American anthropologist Loren Eiseley once said, “If there is magic on this planet, it is contained in water.”

March 22 is World Water Day, an international celebration of the very thing that gives us all life. This Sunday calls our attention to the critical issues surrounding water — namely its conservation in our society, and its inaccessibility in others.

Armando Davila, Oakland resident and meditation enthusiast, saw this day as an opportunity to gather people in appreciation of Lake Merritt. “It began with the idea of creating peace and blessing the lake, but it has expanded to include education about local and statewide water issues, the ecology of Lake Merritt and how people can care for it,” Davila said.

This Sunday, Davila and event producers Amelía Aeon Karris and Dave Room will be hosting Bless the Lake, a time to connect with each other on a deeper level over Earth’s most valuable resource. The event will be held from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the lake’s amphitheater, complete with live music and children’s “edutainment.” Bless the Lake will culminate in a guided meditation lead by Amelía, who also identifies as a spiritual guide.

As part of a global synchronized meditation — there are 600 happening worldwide — participants of Bless the Lake and across the world will be encouraged to focus on healing our relationship with water, ourselves and our communities.

Amelía has been leading group meditations at the lake for years, “It’s a way to unify a diverse group of people around something that they love. We all love the lake, and we all need water. [Meditation] can break down friction among people.”

The meditation at Lake Merritt is also offering itself as a model for crime prevention — an echo of the Lebanon Peace Project in which a consistent group of practicing Transcendental Meditators decreased war deaths by an astounding 76 percent during the Lebanon Civil War.

“From a public health standpoint, the benefits of meditation are now very well researched,” Davila said, “which could provide an interesting soft benefit to the mental health of Oakland residents and all the people they interact with.”

“Everything’s affecting us, but think about being the cause of your reality,” Amelía said. She advocates that self-empowerment is an integral part of our ability to affect others. “It’s a shift of consciousness and that’s what I’m here to invoke in people. You can choose a reality to exist in.”

In 1993, a group of Transcendental Meditators engaged in a two-month long meditation in Washington, D.C., for researchers to study the positive effects meditation could have on an intended community. Based on previous studies, researchers predicted that the experiment would decrease violent crime by 20 percent. The chief of police joked that the only thing that could reduce crime by that amount would be 20 inches of snow. At the end of the two months, violent crime had decreased by more than 23 percent.

The kind of meditation that’s described and practiced above is aimed at creating a “field of resonance.” It’s a notion that everything contains energy, which operates within certain frequencies. Through collectively tapping in to a certain energetic frequency, we can reach a harmony among each other which creates an energy so powerful that it “resonates” throughout our realities in profoundly positive ways.

Unify, a global organization invested in creating peace through group meditations, will be broadcasting Bless the Lake’s meditation on their website. Mass meditations at Venice Beach and the Ganges in India will also be broadcasted live.

If you would like to help fund or volunteer for the event, visit Bless the Lake’s Indiegogo page.


About The Author

Simone writes about the currents circulating beneath mainstream, with a focus on non-profit developments and at-risk youth enrichment. Outside of freelancing for Oakland Local, she works in the foster care system of Contra Costa County and nerds out on literary magazines. Simone also spearheads the Community Voices section of OL. Contact her at

One Response

  1. Anji

    Beautiful project and so very well articulated in this article. I’ve heard many stories about the 1993 TM study in DC. TM is a highly effective meditation technique – and it has helped me personally in many ways including stress management and general ease in life. The ‘field of resonance’ is indeed a real thing and it’s great to see it being used to create healthy waterways! Sorry to have missed the event!


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