World Peace is an Inside Job

“A day is going to come sooner rather than later where inner peace will be understood as the basis for world peace.”

Thom Knoles

War is a 24/7 business, and none of us have lived through a time when there isn’t war raging in some part of the world, whether it be a full-blown international conflict, or a localized civil war.

So the idea of world peace might seem like a pipe dream, something over which we have no control.

In this episode, Thom reminds us of the magnitude of the problem, and educates us on the magnitude of the solution.

It turns out that the solution is actually more simple than we might think, and that our contribution to the solution is more significant than we might realize…

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Episode Highlights


The Endless Cycle of War: From the Past to the Present



Individual Peace is the Basis of World Peace



The Evolution of Industrial Killing






The Nightmare of Another World War



The Paradox of Democracy and Nuclear Weapons



Finding Happiness Beyond Money



The Limits of Material Wealth in Achieving Happiness



This Elusive Thing Called Happiness



Exploring the Relationship Between Thought and Energy



Ananda: Finding Happiness Through Our Inner Being



Path to Inner Peace



Feel Happy from Inside Yourself



The Power of Inner Happiness



Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Vision for Global Peace



The Power of One Percent



It’s Just a Matter of Time


Jai Guru Deva


World Peace is an Inside Job

The problem of world peace is a problem of the world’s magnitude. Eight billion people currently populate the face of the Earth, and of course, that number is increasing by multiples of hundreds of thousands every single day.

With the birth rate greatly exceeding the death rate on Earth, it’s obvious that the magnitude of the problem of world peace is going to continue being a high magnitude.

Every one of us, on a daily basis, is issuing into the collective consciousness, we’re issuing into it a certain consciousness state. Either we’re issuing into that consciousness state, stress and uncertainty, anxiety or depressive feelings, or feelings of worthlessness, or self-aggrandizement, excitation, selfishness or exploitative nature, live for the moment. It doesn’t really matter cuz everything’s going downhill anyway. Get what you can while you can…

Or some higher consciousness state that evolution is a constant process. “I am a contributor to the evolutionary process. I’m one of the means whereby evolution is able to make its way. I am peaceful inside myself, and I’m looking for ways of taking my peace on an excursion.

“Taking my deep inner peace, my sense of Self, my knowledge of my own inner quality, as that vast Consciousness that has the ability to radiate life for all to enjoy. The field of infinite solutions, the field from which all creative thoughts are possible.”

If we could have a larger percentage of people experiencing that latter set of consciousness contributions to the collective. Then we could begin to experience world peace.

[03:34] The Endless Cycle of War: From the Past to the Present

The fact of world peace is a concept, We can’t ever find any historic example of having had it. When there are periods of peace; as we’ve seen in the past, they’re very localized.

Looking at one particular place of the world, there seems to have been the end of one war, and prior to the next war beginning, there was a period of peace, and so we call that peacetime.

But we’re not looking at Congo, or we’re not looking at South America or we’re not looking at some other part of the world where wars are going on.

In fact, violence between humans has been, sadly, a perpetual reality ever since humans first appeared in their upright format with their brains up above the rocks in the bushes.

We call it bi-pedal upright anthropod, someone who has learned how to move around on feet and has learned how to take hunting techniques and use those hunting techniques to kill or maim or terrify other people in order to get others to conform to your will.

Warfare has existed ever since the discovery of the ability to bully other people and to get other people to conform to your will.

And the idea that self-aggrandizement, that is to say, “I’m going to have greater happiness if I have more objects, if I have access to more objects, if I have access to all of the objects that other people covet and crave.

“And if I can somehow manage the flow of that and be a purveyor of the flow of that, then I’m going to have greater happiness in my own life because I won’t have any lack. Others may have lack, they have to come to me in order to resolve their lack.”

[05:52] Individual Peace is the Basis of World Peace

Ever since these kinds of concepts have come up and bubbled up in human awareness, which is basically forever in the past, world peace has been elusive. World peace can have only one basis, and that basis is individual peace. And what does individual peace mean?

Individual peace does not mean a kind of weak state in which we have watered down our aspirations, in which we have decided that we can do without, or we’ve decided that we can live only on a basket of goods and services in our life.

And we’re not going to get world peace by everybody deciding that “I’ll just live with less. I’ll decide what’s less, and I’ll handle that.”

World peace can only be a dynamic state. The product of the kind of peacefulness that comes from radiant consciousness.

