The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school

January 30, 2016

The January 2016 issue of Chicago Medicine, (Vol 119, issue 1), a publication of the Chicago Medical Society and the Medical Society of Cook County, published two related articles on the Transcendental Meditation technique and medical education. This is the first time TM has been offered as an elective course for medical students in a major US medical school!

How This Happened

Dr. Norman Rosenthal speaks on TM at Stritch

I asked TM Teacher Carla Brown how this came about and she explained the back story. Stritch alumnus James Bray MD had sent a letter to his colleague, Dean Linda Brubaker MD, urging her to host George Washington University clinical professor of psychiatry, Norman Rosenthal. Dr. Rosenthal’s talk about the Transcendental Meditation technique and its impact on health moved Linda and Vice Dean of Education Gregory Gruener to invite Duncan and Carla Brown to teach them and their students. Stritch School of Medicine is the medical school affiliated with Loyola University Chicago.

Since that time a team of MDs and TM teachers have guided Stritch students. The program really took off when Richard Carroll MD, ScM, FACC, joined Duncan and Carla Brown and Deans Gregory Gruener MD and Aaron Michelfelder MD.

“Dr. Carroll helped us create a flexible, blended curriculum,” said Carla. “Students start the TM technique throughout the year as they are free to do so and are able to either attend the five classes given by leading doctors and researchers held throughout the year, or review one or more classes on-line.”

C. Brown,R. Carroll, R. Schneider, D. Brown

Dr. Carla Brown, Dr. Richard Carroll, Dr. Robert Schneider, Duncan Brown

In this picture Dr. Carla Brown, Dr. Richard Carroll and Duncan Brown welcome Robert Schneider MD, FACC (second from right). Dr. Schneider is director, Institute for Natural Medicine and Prevention, Maharishi University of Management, and has led CVD experts and medical researchers from around the country in conducting NIH-funded research over the last 20 years.

Chicago Medicine TM Articles

The first article, Physician, Heal Thyself: Stritch School of Medicine students give new meaning to the adage, was written by Carla L. Brown, EdD, and Gregory Gruener, MD. Students at the Stritch School of Medicine learn about the science and methodology behind the Transcendental Meditation technique in the first TM elective course offered at a major medical school in the United States.

Carla L. Brown, EdD, is an adjunct professor at the Stritch School of Medicine and director of the Center for Leadership Performance, Chicago. Gregory Gruener, MD, MBA, is vice dean for education, and the Ralph P. Leischner, Jr., MD, Professor of Medical Education, and professor and associate chair of the department of neurology at Stritch. The authors conclude with Implications for Patients and Physicians.

Our experience with beginning years of MDED-400 is that students can easily take control of their own wellness by gaining deep rest and improving brain functioning with twice daily TM practice. Attending physicians and students report that TM has added balance to their lives.

Having TM as a tool means our students can recommend something that they know will help, based upon their own experience and upon substantial evidence. They can avoid burnout and maintain their enthusiasm for practicing medicine. They can also become the role models we all aspire to be. Our students have demonstrated that we can join them in restoring our own balance, enthusiasm, and mastery.

The medical profession is in desperate need of support. We’re told, “Physician, heal thyself.” But how? Stritch students have demonstrated that TM might just be the prescription to help answer this charge, by making our profession a more rewarding experience while also offering something of great value for our patients.

Maura Tresch, MDThe second article, The Supporting Science: Multiple studies show the Transcendental Meditation technique can reduce stress, anxiety and cardiovascular disease risk, was written by Maura Tresch, a student who graduated from the program and is now a global health scholar and family medicine resident at St. Vincent’s Medical Center in Jacksonville, Florida. She ends her article with this valuable advice: Take Care of Yourself.

By recommending TM we can inoculate our patients against stress and its associated effects. With TM we do not “manage” stress—we get rid of it. With the stress gone, the health of the body and mind can improve. This is the essence of preventive medicine.

