Celebrities Russell Brand @rustyrockets, @CameronDiaz, @katyperry, and War Veterans Praise #TranscendentalMeditation

June 23, 2017

Here are 3 videos of well-known celebrities Russell Brand, Cameron Diaz, and Katy Perry praising the Transcendental Meditation technique. Veterans Paul Downs and Dusty Baxley join Katy Perry and Bob Roth to discuss how TM saved their lives from the destructive effects of PTSD. Also included is a 4th video—Paul’s powerful testimonial before the U.S. House of Representatives for the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation healing his post-traumatic stress.

Russell Brand on Transcendental Meditation

Last month, comedian, actor, and best-selling author Russell Brand, along with David Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth, were invited to Talks at Google: Russell Brand & Bob Roth: “Meditation, Comedy, New Fatherhood, Recovery, and Life.”

Brand has been practicing Transcendental Meditation for nearly 10 years. He says the technique has been instrumental in fostering creativity, appreciating fatherhood, and maintaining his recovery from addiction. Roth, a 45-year TM teacher, taught Russell to meditate and the two remain close friends.

Bob and Russell discussed the benefits of practicing Transcendental Meditation, how TM has personally helped Russell, and what the David Lynch Foundation is doing to bring meditation to people suffering from stress and trauma. Russell is funny and eloquent throughout, and concludes with a powerful explanation of how change comes about in society, through the power of ideas, and not from the top down, but from the grassroots up. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Cameron Diaz on Transcendental Meditation

Below is a video with Cameron Diaz on OWN’s Oprah Online. Published last July, Diaz shares what TM means to her and how it brings wholeness to her life, especially after a long hot day on a film set. I haven’t seen Oprah’s interview with her, but the text mentions that day. Cameron had told DLF CEO Bob Roth about it over two years earlier during an interview at an event sponsored by Urban Zen. Funds were being raised to support the Foundation’s efforts to bring relief to veterans and their families suffering from the effects of PTSD with scholarships for TM courses.

Bob Roth: “Tell us about the time when you were filming and it was hot and you couldn’t remember..”

Cameron Diaz: “I was doing a film and we had been filming in Boston and we came to LA for a week. We went from the Fall, nice and cozy, to LA which was about 90 degrees in the valley at the zoo, parking lot, under a tent, in a car, under lights, with the windows up, no air conditioning. It was about 1000 degrees in the car, and I had a monologue and I couldn’t remember my lines. I knew I knew them; I couldn’t access them.”

“So I said, I need 25 minutes, I just need 25 minutes. I ran back to my trailer and I re-booted and did my 20 minute meditation. I came back in and nailed it! Done. Thank you very much. And we were out of there in like 20 minutes.”

I enjoyed her description of what she loves about TM in that interview. And the metaphor she intelligently uses to describe the power of TM in this video from the OWN show, Cameron Diaz: This is Why Meditation is So Powerful, is creative and brilliant!

This month TMhome.com put up a great post on Cameron Diaz and TM.

Katy Perry on Transcendental Meditation

A week later TMhome posted Katy Perry speaks with veterans about the healing effects of TM on her Witness World Wide video marathon. Katy also spoke earlier with Bob Roth about TM, which starts at 6:45. Roth arrives with MTV and E! News host Zuri Hall who wanted to ask Katy and Bob about TM. Katy tells Zuri that she learned TM from Bobby during her wedding to Russell Brand, which took place in India. The marriage didn’t last, but she continued to meditate. Katy told her she gets her best ideas after meditation.

Katy tries to live her life from love, not fear. TM has done this for her. This idea is more profoundly explained by veterans Paul Downs and Dusty Baxley who later join Katy and Bob after Zuri leaves. Dusty is the executive director of the Boulder Crest Retreat and a TM teacher. He taught Paul to meditate. They actually all meditate together for 20 minutes, which you can see in this clip taken from the 72-hour live-streaming launch for Katy’s new album.

Marine Veteran Paul Downs on Transcendental Meditation

Marine Veteran Paul Downs also testified before the U.S. House of Representatives for the Committee on Veterans’ Affairs on the benefits of Transcendental Meditation healing his post-traumatic stress. This video is borrowed from the David Lynch Foundation Facebook page.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation and the David Lynch Foundation, visit www.tm.org and www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Cliffhouse and Arbutus blossoms inspire haiku by Ken Chawkin and paintings by Betsy Randel

May 15, 2017

Today, I posted this haiku and the story behind it with these images on a website page about Arbutus Tree blossoms. I kept expanding and refining the story and decided to post it here as well. It’s approved and ready to be shared: Arbutus Flower Inspires Haiku.

The Cliffhouse Cottage deck

About 20 years ago, a friend of mine took me on a holiday weekend getaway to Galiano Island. We stayed at The Cliffhouse Cottage. It was beautiful there! I remember sitting on the deck at dusk looking out over the tranquil ocean. Everything was completely still. Quiet. I heard a small sound, like something had fallen from somewhere, and wondered what it was. I bent down and found a small white flower beside my chair. It resembled a tiny bell. I then looked up and saw a cluster of flower blossoms in the tree above me. My friend said it was an Arbutus Tree. That experience inspired this haiku.

Cliffhouse Deck at Dusk

Tiny bells call me
Arbutus blossoms falling
Sounding the Silence

© Ken Chawkin

The poem was later included in a grouping titled: 13 Ways to Write Haiku: A Poet’s Dozen, and published in The Dryland Fish, An Anthology of Contemporary Iowa Poets, December 12, 2003.