When people practice Vedic Meditation, twice every day, as a regular strategy, a system for awakening their full mental potential, they begin to experience the kind of peace in an individual setting that, if multiplied by thousands or by millions, would have the impact desired, the desirable effect radiating into the collective consciousness.

[07:31] The Evolution of Industrial Killing

Each one of us, when we have a violent thought, a negative thought, a miserable thought, an uncharitable thought, an anti-compassionate thought, when we think about others or behave toward others, either explicitly or implicitly, in ways that are disregarding of the deep human need in others, then we’re contributing to the next World War.

World War is a thing that’s been experienced many times. We’ve numbered the last two major multinational conflicts as World War I, and World War II. At the end of World War II, our species discovered the means whereby industrial levels of killing could be taken entirely to another level.

In World War I, the first level of industrial killing was discovered in the form of machine guns and various kinds of noxious gasses that you could launch on an unsuspecting so-called enemy.

These are just regular people who’ve been drafted into military service, who happen to be out in the field doing exactly what they were told by their commanders, in order to try to maintain control over land or to gain control over land.

And the speed with which you can kill those people is considered to be the speed of success in a war. Machine guns and gas were pretty good.

We moved into World War II, and we discovered even bigger forms of machine guns. We decided we weren’t going to use gas anymore because it didn’t seem like a civilized way to kill people.

[09:23] Stalemate

But we began to discover a new thing, and that is that you can bring death en masse to civilians. Don’t just deal with the conscripts and the soldiers out in the field, threaten the wives, the mothers, the children, the babies of everyone who lives in civilian towns and cities by detonating above them either conventional weapons or, as we discovered most horrifyingly, the ability to cause nuclear fission.

And then later on, as we experimented more with this, created nuclear fusion to cause a small sun to appear above a city and just melt the place and kill on the scale of a hundred thousand, 150,000, 200,000, 250,000 at a time. Attack the civilian population, keep that threat over everyone, and then everybody will start surrendering.

And what this did was it created a period known as the Cold War, where the proliferation of nuclear weapons, the desirability of these weapons, to an increasing size club of nations put a kind of a stalemate on at least the use of nuclear weapons because of a phenomenon we call mutual-assured destruction.

If anyone dares to use one, then all hell will break loose, and everybody will be using them, and the whole of humanity will be wiped out in probably less than an hour. All the libraries, all the civilization, all the growth, all the knowledge, agricultural knowledge, agricultural capability, a world that wouldn’t be worth living in.

If you could possibly survive it, you’d wish you hadn’t.

[11:36] The Nightmare of Another World War

This nightmare scenario has been the scenario ever since 1945, when nuclear devices were used for the first time against a population in Japan.

What we’ve discovered now is that we can’t really afford to have another World War. We can’t afford to have it because individuals who have the say about whether or not these kinds of weapons of mass destruction will be used, are not always in possession of their proper senses.

And there’s another problem that’s been added to this. You can’t contain knowledge. Once knowledge begins to leak out, it’s not just elected governments or governments that have taken power by force, who have access to these weapons.

Any disgruntled group, we call these disgruntled groups very, very frequently, minorities, cultural minorities, racial minorities, religious minorities, economic minorities who hear all about the wonders of democracy.

 “Democracy is the answer. Democracy is the answer.” Democracy means if 50%, 51% of a population agree about how things are going to go, then whoever is in the minority loses. And minorities hear this answer loudly, and clearly. Democracy to a minority group means you lose.

The minority groups have for years had the same access, via the world wide web, have had the same access to the knowledge of physics as to how to assemble a weapon of mass destruction that elected governments, or governments that have arrived at their governance by force, have had.

[13:46] The Paradox of Democracy and Nuclear Weapons

And so you don’t need to even have a government who could bring about the destruction of the world. You only need to have a disgruntled group, a relatively small group of people who let off one bomb in a major city, and then hold all of the other cities of the world to ransom in a guessing game as to where they have their second bomb placed, or their third bomb placed.

And so the idea that the world could come to an end through global thermonuclear destruction simply by superpowers engaging each other in thermonuclear war, this is a mirage of the past. Now it can appear from anywhere.

A bomb of that size, of significant size, can be carried in a suitcase by someone who represents only a tiny number of people who are very unhappy.

And so we have a world in which the only solution is for people to get happier. It’s the only solution. We can’t really afford to continue what we’ve been doing, which is to try to stop and pursue whoever it is has the nuclear secrets, the nuclear triggers, the nuclear material, the fissionable materials and whatnot, because that’s only going to ever increase. It’s not going to ever decrease.