I have been told that “you cannot help others before you help yourself.” When we take an airplane flight, the stewardess tells us that in the event of an emergency, we are to put on our own oxygen mask before we help someone else. To properly care for my patients, I must first care for myself so that I can give them my best possible attentive mind.

Click here to read both articles on pages 22-27. The first one describes the Stritch TM elective, launched in 2014-2015, how the course came about, some of the structure and content, and guest lecturers. It contains photos and some amazing anecdotes from former students now practicing physicians who benefited from TM in challenging circumstances.

Editor’s note: The Chicago Medical Society advocates for 17,000 Chicagoland physicians and their 5 million patients. This issue was mailed to 9,000 physicians, available to patients in their waiting rooms.

ABC News reports on Maharishi University in Iowa

January 21, 2016

Maharishi University of Management continues to be in the news. Today, a journalist from ABC News visited Fairfield to find out more about this Leading University in Transcendental Meditation.

MUM-SLC-ABC

Maharishi University’s Sustainable Living Center Greenhouse

Thursday, January 21, 2016, Fairfield, Iowa: Campaign Digital Journalist Josh Haskell is in Iowa covering politics for ABC News. When not on the campaign trail he takes time off to see some of the more interesting locations around the state.

Today Josh dropped in on Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield. He was very interested in visiting MUM because of the talk about TM at the New York office. He knew that some of them were meditating including news anchor George Stephanopoulos who had interviewed Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Roth about it.

Josh visited the university’s Sustainable Living Center and was given a tour by David Fisher, the head of the department. David also explained Consciousness-Based Education, a unique feature of this university, and the benefits it brings to students.

Josh saw a very diverse group of students in a Computer Science course meditating at the end of their day in class. He later returned to interview them. He asked about their Transcendental Meditation practice and what it’s like to study at MUM. All the students praised TM and the University for allowing them to think more clearly and learn more effectively in a stress-free environment.

Click the hyperlinked title above the photo or this link to see his 12-minute report: http://abcnews.go.com/video/embed?id=36431564.

Another poem about Sali’s essential nature

January 5, 2016

While feeding Sali lunch today I whispered in her ear that she radiates goodness and joy. It is her inner nature. It shows in her smile, no matter what changes she’s going through with the illness. Whether they know it or not, it’s the main reason the staff love Sali. Why I love her.

Later in the day, as I was washing my hands, those thoughts came back to me. I composed them in my head as a haiku, then stretched it out to a tanka, and immediately wrote it down. It has a Zen-like quality to it.

Sali’s essential nature

so it’s down to this
no mind, just bliss, and a smile
essential nature

that’s why everyone loves you
you radiate what we are

© Ken Chawkin
Fairfield, Iowa
Jan 5, 2016

I also told her about the eternal nature of love, of our love. Circumstances may change—we get old, sick, and die, but that part of us goes on, is eternal. I do believe that love is our essential nature. If we reincarnate, come back, we look for it, for that person who radiated it, reflected it back to us, with whom we shared the unifying fulfilling magic of a more enlightening love.

The Gita says, Karma is unfathomable, but I add, Love is eternal, and transformational! See Coming Back For Love In Five Favorite Romantic Films, especially the first and last films on the list.

See William Stafford—The Way It Is, including the Vedic expression I added. It extends the poem’s theme to its ultimate spiritual conclusion.

The top 25 posts of 2015 on the @TMhome_com website that grabbed people’s attention

December 16, 2015

The popular TMhome.com website publishes a range of beautifully presented articles and interviews on the Transcendental Meditation technique and the people who practice it. They looked back and created a list of their TWENTY-FIVE MOST POPULAR POSTS of 2015.

We made it into the list twice—yours truly (14) and a documentary on Maharishi I facilitated (10), along with a mutual friend, Valerie Gangas (22) and her book, Enlightenment Is Sexy!!!