Galiano Island Art Cards by Betsy Randel

My friend, Betsy Randel, made these beautiful watercolor cards of the Arbutus Tree and Cliffhouse. You can see them, and more, with related poems, in the Island Life Art Cards section of her website, Art that Heals.

A Remembrance of Maharishi by James Powell

May 10, 2017
May 4, 2017 | Santa Barbara Independent | Opinion | In Memoriam
His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi (photo by Al Bourdet)

His Holiness Maharishi Mahesh Yogi 1911*-2008
Thursday, March 13, 2008
By James Powell

The first time I met Maharishi Mahesh Yogi was in Malibu, on the beach.

It was a typical summer day in Southern California. Not much was happening. There was a south swell. From time to time a sun worshiper atop a towel would flip over, a seagull would sail off into the fog, or a large set of waves would come crashing in.

As I recall, I stood on the beach with some of my surfing buddies. We were probably dressed in the surfer’s uniform of the era: corduroy pants and white Penney’s T-shirts covered by Pendeltons, not tucked in. Unlike most surfers on most beaches that day, however, we each held in our hands a bouquet of flowers.

Suddenly cars arrived. Doors were flung open. A cameraman emerged, and next some guys in suits. A brown, sandaled foot from within the car could be seen feeling for the ground, and then—bearded and wearing a long, flowing, white dhoti—an Indian man stepped out onto the dirt road. He seemed enveloped in a nimbus of such serenity and light that, seeing him, the effect was similar to what one feels deep in a canyon before dawn, when suddenly the sun bursts over the rim.

With the camera now trained on us—the surfer-boy extras in a documentary film—Maharishi approached, clearly enjoying the eternity in each step as he floated across the sand. As he drew near, something happened that I was not at all prepared for. My soul began to swoon. In place of the crashing of the waves, which now seemed far in the distance, was an immensely beautiful sea of silent consciousness. It was, to put it mildly, simply adorable. Lost in it, I could neither speak nor move. When Maharishi tugged on my flowers, I was unable to release my grip. He looked into my eyes, touched my hand, and my fingers opened.

It would be impossible to forget the blithe beauty of those eyes. He looked into each of ours, playfully. After accepting our flowers he looked out to sea, and then, regarding us again and smiling like the happiest man on earth, he asked, “Are you enjoying the ocean?”

Thus began my transcendental studies—lessons such as I had never known. The classroom was the Heart; the assignment was to locate the point within where the soul loses its boundaries and becomes absorbed in something infinite.

Typically, by the time Maharishi arrived at his seat in any of the countless lecture halls he spoke in around the world, he would be hugging to his chest hundreds of flowers accepted from students greeting him on his way in. And in each one of those exchanges was a moment as spiritually transforming as the one I had known on the beach. Yet, Maharishi’s aim was not to establish a personality cult. Each and every flower he accepted in each and every lecture hall he would place reverently before the image of his beloved teacher, Guru Dev, to whom he dedicated every instant of his life. And he tirelessly encouraged each of us to dive into the ocean of consciousness his Guru Dev embodied, by diving deep within our hearts during meditation.

Maharishi, in speaking of his teacher, always emphasized that the events in a spiritually illumined life are not so important. What is important is the state of his or her enlightenment. So I will not list all Maharishi’s many accomplishments throughout the world. Perhaps something of his level of presence can be felt through these few words.

Maharishi visited Santa Barbara on several occasions because some of his dearest friends lived here: Walter and Rae Koch, the family of Tom and Susan Headley, and Arthur and Christina Granville. Over the past few decades, teachers at Santa Barbara’s Transcendental Meditation center instructed more than 10,000 Santa Barbarans in meditation. In addition, Santa Barbara was at one time the home of the fledgling Maharishi International University, now located in Fairfield, Iowa.

“Are you enjoying the ocean?” Although those were the first words I had ever heard him speak, through the years I realized that they contained his entire teaching. For Maharishi was absolutely certain of one fact: His soul was forever floating within an ocean of unbounded bliss. He was well aware that the state of life he was living was adorable, and that anyone could begin to live it.

* The year of Maharishi’s birth is unknown but is believed to have been between 1911 and 1918.

###

Personal note: I remember reading this beautifully written remembrance of Maharishi when it first appeared, March 13, 2008, in the Santa Barbara Independent. The film being made about Maharishi at the time was never completed. But Alan Waite, who brought out the film crew, would later go on to make, at Maharishi’s request, a film about him called, Sage for a New Generation (1968). It won an award in 1969 for best documentary film at the first Hollywood Film Festival. The judges said they liked the “patchwork style of film-making” when they gave Alan the award. Segments of the film were later included in the International History Channel documentary on Maharishi Mahesh Yogi that I helped produce.

I had attended Maharishi International University, MIU, in Goleta, California, in 1974, and moved to the Fairfield, Iowa campus to complete my last course before returning to Montreal, Canada. MIU would later change its name to Maharishi University of Management, MUM, www.mum.edu.

Read the rest of this entry »

Artist and writer Betsy Randel is featured in the Vancouver @TMwomen Centre Newsletter

May 10, 2017

Here is a self-reflective biographical introduction a friend of mine wrote that was published in the Vancouver TM for Women Centre Newsletter in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Each issue they introduce someone to the meditating community. Artist, writer and photographer Betsy Randel was featured in their May 2017 issue. Centre Director Deboragh Varnel said Betsy’s testimonial was really deep and authentic. I agree, which is why I reproduced it here with the accompanying photographs.

