I have seen the transformative power of transcendence in my own life, but how to explain its power to someone else? Transcending is an abstract experience whereby one experiences finer and finer levels of the thinking process until one transcends the finest level of thinking and experiences the source of all thought -- the purest level of consciousness. Transcendence is an unbounded state of awareness, where consciousness expands to embrace infinity. It is like a wave settling down into the vast, calm ocean.
Does the experience of transcendence have the power to change our society?
Anwar Sadat's Spiritual Transformation
A former President of Egypt, Anwar Sadat, described a beautiful transformative experience of transcendence. As a military officer during World War II, before becoming president, he plotted to free Egypt from British rule. He was imprisoned because of these activities. In his autobiography, In Search of Identity, he recounts his experiences of solitary confinement, during which he was completely cut off from any links to the outside world, including radio and newspapers. The only companionship he had during that time was his inner entity, which he called "self."
... I was able to transcend the confines of time and place. Spatially, I did not live in a four-walled cell but in the entire universe. Time ceased to exist once my heart was taken over by the love of the Lord of all Creation: I came to feel very close to him wherever I was...
Experiencing transcendence caused Anwar Sadat to change the course of his leadership objectives from hate to love.
For now I felt I had stepped into a vaster and more beautiful world and my capacity for endurance redoubled. I felt I could stand the pressure, whatever the magnitude of a given problem. My paramount objective was to make people happy. To see someone smile, to feel that another man's heart beat for joy, was to me a source of immeasurable happiness. I identified with people's joys. Such despicable emotions as hate and vengeance were banished as the faith that 'right' ultimately triumphs came to be ineradicably implanted in my consciousness. I came to feel more deeply than ever the beauty of love...
Love helped me to know myself. When my individual entity merged into the vaster entity of all existence, my point of departure became love of home (Egypt), love of all being, love of God. And so I have proceeded from love in discharging my duty (my responsibility), whether it was during my last months in prison... or now that I am President of Egypt.
Anwar Sadat was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his historic efforts to create peace in the Middle East despite strong opposition from the Arab world.
There are many other instances of great writers, poets, artists, and athletes who had spontaneous experiences of transcendence that changed the course of their lives to a more positive direction. However, they often were not able to repeat the experience.
The Difference Between Transcendence and Silencing the Mind
It is important to understand that transcendence is very different from trying to silence the mind, or emptying your mind of thoughts. Attempting to silence the mind in the hopes of experiencing pure consciousness is extremely difficult. I have had so many people come up to me saying that they tried to empty their mind of thoughts, but they just felt restless and frustrated because they could not do it and felt they were not able to meditate.
Everyone has the transcendent within themselves and through techniques like Transcendental Meditation, it can be easily and effortlessly experienced. During instruction in Transcendental Meditation, one is taught how to effortlessly dive into the state of Being. One just needs the technique and the dive happens automatically.
There are over 350 peer-reviewed published studies conducted specifically on Transcendental Meditation that show the many health benefits of transcending for all levels of mind, body, and behavior.
Our world desperately needs leaders who can work together to solve the problems facing each nation. However, we don't want our leaders to have to be sentenced to solitary confinement in order to transcend and thus be able to take the country in a more positive direction.
Calling All Leaders to Transcend
Imagine if all the congressmen and senators started their day by meditating together for 20 minutes. At least while meditating they would be coherent -- all together enjoying the transcendent -- and at the same time they would be dissolving the stress that keeps them from working together productively to solve our nation's problems.
The reality of our leaders meditating together is not out of reach. United States Ohio Representative Tim Ryan has organized weekly meditation sessions for Congress for the past two years. The New York Post reports that he says: '"There is a value in having some quiet time before votes -- it can help anyone make better decisions." A Thursday session for staff and a Monday one for members of Congress are known as the "Quiet Time Caucus."
Recently, some leaders in the British Parliament meditated together at the beginning of a session to explore the potential use of meditation for education, health care, and rehabilitation. The group felt that before making a decision on the matter, they should first directly experience for themselves the benefits of meditation.
Maybe having our leaders come together daily in the silence of meditation is a solution to fix our dysfunctional government. I believe all other solutions for the nation will emerge from the more coherent state of mind these leaders would spontaneously develop if they did meditate. There is the power of politics, the power of money, and the power of the people, but the greatest transformative force is the power of transcendence!
References: Anwar Sadat, quoted in The Supreme Awakeningby Dr. Craig Pearson, pp 168-169