Archive for January, 2011

‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’

January 31, 2011

‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’
2011-01-09 10:10:00

Chicago, Jan 9 (IANS) There has always been a pervasive but undocumented feeling that Indian philosophy, as manifest in Vedanta on the intellectual plain and yoga on the physical plain, has very significantly influenced the West in general and America in particular. That feeling now finds a meticulously constructed scholastic endorsement in the form of an important new book.

Author Philip Goldberg’s ‘American Veda – From Emerson to the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West‘ (Harmony Books, 398 pages, $26) offers a comprehensive account of the inroads made by Indian philosophy since the early 19th century.

‘The combination of Vedanta and Yoga was a perfect match for certain American values: freedom of choice and religion, individuality, scientific rationality, and pragmatism.  They appealed especially to well-educated Americans who were discontent with ordinary religion and unsatisfied by secularism, giving them a way to be authentically spiritual without compromising their sense of reason, their consciences or their personal inclinations,’ Goldberg told IANS in an interview.

He said Indian teachers who came to the US were conscious of the openness of American society and they adapted the teachings accordingly.

Explaining the mainstreaming of Indian philosophy in the US, Goldberg said, ‘I think the remarkable growth of the ‘spiritual but not religious’ cohort of Americans would have been unthinkable without access to the practices derived from Hinduism and Buddhism.  In addition, the philosophy was presented so rationally that its premises could be regarded as hypotheses, and the practices were so uniform and so widely applicable that they lent themselves to scientific experimentation.’

The book begins with a claim that is deliberately designed to be an attention grabber. ‘In February 1968 the Beatles went to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It may have been the most momentous spiritual retreat since Jesus spent those 40 days in the wilderness. The media frenzy over the Fab Four made known to the sleek, sophisticated West that meek, mysterious India had something of value. Our understanding and practice of spirituality would never be the same,’ Goldberg writes.

He points out that translated Hindu texts were very much a part of the libraries of John Adams, the second president of the United States and one of its most respected statesmen and political theorists, and Ralph Waldo Emerson, an eminent poet and essayist who led the transcendentalist movement in the mid-19th century. From there those ideas permeated to author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau and poet Walt Whitman among others.

In recounting Thoreau’s perspective about the Bhagavad Gita, Goldberg refers to a much quoted passage from the book Walden. Thoreau writes, ‘In the morning I bathe my intellect in the stupendous and cosmogonal philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita, since whose composition years of the gods have elapsed, and in comparison with which our modern world and its literature seems puny and trivial.’

The book has two distinct trends in support of the author’s primary contention about how Indian spirituality changed the West. One trend is at the operational level where words such as mantra, guru, karma and pundits have so seamlessly become part of the mainstream lexicon. The other trend is much deeper in terms of internalising the core values of Indian philosophy.  Asked if the people in the US are conscious of this, Goldberg said, ‘Some are conscious of it, and therefore grateful to the Indian legacy.  Others are not: it’s seeped into the American consciousness in subtle but profound ways.’

Goldberg also talks about the ‘Vedization of America’. On whether it can be attributed to the general secularisation/pluralisation significantly caused by the rise of agnostic information technologies, he said, ‘If you mean, could the trends I describe be attributed to the growth of pluralism and other social forces, independent of the Indian influence, it is very hard to say. Certainly, the combination of factors made for a perfect storm. I tend to think that the experiential practices of meditation and yoga, and the intellectual framework of Vedanta, accelerated, deepened and broadened what might have been an inevitable but amorphous evolution.’

On whether he apprehends any organized backlash or pushback against Indian philosophy, he said ‘Not a big one, but some of it is inevitable. There has always been a backlash from both mainstream religion – conservative Christians in particular – and the anti-religious left. Vivekananda faced up to it in 1893, and all the important gurus were confronted by it. Right now, there’s an anti-yoga campaign by some Christian preachers.  I’d be very pleased if my book becomes a lightning rod for such a controversy. Bring ’em on!’