TM for Women logo

Swans Photo by Betsy Randel

Swans photo by Betsy Randel

Getting To Know You…Meet Betsy Randel

Betsy Randel at her artshow

Betsy Randel in front of her paintings at an art show

I was born in California to a middle class family but even as a child always found myself at odds with the interactions of people around me—the seeming superficiality of their concerns and lives. I found peace and solace in the beauty of nature—the skies, clouds, flowers and trees.

I left my family home to marry at the young age of 18 and by 20 found myself divorced, feeling adrift in my life. In the college I was halfheartedly attending, one teacher stood out for me and we became friends.

She suggested I start meditating with TM, which is what she had been practicing. I had never heard of it but found myself in the heart of L.A. being instructed in the practice in 1970 when I was 21.

I felt my life start to make sense for the first time from my first deep dive into consciousness through TM.

One month after being initiated, I was again guided by my friend to attend a one-month course with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at Humboldt State College in California.

There I experienced wisdom and great peace spoken of by Maharishi being lived by the many practitioners of all ages there. I was very moved to see and feel the harmony with many meditating together.

I became a teacher of TM in 1973 and continued my path of learning and experiencing more through advanced courses and attending MUM (Maharishi University of Management) in Iowa where I met my husband, a Canadian teacher of TM.

I went on to raise two children and to complete my Certificate in Fine Arts at Emily Carr University in Vancouver, B.C.

What I really want to let people know is that although the surface of my life hasn’t always been easy or smooth, having that underlying peace of twice a day meditation has kept me healthy and at peace through even the roughest times.

I have been meditating now for 47 years and I am so grateful for it and to Maharishi who made great efforts to bring this knowledge to the western world where the outer values are so strong and so focused on, but the inner value of life is mostly lost.

As one ages, if one’s attention is focused only on the outer body and life changes, one can feel regretful and despairing.

But if one has this technique that works like no other, to experience the deep peace within and eternal non-changing level of life, one feels safe with outer changes and more resilient. One also stays healthier and happier.

It is such a gift. The greatest gift one can give to oneself.

Best wishes,

Betsy

Betsy Randel is an artist and writer living in Vancouver, BC, Canada. Visit her website to see more of her beautiful artwork www.artthatheals.org.

Personal note: This is a longer version. When Betsy attended MUM it was known as MIU, Maharishi International University. See www.mum.edu.

Also see Cliffhouse and Arbutus blossoms inspire haiku by Ken Chawkin and paintings by Betsy Randel.

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Don Arney, inventor of aerial wildfire-fighting @Bambi_Bucket, inducted into @InventorsHOF #NIHF17 #NightAtTheNIHF

May 7, 2017
Don Arney Inventors Hall Of Fame

Don Arney, newly inducted into the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame, stands under the medal, with Edison and Lincoln looking on. The inscription reads: The Patent System Added The Fuel Of Interest To The Fire Of Genius.*

Induction at the Inventors Hall of Fame

The National Inventors Hall of Fame‘s induction ceremony took place Thursday evening, May 4, 2017 in the majestic central hall of the National Building Museum, in Washington, D.C., where presidential inaugural balls are usually held. Don Arney, who attended, said, “It is beyond awesome!”

Forbes reported, Fifteen amazing innovators became 2017 inductees into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.* Don Arney, inventor of the Bambi Bucket® for Aerial Firefighting, is one of them! Frederick E. Allen, Forbes Leadership Editor, wrote an article on the evening’s activities: To Become A Great Innovator, Get Left Back In Fourth Grade: Induction At The Inventors Hall Of Fame. Here’s an excerpt mentioning Don:

Don Arney invented the Bambi Bucket, which carries and shoots out huge quantities of water to fight forest fires, suspended from a helicopter. It is used in more than 110 countries. He said he owed his success to Transcendental Meditation, which he discovered after a spiritual journey that began when he found himself “sitting in the university library wondering if facts are all there is. . . . I’ve been doing it for 47 years now, twice a day, every day.” He said TM has helped him understand that when it comes to invention, or any kind of creativity, “you don’t do it yourself. Those things are gifts that come to you.”

When the announcement came out two months ago about Don Arney being selected as one of the NIHF inductees for 2017,  Derrick Penner interviewed him and wrote an excellent article for the Vancouver Sun: B.C. inventor of wildfire-fighting Bambi Bucket inducted to hall of fame.

The Don Arney Story

Don Arney, 2017 NIHF Inductee

You can see several photos of Don at the National Inventors Hall of Fame 45th Annual Induction Ceremony, especially in the Illumination Ceremony, being inducted, and with other honorees. This one of Don standing in front of his official portrait is very cool!

The NIHF also showed an impressive Induction Video of Don Arney telling the story of how he invented the Bambi Bucket. Filmed from his beautiful home on Salt Spring Island, Don talks about mining the mind for ideas at deeper levels, much like David Lynch describes in his book, Catching The Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

Don has found “that meditating is a completely non-directed process, and inventing has to be the same.” He explains, “you know all of the things you’re going to be doing as you engage in the process, but you don’t direct it.” What he finds is that the answers come, and organize, on a very profound level. “They bubble up, and very quickly and innocently the solution appears.”

