Guest: William T. Hathaway reviews The Supreme Awakening, written & compiled by Craig Pearson

February 16, 2020

Author William Hathaway is a frequent guest blogger. His review of The Supreme Awakening appears in 12 online magazines so far, including Conscious Life News. See previous articles by William Hathaway and Craig Pearson posted here on The Uncarved Blog.

The Supreme Awakening

Reviewed by William T. Hathaway

The Supreme Awakening: Experiences of Enlightenment Throughout Time — And How You Can Cultivate Them is the ultimate guide to higher states of consciousness. This latest book from Craig Pearson presents inspiring experiences from mystics and saints, then shows us how we ourselves can live these states permanently in enlightenment.

A sampling from the anthology:

Social reformer and poet Edward Carpenter (England, 1844-1929) describes the stages of transcendental consciousness: “There comes a time … when the … brain is stilled. It does not cease from its natural and joyful activities. But it ceases from that terrified and joyless quest which was inevitable to it as long as its own existence, its own foundation, its own affiliation to the everlasting Being was in question and in doubt. The Man at last lets Thoughts go: he glides past the feeling into the very identity itself, where a glorious all-consciousness leaves no room for separate self-thoughts or emotions. … [A]nd so there comes to him a sense of absolute repose, a consciousness of immense and universal power, such as completely transforms the world for him. … [y]ou come at length to a region of consciousness below or behind thought … a consciousness of quasi-universal quality, and a realization of an altogether vaster self than that to which we are accustomed. … To experience all this with any degree of fullness, is to know that you have passed through Death: because whatever destruction physical death may bring to your local senses and faculties, you know that it will not affect that deeper Self.”

Author Irina Starr (USA, 1911-2002) writes of her experience of unity: “[I]n some peculiar way my consciousness seemed to have expanded until it was present in a general way, far beyond even this planet. I was aware of no specific details of anywhere beyond my immediate vicinity, but I was a vastness somehow, that in no way contradicted or conflicted with my limited individuality. Subject and object had become one — had fused, in some way. There was the objective world around me … but now … there was a vast ‘plus.’ I was both my individual self and in some greater way, ‘I’ was also everything. Not the personal I, but the greater I AM. There were no longer two, only one, I AM.”

Black Elk (USA, 1863-1950), the Sioux medicine man who helped defeat Custer and was injured in the Wounded Knee Massacre, says: “The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the soul of men when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its Powers, and when they realize that at the center of the universe dwells Wakan-Tanka [absolute Being], and that this center is really everywhere, it is within each of us. This is the real Peace, and the others are but reflections of this. The second peace is that which is made between two individuals, and the third is that which is made between two nations. But above all you should understand that there can never be peace between nations until there is first known that true peace which, as I have often said, is within the souls of men.”

Other luminaries in the anthology include Emily Dickinson, Wordsworth, Thoreau, Emerson, Rumi, Rita Carter, Goethe, Mary Austin, Meister Eckhart, Dante, Kabir, St. Teresa, Howard Thurman, Whitman, Rabbi Abraham Kook, Helen Keller, and Einstein.

Although these seekers were brilliant, most of them lacked a technique for systematically producing the experiences, which as a result were usually seldom and brief, glimpses of enlightenment treasured for a lifetime. Now, Pearson states, the Transcendental Meditation technique is enabling hundreds of thousands of ordinary people around the world to experience higher states of consciousness, not just occasionally but on a regular basis. Their descriptions match those of the mystics and saints. A sampling of similar reports from TM meditators:

“The experience of bliss consciousness has become more clear, intense, and stable not only during Transcendental Meditation but also during activity. Now I find that a soft but strong feeling of blissful evenness is present most of the time in both mind and body. Physically it is expressed as an extremely delightful liveliness throughout the body.

“This evenness is so deep and stable that it is able to maintain its status even in the face of great activity. Even  when faced with great  problems, this blissful evenness of mind and body continues. Every day it grows stronger and more stable. This evenness cushions one against all possible disruptions and makes all activity easy and enjoyable. Every place is heaven when you feel that evenness. One is completely self-sufficient. Nothing can prevent one from having that fabulous inner mental and physical blissfulness.”

