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I'm voting for peace

Could there be violence after the election? A friend told me about an ad she saw for a gun store, urging people to stock up on ammunition because, if their guy lost, “we’ll be taking to the streets.”

That sentiment perfectly articulates how crazy things have gotten. So, “they” take to the streets with loaded guns. To do what, exactly? Shoot strangers? Storm city hall? Round up people on the other side?

Our frustration is palatable now, in a hate-filled political environment where misinformation and outright lying has become the norm. Who to vote for, what to do? No wonder ideas like that one seem reasonable to some people. But there’s another option: vote for peace.

Regardless of how you fill out your ballot, how about joining the Peace Patrol? What would that look like? You’d be peaceful. You’d interrupt your own hateful thoughts, day dreams of revenge, attitudes of judgment and fearful speculations to consciously focus on being peaceful instead.

Could that make any difference? Well, it would for you. Immediately you would feel better. But how about in our community and country? Note from history: In the summer of 1993, thousands of TM meditators focused on reducing the crime rate in Washington, D.C. The police chief scoffed at the notion and said that “the only thing that would decrease crime that much would be 20 inches of snow.”

In fact, as widely reported, “In the end, the maximum decrease was 23.3% below the time series prediction for that period of the year. This significant reversal in the predicted crime trend occurred when the size of the group was at its largest in the final week of the project and during a blistering heat wave.” After the meditation project ended, homicides, rapes and aggravated assaults all began to rise again.

It’s understandable to worry about what could happen after the election if the losers decide to challenge the results with violence. How do we prepare for that? How about undertaking our own peace experiment to see if we can influence what happens?

During the ’80s, I encountered The Noon Club, an international initiative for peace-making that invited members to pause every day at noon for a moment of prayer. I revived the program a few years ago, wrote a small book about it, created a website (www.noonclub.org), and now individuals in 17 countries have set their smartphones for noon in their time zone and join together every day for a minute or so to broadcast peace, each in their own unique way. Some are silent, some voice a prayer, some think lovingly of family and friends and specific events.

This may seem inconsequential, but remember the meditators in D.C. accomplished the impossible, according to the police chief. I wonder if enough of us did this, investing just one minute every day, could we produce a significant effect post-election? I’d sure like to find out, so I encourage you to join in and add your broadcast.

Meanwhile, we’re faced with the many challenges of living in a world of COVID, weather extremes and economic uncertainty. There are so many reasons to worry and plenty of people to blame. But there’s also this higher road to take. It doesn’t mean that we bury our heads in the sand and deny the severity of those challenges. It just means that we make peace our priority. As those of us doing this have found it somehow changes the landscape of our personal experience and makes it easier to handle everything.

Whether you remember to pause at noon or not, please join the Peace Police. It will define who you are. Because, as the proverb says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.”

Will Wilkinson is the author of a dozen books including “Now or Never, A Quantum Guide for Spiritual Activists.” Email 600- to 700-word articles on all aspects of inner peace to Sally McKirgan at innerpeaceforyou@outlook.com.