There’s elegance in simplicity

Another shorter video, Road to NIHF – Don Arney, looks like an interesting outtake from the production of The Don Arney Story. For Don, getting and building a new idea is a very exhilarating and blissful process. Like Joseph Campbell following his bliss, Don says, “you kinda follow your charm and see what’s there.” An intelligent observer, he saw the “elegance in simplicity,” how one thing could be adapted, improved upon, and applied in a whole new way—which led to the Bambi Bucket.

The NIHF will probably post the Induction Ceremony on their YouTube channel, but I was able to find it in their Facebook Time line. So you can watch it here. The evening was hosted by Mo Rocca. He introduces Don Arney around 21:38, the induction video is shown, Don is then officially inducted, and he speaks for around 3 1/2 minutes.

When I asked Don for a copy of his acceptance speech he told me: “I had a prepared speech and ditched it at the last minute and spoke off the cuff.” Don’t know what he had planned but his talk comes across as genuine and sincere. Don acknowledges the power of his decades-long Transcendental Meditation practice, twice a day since 1970, to clear the mind and enhance his creativity, which allows him to mine the “nuggets of information” and “kernels of innovation” as gifts that come to him.

Don also pays an emotional tribute to his longtime SEI Industries business partner, Mark McCooey, and invites him to stand and be recognized. Mark was able to transform Don’s invention into an iconic product sold around the world. Their patent commands over 95 percent of the international market. Bambi Buckets come in a range of sizes and capacities and are sold in 110 countries. They were also used to cool Japan’s Fukushima nuclear site after the 2011 tsunami. The Bambi Bucket has saved forests, homes and lives. These facts, plus the simplicity, effectiveness and ubiquity of the product was why the NIHF chose Don Arney as one of their 2017 inductees.

In an earlier newsletter I had included a video of the 2017 National Inventors Hall of Fame Inductee Class. You hear Don’s voice in the opening scene (00:09) and then see him with footage around his home on beautiful Salt Spring Island (until 00:21); later at 1:24 to 1:31 talking about clearing the mind as an essential part of the inventing process; and again, visually, at 2:10-2:12, and 2:15. Here is that video.

*Since our founding in 1973, the National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) has inducted more than 500 visionary men and women who conceived, patented, and advanced the greatest technological achievements of our nation.

Personal note: As we get older, it’s interesting to see how we are ending up in the latter part of our lives, with what we’ve accomplished, intended or otherwise. It’s also great to celebrate our friends’ accomplishments, especially when they’re connected to Maharishi and what he taught us. I was impressed that Don acknowledged how TM had impacted his life and career, how he highlighted it in the video and in his acceptance speech!

I’ve known Don Arney, and Mark McCooey, since we were young meditators. I’ve seen him progress from a dreamy inventor to a very successful businessman and innovator, doing good for the planet. Those of us who know and love Don and Mark are proud of them and their accomplishments. Their support of the TM Movement in Canada is also very much appreciated.

More: Bambi Bucket inventor Don Arney on TM as a tool for innovation.

Fortune, Forbes, Business Insider report on the beneficial effects of @TMmeditation in business

May 4, 2017

There’s been a strong interest in meditation lately among stressed, high-powered Wall Street bankers, investors, and CEOs. Many extol the virtues of Transcendental Meditation, aka TM. One investor describes TM as “Low investment, High return.” Here are a few of the many articles in such leading publications as Fortune, Forbes, and Business Insider.

Fortune reports: This Banking CEO Swears by Meditation. Barry Sommers (J.P. Morgan) has been doing Transcendental Meditation twice a day for the last ten years. He says he saw major positive changes in a longtime friend and colleague. Sommers then learned about TM from Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation. Watch this dynamic video clip from Fortune’s second annual Brainstorm Health conference, moderated by Arianna Huffington. It’s embedded in this Fortune article: Why America’s Top Bosses Love Sleep and Meditation, part of which is excerpted here:

CEO Barry Sommers speaks on TM at Fortune's 2nd annual Brainstorm Health conference

CEO Barry Sommers praises TM at Fortune’s Brainstorm Health conference

Some corners of corporate America have long had a culture that wears its long and grueling hours like a badge of honor. Now a group of executives is trying to change that by opening up about how they each found balance in their own lives and by making wellness a priority at their companies.

“I’ve found in a culture like Wall Street, people are obsessed with how many hours people work,” said Barry Sommers, CEO of Wealth Management at J.P. Morgan Chase, during Fortune’s second annual Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego on Tuesday. “Way too many people are getting out of there as fast as they can because they’re totally burnt out.”

Sommers decided to take his health into his own hands a decade ago after someone he’d known personally and professionally for 30 years started doing Transcendental Meditation. “It transformed this person’s life,” he said. “I saw a different person.”

Sommers has now been doing Transcendental Meditation 20 minutes two times a day for a decade. And he prioritizes sleep, getting seven and half to eight hours every night. “I changed my schedule and lifestyle,” he said. “When I do a dinner, we’ll be at the restaurant at 5pm, not at 8pm.” He said his kids make fun of it, but he wakes up every morning “incredibly happy.” If there’s a problem at the office, his employees know to call the house and his wife will wake him up. But rarely is there anything so important that it can’t wait until the morning, he said.

“This goes completely against mainstream assumption that J.P. Morgan is the boiler room of burnout,” said Arianna Huffington, the founder and CEO of Thrive Global, who moderated the panel.

