Flash mob meditations awaken public interest

Seán Dagan Wood

Popularity of group meditation increases across London

Hundreds of meditators are converging in public spaces in London to take part in ‘flash mob’ meditations. The pre-planned events have startled passers-by when, following a signal, groups of strangers seemingly going about their business have suddenly sat down to meditate together.

Since June 2011, events have taken place at Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, and City Hall by the river Thames. They are coordinated by Wake Up London, a group of 16 to 35-year-olds inspired by the teachings of Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh.

Wake Up London believe the flash mobs are a demonstration of peace and show how anyone can sit down and experience inner silence, even in the centre of a huge city.

Elina Pen, a member of the group, says the events raise awareness of the joy of meditation while enabling people to unite as a multicultural group of all ages and backgrounds.

“We are a microcosm of the rest of the world here in London,” says Elina, “and we are very proud of that fact.”

Marie Kennedy, also a representative of Wake Up London, adds: “Meditating together creates so much peace, within and without.”

Simultaneously, significant numbers have been gathering together in the more traditional setting of the Swiss Church in Covent Garden, for group practices of transcendental meditation, or TM, organised by a new charity, the Meditation Trust.

What is a flash mob?

A flash mob is when a group of people assemble suddenly in a public place, perform an unusual activity for a brief time, then disperse

“Over the past few months, diverse meditation groups have seen a significant and what seems to be a spontaneous growth in interest and enthusiasm for group meditation experience,” says Colin Beckley, director of the Meditation Trust.

Marie Kennedy agrees. “This has gone global. There are more and more groups being created every day; pods of meditators.”

Wake Up London is working with an international movement called Med Mob, which is coordinating meditation flash mobs across the world at around the same time each month. Fourteen groups are involved in the UK, from Aberdeen to Brighton, as well as many more globally.

Innerspace, a meditation centre in Covent Garden run by spiritual education organisation Brahma Kumaris, is also experiencing a surge of interest. The centre’s co-ordinator, Arti Lal says that although meditation has become more fashionable in recent years, there are more people not just attending their meditation sessions this year, but wanting to explore the practice more deeply.

“People are looking for two things in particular,” she says, “to create a better quality of life with more personal responsibility for their own peace of mind and emotional responses, and to develop a meditation skill that can be used anywhere and at any time.”

The Meditation Trust meanwhile, has opened the second half of its regular 2-hour group sessions, beyond TM practitioners to any member of the public who wishes to sit quietly, practice their own silent meditation, or use a simple mindfulness technique as instructed.

“The public are invited to experience some degree of the power of a group meditation,” explains Colin.

Meditators notice that even in a group of two there is a greater settling of the mind, and this effect grows in accordance with how many people gather, says Colin. “Regular meditators have reported much stronger experiences of silence and bliss than they normally experience alone or in their usual groups of 20-50 people.”

This effect even has an impact upon others who are not involved, Colin believes. “Mothers learning meditation have noticed how their children begin to behave better and school teachers see the same effect on their classes.

“This is because consciousness, the silent level of the mind, is a single, unified field, known experientially by the yogis of India for thousands of years and now inferred from the discoveries of quantum physics. Or, as the yogis have always said, we are all waves on the ocean of being.”


Photo title: Meditation 'flash mob' in Trafalgar Square, 2 June 2011

Photo credit: © Kiran Gupta

  • Dinalci Yardley

    Everything in aid of peace amongst people can only be good for humankind and is in direct opposition to
    world domination and/or eminent destruction.The capacity of humans to respond to appeals is one of our greatest assets in times of crises!..

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  • Shyam Mael

    Thank you for the inspiring and encouraging article. I have been involved for sometime in a local meditation group, and have been encouraging people to join by pointing out not only the physiological effects of meditation, but also the contribution to peace and stability in the surrounding area and the rest of the world achieved by group meditation. The encouragement is supported by the research findings of the Maharishi University experiment in Washington DC which lowered crime in the city. Details of the research are posted on The Spiral Ladder blog at http://wp.me/p1D6Mi-1C. As John Lennon said, ‘We can get it together. Get it? Together!’

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  • Desiree

    Hare Krishna to everyone in a ‘Flash Mob’- accept my humble obeisances, AGSP!

    Very nice-super really, London Hyde Park or Regent’s Park is an IDEAL place for Flash Mobs. We Hare Krishna do NOT ask for donations on web pages. – .
    We put a box in front of our group gathering : sing & dance and if we INSPIRE people-they put a donation. Maybe you also can o like US-Hari OM, namaste, Sai Ram, Hake Krishna-Hare Rama, yhs Revati dd.