A report of unity consciousness: “Increasingly I experience everything and everyone as nothing other than my own Self. … It seems that Being … is shining and glistening and even smiling at me from the surface of everything. … It’s as if the inner Being, the Self of everything, somehow rises to the surface and makes itself apparent. … With this experience of my own Self in all things, love begins to flow — love without boundaries, without exceptions, without considerations of any sort. Love flows out towards all that I perceive and seems to flow back to me as well.”

A description of permanent enlightenment: ”’Relative life’ is still there, but it is eternally and completely cloaked in, saturated by, and imbued with this indescribable, attributeless softness of one’s own eternal Self. When that is the ultimate reality for you, life is just softer, more filled with those most fundamental qualities of creation: beauty, love, sweetness, and wholeness, in a perfectly integrated way — in their finest, most mist-like, indescribable value. It is lovely beyond words. … One begins to see that one is not the body at all, not the limited personality, but something beyond that — something eternal, unchanging, unbounded, removed from the fray of what we used to consider daily life. … Never before had it been so obvious that I have always been, that there is no end to me.”

Pearson presents scientific research showing Transcendental Meditation effectively and regularly produces higher states of consciousness. It creates a pattern of brain waves, hormonal levels, and metabolic rates significantly different from meditations based on concentration and control, which are mental activities and therefore less effective at reaching the non-active state of samadhi, transcendental consciousness, in which the mind is alert and aware but free of thoughts. TM uses a special method of non-concentrative thinking that takes the mind effortlessly to the deeper, silent, unbounded realms. There it becomes suffused with the energy, intelligence, and happiness at the source of our Being and brings these qualities back into the active, thinking dimension, where they enrich our lives and improve our performance.

The Supreme Awakening first inspires us, then shows us how to make this inspiration a reality by becoming enlightened ourselves. Pearson has given us a practical guide to living an exalted life. Chapters are posted at https://www.amazon.com/-/de/dp/B079K4LSQ1/ref=sr_1_1?__mk_de_DE=%C3%85M%C3%85%C5%BD%C3%95%C3%91&keywords=Supreme+Awakening&qid=1577014849&s=books&sr=1-1.

*

William T. Hathaway’s novel of the climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted at https://www.johnhuntpublishing.com/cosmicegg-books/our-books/wellsprings. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are posted at http://shattercolors.com/fiction/hathaway_summersnow01.htm.

The Poetry and Color of Love for Valentine's Day

February 15, 2020

Donna Warwick posted this digital painting on her Instagram artsfusionist: “Happy Valentines Day Everyone ! I Love Hue!”

Good homonym! This is so vibrant, like a beating heart! Can you feel it?

Hope you all enjoyed a Happy Valentine’s Day. Whether you were with someone or by yourself, Love Is Love. I emailed most of this content below for Valentine’s Day and decided to post it afterwards with some additions.

The Poetry of Love

For those alone, here is an uplifting poem reminding us to love ourselves: Love after Love, by Derek Walcott, resonates deeply when you first acknowledge yourself. Includes videos of him reading his poetry.

For those sharing love, [i carry your heart with me(i carry it in] by E.E. Cummings is a most beautiful poem about the intimate unity of the lover and the beloved within his heart.

And Emily Dickinson succinctly describes the eternal nature of Love in this short but powerful poem.

Since it was Valentine’s Day, again, I thought I’d mention last year’s post. The audio links have been updated: Dan Fogelberg’s song, Longer, and my 3 love poems complete today’s Valentine’s Day Show. The poems were written for and inspired by my muse and sweetheart Sali. The first two were written earlier in our relationship, the last one after she passed.

The Color of Love

When it comes to art, one artist stands out for me—Marc Chagall. The love for his wife is expressed in his art; his art expresses love in color. He says, “In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of LOVE.”

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of LOVE. — Marc Chagall

This blog post contains the Canadian documentary film, Marc Chagall: The Colours of Love, and 2 short videos. They cover his life and work, and the love of his life, his muse and wife, Bella. Marc Chagall’s paintings contain beautiful colors of love and a joyful floating lightness of being.

These images are from those films: closeups from an early painting of Chagall’s then fiancée Bella Rosenfeld; of Bella and Marc Chagall in Les Amoureux [Lovers] (1928); and in L’Anniversaire [The Birthday] (1915).