Forbes, France also covered this topic: Transcendental Meditation: The Secret Weapon of Leaders, which includes this embedded video of Ken Gunsberger, from the Center for Leadership Performance.

Ken Gunsberger, VP, UBS Wealth Management in New York .png

Ken Gunsberger, VP, UBS Wealth Management New York, doing his TM

Writer Catherine Nivez interviewed Wall Street investor and TM meditator Ken Gunsberger who refers to TM as “Low investment, High return.” Vice President of UBS Wealth Management in New York, Kenneth Gunsberger manages his clients’ fortunes, market competition and professional stress. Leonard Stein, TM Teacher representing DLF in Geneva, is also quoted extensively in this excellent article.

In the video, Ken expresses a concern to his NY TM instructor: “How am I gonna know when I’m “in the zone” when I’m meditating? The reply he was given: “You’re not. The goal is to not be in the zone when you’re meditating. The goal is to be in the zone when you’re done. When you’re in that meeting at work. When you’re with your kids. When you’re with your spouse. That’s when you wanna be in the zone.”

Ken adds: “And because of the TM it has enabled me to do a much better job all across the board.” Ken said TM “literally changed my life.” After meditating only two and a half months his business increased; he had the best month in twenty-five years. Even his relationship with his daughter improved. He sums up the results of his TM practice this way: “Better choices. Better allocation of energy. Better results.”

Click on the link to watch to the rest of the video. Click the title to read the article. If you don’t understand French, use Google Translate. It’s worth the effort.

Business Insider has written before about TM in Business. Recently, Richard Feloni wrote a comprehensive report: Transcendental Meditation, which Bridgewater’s Ray Dalio calls ‘the single biggest influence’ on his life, is taking over Wall Street. It was republished in many places, including SFGATE. Here is an excerpt:

Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates, world's largest hedge fund

Ray Dalio, Founder, Bridgewater Associates, world’s largest hedge fund

Around eight years ago, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio introduced Transcendental Meditation to his then—735 employees.

Dalio had already established a unique, intense culture at Bridgewater that he likes to say is akin to being part of an ” intellectual Navy SEALs ,” and he believed that Transcendental Meditation (TM) would work as an effective counterbalance.

“I did it because it’s the greatest gift I could give anyone—it brings about equanimity, creativity and peace,” Dalio told me via email.

Since then, TM has popped into the mainstream, and over the last three years, the David Lynch Foundation TM center has taught almost 2,500 professionals, with roughly 55% of those from Wall Street, and 1,150 of those in 2016 alone.

Read the rest of this fabulous article, one of the best yet, and other TM articles archived on their website.

Growth, a spontaneous haiku/tanka @kenchawkin

April 11, 2017

Here’s a little poem that came about as I was waking up on a Saturday morning, April 1, 2017. Around 7:15 a.m. CT, I reached for my journal and started writing it down. It took about 3 minutes. I had been thinking about life and how we all go through a series of lessons, a process of self-realization, whether we know it or not, and this poem started forming itself in my mind, first as a haiku, and then extended to a tanka.

Growth
A spontaneous haiku/tanka

Whatever happens
to and by you is also
happening for you

Everything is a lesson
for you to learn and grow from

© Ken Chawkin

Celebrating Poetry Month with one of my poems, Poetry—The Art of the Voice, and what inspired it

April 10, 2017

Since 1996, the Academy of American Poets have designated April as National Poetry Month as a way to increase awareness and appreciation of poetry in the United States. Since 1998, National Poetry Month has also been celebrated each April in Canada. Being a Canadian living in the United States, I have 2 reasons to celebrate it with a poem I wrote on the subject 17.5 years ago. I’d also like to share what inspired me to write it.

One morning, while recuperating from a cold in my room, I had been listening to the Diane Rehm Show. At the end she announced her guest for the next day, Bill Moyers, who would talk about his latest poetry project. I tuned in and recorded it on Tues, Oct 05, 1999, 10-11 a.m. ET.

In that episode of the show, Moyers discussed his upcoming PBS poetry special: Fooling with Words with Bill Moyers, the result of a visit to the Dodge Poetry Festival, which featured readings by US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky and other leading poets. He also mentioned his accompanying book, Fooling With Words: A Celebration of Poets and Their Craft (William Morrow). You can actually see Part One and Part Two of Fooling With Words, produced by and archived at Moyers & Company.

Moyers mentioned that television lends itself well to the human voice reading poetry. He said, “Poetry is music for the human voice,” but what really made an impression on him was watching “people listening to poetry.” His cameras focused in on both the poets reading their poems, and members of the audience listening attentively.

What Bill Moyers said about this dynamic caught my attention: “Poetry is reflected in the face of the listener, in the eyes, and in the intensity of the listener’s response. It’s like a mirror to the poet’s own face. And you watch these faces and you really see that poetry is sinking in, and meeting an audience in that individual listener.”

Diane and Bill then invited 3 poets on the show to read a poem and explain how they came to write it: Marge Piercy, Mark Strand (16:44), and Jane Hirshfield (32:57). After listening to the ideas and images expressed in the conversations and poems, I was so inspired that I wrote a poem about it called: Poetry—The Art of the Voice.

Poetry—The Art of the Voice

How fine will your breath become
from listening to these words?
How soft will they seem to be
as they settle through the mind
like silent snowflakes falling
from a windless winter sky?