Well-known supermodel Miranda Kerr (23), Bollywood actress Anushka Sharma (17), business leaders, athletes, the DLF Change Begins Within gala (16) including singer Katy Perry, and TM teachers are listed, along with MUM alumna, singer and mystical poet Lyric Benson Fergusson (7), and former Japan PM Yukio Hatoyama (#24) who delivered MUM’s commencement speech. The telomerase study ranked high (3), and the top post was an interview with Cameron Diaz. The last one is a list of 12 great quotes on creativity. Here are the three I mentioned first.

10

620z_maharishiyogidocumentaryfullmoviehistorychannelw

The full documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi,
now available for watching online.
—— read the article ——
.

14

620z_Kenchawkinpoetry_2
.
We invited Ken Chawkin, the man behind innumerable
written lines and at least one great movie (see no 10 above)
to step into the limelight. .
—— read the article ——
.

22

620z_EnlightenmentisSexybookreviewvaleriegangas_1

Enlightenment is Sexy, Valerie Gangas’s book about
falling in love with the universe made a big splash this summer. .
—— read the article ——

Dr. Tony Nader delivers a special message of Proven Solutions to Terrorism and Conflict

December 14, 2015

See this special message from Tony Nader, MD, PhD, M.A.R.R., of Proven Solutions to Terrorism and Conflict. Here is a 4-minute highlights clip.

See this related Huffington Post interview: John Hagelin discusses his Global Union of Scientists for Peace offer to world leaders.

See this related Huffington Post article: Collective Consciousness And Meditation: Are We All Interconnected by an Underlying Field?

A New Development

Watch HuffPost Live, Wed. 12/16, 1 PM EST (Noon CST): Dr. John Hagelin on the Solution to Terrorism. #WhatsWorking: Using Meditation Against Terrorism.

Join the conversation tomorrow, when John Hagelin, Bob Roth and Col. Brian Rees from the Global Union of Scientists for Peace join HuffPost Live, to discuss the use of a scientific alternative to violence against terrorism. Share your questions and comments here for this segment: http://huff.lv/1RQxtZb.

If you missed this interview, it’s available for replay:

Nature’s Jewelry — haiku inspired by photograph

December 11, 2015

This week I went to my local Fairfield bank and picked up two copies of next year’s 2016 calendars for Sali and me. The pictures selected for each month were beautiful artistic photographs of local nature scenes. I recognized three of the photographers, friends of mine.

As I was showing and describing the pictures to Sali, one of them caught my eye and I was inspired to write a haiku, which happens around her! After many versions, here’s what I finally came up with.

Spider+Webs-8118

Nature’s Jewelry
A haiku based on a photograph by Jim Davis

tiny drops of dew
strung along a spider’s web
bright pearl necklaces

© Ken Chawkin
December 10+11, 2015
Fairfield, Iowa

Jim Davis, the photographer and a longtime friend, gave me permission to include this spider web photo from the First National Bank calendar, sponsored in part by the Jefferson County Trail Council. It was used for the month of May, Sali’s birth month. You can see more of his beautiful photographs in the calendar, if you have access to it. Visit his website: Jim Davis Images.

I asked Jim when and how he was able to take such a magical picture and he explained it this way:

The conditions for such a photo generally occur in late August and early September. It is an intersection of more spider webs due to onset of fall and warm days with cool nights creating early morning dew that drops off as the heat rises. Within those few days where the dew is created, there is the rare time when the air is still and the webs do not move. Without perfectly still air the dew drops would appear blurry or out of focus.

I turned the calendar upside down and noticed what appears to be Jim’s head and hat reflected in the large clear dewdrop under the leaf. He confirmed it saying his image would appear upside down in the drop.

Enjoy this other nature post and poem: The magic of fireflies is captured in this beautiful short film by @MaharishiU alum Radim Schreiber.