Or to try to police each other, police nations by sanctions and so on, and back them into corners and making people feel as though they’re national pariahs.

[15:32] Finding Happiness Beyond Money

The world right now is desperately in need of a greater amount of happiness. And a greater amount of happiness cannot come just through economic change. Happiness is a phenomenon that can only occur at the human baseline, baseline happiness.

I can tell you from my own experience that living in Western countries all my life, I’ve visited other countries, but living in Western countries throughout my lifetime, that there is an ideal that’s held by people who think that you’re going to be really happy if you have certain particular criteria met. And what are those criteria?

The vast majority of people think it has to do with money. If they can win the 1.2 billion dollar lottery today, then they’ll have billions of dollars. And then what will they have? The power to get a lot of people to say yes to you.

“I’d like to have that land.”

“Yes,” would be the answer.

“Are you willing to meet my price?”

“Of course, I’m willing to meet your price. I have an infinite amount of money. And so give me the land.”

“Oh, you have the land. There’s the land.”

“I want this giant yacht. Let’s not just be satisfied with the yacht. Let’s make it into a ship with eight stories of grandeur and 15 swimming pools and just crawling with staff who are asking me constantly, is there anything I need? And surrounding me with yes, people who just say yes all the time. No one ever argues.

[17:23] The Limits of Material Wealth in Achieving Happiness

“And then let’s get some gorgeous people around here. The only people who satisfy the superficial criteria of fashion magazine models. I wanna be surrounded by fashion magazine models, people who say yes to me all the time.

“I want to have a house in France, a house in Morocco, a house in the United States, West Coast, East Coast, Australia, and at least one giant floating house. And let’s have two or three private jets that are completely fit out where we can jet between all these places and just have people constantly saying yes to us.”

Now, in this day and age, we know that such levels of opulence have been attained to by thousands. There have been thousands and thousands of billionaires created in the last 50 years.

I can remember once when to be a billionaire was an absolutely unique thing. For one to be in possession of a billion US dollars of expendable income was, there were one or two people in that category on the face of the earth. Now there are thousands.

And from time to time, I’ll get a telephone call from one of these people. And if you’re one of those people and you’ve called me, please forgive me for revealing that you’ve called me, but I don’t get calls from these people because they want to let me know the secret of world peace.

[18:58] This Elusive Thing Called Happiness

The secret of world peace is not having billions of dollars, having yachts, having houses, having yes people all around you, and being surrounded by fashion models. Evidently, those experiences are the source of great unhappiness.

This may come as a shock to many of my listeners, who are absolutely convinced that if they had access to billions of dollars of wealth, they’d be perfectly happy and content and radiating peace all the time into the world.

But I can tell you my direct experience is that having all of that opulence is a crushing responsibility that does not bring happiness to people.

And so, if being impoverished doesn’t bring happiness, if being someone who is in a working-class income doesn’t bring happiness, someone who is an upper-middle-class income doesn’t bring happiness, and being a millionaire doesn’t bring happiness, being a billionaire doesn’t bring happiness, what is it that brings happiness?

Where is this elusive thing called happiness? It doesn’t exist in the relative world, is my answer. Where it exists, abundantly, is right here at our starting point. The place from which the thoughts come into our mind.

Our mind is a thinking mind, and it produces tens of thousands, perhaps up to a hundred thousand thought forms in a day. Thoughts will include ideas and memories, desires, little internal notifications of body sensations, and whatnot.

[20:56] Exploring the Relationship Between Thought and Energy

All of that that we refer to as thought, in cognitive neuroscience, we call these cognitive processes, but to the layperson, we just call all these things thoughts. And every thought that we have is a stream of energy and intelligence.

We know that thought has energy because you can measure the energy in a thought. Using an electroencephalograph, you can measure the way in which particular styles of thinking create electrical, energetic impulses that can be measured on the scalp as that energy, the electrical energy, percolates through the cranium, the skull bone. And you can show that thought has energy.

All processes require energy. Thought is a process. It also requires energy. But a thought is not just a random process. Thought is about something specific. We discriminate when we think. We think about a particular thing. We discern. Thinking has intelligence inherent in it.

Since a thought is a stream of energy and intelligence, and we produce somewhere between 60,000 to a hundred thousand thought forms appear in a day, in a given day, then the source from which all of those thoughts is coming must be an infinite reservoir of energy and intelligence.

There’s a place deep inside you. We’re going to call it Being, that is the source of all of the thinking power that occurs in your mind every day. And that state of Being not only is the source of creative intelligence and energy, it also happens to be Ananda.