Closeup of Bella Rosenfeld, Marc Chagall’s fiancée
Top section of Les Amoureux (1928)
L’Anniversaire (1915)

The Chagall documentary ends with these words about the poet-artist: “He has painted the unity of the universe in all things. His song of songs is really a song of love, like a bouquet of flowers. Marc Chagall’s light, his message, his life, has been a gift to us all.”

May Love Always Be—within and among us expressed in poetry and art.

@bradkeywell interviewed @DAVID_LYNCH on #TranscendentalMeditation @chicagoideas

February 2, 2020

I enjoyed this interview that took place recently at a Chicago Ideas event. Filmmaker David Lynch sat down with entrepreneur Brad Keywell to talk about Transcendental Meditation. David gave an in-depth explanation of what TM is, the value of transcending, how it informs his creativity, and why it’s different from other meditation practices.

David also discussed the benefits that his Foundation’s Quiet Time program has been bringing to traumatized students in stressful Chicago schools to help “Silence the Violence.” They showed an excerpt from a video of educators and students talking about the significant results.

The David Lynch Foundation was one of three organizations that received grants to help lower the crime rate in Chicago schools. The Quiet Time school project was funded and researched by the University of Chicago Crime Lab.

The Chicago Tribune had published a report on the project three years ago. The project was so successful, DLF received another larger grant to expand the program in more schools.

Enjoy this lively discussion. David delivers a compelling message!

#TranscendentalMeditation researcher Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, featured in Thrive Global

January 30, 2020

Based on Dr. Schneider’s recently published TM and heart health studies, which we publicized via EurekAlert!, Thrive Global reached out to us a few weeks ago inviting Dr. Schneider to submit an article on his work. It was published last week, January 24, 2020, in their Wisdom section. I added hyperlinks here to some of the studies mentioned in the article.

Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health

Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University

Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day on campus.
Students at Maharishi International University practice the effortless technique of Transcendental Meditation twice a day.

My colleagues and I have long been concerned about the high rates of cardiovascular disease in the US that have spread throughout the world. Despite advances in modern medicine, heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death globally. One of the reasons for these high rates is the epidemic of stress in modern society. Early in my career, I studied the connection between psychological stress and high blood pressure and heart disease. This was a negative effect of the mind-body connection. About 30 years ago, I decided to investigate how the mind-body-heart connection could be positively managed with effective stress reduction, particularly the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

During that time, we and our colleagues at major academic medical centers in the US, such as Columbia University Medical Center, Medical College of Wisconsin, Cedars Sinai Medical Center and Charles Drew University, received funding from the National Institutes of Health and foundations to study effects of mind-body intervention with Transcendental Meditation in high-risk groups, like African Americans with high blood pressure or established heart disease. The results of this series of well-controlled studies, known as randomized controlled trials, showed that practice of Transcendental Meditation lowered high blood pressure, reduced insulin resistance (aka metabolic syndrome*), reduced atherosclerosis, and prevented abnormal enlargement of the heart (called left ventricular hypertrophy) in one of most recent studies. Some of our published pilot studies suggested improvements in blood flow to the heart and benefits to patients with heart failure.

A landmark study that brought all these findings together followed 200 patients with known heart disease over an average of five years. Half practiced Transcendental Meditation and half attended a class about cardiovascular factors. All participants continued their usual medicines and medical care. At the end of the study, the results showed that the meditating participants had a 48% lower rate of death, heart attack and stroke compared to controls. We believe that this remarkable result was due to redacted risk factors such as high blood pressure, psychological stress, and possibly cardiac enlargement. The results of reduced mortality in long-term TM practitioners were replicated in a separate study of older participants with high blood pressure.  All of these studies have been published in peer-reviewed medical journals, many in top ones like the American Heart Association and American Medical Association.

Based on these findings an American Heart Association scientific statement acknowledged these scientific studies and recommended that Transcendental Meditation be considered in the treatment of all patients with high blood pressure. And that’s a lot of people — according to the most recent guidelines, nearly half of all adults in the US.  The research is continuing, but I would say that if you’re at risk for heart disease — and that’s most men and women — consider managing your mind and body with Transcendental Meditation®. It’s easy to learn and practice, has extensive scientific evidence, and has other positive “benefits” for mental and physical health. It could save your life. For more information, visit https://www.tm.org.

*Video of Dr. Oz presenting TM research at DLF event.

(Click on Page 2 for a photo and Bio of Dr. Schneider.)

