More than 2,000 people from 24 countries participate in “2,000 for World Peace Assembly” at MIU

People traveled to Fairfield and connected online from across the United States and 23 other countries around the world to participate in the 2,000 for World Peace Assembly held at MIU from December 29 to January 12. Altogether over 2,000 people took part.

The event coincided with the “10,000 for World Peace Assembly” held during the same dates in Hyderabad, India, which drew more than 10,000 people from 139 countries, including scores of people from Fairfield.

Elayne Zhang came to Fairfield from Shanghai

“For me the purpose was very simple,” said Elayne Zhang, who journeyed to Fairfield from Shanghai, China. “I wanted to help bring harmony to the environment and the country. We all know about the Maharishi Effect. We just have to do it. I am a person of action, so I came to MIU.”

More than 50 scientific research studies on the Maharishi Effect have shown that large group practice of these techniques dissolves social stress, leading to significantly reduced crime, accident, and infectious disease rates and even marked reductions in warfare and international terrorism.

The course was led by Dr. John Hagelin, president of Maharishi International University and director of the Maharishi Foundation USA.

Besides extended periods of meditation each day, afternoon and evening meetings featured video recordings of the events in India, video lectures of Maharishi discussing higher states of consciousness, presentations on Maharishi AyurVeda for enhancing wellness and longevity, live music, and more.

Many of those who connected remotely synchronized their meditation periods with those of the large group at MIU.

“Every day of the course felt like a huge gain,” Zhang said. “It was beautiful. We should duplicate this in every country. I really want to copy this in China.”

Cliff and Mary DeVries

“I wanted to do something to improve the state of consciousness in the world today,” said Cliff DeVries, who traveled to MIU with his wife Mary from Hawaii. “It’s so sad to see wars continuing in the world. It was a great delight to return to MIU again, a truly enlightened community in the world.”

“Despite the cold,” Mary said, “we experienced unbounded silence and peace in this special environment.”

“We hadn’t had any extended periods of meditation for some time,” Cliff added. “Participating in the daily program and transcending with such a big group brought about a big shift in my awareness, a freedom I don’t usually experience, like a bird being released from a cage. I love feeling the silence and being part of the unbounded ocean of consciousness.”

Four women traveled to Fairfield from Colombia — Maria Teresa Acosta, the national director of the TM organization in Colombia, along with Carolina Quintana, Isabel Zapata, Pilar Acosta.

Carolina Quintana, Maria Teresa Acosta, Pilar Acosta, and Maria Isabel Zapata traveled to Fairfield from Colombia.

“We were motivated to attend the 2,000 assembly inspired by the beautiful knowledge Maharishi brought to the world,” Ms. Acosta said. “We are well aware that when we transcend in groups into the unlimited ocean of our consciousness, waves of peace, coherence, and harmony are generated and spread in the environment, radiating love, peace, and fraternity to the world, which is so badly needed these days. This has been an amazing, wonderful, and unique experience.”

Rena Boone, from Washington, DC

“As soon as the 2,000 course was announced I knew that I had to participate,” said Rena Boone, an educator from Washington, DC. “I thoroughly enjoyed meditating with the large group at MIU, knowing we were connected to the 10,000 course in India. My experience was profound — blissful and enlivening. Not only were we meditating for world peace, meditating in a large group had a powerful impact on us individually. There is no other place I wanted to be.”

The course was also memorable for the severe winter weather at the end of the second week — back-to-back snowstorms, each delivering 12–14 inches of snow, with windchill temperatures dropping to -40 degrees.

Deep experiences continued even after the course, participants reported. “Ever since the course ended we’re still experiencing the benefits of being in the domes and soaking up the knowledge — having deeper meditation programs, more energy and focus in activity,” said Paula Strong, who came from Houston with her husband Steve Corrick to participate.

40th anniversary of the Taste of Utopia Assembly

The course also celebrated the 40th anniversary of the historic Taste of Utopia Assembly at MIU, held from December 17, 1983, to January 7, 1984. The largest social experiment in history at the time, the course brought together more than 7,000 people from 46 countries around the world.

The event was announced at the end of November 1983, little more than three weeks ahead of the starting state. Hundreds of people from the university and Fairfield community pitched in to make it happen.

During that time they build a 60,0000-square-foot building for group meditation and meetings (today the MIU Recreation Center), a 15,000-square-foot building for registration and group meditation, and a 200-unit mobile home park on land at the north edge of campus for additional housing, along with all the other necessary organizing, all during one of the coldest winter periods in memory.

During the three weeks of the course, stock markets, many of which had been trending downward for a year, soared worldwide, moving upward in concert, many setting all-time records, often repeatedly. A wave of harmony and goodwill swept the globe as international conflict declined and heads of state became more positive and constructive. In the US and worldwide, crime rates dropped, infectious disease rates dropped, highway and air traffic fatalities dropped, and a potential nuclear disaster was quietly averted.

Many participants in the 2,000 for World Peace Assembly had also been part of the Taste of Utopia Assembly, and some of the leaders of that event shared their stories of the amazing and sometimes hilarious things that happened before and during that course.

Going forward: four annual courses

Based on the experiences of this course, MIU is planning to hold similar two-week world peace assemblies twice each year, during the winter and summer breaks, as well as two week-long national TM meditator retreats each year, in the spring and fall.

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COUNTRIES REPRESENTED AT THE 2,000 AT MIU ASSEMBLY — United States, Canada, Mexico, Trinidad, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Curaçao, Dominican Republic, United Kingdom, Sweden, Netherlands, Germany, Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland, Serbia, Ukraine, Armenia, South Africa, Nepal, China, Japan, Australia.

MUSICAL PERFORMERS — Singer-songwriter Paul Fauerso, the Southeast Iowa Chamber Singers led by Elaine Reding, classical keyboardist Paul Skevington, viola da gambist Rosalind Stowe, jazz keyboardist and singer David Leffler, singer-songwriter-acoustic guitarist Jonas Magram, keyboardist Jim Meredith, jazz pianist Steve Hillis, singer-songwriter Maryanne Eagleson, and the legendary “Flipped SU(5),” consisting of Paul Fauerso, Jeffrey Hedquist, Mario Orsatti, and Dr. Hagelin.