The basis of the Maharishi Effect is the rise of collective consciousness. Collective consciousness is the wholeness of consciousness of any specific group. For example, when we talk of community consciousness, we merely put together the consciousness of all the individuals who make up the community; for national consciousness we put together the consciousness of all the citizens of a nation.
There are innumerable divisions and organizations of collective consciousness, but among these there are seven principal levels: family consciousness, community consciousness, city consciousness, state or provincial consciousness, national consciousness, world consciousness, and universal consciousness, each created by the individuals within the group.
The phenomenon of collective consciousness can best be understood by examining the concept of a field, as described by modern science. Physicists delineate a variety of infinite, unbounded, and all-pervasive fields that operate invisibly throughout creation, governing the activities of innumerable Laws of Nature. For example, the electromagnetic field—one of the four principal force fields—permeates the entire universe, and enables radio and television transmitters to send signals by creating waves within the field. While the waves are unseen, they nonetheless create effects with which we are all familiar—the sounds and images of radio and television.
Likewise, the other three fundamental force fields—gravitation, weak interaction, and strong interaction—also pervade everything and behave invisibly throughout Nature. Self-referral consciousness is also a field, though on an even more fundamental level, for it is the omnipresent, invisible, and unbounded field from which all force and matter fields emerge.
Just as a radio transmitter can create waves in the electromagnetic field, individuals constantly create influences on all parts of creation simply because consciousness permeates every aspect of the material universe. To illustrate, if a stone is thrown into a pond, waves are produced that travel throughout the pond. Each wave produces some effect in every part of the pond. Similarly, the wave of individual life, through its activity, produces an influence in all parts of the cosmos.
On the basis of this same principle, the direct experience of self-referral consciousness influences every aspect of the universe, enlivening it with the perfect order and harmony inherent within self-referral consciousness. For this reason, groups of individuals can create very powerful effects in the environment through their collective practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program—through their self-referral practice, they enliven every aspect of the universe by stimulating its most fundamental constituent, consciousness, and they especially enliven the collective consciousness of the city or province or nation in which they are located.
Since collective consciousness is created by the individuals within it, as individual consciousness grows collective consciousness rises; and as collective consciousness rises individual consciousness grows. In other words, as an individual regularly experiences self-referral consciousness and enlivens it in his own awareness, the levels of collective consciousness in which he participates—family, city, province, nation, etc.—are simultaneously improved. This higher value of collective consciousness in turn effects, in a positive way, every one of the individual members of that level of collective consciousness.