The Atlantic’s Jennie Rothenberg Gritz visited schools where @TMmeditation was being used for stress-reduction and well-being

December 11, 2015

Jennie Rothenberg grew up in Fairfield, Iowa, went to Maharishi School of the Age of Enlightenment, and attended UCBerkeley on a scholarship to study Journalism. She became a professional writer, a wife and a mother. Jennie is a former senior editor at The Atlantic, is now a senior editor at Smithsonian magazine.

The last piece Jennie wrote for The Atlantic, published November 10, 2015, was about the Quiet Time program, promoted by the David Lynch Foundation, and its success sponsoring the Transcendental Meditation technique in schools across the country.

The magazine introduces the article: After growing up with Transcendental Meditation as a spiritual practice, the author visits public schools where it’s being used as a simple tool for stress-reduction and well-being.

In 1974, the year before I was born, my parents had a small wedding in my aunt’s living room and then spent their honeymoon becoming teachers of Transcendental Meditation. Those were the days when just about everyone seemed to be doing it. “Plainly,” wrote the author Adam Smith in The Atlantic’s October 1975 cover story on meditation, “TM was the greatest thing since peach ice cream.” Meditation was enough of a cultural phenomenon that Woody Allen could use it as a punch line. The L.A. party scene in Annie Hall ends with Jeff Goldblum’s character placing a businesslike call to his instructor: “Yeah, I forgot my mantra.”

Considering how many 20-somethings learned to meditate in the 1970s, one might have predicted an explosion of meditating schools in the 1980s. Instead, Americans mostly forgot about the trend as they settled into the Reagan era. My parents were exceptions: They enrolled me in a small private school where the day began and ended with TM. It was an idyllic childhood in many ways, but my classmates and I always knew we lived in a bubble. One summer, at a resort in the Catskills, I listened as my aunt tried to explain my upbringing to a couple of her friends.

“Sure, I remember TM,” one woman replied. “I guess some people got caught up in meditation, just like some people got caught up in drugs.”

“And the rest of us,” her husband finished, “grew up and moved on with our lives.”

So I was fascinated when meditation recently started becoming mainstream again. Coworkers told me about mindfulness apps they were trying and friends mentioned yoga retreats they were planning to attend. The general idea seemed to be that meditation was not so much a technique for spiritual enlightenment as a common-sense lifestyle habit, like getting enough exercise or eating green vegetables. ….

Jennie visied several schools in poor, stressed inner-city locations where children from different ethnic backgrounds and broken homes came to school already traumatized. She wondered how administrators, teachers and students would react to such a program, and how it could be implemented.

It’s hard to change the circumstances that create this kind of stress, though plenty of people are trying. But if you teach kids to meditate in the meantime, the thinking goes, you can help them reduce the stress itself. That reasoning always made sense to me, as someone who has been practicing TM since childhood and seen the research on adults, especially for stress-related problems like heart disease. Struggling schools need lots of things: better food, stronger math programs, and higher-quality teachers, to name just a few. One of those needs seems to be a way to reduce stress so kids can absorb information and go into the world as well-balanced, successful people.

Still, I had a hard time envisioning how meditation programs actually worked when they were dropped suddenly into public schools. Who were the principals who brought them in—did they have hidden mystical streaks, or were their motivations purely practical? Were the teachers enthusiastic or did they see meditation as yet another gimmick imposed on them from the outside? And how did the students really feel about it? Did they roll their eyes when the meditation bell rang or did they actually enjoy it? What was it like to grow up with just meditation—and no spiritual trappings surrounding it?

The article continues with visits to some of the schools where the program was introduced. Jennie interviews principals, teachers, and the students to get their personal reactions to this meditation program and its effects on them.

Read the rest of this objective revealing report: Mantras Before Math Class by Jennie Rothenberg Gritz. This is journalism at its best!

You can follow Jennie Gritz on Twitter.