I often marvel at the mystery—
how words can work
on a listener’s heart and mind,
upon hearing a poet’s thoughts,
a poet’s breath, flowing
from an inner voice—

a windless wind, speaking
through a voiceless voice.

© Ken Chawkin

Years later, when Freddy Fonseca put out a call for poems from Fairfield poets for This Enduring Gift-A Flowering of Fairfield Poetry (2010), I sent it in along with some other poems.  At Freddy’s suggestion I changed one word, which caused me to refine it even more, taking it to the intended level. He published it, five haiku, and a tanka, and later selected it as POEM OF THE DAY: Poetry – The Art of the Voice, by Ken Chawkin.

Over the years, Bill Moyers has welcomed some of America’s best poets to share their works and inspiration. Many of those writers have performed at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, which Bill and his colleagues covered for television specials including Fooling with Words (1999), The Language of Life (1995) and Sounds of Poetry (1999). Enjoy Poets in Performance, a showcase of such poetry from past and recent productions from Moyers & Company, performed by the poets who dreamed them up, or by other artists who, like Bill, simply adore poetry.

Follow-up study suggests large advanced TM groups reduced murder rates in large US cities

March 30, 2017

Large groups practicing the advanced Transcendental Meditation program were associated with significant reductions in murder rates in US urban areas during the period 2007–2010

A follow-up study in the Journal of Health and Environmental Research examines a novel proposed approach to help reduce murder rates in large US urban areas. In a prospective social experiment from 2007 to 2010, practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program by a large group at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa was associated with a 28.4% reduction in murder rates in 206 US urban areas, preventing an estimated 4,136 deaths.

JHER 2017 Fig 1. Reduced Murder Rate in 206 Urban Areas

A slightly rising trend in the urban murder rate during the baseline was reversed significantly when the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group exceeded 1,725 participants in January 2007 (vertical dashed line).

Follow-up study suggests group meditation reduced murder rates in large US cities

Following up on a 2016 study on group meditation that found a 21.2% reduction in the national homicide rate during the period 2007–2010, a new study focusing on 206 large US urban areas found an even greater decrease of 28.4% in the murder rate. In both studies, the reductions during the period 2007–2010 were in comparison to the baseline period 2002–2006.

In their study, published in the Journal of Health and Environmental Research, the authors suggest that these results are consistent with the hypothesis that a sufficiently large group practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique and its advanced program, the TM-Sidhi® program would lead to reduced societal stress, as reflected in reduced rates of murder and violence. This group practice is said to create a positive effect in the environment due to a hypothesized “field effect of consciousness.”

During 2007–2010, the size of the TM-Sidhi group located at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, was above or near 1,725 participants, the size predicted to have a positive influence on the US quality of life. This predicted threshold represents the square root of 1% of the US population at that time.

“In view of the recent increases in murder rates in large US cities, the results of this prospective social experiment should be of particular interest to government policy makers seeking an effective method of reducing urban violence,” said lead author Dr. Kenneth Cavanaugh.

“This study and 17 other peer-reviewed studies suggest that one’s individual consciousness is directly connected to an underlying, universal field of consciousness, and that by collectively enlivening that universal field through the Transcendental Meditation technique, such a group can have a positive effect on the quality of life in society,” added coauthor Dr. Michael Dillbeck.

28.4% reduction compared to previous four-year period

The study found that a slightly increasing trend in murder rate during the baseline period 2002 to 2006 shifted significantly to a declining trend during the four-year period 2007 through 2010. As a result, the urban murder rate was reduced 28.4% relative to the 2002–2006 average. The researchers estimated 4,136 murders in the 206 cities were averted by the significantly reduced trend in murder rates.

They calculated that the probability that the reduced trend in murder rates could simply be due to chance was 1 in 10 million million.

Rising murder rates cause concern

Despite long-term declines in US murder and other violent crime rates from their peak in the early 1990s, recent increases in these rates have led to heightened concern among policy makers and the general public.

Beginning at historically low levels not experienced since the early 1960s, the national murder rate (murder and non-negligent manslaughter) increased 10.8% in 2015, the largest increase in 25 years. Ten large cities with an average population of about one million experienced a disproportionately large surge in homicides during 2015. Preliminary data indicate that continued increases in national murder rates in 2016 were also being driven by a handful of large US cities.

“The 2015–2016 increase in US murder and violent crime rates, especially in urban areas, highlights the need to consider new, alternative approaches to reducing violence that might help address this important national issue,” said Dr. Dillbeck.

Using time series analysis to compare trends

The researchers first calculated a baseline trend for monthly murder rates during 2002–2006 for all 206 urban areas over 100,000 population for which uninterrupted FBI data were available. They then used time series intervention analysis to compare that baseline with the corresponding trend for the intervention period 2007–2010.

A slightly rising trend in the urban murder rate (see Figures 1 and 2) during the baseline was reversed significantly when the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group exceeded 1,725 participants beginning in January 2007 (vertical dashed line in Figure 1). This declining trend continued through 2010. (The irregular ups and downs of the murder rate shown in Figure 1 are largely due to seasonal fluctuations around the trend.)

G25. Urban murder bw

This chart shows the slightly rising trend in the urban murder rate 2002-2006 (left bar), the declining trend 2007-2010 (middle bar), and the highly significant change in trend (right bar).

A hypothesized “field effect of consciousness”

The Transcendental Meditation technique is said to allow the mind to settle down to quieter states and ultimately experience “pure consciousness” or “pure awareness,” in which the mind is aware but without an object of thought. EEG research and subjective reports suggest the existence of this unique state. Research has found that experience of this state results in benefits such as reduced stress and increased brain integration.

According to Dr. Cavanaugh, “The basis for the hypothesized effect on society is that consciousness in its pure form, pure consciousness, has a field-like character and is a universal field at the basis of everyone’s thought and behavior. When the participants in a group equal to or exceeding the square root of one percent of the entire population are experiencing pure consciousness during group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, the field of pure consciousness is enlivened in the entire population. This will positively influence all others in society, leading to development in the same holistic direction as experienced by individuals practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique.”

Reduction not explainable by factors such as policing

The authors noted that reductions in the trends of murder rates occurred at the predicted time and in the predicted direction, and this reduction could not be predicted from baseline trends or seasonal cycles.

The researchers also were able to rule out other alternative explanations. The reduction in murder rates could not be explained by such factors as unemployment and national economic conditions, changes in incarceration rates, police strategy and police technology, urban demographics, police reporting standards, or temperature changes. And for the first time in a major economic downturn since 1945, the murder and violent crime rates failed to rise during the severe recession of December 2007 to June 2009.

The authors point out that the study’s findings are especially noteworthy because these 206 large urban areas pose a particularly difficult challenge to any proposed initiative to help reduce urban rates of murder and violence. These cities experience higher poverty rates, lower educational levels, higher unemployment, greater social instability, and other predictors of higher rates of violent crime than the rest of the US.

A total of eighteen peer-reviewed articles have now been published validating the prediction by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, that a TM-Sidhi group of this size would lead to reduced societal stress, as reflected in reduced crime, violence, accidents, illness, and increased positive trends in society.

Fourth study in a series

The study, titled “Field Effects of Consciousness and Reduction in US Urban Murder Rates: Evaluation of a Prospective, Quasi-Experiment,” was published in the Journal of Health and Environmental Research, March 2017.

This article is the fourth in a series that comprehensively evaluates the impact of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group on the US quality of life and public health.

The first in the series, published in 2016 in SAGE Open journal, reported a highly significant 21.2% reduction in the US national homicide rate during the same 2007–2010 period, resulting in the prevention of an estimated 8,157 homicides. A reduction of 18.5% in violent crime rates in 206 urban areas was also found, thus averting an estimated 186,774 violent crimes.

The second article in the series, published in the January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, found a highly significant reduction of 20.6% in the rate of US motor vehicle fatalities and 13.5% in the rate of all other accidental fatalities during the same experimental period. The study estimates that 19,435 motor vehicle fatalities and 16,759 other accidental deaths were averted by the significantly reduced trends in fatality rates.

The third in the series, published in the March 2017 issue of SAGE Open, found a highly significant reduction of 30.4% in the US drug-related death rate and 12.5% in the rate of infant mortality. The researchers estimate that 26,425 drug-related fatalities and 992 infant deaths were averted by the significantly reduced trends in fatality rates.

In view of these findings, the authors invite governments to implement and evaluate this scientifically validated approach to reducing violence and other negative trends in society.

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Field Effects of Consciousness and Reduction in US Urban Murder Rates: Evaluation of a Prospective, Quasi-Experiment. Kenneth L. Cavanaugh and Michael C. Dillbeck, Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Maharishi University of Management, Fairfield, Iowa. DOI: 10.11648/j.jher.s.2017030301.13 (PDF)

Source: EurekAlert/AAAS

Four-year study finds large advanced Transcendental Meditation group reduces drug-related deaths nationally

March 14, 2017

Large groups practicing the advanced Transcendental Meditation program were associated with significant reductions in rates of drug-related death and infant mortality during the period 2007–2010

A new study in SAGE Open reports a novel solution to US fatality rates from the misuse of prescribed and illegal drugs. In a prospective social experiment from 2007 to 2010, practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® program by a large group at Maharishi University of Management in Iowa was associated with a 30.4% reduction in the rate of growth of US drug-related fatalities, preventing an estimated 26,425 deaths.

drug-deaths

A rapidly rising trend in the drug-related fatality rate during the baseline period leveled out significantly when the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group exceeded 1,725 participants beginning in January 2007 (vertical line).

Four-year study finds group meditation reduces drug-related deaths in general population

The rate of US drug-related fatalities fell 30.4% nationwide from 2007 to 2010 due to the reductions in societal stress and increased alertness in the individuals in society created by a large group practicing the Transcendental Meditation® technique and its advanced program, the TM-Sidhi® program, a new study shows.

The hypothesis: the reduction comes not from drug abusers using meditation to get off drugs, but from a TM-Sidhi group large enough to create an effect in the environment due to a hypothesized “field effect of consciousness.”

“It’s a bold claim,” said lead author Michael Dillbeck, “but there are now 14 peer-reviewed published studies that suggest that one’s individual consciousness is directly connected to an underlying, universal field of consciousness, and that by collectively tapping into that universal field through Transcendental Meditation, we can have a positive effect on the environment.”

26,425 drug-related fatalities averted

The surge in drug-related deaths began in 1990, fueled by skyrocketing rates of drug overdose, largely from prescription painkillers and anxiety drugs. Drug deaths exceeded motor vehicle accidents as a cause of death in 2009, killing more than 37,000 people a year nationwide.