John O’Donohue's 4 short lines say it all for poets

January 27, 2020

These 4 short lines by John O’Donohue describe how he lived his creative life—amazed by each revelatory moment, turning them into poems.

Fluent

I would love to live
Like a river flows,
Carried by the surprise
Of its own unfolding.

— John O’Donohue

Enjoy 3 more of his lovely poems: A Blessing of Solitude (Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom); The Inner History of a Day and For a New Beginning (To Bless the Space Between Us: A Book of Blessings).

William Stafford expressed the same notion in his talks and poems of being innocent, spontaneous, and responding creatively in the moment: A Course in Creative Writing, You and Art, and When I Met My Muse.

This poem my son wrote when he was in 6th grade epitomizes this idea: INSPIRATION, a poem by Nathanael Chawkin.

These poems I wrote on the process share in that same sentiment: Writing; Storytelling; and Sometimes Poetry Happens, which turned out to be a commentary on this revealed poem, ODE TO THE ARTIST: Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park.

In our efforts to fluently express ourselves, writing, primarily, is a process of self-discovery. Burghild Nina Holzer says journal writing allows us to discover who we are and what we have to say.

Talking to paper is talking to the divine. Paper is infinitely patient. Each time you scratch on it, you trace part of yourself, and thus part of the world, and thus part of the grammar of the universe. It is a huge language, but each of us tracks his or her particular understanding of it.

WHO ARE YOU?, a poem in the film, Words and Pictures, invites us to write and discover who we are. There’s a fascinating story behind it.

In the words of Donald Hall, “Writing is the process of using language to discover meaning in experience and to communicate it.”

In this collection of Writers on Writing–What Writing Means To Writers, Hall also wrote:

A good writer uses words to discover, and to bring that discovery to other people. He rewrites so that his prose is a pleasure that carries knowledge with it. That pleasure-carrying knowledge comes from self-understanding, and creates understanding in the minds of other people.

#TranscendentalMeditation eases the busy mind improving both emotional and physical well-being

January 24, 2020

Transcendental Meditation – Helping to ease the busy mind

As the UK slowly sheds its prehistoric attitudes to mental health, meditation is coming to the fore as an accessible and achievable way of improving both emotional and physical well-being.

By Steve Holloway, Monday, 20th January 2020.

Published in Brighton & Hove Independent and Bagnor Regis Observer.

Nick Cave (Photo by Fred Duval/Getty Images)

The growing weight of evidence of its effectiveness in tackling all manner of mental and physical maladies make it an attractive prospect for all of the people whose internal monologue isn’t as measured or as supportive as they’d like it to be.

While business leaders have praised the way meditation helps them to deal with extreme levels of stress, the more artistic types have long waxed lyrical about it as a pathway to creativity.

I had attempted meditation in the past, in the less than stressful environs of Brighton Buddhist Centre, but enjoyable and pleasant as it was, I was unable to immediately tame my ‘monkey mind’, and blundered on with the chaotic maelstrom of life.

Mark Heath, a certified teacher of Transcendental Meditation

But then in June last year I was lucky enough to see Nick Cave perform a memorable show at the Brighton Dome, in which the engaging singer-songwriter espoused the benefits of Transcendental Meditation (TM), and cited it as a contributory factor in his continued recovery following the sudden loss of his 15-year-old son Arthur.

Cave has always been a hugely charismatic figure, but his openness and generosity of spirit in the face of such a harrowing experience, was remarkable, and he provided an incredibly positive and persuasive advert for TM.

Inspired by the words and positive actions of the former Godfather of Goth, I got in touch with the Brighton and Hove branch of Transcendental Meditation.

The worldwide organisation, developed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and famously popularised in the UK by The Beatles, has taught its techniques to more than ten million people of all ages, cultures and religions, who learn to meditate in the hope of attaining inner peace and wellness.

David Lynch. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images)

Those techniques are simplicity itself, based on the silent recital of a mantra, whilst seated, for 20 minutes, twice a day.

Film director David Lynch, a passionate advocate of TM, has not missed a single twice-daily meditation in more than 45 years, and has said it has given him ‘effortless access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity and happiness deep within’.

For Sussex residents the pursuit of that happiness begins in the suitably serene surroundings where Mark Heath teaches the principles of Transcendental Meditation in the cosiest and most welcoming of venues at the Brighton and Hove TM Centre on the northern outskirts of Brighton.