John Hagelin discusses his Global Union of Scientists for Peace offer to World Leaders

December 11, 2015
Hagelin on Meet The Press

John Hagelin

Huffington Post blogger Jeanne Ball spoke with John Hagelin about his Global Union of Scientists for Peace and their Open Letter to prominent world leaders published in the Times. The interview was posted 12/08/2015 1:00 pm EST.

As governments falter in their struggle to find a solution to unpredictable outbreaks of terror, an international alliance of concerned scientists has offered a possible solution.

The Global Union of Scientists for Peace has recently published an Open Letter to Presidents Obama, Hollande and Putin—and to the leaders of all nations—proposing a scientific alternative to the conventional approach of creating peace through force or violence (International New York Times, December 3, 2015).

In the following interview, Quantum Physicist John Hagelin, President of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, answers questions about this novel, yet scientifically-validated approach.

Read this thought-provoking interview, which includes a short video of John Hagelin explaining how group meditation can bring world peace:

Scientists Propose “Peace-Promoting Technology” To Counter Terrorism: An Interview With Quantum Physicist John Hagelin

See The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin, an in-depth interview on this topic published in Shift, the journal of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS).

See this related Huffington Post article: Collective Consciousness And Meditation: Are We All Interconnected by an Underlying Field?

Psychology Today also asked a similar question: “Can Meditation Change The World?” See Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

As the world struggles to fight terrorism, scientists propose a plan for world peace, Good Magazine reports: World-Renowned Physicist Proposes ‘Peace-Promoting Technology’ to Counter Terrorism.

See this related video presentation: Dr. Tony Nader delivers a special message of Proven Solutions to Terrorism and Conflict.

A New Development

Watch HuffPost Live, Wed. 12/16, 1 PM EST (Noon CST): Dr. John Hagelin on the Solution to Terrorism. #WhatsWorking: Using Meditation Against Terrorism.

Join the conversation tomorrow, when John Hagelin, Bob Roth and Col. Brian Rees from the Global Union of Scientists for Peace join HuffPost Live, to discuss the use of a scientific alternative to violence against terrorism. Share your questions and comments here for this segment: http://huff.lv/1RQxtZb.

If you missed this interview, it’s available for replay:

It is also available on the TM Blog: Is There A Solution To Conflict And War?

Watch this brief edited synopsis of that interview.

Cellist and composer Daniel Sperry performs William Stafford’s poem, “The Way It Is”

December 7, 2015

This is my favorite poem by William Stafford—The Way It Is. I had found a verse from one of the Vedas that extends the theme in the poem to its ultimate conclusion and added it after his poem. I call the grouping uncommon thread … cosmic thread.

Besides this musical video of the poem by Daniel Austin Sperry, it is also available digitally on his new album: Cutting Loose ~ A Tribute To William Stafford. I’ve been listening to the CD and it’s beautiful! I’m ordering some as holiday gifts. You may want to as well.

You can order it on his website where he’s offering bulk discounts on a Five Pack and Ten Pack of CDs. For more videos and news follow him on Facebook.com/PoetrySandwich.

Enjoy other Stafford poems posted on The Uncarved Blog, some of which have also been recorded by Daniel Sperry like, William Stafford—You and Art, and the last poem he wrote the morning of the day he died: “Are you Mr. William Stafford?”

Daniel Sperry is an innovative, genre-stretching cellist, composer, and evocateur from Ashland, OR, who specializes in creating Musical Portraits for individuals as markers for special occasions and as gifts for loved ones. He performs all over the country in house concerts featuring these portraits, the poetry of Rumi, Hafiz and others along with his original music, opera arias, and standards.

See this wonderful video: Moments with Daniel Sperry: Cello in Lithia Park from Daniel Sperry on Vimeo. Read the Ashland Daily Times Article about Daniel in Lithia Park. Discover more about The Story of Daniel.