On a movement in support of a ‘Christian yoga’ that may be gaining some ground Goldberg said, ‘That’s a more complicated issue than is often realised. The question, ‘Is yoga a form of Hinduism’ depends entirely on how one defines both yoga and Hinduism.  That there are people teaching Christian Yoga and Jewish Yoga strikes me as a backhanded compliment to one of the great glories of the Vedic tradition: its universality and adaptability. That having been said, the idea that yoga is ‘a Hindu tool,’ i.e., a form of stealth conversion, strikes me as a projection by Christians of their own messianic drive to convert the ‘heathen’. That conversion is not in the Hindu repertoire – and that the gurus and swamis and yoga masters are content to have their students become better Christians – is hard for many to comprehend.’

(Mayank Chhaya is a US-based writer and commentator. He can be contacted at

Huffington Post named American Veda one of the top ten religion books of 2010.

Listen to this KRUU FM interview with Cheryl Fusco Johnson on Writers’ Voices, Oct 12, 2012

UK: Meditation school to transfer to state sector

January 29, 2011


Meditation school to transfer to state sector

By Richard Garner, Education Editor

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Britain is set to get its first state school dedicated to the values of transcendental meditation. A private school run by followers of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi will transfer to the state sector in September.

The Maharishi School in Ormskirk, Lancashire, has been given the green light to be part of the first tranche of Education Secretary Michael Gove’s “free” schools.

Mr Gove announced yesterday that 35 “free school” applications had received the go-ahead. In all, 249 applications have been received by the Department for Education to join the scheme. Under the “free schools” policy, parents, teachers and charities can open schools – funded by the taxpayer.

Pupils at the Maharishi School – for four-to-16-year-olds – have three 10-minute every day. The school has smaller-than-average classes and just 80 pupils. It says meditation calms pupils, making it easier to learn, and claims it could double its numbers with state support. Head Derek Cassells said: “All scientific research shows transcendental meditation brings more balance to the brain… It helps with behaviour and improved relationships with other people.”

His school’s philosophy is that of the Maharishi, pictured, whose movement gained prominence in the 1960’s when The Beatles became converts.

Mr Gove said ministers hoped every new state school would be an academy or “free” school. He spoke ahead of a conference on “free” schools today when he will be accompanied by leaders of the Charter school movement in the United States – which is advising ministers on the “free” schools’ policy.

Charter schools do not recognise teacher unions, but Mr Gove said it would be up to individual school heads to decide if they do. US education experts said it was essential schools could “terminate” weak teachers.

Joel Klein, former chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, said that there must be “reasonable processes in place for terminating non-performing and under-performing teachers.”

What Rainer Maria Rilke inscribed on the copy of The Duino Elegies he gave his Polish translator

January 25, 2011

Inscription from Rilke about words and the essence of language. On the fifteenth of February, 1924, Rainer Maria Rilke inscribed these lines on the copy of The Duino Elegies he gave his Polish translator:

Happy are those who know:
Behind all words, the Unsayable stands;
And from that source alone,
the Infinite Crosses over to gladness, and us—

Free of our bridges,
Built with the stone of distinctions;
So that always, within each delight,
We gaze at what is purely single and joined.

Mentioned in Nine Gates: Entering the Mind of Poetry, Essays by Jane Hirshfield, page 56, in her chapter, The World is Large and Full of Noises: Thoughts on Translation (HarperCollins, 1997).

In this poem, Rilke is letting his translator know that he should just work with the spirit of the poem and not get hung up on translating it word for word, but to capture its essence in his own language.

There’s another message here: When we know the Infinite Unsayable Source of words, which is our own essential nature, it creates freedom from distinctions, like divisive judgments, self-imposed and on others, the fear of differences, and transforms us with the more harmonious unifying values of life. This is liberating and fulfilling. We begin to see things as they are, and enjoy their essence, enjoy our Self.