  • Desiree

    Hare Krishna, once again, forgot to ask you ‘Flesh Mob’-on WHICH MANTRA you ‘meditate’? Thanks, I can give you few mantras: You can write them on a board-so that ‘newcomers’ may choose. THANKS.

    1)- One is Hawaii shamanic: ‘Power mantra’:’Be aware, be free, be focused, be here, be strong, be loved, be healed’

    2)- Hare Krishna ‘maha mantra’: ‘Hare Krishna, Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama, Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare’

    3)- On Lord Siva: ”nama om Sivaya,santih santih, sanih’

    If people just sit and try to be peaceful while mind is restless engaged in solving everydays problems -people cannot sit longer than ten minutes or so. .and then effect is zero.

    All success, Hari Hari, jay Sri Radhe! yhs Revati dd.

  • Seán Dagan Wood

    More on research into the effects of meditation on creating peace can be found in an article we published about meditation in military groups: https://positive.news/2011/wellbeing/spirit/4065/could-the-military-use-meditation-to-create-peace/

  • Sheri

    Mindful moments Mob style! So awesome!

  • Lynn Robertson

    Being offered a ‘moment of calm’ by a flash mob meditation is an uplifting gift in this ever-increasing hustle-bustle world!

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  • Shaas Ruz

    Can we permanently stop terrorism and war by meditation?

    If 50 demonstration projects and 23 published scientific studies can be believed, the answer is Yes.

    More details on http://www.permanentpeace.org

  • James LaForest

    What a lovely time of year to consider contemplation (as if it’s only now that we should be doing so.) The value of just a few moments of reflection is immense, particularly at a time of year when so many people have such conflicted feelings about the season, given the commercialism and cynicism that often pervade public discourse. I hope that more people will participate and more public meditations will encourage others to do the same, in public or private.

    Please check out my article on reflection during the festive season which I think fits in nicely with the ethos of the flash mob meditations: http://dayreturn.wordpress.com/2011/12/22/bringing-the-mystery-home/

    Best Regards,
    James LaForest

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  • Brian

    This type of awareness and increase in practice is lovely to see :) The following is said with all lovingkindness in my heart.

    I only have one quibble with the article: the last three paragraphs around meditation affecting people who do not participate, and especially the last paragraph regarding consciousness. The positive effects of meditation are strong enough to stand on their own and there is no need to appeal to quantum physics or a ‘unified field’ for further support. These claims are unsupported by the physics literature and fall into the larger category of ‘wrong view’ (in Buddhist terminology).

    I am a meditator (in the tradition of Thich Nhat Hanh) and have a strong background in quantum physics. Quantum mechanics is an exceedingly precise field and the knowledge of our universe has been built upon the rigorous efforts of many hard-working people. Trying to gain respectability by cloaking oneself in their language or claiming things which the evidence does not support does them, and us, a disservice.

    Again, this is said with lovingkindness and to make our understanding stronger :)

  • Rick

    My thoughts exactly, Brian. Well said. The power of meditation stands alone without appeals to cosmology. It merely pushes away those with rigorously trained and scientific minds.

  • Lloyd

    This is great, but wouldn’t time be better spent raising awareness about the system that necessitates the need for individuals to find their own personal space?

    Meditating is fantastic for the individual, but how does it help the starving child laid beside?

    Good stuff.. but I think there is something better that can be done, something pro-active… for the good of humanity?

  • Rosie Thompson

    When it will be another “Med Mob ” ? I’m looking forward to join in with this event.

  • Peter Kaltenbach

    Hello everybody!
    There will be a meditation flashmob :

    22.09.12 15.00h – 16.00h Augustinerplatz Freiburg Germany

    Greetings from the Black Forest/Germany

  • Sian

    Meditation increases your awareness of Reality and your ability to act with empathy and compassion. Individually you may have very little influence, but people working together can become a very powerful force.

  • Thelma Jones

    When we transcend inward to subtler levels of the mind there is more power there. It is essential to have the correct mantra chosen for you by a trained teacher. The teacher applies a special system for choosing your mantra. It is not based on any subjective experience of the teacher so you are certain to receive the correct mantra for your nervous system. When learning your meditation procedure you will receive your personal instruction by a trained teacher of the Transcendental Meditation Programme as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. This is very improtant for your evolution. Safety first.

  • Ben

    Fantastic and timely


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