On October 31, I held an Intention Experiment for the women of Iran, as part of an event organized by Banafsheh Sayyad, an Iranian woman who lives in America, well known for her Dance of Oneness work.
Banafsheh reached out to me after being in touch with a number of those women in Iran who led the protests, which have now been going on since mid-September, after the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who’d been detained by Iran’s ‘morality police’ for not wearing her hijab properly.
As you are probably aware, the protests have gone on now for three months and show no sign of abating. As with any authoritarian regime, which has imprisoned more than 500 of the protesters, many of them young teenagers, we needed to word our intention carefully to avoid inflaming things further.
Our intention requested an immediate end to government arrests and violence against protesters, for their viewpoints to be respected and listened to, and for peace, tolerance and freedom to prevail.
In a situation like this, with a country at war with itself, it is not possible for us to get reliable data to prove that our intention had an actual effect.
Certainly there have been some hopeful signs: the entire Iranian football team refusing to sing the Iranian national anthem when it was played in Qatar during the World Cup; and the apparent scaling back of the Morality (or Guidance) Police, which has stopped its regular patrols, with the government stating that “both parliament and the judiciary are working” on the issue of whether the law requiring women to cover their heads should be changed.
“We are working fast on the issue of hijab and we are doing our best to come up with a thoughtful solution to deal with this phenomenon that hurts everyone’s heart,” Iran’s chief prosecutor, Mohamed Jafar Montazeri, was recently quoted as saying.
Other reports say that there has been no official confirmation of the closure of the religious police.
Nevertheless, as many women walk the streets bareheaded, there appears to be a loosening of government restrictions on clothing requirements. Furthermore, earlier this week, the country shut down after three days of planned anti-regime strikes.
There is also the fact that Badri Hosseini Khamenei, the sister of Iran’s supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly condemned her brother’s crackdown on the nationwide protests and has called upon the Revolutionary Guards, Iran’s elite military force, to lay down their weapons.
However, the Iranian government has hit back with the first public execution of a man allegedly for attacking a member of the security police during the protest. More could follow, and five more have been sentenced to death after allegedly killing a paramilitary soldier during the protests.
So we will have to wait and see the outcome. But the signs are hopeful that something in Iran will permanently change, as it did in the former Czechoslovakia. The communist regime began to crumble after one small inciting incident: the banning of a pop group. In that instance, as with Iran, the people decided the government had gone too far.
What we do know now is that, once again, the Intention Experiment had a major rebound effect on our participants.
As always, I surveyed the thousands of people who took part in our Iranian Intention Experiment to find out if anything had changed in their lives.
Many reported that they’d experienced extraordinary changes during the experiment itself, with 52 percent experiencing a surge of compassionate love and nearly 62 percent saying that they felt they were ‘part of a higher network.’
“I could sense all the participants individually.”
“I felt a sense of healing and that there are possibilities for transformation beyond my previously fixed perspectives.”
“I felt the intense purpose of some, the wonder of others and the suffering of still others.”
Some 31 percent felt more peaceful than usual, 36 percent ‘more compassionate than usual’ and a whopping 47 percent ‘more optimistic that world peace is achievable.’
“I stayed in a meditative state long afterward and knew that the effort had some effect.”
“The Intention Experiment supports the idea that there are willing humans who wish to improve upon humanity and evolution of the species. Intention supports the construct that the best is yet to come.”
Intention Experiments, and Peace Intention Experiments in particular, always appear to have a rebound effect, creating peace in the lives of the participants.
In this case, more than 68 percent felt their relationships had improved, with 47 percent declaring that they feel more love for their loved ones, including spouses (37 percent) or friends (40 percent).
But the greatest change, as always, was that 47 percent ‘felt more love for everyone they come in contact with.’ with 43 percent experiencing improved relationships with strangers. More than a third said the experience made them more tolerant of people ‘not like them.’
“In the few days following I felt an uplift across the board. It took me some time to realize that it might have been a result of the experiment. Energy levels were higher, and overall positivity was greater. and that spilled over into my connections with people.”
“I have very definitely felt more peaceful in the family home. . .the intention definitely helped resolve family tensions.”
Overwhelmingly, the participants felt changes in the way they behaved towards others:
“In the week or so following, all relations seemed to be buoyed up.”
“I feel more open. I interrupt other’s speaking less. I feel compassion, but not the need to carry the emotional burden of others.”
“I stay more open and openhearted towards new people I meet.”
“I allow things to pass through me and not get triggered.”
“I am much more aware of the emotional energy during conversations.”
That love and compassion also spilled over to themselves. Half the people said they felt more loving toward themselves, and 41 percent said they ‘forgive things about themselves or their past actions they regret.”
“I feel a desire and commitment to operate from a higher consciousness.”
“I am more respectful to myself.”
“I was able to look myself in the eyes in the mirror and tell myself ‘I love you.’ This is an exercise I have never done before. Also. the feeling of 'you are forgiven' came with this love.”
An extraordinary 50 percent experienced mental or physical improvements – an increased mobility, less pain, less anxiety and reaction to stress:
“I can now walk 2.5 miles, which is liberating.”
“We have been carefully taught to hate each other. I have decided to not do that anymore.”
“I want to contribute to the world by having the world stop fighting. It's a first step.”
“I’ve had such supportive sections in my life, but it feels as though all that has accelerated and because I’m sleeping better I am less tired and able to push forward even greater with my work for my son.”
“Feel less anxious.”
“I'm more stress resistant and calm.”
I see this extraordinary change in my participants in every single Intention Experiment I do.
Something about coming together in a secular prayer that we can all participate in without the divisions artificially created by separate creeds or arbitrary political divisions enables us to finally experience the oneness that is our common humanity.
And it is that experience that enables the heart to readily leap across the fence.
As one respondent put it: “I felt united with my like-minded global tribe. I believe we are about to change globally and the brave women of Iran are great symbols to recognize our determination that happiness and kindness and freedom of self-expression are our true state of being.”
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