Transcendental Meditation and lifestyle changes both stimulate genes that reduce blood pressure and extend lifespan

December 7, 2015

A new study published in PLOS ONE found that the Transcendental Meditation technique and lifestyle changes both appear to stimulate genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme associated with reduced blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and mortality. Both stress reduction approaches prevented telomere deterioration, suggesting a possible underlying mechanism for the improved cardiovascular health in a high-risk population. See a graph showing the growth of telomerase in both groups. Read the full press release at EurekAlert/AAAS.

News of the study was reported by ANI and AINS and as a result it went viral all over India and Asia. There are pages of reports on Google News. The Times of India picked it up—Daily meditation can slow ageing and blood pressure—and so did many others reproducing it.

PM Modi Sify

But one of the news reports that stood out to me was at Sify News. They chose a picture of India’s Prime Minister Modi to announce the news. He is seen exiting a plane with his hands together in a namaste pose as if showing respect to Maharishi University and their research scientists! See their full report:  Transcendental Meditation lowers BP, heart and mortality risks.

Another Indian news outlet, The HealthSite, announced the study to its readers in a more instructional way. They had previously published an editorial on TM taking the world by storm, and link to it and previous TM articles from this current report on the new TM study with this well written opening paragraph:

Since the Nobel Prize-winning discovery of the enzyme telomerase in 1984, identifying other biological molecules that lengthen or shorten the protective caps on the ends of chromosomes has been slow going.

A new Maharishi University of Management study found that the Transcendental Meditation technique and lifestyle changes both appear to stimulate genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme that’s associated with reduced blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and mortality. Specifically, these approaches were found to activate two genes that code for telomerase, which adds molecules to the ends of chromosomes, or telomeres, protecting them from deteriorating.

Read the rest of the article: Practise Transcendental Meditation to lower BP, heart and mortality risks.

In the west, Science Codex and Medical Xpress were the first to announce the news. PsychCentral posted Meditation & Lifestyle Both Can Improve Cardio Health. Then, Medical News Today ran two articles, one on the study itself, Transcendental Meditation and lifestyle modification increase telomerase, new study finds, followed by a more in-depth article by MNT’s senior editor and writer Marie Ellis: Can meditating reduce blood pressure?, which is now being referenced in other related articles, like Latinos Post, with their more direct title answering MNT’s question: Meditation Can Help Reduce Blood Pressure – Study.

Other medical blogs are also posting news about this study in more detail. Doctors Health News wrote: Can Transcendental Meditation Reduce Blood Pressure? New Study Says It Can. Syracuse Natural Health Examiner: Transcendental meditation can lower your blood pressure.

The Optimist wrote this great introduction to our study and then linked to the Psych Central article, which reprinted our MUM/EurekAlert press release. See: Transcendental Meditation improves blood pressure and cardio health.

Telomeres are stretches of DNA at the ends of chromosomes that protect our genetic data. Telomere length shortens with age. Researchers also suspect that telomere dysfunction contributes to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. So it’s fantastic to know that we might be able to protect our telomeres a bit. A new study shows that Transcendental Meditation—a technique for avoiding distracting thoughts and promoting a state of relaxed awareness—stimulates genes that produce telomerase, an enzyme that elongates  telomeres. After 16 weeks of meditating, study participants showed significant increases in telomerase gene expression and reductions in blood pressure.

The TMhome website introduced a clear understanding of the role telomeres play on DNA reproduction and the effect meditation, diet and exercise can have on them and our health. See their illustrated explanation why telomeres are the key to our health and aging.

This new scientific evidence at the level of DNA now shows how Transcendental Meditation allows the body to make the necessary changes to repair itself, lower the risks of heart disease, and extend life.

See Dr. Robert Schneider’s presentation at Our Conscious Future: Mind Over DNA: Transforming DNA from the Inside Out.

To learn how the mind can influence our epigenetics, click this link: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Gu33jzWYxQU?rel=0.

John Fagan, professor of molecular biology at Maharishi University of Management and senior author on the study, met with Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi, on Jan 13, 2016. My guess is he may have discussed food safety with the prime minister.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,394 other followers

%d bloggers like this: