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Thousands Gather in Stadium to Meditate for Persian Gulf Peace

November 2, 1990

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (AP) _ About 5,000 people gathered in a stadium Friday for a group meditation to send good vibrations to the Persian Gulf and help avoid war there.

Twenty minutes of medititation is ″kind of short″ to result in world peace, but the event may result in ″some softening, some kind of statement that is more reconciliatory″ said David Orme-Johnson, a psychologist at the Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa.

Organizers from the Swedish branch of Transcendental Meditation had hoped to fill the 15,000-seat Globe stadium for the largest group meditation in history. But about 5,000 people bought $35 tickets for the event. About three- fourths of those attending were experienced meditators.

A group in the Netherlands in recent years brought together 7,000 people for a mass meditation.

Organizers of Friday’s event said thousands of other people around the world also concentrated their energies during the 20-minute meditation.

Transcendental Meditation founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi delivered a message in a phone linkup from the Netherlands. ″I expect that we will very soon have irrevocable peace on earth,″ he said.

Czechoslovakia’s president-writer Vaclav Havel, a meditation practitioner, also sent a message, the organizers said.

Swedish Lutherans and some other Protestant churches objected to the event. ″As we see it, it is a covert way of spreading Hinduism and we think people who practice it should be made aware of that,″ said the Rev. Dan Salomonson of the Philadelphia Pentecostal Church in Stockholm.

Transcendental Meditation was introduced in Europe and the United States in the 1960s. Individuals repeat a mantra, or sacred word, to achieve a relaxed physical and mental state in which some goal can be envisioned.

Orme-Johnson, 49, implied that organized group meditation had led to a softening of Saddam Hussein’s martial stance since the Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait.

A meditation by 3,000 people in Iowa last month may have created a lull in the gulf crisis, he said.

″That was the time of Saddam’s dream and of talk of troop reductions″ in Kuwait, he said, referring to unconfirmed reports that Iraq’s president was told in a dream to leave Kuwait.

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