During our practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique, the mind effortlessly goes beyond words, to the source of thought; it transcends. The mind expands to its full dignity; it becomes saturated with bliss consciousness; and the body releases accumulated stresses; it becomes freer, more flexible. After meditation, our outlook is clearer, we’re happier, and naturally focus on the beautiful in everything and everyone. This brings us delight. It increases our capacity to love; we feel more at home in the world. TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi reminds us that the world is as we are. The Talmud agrees: “We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.” (Nine Gates, p. 119)

In closing, here is a multiple-haiku poem I wrote on the creative process, after hearing Maharishi discuss how the Infinite, wanting to know it’s own nature, collapses to a point, and then refers back to itself. This self-referral process continuously goes on within the unmanifest Infinite source—a singularity containing the togetherness of all possibilities. This self-interacting dynamics sequentially creates the primordial sounds of nature’s language, the Veda, which reverberate and manifest into the whole universe, the unity of all diversities, Nature’s poetry creating a universe. See Coalescing Poetry: Creating a Universe (in 7 haiku forms).

See a related poem mentioned in Nine Gates on this topic: Singing Image of Fire, a poem by Kukai, with thoughts on language, translation, and creation.

To learn more about the source of words, creation, both literal and literary, and their connection to consciousness, read: The Flow of Consciousness: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi on Literature and Language.

To learn more about Jane Hirshfield, read this wonderful interview: Pirene’s Fountain: Jane Hirshfield on Poetic Craft.

You may also enjoy reading Elizabeth Gilbert—Some Thoughts On Writing, Writers on Writing—What Writing Means To Writers, and one of my first poems, Writing—a poem on the writing process.

Rainer Maria Rilke’s poem, Buddha in Glory, reminds us of our eternal nature within. Another poem worth reading is Before He Makes Each One by Rainer Maria Rilke.

PTSD and Transcendental Meditation mentioned in Military Times publications

January 22, 2011

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique were reported in all four Military Times publications in the last 30 days. The Gannett Govt Media Corp publications: Air Force Times, Marine Corps Times, Army Times, and Navy Times, published an article, December 27, 2010, page 3, in their Off Duty section, WatchList: Things You Should be Tracking titled: Transcending trauma: Group hopes to teach 10,000 vets to meditate. It discussed the David Lynch Foundation’s recent launch of Operation Warrior Wellness

Although it is a well-written and positive article, Dr. Matthew Friedman, executive director of the Department of Veterans Affairs National Center for PTSD, was quoted as saying: “There are no published randomized clinical trials testing transcendental meditation for PTSD.”

Col. (Dr.) Brian M. Rees, Army Reserve, and David Leffler, (PhD) coauthored a Letter to the Editor, published Friday, Jan 21, 2011 in the Marine Corps Times and the Navy Times on page 5 in Opening Shots. The letter, Meditation studied in ’85, informed Dr. Friedman of a random assignment study of Vietnam veterans published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Counseling and Development. The study found the Transcendental Meditation technique to be effective against PTSD. Significant reductions in emotional numbness, anxiety, startle response, depression, alcohol consumption, insomnia, and family problems, and improvements in sleep and obtaining/keeping employment, were noted, and 70% of the meditators reported they no longer required the services of the veteran’s center.

An omitted section of the original letter discussed a new pilot study by Rosenthal J, Grosswald SJ, Ross R, and Rosenthal N, titled: “Effects of Transcendental Meditation (TM) in Veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A Pilot Study,” 2010 (in review). In this study, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans experienced a 50% drop in PTSD symptoms by the 4th week, with greater improvements by the 2nd and 3rd months. The study is summarized in Jerry Yellin and Sarina Grosswald‘s new book, The Resilient Warrior: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War (2011). Drs. Rosenthal and Grosswald also discuss this devastating problem and the promising results of their pilot study in the video: Reduction of PTSD Symptoms in Veterans with Transcendental Meditation.

Here is the original version of the Rees-Leffler letter: Meditation Effective PTSD Treatment. David Leffler, executive director of the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS), provides more information on TM and PTSD at:

See this powerful personal account: Veteran Dan Burks on Overcoming the Stresses of War with Transcendental Meditation.

And these reports: Dec 14, 2010,, Celebs, Vets Promote Meditation for PTSD, Dec 15, 2010, On Patrol, Fighting PTSD with Transcendental Meditation, and Jan 5, 2011, Veterans’ Children, Making Transcendental Meditation Available to Veterans.

See Launching ‘Operation Warrior Wellness” — VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS Bringing TM to Veterans suffering from PTSD.

Also see Jerry Yellin: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War, WW II veteran publishes The Resilient Warrior: Healing the Hidden Wounds of War and Jerry Yellin discusses Operation Warrior Wellness.

Some articles on David Lynch, Jan 20, 2011, David’s 65th birthday

January 20, 2011

David Lynch, (Non-)Musician: The L.A. Weekly Interview

By Gustavo Turner Thursday, Jan 20 2011

[Music Ed.’s Note: On January 31st, David Lynch will release an expanded edition of his recent single “Good Day Today”/”I Know” on the Sunday Best label. The collection features remixes by several prominent electronic artists and special packaging by renowned UK designer Vaughan Oliver (of 4AD fame).

Check out also our selected David Lynch discography (including instructions for the perfectly Asymmetrical David Lynch mixtape) and our exclusive interview with Vaughan Oliver about the “Good Day Today”/”I Know” single.]

Here’s David Lynch‘s recipe for success, taken from his inspiring little manual Catching the Big Fish: “Try to get a job that gives you some time; get your sleep and a little bit of food; and work as much as you can. There’s so much enjoyment in doing what you love.”

This philosophy, plus a healthy helping of Transcendental Meditation, of which he remains a vocal advocate, allowed Lynch to become an intriguing visual artist, with works in painting, collage, cartooning, photography and art-film. Later, this approach helped him make the mysterious jump into Hollywood filmmaking, where he remains one of the few working heirs to the great surrealist auteurs of cinema.

And it’s a philosophy that Lynch is now applying with renewed focus to yet another art form: music. Anyone familiar with his film work has long figured out that Lynch is a genuine sound freak: Witness the uncanny industrial soundscapes of Eraserhead, the unforgettable aural stampede that elevates The Elephant Man, his 180-degree redefinition of Bobby Vinton and Roy Orbison in Blue Velvet, the groundbreaking romanticism of the Twin Peaks score, the jagged, deranged edges of Lost Highway and, especially, his covert beatnik musical Wild at Heart. It wouldn’t be much of a stretch to say he possesses the keenest ears among all major living Hollywood directors.

Lynch soon will be relaunching his website,, as a way to broadcast the result of a series of musical collaborations (or “combos,” as he likes to call them) with other artists, under the supervision of his personal engineer and main partner in sound, Dean Hurley, at the filmmaker’s prolevel home studio, Asymmetrical Studio.

Hurley says the website “will feature unreleased singles, experiments and instrumentals created through the years,” including the legendary Thought Gang project, a full album of noir avant-jazz recorded alongside the Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me soundtrack by Lynch and longtime associate Angelo Badalamenti.

We met Lynch for a conversation about his music at his luminous homebase/art studio in the Hollywood Hills. (The italics below are an attempt to convey Lynch’s distinctive manner of speaking, an infectious way to share his enthusiasm. In Lynch’s world, some things are not just great, they’re “really, really, really great.”)

DAVID LYNCH: I’m not a musician, but I play music. So it’s a strange thing.

Click on this link to read the complete interview, page 1, January 20, 2011, published in the LA Weekly News on David’s 65th birthday

Also see flavorwire: 65 Things You Didn’t Know About David Lynch | Moviefone: Lunch Break: Happy Birthday, David Lynch! | Houston Press Blog: The Best of David Lynch on the Web. And two days later from Vanity Fair’s James Wolcott’s Trance and Transcendence.

Detours: Vedic City Rises Above

January 19, 2011

Vedic City Rises Above

Winter 2010 Destinations
Written by Jessica Rapp

Rush hour in Vedic City, Iowa, is an understatement. Every day, just minutes before 7 a.m. and 5 p.m., its main street transforms from a desolate country road into a gently moving caravan carrying approximately 1,900 passengers intent upon achieving world peace. This common objective attracts visitors from all over the world to the heart of the Hawkeye State, many of them followers of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) movement and believers of the tranquil lifestyle. They eat organically-grown foods, live in housing built according to natural principles and make sustainability a priority in the 2,200 acres of land bordering Fairfield, Iowa, that they call home. Twice a day, they make the pilgrimage to two shimmering gold-domed complexes to cross their legs in the lotus position, close their eyes and meditate, to improve not only their own health but to better the society surrounding them.

