There are short-term and long-term effects of meditation. In the short-term, after just a few minutes of meditation, we may feel some peace. The long-term effect of meditation is world peace. The long-term is very long term. People have been meditating since people have been people and world peace has not quite happened yet. The moon is at peace. The stars are at peace, even the earth is at peace, but, on the surface, there continues to be widespread suffering. That is why we need to keep meditating.
If everybody in the world were busy meditating, we would not have time to shoot each other. Also, after all that meditation, we would have no inclination to shoot each other. Meditation gives people a sense of connectedness, which interferes with the impulse to hurt each other. On a personal level, that sense of connectedness also interferes with the impulse to hurt ourselves. When we sit in meditation we are connected to the earth beneath our cushion and the moon and the stars above. When we get up, we are still connected, but we are often more distracted and we might forget about peace.
In our busy lives, it’s hard to know what we can do to create world peace. We feel small and insignificant in the face of global forces. We may even feel ineffectual in dealing with our own minds. Those feelings are an indication that we could use some peace. When that happens, we have to sit on our cushion, or sofa, or subway seat, or in our stealth bomber cockpit, or on our aircraft carrier, in our square or oval office, and breathe deeply, feel the peace above and below us, then share that peace with each other. Meditation takes only a few minutes a day. It can change the world.