An enjoyable one-to-one session included a simple ceremony where I was given my very own personal mantra and immediately encouraged to embark upon the aforementioned twice-daily meditations.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

It was easy as it sounds. And within days, something resembling a meditative state, was, at least intermittently, accessible.

The following week I attended small group sessions with other people who had also just begun their Transcendental Meditation journey, where we discussed our early experiences and Mark, with great enthusiasm and patience, answered our questions.

He also explained the theoretical principles, which he said would subconsciously stop the brain questioning the process and help TM to do its thing.

The mantra is key, obviously, and TM accepts that you won’t immediately be able to banish all other thoughts, but in the moments between the mantra and random thought, will, hopefully, be the moments when you transcend thought.

The Brighton and Hove Transcendental Meditation Centre

There were also plenty of great group meditations (which are available on an open-ended basis after the course concluded) and Mark proved to be the perfect guide, full of warmth and the second great advert for TM I’ve encountered.

A month on from completing the course, and looking forward to more group meditations, I’m largely sticking to the twice-daily programme (sometimes life gets in the way) and noticing some benefits and hopeful for more in the future.

I’m miles away from the beatific glow which seems to come across Mark’s face the moment he begins to meditate, and I haven’t quite reached the joyful depths that David Lynch luxuriates in on a twice-daily basis, but I’m happy in the spiritual beginners pool and poised to go deeper…

To find out more about TM visit: uk.tm.org/brighton

###

Here are two enjoyable articles by other UK writers. Both had tried different types of meditation and were in a position to assess what makes TM different and effective. Tara Gardner working in the US for Glam wrote: How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else. Louise O’Neill in Ireland wrote this Good Opinion piece on Transcendental Meditation.

And speaking of the Beatles, here’s a great cover story on Ringo in Parade. It came out last summer on his 79th birthday. I excerpted his profound comments on life and TM in this post: What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo.

@ladygaga & @Oprah discover they both learned #TranscendentalMeditation from @meditationbob

January 18, 2020

Two weeks ago I was watching this interview between Oprah and Lady Gaga during the launch of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Your Live in Focus Tour in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.

Lady Gaga Talks Mental Health at Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour. Lady Gaga shares a lot of her personal history and mental health situation with Oprah. She’s been living with a great deal of pain from fibromyalgia, explains where it came from, and how she is medically and psychologically dealing with it.

Oprah then asks her about the other things she does to keep herself spiritually sound and centered. Lady Gaga answers, “I meditate. I do Transcendental Meditation. It’s great. Bob Roth taught me.” Oprah says, “Bob Roth taught me.” Lady Gaga whispers to Oprah, “Isn’t he great?” Oprah agrees, “He’s great.” Gaga explains when she misses a meditation, “when I slip up on it, you know it’s not the best, because it’s better when I do, and sometimes when I get in a ton of pain and meditate, it goes away. Amazing!”

Some of us had known that Lady Gaga, born Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, had learned Transcendental Meditation, but it was private. This seems to be the first time she’s come out about it publicly, to Oprah and her audience, and how TM’s been helping her.

After the interview, Oprah went backstage to personally thank Lady Gaga for her bravery, honesty and vulnerability, and how great their talk was. It’s on Oprah’s Instagram page.

I was so surprised by this public revelation that I sent it out to my newsletter subscribers and told Bob Roth @meditationbob, DLF CEO, about it. He hadn’t heard about it yet and was also pleasantly surprised.

Within a short time the David Lynch Foundation tweeted it and posted it on their and Bob‘s Instagram accounts. The video clip was also recently posted on Twitter by Maharishi International University @maharishiuni. By now, this video clip has gone viral globally, so I figured I might as well post it on my blog. Enjoy!

CBS This Morning’s David Begnaud reported on the Behind the Scenes with Oprah: Oprah kicks off wellness tour in Florida with Lady Gaga.

On January 7, 2020, CNBC published: Oprah, Ray Dalio and Lady Gaga swear by this simple meditation technique.

See Ray Dalio’s Principle of the Day: Meditate.