The TM organization cites numerous studies that it says proves its method works and distinguishes the program from other common forms of meditation or yoga. Jeffrey Cohen, director of the Invincible America Assembly at accredited Maharishi University of Management (MUM), said TMers demonstrated their method in Washington, and even as far away as Lebanon. Cohen said that in Lebanon, statistics showed a “direct correlation” between the size of the groups meditating and the amount of crime and violence in the area.

“In Washington, D.C., large groups of TM meditators convened to show that [their technique] would lower the crime rate in D.C.,” Cohen said. “And in fact, statistical analysis showed that it lowered violent crime by… a very significant amount. And again, it was reviewed by experts and sociologists.”

Since the 1950s, six million people worldwide reached a consensus that the program developed by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, famed guru to the Beatles, is worth following. (more…)

Veteran Dan Burks on Overcoming the Stresses of War with Transcendental Meditation

January 18, 2011

Veteran Dan Burks on Overcoming the Stresses of War with TM

DavidLynchFoundation | December 12, 2010

Transcription: “December 18th 1967 – Newsweek, five days after my birthday. This is a story called ‘The Days Work.’ And this is my unit, we went out and got ambushed, and this is me doing my job. We were attacked at this place called Buddha. That fight went on for two weeks. The first night I killed 14 people. There were 25 hundred of them, 250 of us. The next morning in front of my fighting position there were 18 of our men dead. So this is very, very, very distressing, and it creates huge amounts of distress in your system.”

“Later in the magazine there’s this… this is an article Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and a couple guys in my platoon, one of them got the magazine and came running over and said ‘Burks, you gotta read this!’ So I did. And I said, ‘I’m going to do that….’ Because it talks about stress release, about becoming a whole person.”

“The next part of the story is about getting home. And that’s a whole big deal, because things changed. All of a sudden you’re in a different culture. They don’t understand you. They have no idea. They don’t understand that you’re always still in the rubber plantation in the jungle. You’re always on an adrenalin high. You’re looking to protect your buddies, you’re looking to protect yourself and you’re looking to kill the enemy.”

Help us heal our Veterans –

See two other videos: AFP: Meditation soothes war veterans and 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms within 4 weeks of Veterans practicing Transcendental Meditation.

See AFP’s How Clint Eastwood keeps his cool, Meditation May Ease PTSD for Vets, and watch highlights of the David Lynch Foundation‘s Operation Warrior Wellness press conference and the second annual Change Begins Within benefit gala.

Israeli Actress and Author Meital Dohan Interviews TM exponent Bob Roth

January 18, 2011

Talking Miracles with Israeli Actress and Author Meital Dohan
By Meital Dohan | Tuesday, January 18, 2011 12:25 PM ET

The very sexy and very spiritual actress and philanthropist talks with Bob Roth, executive director of The David Lynch Foundation.

Hello y’all…. I was honored to be asked to do a radio show called Loud Miracles on WOMEN’S RADIO and a blog by Tonic, and I decided to talk with you guys about Miracles — not like hoki poki abra cadabra style, but more about Miracles which make this life worth living.

I launched the first episode of my radio show with a very special guest named Bob Roth, someone whom I consider to be a miracle worker for his 40 years of contribution to the world of meditation.

Bob serves as the executive director to the David Lynch Foundation, started by the great filmmaker David Lynch who has a mission to provide scholarships for underprivileged and at risk kids all over the world to learn Transcendental Meditation. Bob also serves as the executive director of the nonprofit Transcendental Meditation Organization. You can read more about Bob’s work involvement by clicking on the links below.

I met Bob at a charity event a few months ago and he immediately began talking to me about Transcendental Meditation. He was very passionate about TM and I was very curious because I had tried so many things to improve my well being before. In other words, how to stay alive without jumping off a bridge or going to an asylum.

I was initially very skeptical about trying something new because I feel that are so many people out there promising to change your life. However, I did end up taking Bob’s advice and trying TM. I loved it and it has been part of my life, twice a day for 15 minutes, ever since. And of course, since my show is about miracles, I asked Bob to share his thoughts on miracles, which were very unique and inspiring.

Me: So I have the pleasure to have you as the first guest on the show. And the show is about miracles. And I wanted to hear if you believe in miracles at all.

Bob: First of all, I’d like to begin by reading this great quote from the great Catholic saint, Saint Augustine. And he said about miracles: “Miracles are not contrary to nature but only contrary to what we know about nature.” And my feeling is that there is no such thing as a miracle. There are just deeper realities and deeper manifestations of the ultimate reality. And what we perceive to be a miracle is actually just an expression of an infinite network and fabric of Divine Life or nature’s existence. But the same intelligence that can create, not just all the infinite life forms on this earth, but think of all the planets and galaxies and infinite numbers. So that intelligence can do lots of things that we don’t understand. So I don’t know that the word “miracle” means something that is unreal. I think there are just very real things that are very profound that sometimes pop up and let us see them.

I wanted to give Bob enough time to describe the magic of Transcendental Meditation. Bob describes it in the best way when he compares our minds to the ocean.

Bob: If you take an ocean, you will see that there are waves on the surface and then there are 20-foot high waves and then a mile in depth of the ocean. The waves on the surface are a tiny little thing compared to the mile long depth of the ocean. And the active thinking mind, all the millions of things we have to do, are just the surface of the mind. But the mind is profoundly deep and silent in its depth. TM is a simple technique that allows the attention of the mind to turn inward. So we are not just stuck on the surface of the wavy mind. And the mind naturally begins to effortlessly settle down to experience quieter levels of thought. And then there are times when we experience the deepest level of the mind, the source of thought, when we transcend even the finest thought and we experience our big Self. The land of pure miracle.

Me: I am fascinated by [TM] and the effects of it. I was so taken by this technique that now we are talking about bringing more awareness to it and bringing it to people that serve in the Israeli Army. For me, your role is definitely to bring magic and miracles to other people’s lives.

Bob: Let’s say all of us are 100-watt bulbs. But stress and fatigue and tension and strain and doubt and disappointment and rejection, all of the stresses are like dust and dirt on the light bulb. And we don’t glow. It’s there. It’s inside of us. TM doesn’t create anything that isn’t already there. It just washes off that dirt and dust and we can shine the way we want to shine.

Me: What is the source of the technique?

Bob: TM has its origins in the oldest continuous tradition of meditation known. It predates Buddhism, Hinduism… It predates all the ‘isms’. It’s just a science of consciousness. It has been handed down from teacher to student, from teacher to student, throughout time. And the most recent custodian that everyone knows about at this time is Maharishi Mahesh Yogi who brought TM to the world about 50 years ago. And I was very fortunate to spend some time with him. He taught me to become a teacher of TM.

I loved the way Bob’s explanations were so beautifully simple.

Listen to my first show to hear the complete, wonderful message from Bob Roth who was taught TM by the master himself, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

 Listen to other interviews by Meital Dohan posted on The Uncarved Blog.

* Are you a miracle worker? Perhaps you know someone who is a miracle worker. Meital would love to hear your story. She would like to interview some more miracle workers for her show! She invites you to post suggestions or stories on her Facebook Page:
* To learn more about TM, visit their website at
* To learn more about Meital Dohan, visit her website at

Meital has moved on but her interviews are posted on SoundCloud.

Added July 16, 2019: Meital Dohan on Transcendental Meditation.

The prime mover of life – The Times of India

January 18, 2011

The prime mover of life

Lane Wagger, Jan 19, 2011, 12.00am IST

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s unique and enduring contribution to humankind was his deep understanding of—and mechanics of experiencing—pure consciousness, the vacuum state of consciousness, the most powerful state of the mind.

The ground state or vacuum state, is an inexhaustible field of creativity, energy, orderliness and intelligence: literally a field of all possibilities. Everything in the universe—animate and inanimate—emerges from this quantum mechanical level. It is the total potential of Natural Law. All of the innumerable laws of nature—the impulses of nature’s intelligence—responsible for governing all diverse tendencies in the universe, are found here. This same field of Nature’s unlimited potential can be located within each individual at the source of thought, the most settled state of one’s awareness. Acting from this level of pure consciousness, one inherits the infinite organising power of Natural Law, making all things easy of attainment.