The study found that during the four-year period 2007 through 2010 this upward trend in the rate of drug-related deaths was interrupted by a highly significant shift to a greatly reduced, flatter trend. As a result, the drug-related fatality rate was reduced 30.4% relative to the 2002-2006 baseline average. The researchers estimated that 26,425 drug-related fatalities were averted by the significantly reduced trend in fatality rates.

The probability that the reduced trend in rates of drug-related fatalities could simply be due to chance was reported to be 3.1 in 10 billion.

During 2007–2010, the size of the TM-Sidhi group located at Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, was above or near 1,725 participants, the size predicted to have a positive influence on the US quality of life. This predicted threshold represents the square root of 1% of the US population.

Time series analysis shows a reduction

The researchers first calculated a baseline trend for monthly fatality rates during 2002–2006, and then used time series intervention analysis to compare that baseline with the corresponding trend for the intervention period 2007–2010. A rapidly rising trend in the drug-related fatality rate (see Figure 1) during the baseline period leveled out and slowed significantly when the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group exceeded 1,725 participants beginning in January 2007 (vertical dashed line). This flatter trend continued through 2010. (The irregular ups and downs of the fatality rate shown in the graph are largely due to seasonal fluctuations around the trend.)

Change produced by enlivening “field of pure consciousness”

How could this change in society be produced by the meditation practice of participants in the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group? Published research has shown that Transcendental Meditation creates a state of restful alertness, increases brain integration, reduces individual stress, and enables greater use of one’s inner potential.

“These benefits are the natural by-product of the experience during Transcendental Meditation practice of a silent, wakeful state of the mind known as ‘pure consciousness’,” Dr. Dillbeck said.

According to coauthor Kenneth Cavanaugh, the basis for the effect on society is that pure consciousness has a field-like character and is a universal field at the basis of everyone’s thought and behavior. When the participants in a group equal to or exceeding the square root of one percent of the entire population are experiencing pure consciousness during group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program, the field of pure consciousness is enlivened in the entire population.

“This field effect positively influences the quality of consciousness in the individuals in society in much the same direction as that experienced by those practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique,” Dr. Cavanaugh said. “It’s as if the non-meditating populace experienced the same benefits of those meditating.”

Reduces social stress

This research tests the hypothesis that practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program by a group of sufficient size will result in reduced stress and increased alertness in the individuals in society, thus contributing to reduced trends of these two stress-related public health indicators.

“Chronic stress contributes to increased likelihood of illness as well as to the use and abuse of illicit and prescribed drugs,” Dr. Dillbeck said. “Stress can reduce the degree of conscious alertness and vigilance necessary to avoid drug misuse, especially highly potent and potentially addictive narcotic painkillers.”

Alternative explanations ruled out

The authors noted that reductions in the trends of both fatality rates occurred at the predicted time and in the predicted direction, and neither reduction could be predicted from baseline trends or seasonal cycles. The researchers also were able to rule out other alternative explanations. For example, the reduction in drug-related death rates could not be explained by such factors as unemployment and national economic conditions, increased public and professional medical awareness of the hazards of opioid painkillers, and sales of such painkillers.

Reduction in infant mortality

infant-deaths

With the onset of the intervention period in January 2007 (vertical line), the infant mortality rate significantly shifted from a flat to a declining trend.

This study of stress-related public health indicators also found that during the same period the rate of infant mortality was reduced by 12.5%. The researchers found a highly significant shift from a flat or slightly declining trend in 2002–2006 to a substantially faster declining trend in 2007–2010. An estimated 992 infant deaths were averted. The probability that the reduced trend in rates of drug-related fatalities could simply be due to chance was reported to be less than 2.1 in 100,000.

Third study in a series

The study, titled “Group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and reductions in infant mortality and drug-related death: A quasi-experimental analysis” was published in the social science journal SAGE Open, Mar 2017, 7(1).

This article is the third in a series that comprehensively evaluates the impact of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi group on US quality of life and public health. The first in the series, published in 2016 in SAGE Open journal, reported a highly significant 21.2% reduction in US homicide rates during the same 2007-2010 period, resulting in the prevention of an estimated 8,157 homicides. A reduction of 18.5% in violent crime rates in 206 urban areas was also found, thus averting an estimated 186,774 violent crimes.

The second article in the series, published in the January/February 2017 issue of the Journal of Consciousness Studies, found a highly significant reduction of 20.6% in the rate of US motor vehicle fatalities and 13.5% in the rate of all other accidental fatalities during the same experimental period. The study estimates that 19,435 motor vehicle fatalities and 16,759 other accidental deaths were averted by the significantly reduced trends in fatality rates.

A total of fourteen peer-reviewed articles have now been published validating the prediction by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the Founder of the Transcendental Meditation program, that a TM-Sidhi group of this size would lead to reduced societal stress, as reflected in reduced crime, violence, accidents, illness, and increased positive trends in society.

The authors call for governments to implement and evaluate this approach as the natural next action step.

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Group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program and reductions in infant mortality and drug-related death: A quasi-experimental analysis. Michael C. Dillbeck and Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Institute of Science, Technology, and Public Policy, Maharishi University of Management. DOI: 10.1177/2158244017697164 (PDF)

Source: EurekAlert/AAAS

See the first study in this series: Can group meditation prevent violent crime? Surprisingly, the data suggests yes: New study.


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