New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

December 26, 2019

A randomized controlled study recently published in the Hypertension issue of Ethnicity & Disease found the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death. It is twice as prevalent among African Americans. LVH and CVD death rates are double in African Americans compared to whites, possibly due to psychosocial stress. EurekAlert! Press Release

Changes in Left Ventricle Mass Index (LVMI) between the TM and HE Groups after 6 Months

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement (LVMI) while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

A randomized controlled study recently published in Ethnicity & Disease in their Autumn 2019 Hypertension issue found that the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique helps to prevent abnormal enlargement of the heart compared to health education (HE) controls. Also known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), it can lead to chronic heart failure and death, and is especially prevalent among African Americans.

Risk factor for cardiovascular disease

Despite advances in medical care, cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the USA. Abnormal enlargement of heart, medically known as left ventricular hypertrophy (LVH), is an important risk factor for CVD. It doubles the risk of heart attacks, arrhythmias, stroke, heart failure, and death from CVD.

Heart disease death rates are significantly higher in African Americans than in whites, in part because the rate of LVH is double in African Americans compared to whites.

The disproportionately high rates are suggested to be associated with the burden of psychosocial stress.

A recent scientific statement from the American Heart Association emphasized the potential for stress-reduction methods to prevent heart disease and premature mortality in African Americans.

Prevented further heart enlargement

The trial included 85 African Americans with high blood pressure who were randomly assigned to Transcendental Meditation or to a health education (HE) control group, in addition to usual medical care.

This trial tested the effects of stress-reducing meditation to prevent LVH in this high-risk population. It found that stress reduction with TM practice prevented heart enlargement in hypertensive African American patients.

After six months, the control group showed nearly 10% progression of abnormal heart enlargement while the TM group maintained their baseline level of heart size.

The findings of this study suggest that TM practice is an effective nondrug method for preventing heart enlargement in African American hypertensives who are especially at high risk of developing associated CVD.

“This is a form of heart disease where nondrug treatments are relatively understudied,” said Professor Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, first author. “Since the physiology of stress contributes to cardiac enlargement, we hypothesized that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation might prevent the disease process.”

Use of echocardiography to detect hypertrophy

Echocardiography is a noninvasive diagnostic test that uses ultrasound waves to create an image of the heart muscle. Ultrasound waves that rebound or echo off the heart can show the size, shape, and movement of the heart’s valves and chambers as well as the flow of blood through the heart. It can therefore be used to detect heart chamber or wall enlargement known as hypertrophy.

Echocardiography was issued at the start of the study to both TM and HE groups. After six months of practice, repeat testing with echocardiography found that the HE control group progressed on cardiac enlargement while the TM group prevented further enlargement. There was a significant change in left ventricle mass index (LVMI) between the groups after the six-month intervention.

11% reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality

Komal Marwaha, M.D., Ph.D., coauthor of the study and an associate professor in the Department of Physiology and Health at MIU, Maharishi International University (formerly Maharishi University of Management) worked on this research as part of her doctoral thesis.

“By preventing left ventricle mass index progression in the present study, TM may reduce the likelihood of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality associated with LVH,” she said. “Patients randomized to practicing the TM technique in the current study had an estimated 11 percent reduced risk of cardiovascular mortality and an 8 percent reduced risk of all-cause mortality compared with the control group.”

Dr. Schneider, dean of MIU’s College of Integrative Medicine, said these reductions are significant. “These results suggest that an effective technique for stress reduction may prevent the progression of left ventricular hypertrophy and thereby help to prevent premature heart disease and cardiac mortality.”

Keith Norris, MD, PhD, Professor of Medicine at UCLA, and one of the study’s co-authors, added: “We hope these findings will lead to more investigations into nondrug interventions for the prevention and early intervention of heart disease that are sorely needed given the high cost of health care in our nation and the impact of health care cost on low income and disproportionately minority communities.”

The research was conducted in conjunction with Martin Luther King Hospital and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in Los Angeles, and was funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.

Possible study limitations

Of the 85 original subjects, roughly 50% in each group were available for the final echocardiograph tests after the 6-month study period. The high attrition might have reduced power for some of the findings.

However, the attrition was not significantly different between the TM and the HE groups, thus reducing potential subject bias in the final sample. Moreover, the attritors and completers were not significantly different in demographic or physiological characteristics at baseline that prevented the occurrence of systematically biased treatment outcomes. No record of compliance for home TM practice was collected. However, the record of meeting attendance was significantly higher in the TM (80.6%) as compared with HE (50.2%) group (P=.001).

