FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
- Are you representing or promoting any particular faith?
No, we are deliberately trying to avoid sectarianism and making this project open to all. We are trying not to promote any particular religious group.
- To what kind of schedule would I be committing myself if I agree to participate?
There are no set times or minimum amounts of time for participation. Each person can decide how many minutes a day to pray or meditate for peace. Every church or temple that decides to join us can decide what events they want to offer or in which to participate. You do not need to coordinate with anyone else, nor does any group need to coordinate with any other church or temple (although you certainly can do this on your own). Ultimately, the people of Seattle, as individuals and as a community of spiritual people, are the only ones who can make this project a success. Please feel free to take the initiative: plan and promote your own meetings, coordinate with whoever you want, and set aside a certain amount of time each day as you see fit.
- What about the fact that the way a person from one church prays may be totally different from the way another person meditates?
We do not see this as a problem. The Seattle Peace Project is inviting everyone to focus intentionally on peace and harmony in Seattle, and not worry about differences in belief or technique. We are all engaging in mindful, calm, intentional thinking, no matter what differences may exist beyond that. We need to find common ground, and avoid doctrinal debates that would only cause division. There is no way of knowing which person’s energy has the greatest calming effect in a group effort like this, and no need to even worry about it.
- Isn’t meditation just about emptying your mind? What does that have to do with peace?
There are different types of meditation, one of which is trying to stop thoughts from arising. There are many other forms of meditation as well, including the “loving-kindness” meditation spoken of by the Dalai Lama. If Holistic Health Research uses only the word “prayer,” and not the word “meditation,” we would be excluding Buddhists, Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, and any others who use the English word “meditate” to describe what they do. We think it is best to focus on the similar essence of our intentional, focused thoughts and wishes; not dispute semantics or split hairs over details of practice. We all live together in Seattle, and we all have a shared interest in creating a peaceful, loving environment. When we focus with all our heart, mind, and spirit on peace, whether we call our efforts prayer or meditation, it has an effect. We should respect others enough to acknowledge that their ardent wishes are not without value, even if we do not agree with them on matters of religion. We should focus on common ground, with our common goal in mind.
- What are the ultimate goals of the Seattle Peace Project?
We want to do something positive and proactive. We want to make history. We hope to make an unforgettable community experience for the summer of 2017: something that people will feel proud to have been a part of. We hope to achieve our goal of decreasing violent crime in Seattle to a statistically significant degree. We hope to inspire hundreds of other prayer and meditation for peace efforts in cities all around the world. We hope that the level of involvement in all spiritual and religious organizations will increase dramatically. We hope more people will make prayer and meditation a part of their daily routine, and ultimately change modern culture. We hope to usher in a new age, where people fully believe in the power of prayer and meditation (with plenty of empirical evidence to support their beliefs) to do more than just relieve stress, but to really alter the world for the better.
- Do I have to live in Seattle to participate?
No, not at all. Our focus for involvement is in and around the city of Seattle, but distance prayer is always appreciated. Why should someone living far away want to focus their blessings on Seattle? Well, by taking a few moments to do so, you are helping us prove a point. This proof can later be used to convince skeptics to give prayer and meditation a try in your own locality. By helping us, you would be helping yourself.
- Why here, why now?
Why here? Well, Holistic Health Research is based in Seattle. As to why now, it seems the level of anxiety and uncertainty over the future may be higher this year than it has ever been. Seattle has a progressive reputation, and if we don’t take the lead, who will? We need to do something positive to prove that “people power” can really make a difference. We need to empower ordinary people and stop feeling helpless in the face of larger events. Also, this summer is the fiftieth anniversary of the 1967 “Summer of Love,” and it is about time we followed up all the beautiful but unrealized ideals of the 60s with something far more lasting and substantial.
- Are you suggesting that all we need to do is pray and meditate in order to eliminate all crime?
No, we are not suggesting that prayer and meditation alone can replace loving families, proper upbringing, good education, sound social policy, a strong economy, adequate law enforcement, and all the other things that make a city into a smooth-functioning, safe place. We are only trying to prove that prayer and meditation can create a harmonious energy and measurably reduce crime rates.
- How can meditation or prayer possibly reduce crime in a city?
If it seems impossible to you that praying and meditating can have a real effect on people besides yourself, consider some of the seemingly “impossible” things that cutting edge science tells us:
Everything we call “real” is made up of sub-atomic particles that cannot themselves be said to be real.
In the sub-atomic realm, particles can be in two places at the same time.
Quantum “tunneling” of particles allows them to instantly leap through solid objects like phantoms and appear on the other side.
Experiments in quantum physics demonstrate that photons only become real when we observe them. In essence, we bring reality into existence by looking at it (or thinking about it – as the eyes are connected to the brain). Einstein was forced to admit he had been wrong in his opposition to quantum mechanics, saying: “Whatever is happening; we just don’t understand it.”
Quantum “entanglement” shows that distant sub-atomic particles can communicate with each other over large distances at a speed faster than light.
Quantum particles (like the exciton) travel in all directions at once like waves, and then appear at any point in expanding edge of that wave.
Current understanding of the universe estimates that it is composed of: 4% baryonic matter, 4% (what we call material substance, made of sub-atomic particles), 26% dark matter, and 76% dark energy. It is important to note that we have absolutely no idea what dark matter or dark energy are or how they work. These are just names for X factors we do not understand, but whose gravitational effects are visible to astrophysicists. We cannot explain in what dimension or dimensions they exist, or what they do, or how these forces may affect us.
A new attempt to explain how subatomic particles really work, so-called “string theory,” postulates that many other dimensions exist.
Considering all this, who can say what happens when we focus our attention on something in prayer or meditation? We know that meditation changes brainwave patterns. If these quantum effects of sub-atomic particles can travel in large waves, it is possible that by praying or meditating, we may be sending any number of energies flowing outward from ourselves, combining with other, larger forces around us which science cannot begin to explain. Those with personal experience in these matters have more reason to believe in the power of prayer and meditation. For those who have not yet had such experiences, please keep an open mind. Try prayer and meditation for yourself, seek out others who are more experienced, and explore the subject objectively. As quantum mechanics demonstrates, the reality in which we live is often counter-intuitive and cannot be rationally explained.