[22:54] Ananda: Finding Happiness Through Our Inner Being

Ananda is the Sanskrit word for supreme inter contentedness. Bliss. That state is a state that itself is beyond thought, but it is the source of thought. Like the colorless sap inside of a flower, the colorless sap is not green, it’s not pink, it’s not yellow.

It’s not flat. It’s not round. But it has the capacity to create from within itself pink or fragrance or green or flat or round features.

The colorless sap is the unmanifest of the flower, but it’s the field of all possibilities of the flower. Deep inside of you, you have something akin to the colorless sap, that one indivisible, whole consciousness field, which is your individual connection with the Unified Field of consciousness that is everywhere the same in The Universe.

It’s the home of all the laws of Nature. It’s the home of all knowledge. It is the source of all of your thinking. It is indeed the place from which all of the atoms come, all of the molecules come.

Everything that is extant issues forth from this field of Being, and that state of Being has a nature that’s been declared in ancient Vedic science as Ananda, the source of everything. Bliss, Bliss.

When during Vedic Meditation, our minds settle down to increasingly subtle levels of thought, we begin to experience greater closeness to the state of Bliss. Being.

Thought becomes very attractive at the subtler level, and we use a particular kind of thought, a mantra, a special sort of mantra called Bija mantra, which is used in our practice, which when you experience it, and you allow it to repeat in the mind, pulsates with each pulsation becoming more charming than the previous.

[25:12] Path to Inner Peace

As the mind is drawn to subtler and subtler levels, closer and closer to the field of Being, the mind is given the capacity to experience greater and greater unboundedness, greater and greater happiness, and is drawing away from all of the relativity. All of the sensations of the body are being left behind. All of the transient joys of outside life are being left behind willingly.

The mind is naturally arriving with greater and greater alacrity to that state of Bliss. And then arriving at the faint level of thought and going beyond it, the mind experiences oneness with the Bliss field.

Once we’ve experienced this, we’ve started a process of awakening that layer that is always extant deep inside of us.

I want to emphasize that Vedic Meditation does not create the state of Being. Vedic Meditation is revelatory. It reveals the state of Being. It reveals something that always was there deep inside you.

When you experience that deep inner silent Bliss during meditation, and then you come out into activity, the echo of that Bliss is still vibrant throughout the mind and palpable even in the body. And a mind which has had happiness from within awakened in it is a mind that is immune to desperation.

You see, most of the acts that people engage in that are antisocial acts are acts of desperation. These are people who desperately are convinced that happiness is going to be acquired if they achieve or attain to some kind of control.

[27:25] Feel Happy from Inside Yourself

Control over resources, control over people’s minds, control over people’s territory, control of a greater and expanding amount of territory. Control. Control. Control. “Through control, I’ll be happy.” And, in fact, the more you control, the more unhappy you become.

Think for a few moments about any news story that you’ve heard lately about people who are in a lot of control over other people. And then think to yourself whether you’d trade places with such a person and want to be that controller. I will warrant that you’d never trade places with them.

Because what you are examining is someone who is desperately unhappy, someone who knows that they can’t even have a good night’s sleep because if they spend a few moments dozing off into sleep, those are the few moments where they’re no longer in control of everyone.

Someone is going to get outside their control, and without control, they can’t have their illusion of happiness. In fact, they’re living in a hallucination. This isn’t happiness at all, it is the deepest kind of desperation.

And so, then, where is real happiness? Real happiness lies in that deep inner field of Consciousness itself. It is the basic essence of creation.

When you practice Vedic Meditation twice every day, then on a regular, systematic basis as a strategy, you’re tapping into that level inside you and awakening it. When this is awakened on a regular basis, what happens is you start to feel you don’t need to control anything. You feel happy from inside yourself.

[29:33] The Power of Inner Happiness

When you have happiness inside yourself, it doesn’t mean that you don’t aspire to things, but you don’t aspire with desperation. You’re not desperate to get happy because already you are happy. You’re just going to take your happiness on an excursion. You’re going to take your happiness into activity, and you’ll feel an abundance from inside you.

An abundance of energy, of compassion, of capability to do something about what you feel compassionate about. To be a means whereby others can naturally be inspired by your presence and be uplifted by your activity.

When desperation disappears, antisocial behaviors disappear. We never heard of someone who is a spouse beater, who is happy, “Oh, a happy spouse beater.”

We never heard of someone who is a bank robber who’s happy. “Oh, such a happy bank robber.” We never heard of a happy terrorist. People who commit heinous acts in this world are people who invariably are desperately unhappy.