###

Ethnicity & Disease: Original Reports: Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Factors Vol 29, No 4 (2019): Stress Reduction in the Prevention of Left Ventricular Hypertrophy: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation and Health Education in Hypertensive African Americans, Robert H. Schneider, Hector F. Myers, Komal Marwaha, Maxwell A. Rainforth, John W. Salerno, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, Charles N. Alexander, Keith C. Norris Ethn Dis. 2019;29(4):577-586; doi:10.18865/ed.29.4.577. Also listed on PubMed.

Related: PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart | Transcendental Meditation may reduce death, heart attack and stroke in heart patients—AHA

News coverage has been positive. The press release has been posted on medical news sites around the world. Johny Fernandez at CBS News in New York puts out a MedDay report on the top health stories in the news and included ours. It was picked up by KOLR 10 CBS News in Springfield, MO, on MedDay – December 27, 2019, and included in their Health and Medical segment. I cued up the video from their YouTube site. It’s also on their OzarksFirst site. It starts at 40 seconds in.

The January 4, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Technique Effective in Preventing Abnormal Heart Enlargement and Reducing Heart Failure. Risk factor for cardiovascular disease reduced.

Jan 7, 2020, Medical Research published a Q&A with Dr. Schneider: Transcendental Meditation To Reduce LVH in African Americans.

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

PET scans show Transcendental Meditation with cardiac rehabilitation increases blood flow to the heart

December 5, 2019

EurekAlert! Summary: Study finds coronary heart disease (CHD) patients who include Transcendental Meditation (TM) with cardiac rehabilitation (CR) increased blood flow to the heart by 20.7%. This was the first study to show TM significantly enhanced lifestyle modification in patients, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure their effect on cardiac function and rehabilitation. The NIH-funded study was conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center in collaboration with the Institute of Prevention Research. See EurekAlert! Press Release.

###

Can more be done besides diet and exercise to better recover from a heart attack, a stroke, or to prevent one? Scientists from Columbia University Irving Medical Center and the Institute for Prevention Research conducted a study, with and without meditation, to find out.

The study, published in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology, found that patients with coronary heart disease who included Transcendental Meditation (TM) with their cardiac rehabilitation regime increased blood flow to the heart by more than 20%.

Titled “Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography”, the pilot study was funded by the National Institutes of Health and conducted at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in collaboration with the Institute for Prevention Research. The research involved 56 patients who had coronary heart disease, including recent heart attack, coronary artery bypass, or angina.

First study of its kind

The project was a groundbreaking proof-of-concept study, in that it was the first to combine Transcendental Meditation with other lifestyle treatment modalities, and the first to use positron emission tomography (PET) to measure the effect of lifestyle mind-body modification on cardiac function.

“This was the first study to show that the cardiovascular benefits of lifestyle modification such as structured exercise and dietary counseling may be enhanced by adding Transcendental Meditation in patients with heart disease,” said Robert Schneider, MD, FACC, co-director of the study and medical director of the Institute for Prevention Research. “It also found that the Transcendental Meditation technique alone was able to reverse the effects of coronary heart disease assessed by PET imaging.”

Considered a gold standard for measuring myocardial flow reserve non-invasively, cardiac PET has diagnostic and prognostic significance in coronary heart disease.

Randomized, controlled pilot study

The researchers randomly divided the subjects into four groups: cardiac rehabilitation, Transcendental Meditation, Transcendental Meditation plus cardiac rehabilitation, or usual care.

The results showed that of the 37 patients who completed posttesting, myocardial blood flow increased by 20.7% in the group that did both Transcendental Meditation and cardiac rehabilitation. Blood flow in the group that practiced Transcendental Meditation alone increased 12.8%. Cardiac rehabilitation by itself showed an improvement of 5.8%. And patients who received the usual treatment showed a decrease in blood flow of -10.3%. Also see graph of Changes in myocardial flow reserves for the combined TM and non-TM groups.

Stress reduction therapies in cardiac rehabilitation

“Although this is a preliminary study, it suggests that managing one’s mind-body connection with Transcendental Meditation can improve the function of the heart in cardiovascular patients,” said Dr. Schneider, who is also dean of Maharishi University of Management’s College of Integrative Medicine.

