July/August 2002 Spirituality
A New Approach to Local and Global Peace
by R. L. Miller, Ph.D.
The tragedy of 9/11 evaporated many people’s hope for our planet’s
future, and the continued fighting in the Middle East has shattered
even more hopes. Humanity is beginning to realize that we no longer
can trust the old "Wild West" style of dealing with conflicting
needs and desires among nations. Traditional rules of diplomacy and
war (e.g., "walk softly and carry a big stick") clearly no
Now, people around the world are beginning to realize that our best hope is a
change in consciousness across the planet. We understand that were such a shift
to happen, violence would be reduced, the hungry would be fed, and people would
be healthy. People would have many of the same challenges, but we’d approach
them differently: we would know there was a peaceful solution and we’d use it.
Fortunately, the past thirty years have seen some amazing strides in our
understanding of consciousness and how to change it. Well-documented research
has demonstrated that a few people can shift the consciousness of a community.
Over 5000 studies with over fifty reports in scientific journals have made the
point. Again and again, a few people committing to a daily practice in which
they experience inner peace at least twice a day, for a total of 30-40 minutes a
day, has led to reductions in violent behaviors in their community—and has
several times been correlated with reductions in global violence. Many of these
studies are described in Robert Oates’ new book, Permanent Peace: How to
Stop Terrorism and War—Now and Forever.
We now know that our thoughts have power. Hundreds of experiments with
thousands of subjects, using many forms of prayer for different medical
problems, have been performed since 1986. They’ve demonstrated that even the
weakest form of prayer, "holding positive regard for" someone without
any belief in God or any form of higher power, has a measurable, positive effect
on that person’s healing process. Larry Dossey, M.D., has documented many of
these in his books and tapes and has said that "if any other form of
treatment were as effective, practitioners would be screaming to get hold of it,
and would be sued for malpractice if they didn’t use it."
Most of us haven’t heard about these studies and their results because it
takes time for an idea to move from the scientific journals into the mainstream
culture. Einstein’s ideas took nearly 40 years to be implemented by other
scientists and another 30 to be taught in high school and college physics
classes. Innovations in medicine—like the role of nutrition—typically take
50 years to be implemented by local doctors and health educators. (This delay
process is described in Thomas Kuhn’s classic, The Structure of Scientific
PeaceBringers is a new grassroots organization building on the past thirty
years of scientific research about consciousness and applying it to our world,
It’s really a simple thing. As individuals hold their consciousness in a
state of peace, they, and the community around them, experience more indicators
of peace—reduced violence, better health, etc. This is because each of us is
constantly creating an electro-magnetic field around us (our "aura,"
or Walt Whitman’s "body electric," or Rupert Sheldrake’s "morphogenetic
field"), and when we shift our consciousness by praying or meditating, that
field expands to touch others. Then, as the field expands, it increases the
probability of a similar state of consciousness in those others.
PeaceBringers is calling this process of shifting individual consciousness
"The Peace Practice." It’s a synthesis of ancient and modern
understandings about consciousness. It’s not about asking a divine entity for
something. Rather, it’s a process of experiencing, of knowing, that the
desired situation already exists in consciousness, and appreciating its
existence, and so bringing it into our physical experience.
Anyone can participate as a PeaceBringer and shift the consciousness of our
communities. Participants do the Peace Practice for 15-20 minutes morning and
evening, for 6 months (remember you don’t have to ask for peace, simply
experience it!). Some members host a presentation of these ideas for their
friends and family. Most attend a weekly practice group to expand their
understanding and capacity.
PeaceBringers offers training and support for anyone who wants to start a
PeaceBringers group in his or her community, including weekly practice groups
and monthly workshops. For more information on PeaceBringers, contact Nelson at
503-641-1204 or go on-line to www.peacebringers.net.
R. L. Miller is a writer/lecturer with degrees in anthropology,
environmental science, cybernetics, and systems science. After a career
as a futurist, community developer, and academic, Miller now works as
a "circuit riding" minister, teaching people and organizations
around the Pacific Northwest ways to expand their capacity for well-being.
To look at some of Dr. Miller’s books and other writings, go to