After months of non-stop travel and speaking engagements I’m finally back in the UK and staying put for several months.
I have some fascinating preliminary results from our Reader’s Survey. The survey was designed to answer two questions:
After participating, an overwhelming majority of our participants not only felt better about themselves and the world; they also tended to get along better with the people with whom they came into contact, most especially perfect strangers.
Many made profound changes in their lives and directions, and even sought to radically change direction or careers .
Others found it easier to cope with setbacks and downturns in their lives, including their current financial difficulties. Most of all, they found it easier to accept people or ideas that clash with their own.
These preliminary results suggests that using this kind of altruistic intention not only may help to grow your own sense of compassion and tolerance, but also may help you to heal your own life.
It accords with much of the research I have studied on intention. Altruistic intention heals the healer as much as the healee.
Of the respondents we’ve had thus far (representing some 6 per cent of our total body of participants), the participants were experienced meditators, but relatively inexperienced in intention. Virtually all our participants were meditators, with nearly half regular meditators, and 40 per cent meditating more than 10 years.
Nevertheless, a majority (57 per cent) hadn’t practiced Powering Up, the intention program that I developed after interviewing intention masters - until the Peace Experiment itself.
So if it is finally shown that we had a profound effect, it will have been achieved by intention novices.
Compassionate love and peace
During the experiment, most people experienced a profound state of peace and love. The majority (57 per cent) said they mostly felt peaceful, with 56 per cent feeling a surge of compassionate love, and 42 per cent an overwhelming sense of unity. One-tenth experienced a sense of being outside of their bodies.
Participating in the experiment also made people feel better about themselves and their world. Immediately afterward, half our participants felts more optimistic that world peace was achievable. Some 45 per cent felt more peaceful than usual, more than a third more compassionate than usual or more connected with others in their lives, and 18 per cent felt happier than usual.
Long-term increase in compassion
Most interesting of all was the long-term effect of the experiments on our participants. Some 44 per cent of our participants noticed changes in their relationships with others during the experiment, notably between parents and children, in-laws of every variety or siblings. Intention apparently helped them to feel more love in general, whether they knew the recipient or not.
· ‘I . . . have improved a conflicted relationship with my Mom’ – coincidentally this occurred after the experiment.’
· ‘Family relationships have eased.’
· “I left the experiment to live with a son and daughter-in-law for five weeks. My daughter-in-law and I now have an improved relationship.’
· ‘I am peaceful and not reactive when my husband rages at me – I am more able to hear his pain.’
· ‘The changes that happened to my family during the P. I. E. affected them greatly in a positive way.’
· ‘Relationships with whiny people seem to be improving.’
· ‘Other people’s children.’
· ‘My sister’.
Although more than a quarter either felt more love for their loved ones or for people they normally dislike or argue with, 41 per cent felt more love for anyone with whom they came into contact, and 19 per cent found they were getting along better with perfect strangers.
· ‘The experiment showed me that we all strangers can do great things together and I look at strangers with that in mind.’
· ‘ I feel safer or more courageous in talking with others – friends or strangers.’
· ‘ I try to allow room for disagreement as an option. I am more aware of discord and negativity around me being very tiring and quite often unnecessary.”
· ‘I become conscious of unnecessary conflict much more quickly and give up struggling with others. I honor them instead. I listen more.’
· ‘ More straightforwardness and honesty.’
· ‘More grounded and even tempered lately. More productive and self-determining.’
· ‘At work I answer phones. Recently, I began saying a quick prayer (to myself) for every person I talk to. I pray “God bless you, bless you, and give you a long, healthy and happy life.’ I have experienced an increase of peace and love with each person I talk to. I realize, only now, that this practice started after the Intention Experiment.’
In fact, when I asked with whom have your relationships most improved, although nearly one third said partners or spouses, slightly more than a third their friends, and one-quarter their children, the largest group - 38 per cent – said they noticed the biggest change in how they got along with strangers. The experience of working together with thousands of strangers gave many people the ability to bond with or be more accepting of other people they don’t know personally.
For some, relations actually worsened with friends or relations - from daughters-in law to landlords - often because our respondents have become more conscious of behavior – theirs and other people’s – and are now less willing to hide their own feelings:
· ‘ I have mended fences and been more bluntly honest about my own fears and defensive behaviors.’
· ‘My relationship with my spouse temporarily worsened as I became more critical.’
· ‘My husband has always kept a certain emotional distance, and I seem to be tolerating that less. The relationship has not worsened, I am just speaking up more.’
· ‘People who annoyed me before the experiment have become even more annoying, but seem to be appearing less often in my life.’
More than half (53 per cent) felt more loving toward the world in general, and nearly a third more loving toward themselves, and more forgiving and tolerant toward groups they often abhorred in the past:
· ‘I am taking the passage of California’s Proposition 8 [which bans gay marriage] easier than I would expect.’
· ‘The Republican party in the USA bothers me no longer!’
· ‘All this prompted me – now I am more tuned into why – to spend the Election Day in the US in prayer because as a nation we are so polarized. Don’t feed the hatred of Bush.’
Many simply said they ‘woke up’ to suffering in the world or wished to turn their attention to others:
· ‘I am more aware of violence in other places in the world.’
· ‘I feel very good about doing something that gives to others. I will continue this.’
Others that they felt more positive about the future:
· ‘I feel more positive about the changes taking place in the world and the direction that we are moving towards is one of unity.’
· ‘Hopeful for the world, for our country.’
· ‘I am more “at peace” even though my external realities, especially financial, are the lowest they have been in a long while.’
· ‘I have noticed that I gained a bit more objectivity about a couple of situations in my life.’
· ‘Temporarily high energy levels.’
· ‘I feel encouraged about the future – that this type of activity can create a powerful change for the better.’
· ‘More empowered and connected with circumstances in general.’
· “Much safer about trusting my inherent skills of intuition how to communicate with others under different circumstances.’
· ‘More curious and empowered to participate in group constellations.’ I have mostly been a one-woman kind of woman – stronger on my own. I feel differently towards the power of the group.’
· ‘Inner confidence on a certain level that I am a being who is separate from any circumstances I am in.’
Many others experienced positive changes, even profound shifts in their lives:
· I was offered jobs as a teacher in three schools.’
· “I was able to make contact with my spirit guide. . . . This has opened up not just new worlds, but the Universe and the power of thought as well as the invisible world.’
· ‘I have forgiven my mother.’
· ‘I felt my place was home and holistic counselling, and left my office job.’
· ‘I applied to the Peace Corps.’
· ‘I am setting up a team to develop a formula for peace based on my understanding of Sir Lanka.’
In future, a majority (64 per cent) wanted to participate in quarterly Peace Intention Experiments but a third also wanted large-scale Intentions of the Week. We have a new e-mail host, who is helping me build these. Now that I’m no longer traveling so much, we’ll have these ready next week.
But we want to hear from the rest of you.
If you participated in the Peace Intention Experiment but haven’t answered the survey yet, please join in with the thousands of others to let us know how it was for you and whether you are still experiencing peace in your life. We don’t ask your full name or address and we keep your details confidential.
We’re continuing to collect data – and this is scientific research that will be eventually collated and published - so please, just let your views be heard and your experiences counted by filling out the survey. Just click here. And let us know what you think of these results so far by commenting on this blog.