Therefore, it must dawn on us. It must be very clear to us that the greatest solution is to find sustainable happiness.

In the Vedic worldview, we refer to the type of happiness which occurs as a result of regular experience of Transcendence as baseline happiness. When we can awaken baseline happiness in ourselves, then we’ll have a chance to awaken it to a certain extent, even in others who don’t yet know how to meditate.

[31:29] Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Vision for Global Peace

My master Maharishi Mahesh Yogi had an idea. And it was an idea backed up by quite a bit of science, that it doesn’t take absolutely everyone practicing Vedic Meditation in order to bring greater peace to the world.

It takes a small fraction. Something akin to 1%. We read various authors. Malcolm Gladwell is one of them who wrote a book called Tipping Point, all about what is a critical mass, a saturation point. What is the saturation point that will cause a phase transition?

If you introduce far less than 1% of a crystal into an already supersaturated solution, then the entire solution will go crystalline. It takes far less than 1% of brain cells to begin firing in a particular way, and with a particular rhythm, to get the entire brain behind that and cause a major thought or major change of mental direction to occur.

1% is quite a magical number in nature. It’s a percentage which is known to be accompanied by phase transitions. Phase transitions do not require a hundred percent of everything to go in one way all at once. It is a biological law, a fact of biological nature, that the few lead the many.

As practitioners of Vedic Meditation, we’re perfectly content just to do our own practice twice every day, to live our lives in the way that we do, unconcerned about how others are living their lives, and happy to radiate life for all to enjoy, because we have naturally a greater abundance of inner energy, capability, intelligence, and creativity, and it’s growing every single day.

[33:35] The Power of One Percent

But by virtue of practicing our technique every day and inspiring others, because others see the way that you are, they naturally get curious. “How did you get to be this way?” And they begin to ask questions.

And then when you give your simple answers that, “I am this way, maybe meditation has something to do with it. You might like to give it a try. If you are interested, here’s a website you can look at.”

And then a larger number of people end up practicing. And as we creep toward that 1%, that magical number of 1% of the population meditating, we’re going to start to see collective change.

And, in a certain way, collective misery actually works towards the same product, the same end product, because when people become grossly unhappy, but they see a few meditators here and there who are getting happier every day, they naturally get more curious and a larger number of people will come and learn to meditate.

If the darkness and the problems of darkness are so great, then when you see somebody who has a light and who has a lamp that lights the way, who lives a life without the problems of darkness, naturally, you get curious about how you can get that light going for yourself.

And so I predict that ever-increasing percentages of the world population will begin practicing Vedic Meditation. And a day is going to come sooner rather than later where inner peace will be understood as the basis for world peace.

After all, if we want a forest to be green, then we have to have green trees. In order to have a green forest, we can’t just have one or two green trees and hide all the brown trees behind them. We have to have a larger percentage of green trees.

[35:36] It’s Just a Matter of Time

If we want to have a peaceful world, then we’re going to have to have a larger percentage of peaceful people. And the first stop along the way to that larger percentage is 1%. We can afford to have 99% of the people ignore us and ignore our message.

As long as about 1% of the population takes this up and decides to become a beneficiary of the beautiful effects of Vedic Meditation in daily life, then we’re on our way to world peace. It’s just a matter of time.

And this is a very important message, but it’s a message of hope for all of those who practice, and for all those who don’t yet practice but who might begin thinking of taking up this practice who are naturally concerned about World War III, what might happen if the nuclear weapons begin going off everywhere.

This is the natural thing that we must avoid, that we became, through our neuro-centricity, we became the species with the greatest capability of all the species on Earth. And we end up, because of our greed, we end up destroying each other. Because of our desperation to get happy, we end up destroying everything that could be a possible expression of happiness on this Earth.

This can’t be the way the story goes. Evolution won’t allow it.

[37:16] Our Contribution to World Peace

And so one way or the other, we need to get ourselves either more involved in regular practice of Vedic Meditation, where every day we’re doing it with greater resolve, greater regularity, and learning more about it, learning about all the effects of it, as you’re doing now, listening to this podcast joining Satsang, my mentor circle, coming on retreats, advancing your knowledge through Advanced Techniques of Vedic Meditation.

And those of you who don’t yet practice this technique, don’t postpone the inevitable any further. It’d be good for you to start making arrangements and come and have this direct experience yourself.

This is going to be our contribution to world peace. Individual peace is the basis of world peace.

Jai Guru Deva.

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