This article appeared in The Express, January 20-26, 2000.
Preventing the flood of refugees in Tanzania
Tensions in yet another neighboring country again continue to build up, as refugees flood in from Burundi. Over the years, many programs have been tried in Africa to create peace. For the most part, they have not worked. The reason is that political turmoil must be addressed on a root level: collective social stress. By reducing social stress through the Transcendental Meditation (TM) programme, Tanzania could prevent tensions from boiling over into war and conflict. No wars or conflicts means no political refugees.
President Alberto Joachim Chissano of Mozambique attributes the end of his country’s 16-year civil war mostly to a program that has worked – the TM programme. He explains: “First I started the practice of Transcendental Meditation myself, then introduced the practice to my close family, my cabinet of ministers, my government officers, and my military. The result has been political peace and balance in Nature in my country.” Although some pressing problems remain, Mozambique is widely regarded as an African success story. Peace has been maintained, the economy is booming, inflation is low, crops are abundant and the crime rate is down. Chissano and other Mozambique governmental leaders are convinced that these successes occurred because members of the Mozambique Armed Forces and police school students practiced the TM programme.
The TM programme is a simple non-religious meditation technique revived from ancient Vedic tradition by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. Over five million people have learned the practice. The Joint Chiefs of Staff of Mozambique implemented the technique as well as the more advanced and powerful TM-Sidhi programme, which includes Yogic Flying, in various military units of Ground, Naval and Air Forces.
Due to Mozambique’s apparent success on many fronts, over 7000 more members of its military are currently being trained to practice this technology of consciousness twice daily in one large group. Their goal will be to produce the Maharishi Effect in not only in Mozambique but also on a global scale. The Maharishi Effect is created when the number of people practicing the programme reaches a critical mass, creating coherence, peace and harmony. Leading peer-reviewed journals, including The Journal of Conflict Resolution, Social Indicators Research, Journal of Crime and Justice, Journal of Mind and Behavior, and International Journal of Neuroscience have published studies documenting such things as reductions in warfare, crime, traffic accidents, unemployment, inflation and increased economic prosperity.
After the pilot programme was first underway in 1993, positive trends were first noticed. However, in 1994 Lt. General Tobias Dai, then Commander of the Mozambique Armed Forces and now the Defence Minister, noticed a sudden change. He explained that “due to demobilization of troops…there was a remarkable decrease in coherence in the country as a result of decreased participation in the group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programme…” Dai convincingly argued his convictions. “What is very clear is that once the positive effect is created, if group practice is stopped, the previous tendencies of higher collective stress, as determined from the crime indexes and the tense situations in the country, began to rise again.”
President Chissano recently said that he would be happy to discuss Mozambique’s experiences deploying the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programme with any government that inquires. What might Tanzanian civilian and military leaders learn from Mozambique’s experience? Perhaps that if the Tanzanian Armed Forces implemented this technology of consciousness, they could prevent tensions from arising at home and calm down turmoil in neighboring countries.
This preventative measure could finally stop refugees from streaming into Tanzania.
© 2000 Dr. David and Lee Leffler. All rights reserved.