He said that psychosocial stress is known to be a risk factor for coronary heart disease but that stress reduction therapies aren’t usually included in cardiac rehabilitation.

“More research needs to be done, but this study and previous research strongly suggest that medical professionals should consider utilizing this simple yet effective mind-body intervention in their heart health treatment and prevention programs,” Dr. Schneider said.

Possible mechanism

While it’s not known precisely how Transcendental Meditation would increase blood flow, the researchers speculate that it’s a result of improved endothelial-mediated coronary and arteriolar vasomotor function. That is, reduced levels of stress hormones and possibly inflammation may result in improved function of the endothelial cells that line the coronary arteries. They cite research, which has found that modifying risk factors for cardiovascular disease improves blood flow in the heart.

Limitations of the study

While the study suggests that the Transcendental Meditation technique can increase blood flow in cardiovascular patients, carefully conducted clinical trials with larger sample sizes are needed to confirm the benefit.

“This was a first pilot study designed to determine the size of the effect and feasibility,” Dr. Schneider said. “Of the 56 original subjects, only 37 were available for the final posttesting of blood flow after the 12-week study period. In addition, compliance with cardiac rehabilitation was average, with attendance at exercise sessions about 60%. Also, the subjects practicing Transcendental Meditation may have received more attention than the rehabilitation group. This initial study paves the way for full scale clinical trials that will more rigorously evaluate these effects.”

Transcendental Meditation also reduces risk factors for heart disease

Earlier studies have shown that the Transcendental Meditation technique reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and insulin resistance. A 2012 study found a 48% reduction in heart attack, stroke, and death.

###

Effects of cardiac rehabilitation with and without meditation on myocardial blood flow using quantitative positron emission tomography: A pilot study https://doi.org/10.1007/s12350-019-01884-9.

PubMed: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/31529385.

Some News Coverage

Within 4 days of posting the press release there were well over 12,000 page views on EurekAlert! Some significant science news websites that reported on the study were HealthImaging: Meditation increases blood flow in the heart, PET scans show; and PsychCentral: Transcendental Meditation with Cardiac Rehab Can Increase Blood Flow to Heart.

Gary Null discussed the need for prevention on his show’s podcast and shared news of newly published natural approaches for improving heart health. He included MUM’s study at CUIMC from 26:28 to 27:10.

Related: New study shows Transcendental Meditation prevents abnormal enlargement of the heart, reduces chronic heart failure risk

January 24, 2020, Thrive Global published: Manage Your Mind to Manage Your Heart: Why Transcendental Meditation is Vital for Heart Health. Research studies show regular TM practice reduces risk factors for cardiovascular disease. By Robert Schneider, M.D., FACC, Dean, College of Integrative Medicine, Maharishi International University.

The February 1, 2020 issue of Enjoy TM News published: New Study: TM Helps Patients Recover from Heart Disease. Groundbreaking study reports increased blood flow to heart.

The playful joy of effortless creation displayed by Donna Warwick inspired this haiku turned tanka

November 29, 2019

Author, visual artist, and TM teacher Donna Warwick posts digital paintings on her Instagram as @artsfusionist. She created this painting that expresses the effortless mysterious process of creation. The Absolute becoming Relative. BEing BEcoming. To me it looks like the moment of conception, and also the sprouting of a seed idea. Either way, it’s creation. It inspired me to write this haiku, then extend it to a tanka. Read Donna’s description below.

Effortless Creation

Inspired by a painting by Donna Warwick

I AM THAT I AM
I AM ONE — Become Many
BEING Becoming

I AM therefore I Create
An Idea of My Self

®Ken Chawkin
Nov. 29, 2019

Donna added this description for Thanksgiving Day: Thought and Action:
It is the frictionless flow between thought and action that produces effortless achievement in life. One feels the profound connection between the source of thought and the fulfillment of the action. The sweetest thing is that the result of this is the bliss of experiencing something greater than our small selves. For the true source of all success is not the ego. Nor is it the wide assortment of details about one’s personality/individuality. That is why the experience of unity with unbounded pure consciousness is so fulfilling. Consciousness is that which is shared by all. For me, that experience is one of the natural results of my practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique. On this Thanksgiving I feel waves of gratitude to my TM teacher.


%d bloggers like this: