indian saint told him that the previous night he was sitting out under the stars thinking about his mother, and that is exactly what Ram Dass was doing, which completely astounded him.  So it does seem that psychics and yogis can access bits of information about various things, but nobody gets a full download or transmission of an infinitely knowing, loving, and all-powerful male God, as He is conceived in monotheistic religions.  In Eastern thought, there is no God that is separate and distinct from the universe. Instead, there is an indescribable fountain of love and joy at the core of our being, that is part of our nature, not separate from it. It is accessed when we go beyond the subject-object duality of the ego into the mystical oneness of selflessness.          


 

People who have had  Near Death Experiences  have also reported being in the presence of what they sometimes call the Source Energy of the universe, which seemingly knew everything about them but still loved them unconditionally.  Reportedly when the experiencers   came back to life, after their heart stopped beating, they were afterwards completely changed by their experience and started a new lifestyle of being more compassionate toward others, while never again having a fear of death.  More people becoming kind and loving is certainly something the world needs more of. However, it is not enough to solve national and international problems. 


 

The biggest obstacle to creating world peace is the   imperialism of the United States.  If the United States would stop trying to sabotage, or do regime change, of the countries of the world that hinder its world dominance in one way or another, it would set a precedent and good example for other nations.  


 

If it would take   four earths  for everyone in the world to have the same lifestyle as the average American, then that means we in the United States need to choose   voluntary simplicity so that others can simply live.  The irony is voluntary simplicity would make us happier.  Here is a 10-minute video that might make you cry about a millionaire who found the  meaning of life. Since most social problems develop to the degree there is a   gap between the rich and the poor  within a nation and among nations, then a worldwide radical egalitarianism is necessary if we want to greatly reduce social problems.  Even the Green New Deal   does not go far enough in reducing extravagant lifestyles and massive growth.  


 

E.F. Schumacher wrote the classic book  Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As if People Mattered  in 1973.  It was he who coined the term  Buddhist Economicsin 1955.  Here is a transcription of a 2-minute video on Buddhist Economics by economist  Clair Brownthat you can also listen to at her website:   

Can we create an economy that cares for both the human spirit and our planet earth with wellbeing and happiness for all people?  Our materialistic and wasteful carbon-based economy has created enormous inequality. The rich lead lavish lifestyles while billions of others suffer in poverty.  Our relentless consumption has plundered the environment and sickened the earth. Yet we remain stubbornly obsessed with free market economics. At the heart of free market economics are three false beliefs about humans and the world we live in: 1) People are self-centered, caring only about themselves.  2) People are chasing after income to support fancy lifestyles. 3) The environment exists for human domination.

It’s clear our economic focus on increasing income and consumption just isn’t working.  Is there a different model? Yes. Buddhist economics is based on three truths: 1) Human nature is kind and altruistic.  2) People are interdependent with each other. 3) People are interdependent with nature. We can escape the cycle of disappointment and despair that comes from endlessly chasing after money, from always wanting more and more.  We use awareness to enjoy life to the fullest without relying on consumerism. 


 

In Buddhist economics, economic performance means delivering well-being to everyone, not just delivering more income to the rich.  When the rich have even more income, they buy bigger mansions and yachts and travel to more exotic places. When low income families have more money, they live healthier, more fulfilling lives.  Society becomes better off when we reduce status consumption by the wealthy and increase basic consumption by those at the bottom. Buddhist economics shows us how to get off the materialistic treadmill and focus on the things that are important to us, living mindfully and caring for Mother Earth and each other.   


 

Here is a short video about the  zero waste lifestyle.  We can become conscious of our environmental footprint.  In this video a family created only a jar's worth of waste in one year!  If we care about the future of the planet, we should care about the effects of   industrial animal agriculture or factory farming.  Here is probably the best speech on  animal cruelty,  and  here is the  transcription of it.  Dr. Michael Gregor’s  vegan website NutritionFacts.org    is also highly recommended.    


 

One of our national problems is that our public schools are not instilling in students an insatiable desire to make the world better.  We can’t expect teachers, especially at the elementary level, to personally share their own radical political and spiritual beliefs with students when teachers play the role of being extensions of the government.  If teachers express the sentiment “support the troops, bring them all home” when a soldier speaks at their school after returning from the battlefield, or if teachers say they are an atheist, Buddhist, Muslim, communist, or homosexual--they can expect either the administration or parents to complain, which can put their jobs and retirement plans in jeopardy.  


 

The major world religions could be taught in public schools from a scientific perspective; otherwise, students may only have the devotional orientation that they learn from their parents and place of worship.  Instead of teaching history in a neutral, sterile, and amoral way, teachers should have the freedom to be passionate about their own personal beliefs, provided they objectively share opposite viewpoints. Howard Zinn’s book  Peoples History of the United States could be part of the high school curriculum.  


 

Removing the top-down hierarchy in public schools and encouraging neighborhood control of public elementary schools is something that has never been tried before. This policy would encourage neighborhood togetherness, and it would build a sense of community which is lacking in today’s society.  We could encourage neighbors to pick their own school boards and teachers who, using public funds, could create a school philosophy and curriculum that reflects the shared values of the neighborhood. In the age of the internet, we can encourage tribal or intentional communities.  Though many of us live isolated, private lives, we are wired to be part of a  community.      


 

The  new world order of global warfare  is something that we should be very concerned about.  However, a world government  is not a bad idea if it is truly democratic. Until we take all money out of politics and equally empower at least seven national and state political parties, we will never live in a democratic society.    


 

The following 9 social sins have stagnated the ethical development of the United States:  imperialism, nationalism, corporate capitalism,  anti-environmentalism, racism,  speciesism,  consumerism,  patriarchy, and the discrimination against the LGBTQ community. 


 

Eventually the threat of World War III, global warming, and other environmental problems will become so terrifying that we can only hope that the United States and other nations will wake up before the last hour, and if it is not too late, they will agree to work together in making drastic changes.  But the sooner we realize that we are “one world, one planet, and one humanity,” the better it will be. 


 

Here are 15 proposals that could make our nation and the world a better place:           

1..Require  workplace democracy to allow workers to participate in all the decision making at their place of employment: one person, one vote for all companies that have 5 or more employees. The workplace does not have to be a dictatorship.    

2..Provide free health care and free higher education for everyone.  The best way to encourage higher learning is to make it free. 

3..Make public transportation free by bus or train within our cities.  Expand the use of trains for commercial shipping. Put a moratorium on the increase of cars and trucks on the nation’s highways.  Place a steep tax on fuel for cars to encourage individuals to use buses and trains. When appropriate, we can use small buses that run more often instead of always using big buses.             

4..Reduce military spending by 90%, and as other countries reciprocate, it can be reduced further. The U.S. will take the initiative in getting all nuclear weapons and nuclear power plants dismantled. The U.S. will bring home all military personnel and close down the government’s 700 military bases around the world.  “And they shall turn their swords into ploughshares (Isaiah 2:4).”  Many of the existing military ships, submarines, and planes throughout the world will be used for low-budget travel and tourism to promote goodwill among nations.  With less than one percent of what the world spends every year on weapons, we could put every child in school

5. Provide a guaranteed income of $12,000 per year to all U.S. citizens over the age of 18. Set the minimum wage at $15 per hour.  For individuals working a 40-hour week at a minimum of $15 per hour, the annual salary will be $30,000.  To promote a system of radical egalitarianism, here is the new federal income tax schedule for individuals:  Any income up to $25,000 will have a 0% federal tax. Income from $25,001--$30,000 will have a 5% tax. Income from $30,001--$35,000 will have a 10% tax.  Income from $35,001--$40,000 will have a 15% tax, and so forth. An income above $120,000 will be taxed at 100%. The ratio of the highest earning income to the lowest will be 10:1. 

The  current corporate tax rate  has fallen from 35% to 21% in a flat tax system, but large corporations, especially transnational corporations, should pay a much higher percentage of taxes than smaller companies.  We can implement the corporate tax recommendations of the organization called Americans for Tax Fairness.       

6..Phase out the use of fossil fuels  in 5 years. They will be replaced by alternatives such as wind, solar, and  hemp.  The nation will implement zero-waste policies for all individuals and companies to the maximum degree possible.

7.  Equally empower the 7 largest national and state political parties for every national and state election. The 7 largest parties will get equal public exposure.  Corporations will not be allowed to donate to political campaigns. 

8. Abolish the Electoral College system for electing a president.

9.  Abolish the Federal Reserve and allow the Treasury Department to oversee a nationwide public banking system.  

10. Legalize marijuana and biodegradable  hemp for industrial purposes at the national level. Legalize plant  psychedelics for adult therapeutic and spiritual reasons.    

11. Provide incentives for organic and composted food production in backyards. Provide incentives for farmers and food cooperatives that provide locally grown food.  Ban all genetically modified foods. Encourage veganism for environmental, ethical, and health reasons. 

12. Allow United States citizens to visit any country they wish.  All existing U.S sanctions and embargoes on any country shall be removed.  

13. Let the American people vote to determine if they want a Constitutional Convention for a new constitution at every presidential election. If approved by a 51-percent majority of the American people, allow all national political parties that capture at least one percent of the vote be represented through proportional representation at a Constitutional Convention to work together to create a much better constitution.  One hundred delegates will meet for 3 months, and if they create a new document approved by 51 percent of the delegates ( a higher percentage will be even better)--it will be ratified later if a 51-percent majority of the American people approve of the new constitution. Each of the 50 states can be encouraged to create a new state constitution using the same method. 

Creating a new government with a unicameral federal legislature in tandem with a system of proportional representation for electing the federal legislature is one thing the constitutional convention delegates might incorporate in the new constitution.  Also, making it easier to pass future laws and future amendments is also recommended. (I have created a 24-month procedural timeline for creating a new constitution in this document.  I have also created my own version of a new constitution called the  Third Constitution of the United States; our first constitution was the Articles of Confederation.)     

14. Eliminate the unfair Security Council of the United Nations and make the General Assembly of the UN more powerful than any nation in order to create a democratic world government. The weight of any nation’s vote will be determined by its population.  The Earth Federationand other organizations have also proposed models for a democratic world government.     

15. Encourage the self-determination of local areas whenever possible and  build cohesive communities by providing incentives for the neighborhood control of public elementary schools in pilot projects.       

The spiritual discipline of meditation and all acts of love and kindness provide nourishment and healing to a society.  But such measures must be combined with political policies that promote the self-actualization of every person in every nation and ecological wisdom so that there can be a sustainable future for all of our descendants.