Imagine a wave on the sea. Even a very big wave has limitations; it is only this high and that wide. Now imagine that wave settling down, flattening out, until it merges with the sea. Its value then assumes the unlimited, infinitely more powerful status of the sea. The wave, which was bound before, has gained boundlessness.

The mind is capable of the same settling down, or transcending process. During Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation (TM), the waves of thought ‘retire’ to the source of thought. The word “transcend” means to go beyond; “meditation” refers to thinking. During TM the mind experiences progressively less excited states of thought until one transcends thought completely, to arrive at its source. The agitated, limited value of thought gains the unlimited status of Being, the silent depth of the ocean of consciousness.

Transcending thought is as effortless as thinking. If a man can run, naturally he can walk and stand still. The active mind already contains the ability to be silently alert. No effort is required. It only needs a technique.

The mind is like a body of water: choppy on the surface, silent and stable at its depth. When we experience only the ‘noisy’, surface level of thinking, difficulties abound. All problems result from, or are magnified by, an agitated state of mind. If we could anchor the surface mind to its vacuum state—if we could enliven the stability inherent at the depth of consciousness—we would be insulated from “the winds of change”.

In the Bhagavad Gita (2.48) Krishna says: ‘Yogasthah kuru karmani’: Established in yoga or pure consciousness, perform actions. Here the mind is most powerful, most effective. ‘Yogah karmasu kaushalam’ (2.50): Yoga is skill in action. From this level we “do less and accomplish more”. The growth of inner silence is the basis of spiritual unfolding and material success.

Consciousness is the prime mover of life. Everything we do depends on the quality of our consciousness. If your mind is sleepy, agitated, or negative, then everything you perceive. Speak or do reflects that incoherence. But if your consciousness is orderly, fresh and alert, the world appears much different. Knowledge is different in different states of consciousness. When you wear red tinted glasses, everything appears red and when you wear green tinted glasses, everything appears green. The Vedas say that knowledge is structured in consciousness. The world is, as we are. If you are anchored to the silent, blissful state of consciousness, everything you do becomes joyful. Maharishi summarises simply, “Handle that one thing—consciousness—by which everything else is handled.”

50% reduction in PTSD symptoms within 4 weeks of Veterans practicing Transcendental Meditation

January 18, 2011

Reduction of PTSD Symptoms in Veterans with Transcendental Meditation


Norman Rosenthal, M.D. (Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School): Over half a million of our veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These are people who have been exposed to violence on the battlefield serving for our country. And, as one of my patients said, it can happen once in your life but a hundred times in your mind. The echos linger on.

Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D. (Cognitive Learning Specialist): With traumatic stress it’s really some enormous stress that’s more than the body can process, and it leaves a big impression on your brain. The estimates are that at least 30% of returning veterans are experiencing PTSD and really the estimates are that it’s probably much greater than that. I think that maybe as many as 50% who are experiencing these symptoms aren’t actually even seeking help.

Dr. Rosenthal: They get bombarded on a daily basis by memories and flashbacks and it’s a shocking statistic that 18 veterans every day commit suicide.

Dr. Grosswald: We’ve lost more to suicide than actually have been lost in combat. That’s the first time ever.

Dr. Rosenthal: One thing that we who are interested in Transcendental Meditation are seeking is could TM be one of the answers or one of the ways in which we can treat PTSD?

Dr. Grosswald: We put together a pilot study with returning veterans from the OEF-OIF war, which is the Iraq/Afghanistan war, and what we saw was for these young men there was, within 4 weeks, a 50% reduction in the PTSD symptoms. That’s pretty dramatic, I don’t think there’s anything that shows that level of response that quickly.

Dr. Rosenthal: Because of TM’s ability to settle down the nervous system, to quiet it down, to slow down the fight-or-flight response, I believe it is a very promising direction for us to explore. I think it’s definitely something we should be trying and testing and studying.

See AFP: Meditation soothes war veterans

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