Archive for December, 2012

Here’s the WordPress.Com Annual Report for The Uncarved Blog. See 2012’s most popular posts.

December 30, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 62,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

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8,000 Mayan and indigenous tribal students meditate for peace to mark the end of an era

December 22, 2012

8,000 Mayan, Zapotec, and Mixtec Students Meditate for World Peace and Restructure the Apocalypse to Create the End of the [War-torn] World

By David Leffler | December 23, 2012  | The Liberian Dialogue
Mexico students meditate for peace

Nine countries in Latin America are implementing Transcendental Meditation and Yogic Flying in military and/or educational settings.

With much media fanfare worldwide, the Mayan calendar came to an end on 21 December 2012, with far-flung predictions of global apocalypse. But most of us are still here, so perhaps the “end of the world” was in fact a new beginning – the end of the world as we know it, and the dawn of a new and more enlightened age.

On that apocalyptic day, 8,000 young children – descendants of the Mayans, Mixtec, Zapotec, and other indigenous tribes – gathered at Monte Alban, a sacred mountain of the Zapotec people in southern Mexico, to meditate together for world peace. Around the world, people of all ages, cultures, and religions participated with them in simultaneous group practice of the non-religious Transcendental Meditation® (TM) program and its advanced TM-Sidhi program, both founded by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

In Latin American military circles, this collective TM practice by large groups of peace-creating experts is known as the Invincible Defense Technology (IDT) due to its scientifically confirmed ability to neutralize the destabilizing influence of collective stress, held to be the root cause of terrorism, war, and violent crime.

These young Mexican children, along with many students in other Latin America countries, had been trained in these peace-creating technologies for approximately eight months. Their gathering at Monte Alban was a demonstration to the world of the effectiveness of these technologies in defusing social violence and “averting the danger that has not yet come” – a principle of collective coherence drawn from the ancient Yoga Sutras.

Is this gathering something out of a “New Age” science fiction thriller? No. This unusual defense strategy really works. It is advocated by the Global Union of Scientists for Peace (GUSP, http://www.gusp.org), a coalition of Nobel laureates and leading scientists who see it as the best way to avert the growing threats of nuclear proliferation, terrorism, and weapons of mass destruction; to create national security in every country; and to establish lasting world peace.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., a renowned Harvard-trained quantum physicist who heads this group, says, “In recent years, [this] powerful, innovative approach to peace has been extensively field-tested – in the Middle East and throughout the world. The consistent result has been dramatic reductions in terrorism, war, and social violence. These findings have been replicated, published in leading academic journals, and endorsed by hundreds of independent scientists and scholars. The efficacy of this approach is beyond question.” [An Op-Ed piece: “Reducing Tension in the Middle East” was recently published worldwide advocating this approach.]

According to Luis Intof Alvarez, the organizer of the Monte Alban gathering, the advanced TM-Sidhi practice has been taught to 8,000 students in 54 schools in southern Mexico and Guatemala during just the past weeks. With over 250 Latin American schools now participating in this program, at least 20,000 students will be collectively practicing these peace-creating technologies by this time next year. Alvarez says that our world leaders now have a choice. Which direction do we want to take: continued violence or creating peace?

His point is made more vivid by the tragic recent events at the Sandy Hook elementary school in Newton, Connecticut, USA. Throughout the U.S., students in schools and colleges continue to be the victims of senseless violence. By contrast, the Mayan and other tribal students throughout Latin America are creating peace, not only within themselves but also on a much grander scale – for their schools, cities, and nation as a whole.

Latin American students in both civilian and military  schools are learning and applying this strategy. Currently, at least nine Latin American countries are soon due to have fully operational peace-creating groups in military and/or educational settings. Military leaders worldwide will soon be surprised to learn that students can actually do a much better, safer, and more effective job of protecting their nations with an advanced TM meditation practice than with expensive hi-tech military weaponry. Informed Latin American leaders, especially those now in charge of military schools, have already deployed this approach. Lieutenant General José Martí Villamil, a pioneering former Vice-Minister of Defense for Ecuador, first conducted a military field-test during their war with Peru in the early 1990s, with promising results.

In the past, in non-Latin American countries, field tests of these coherence-creating groups achieved measurable positive results that were also apparent from news reports. In trouble spots, violence and war deaths subsided, peace negotiations improved, and/or treaties were signed. The first head of state to ever implement such a program was President Joachim Chissano of Mozambique. Read the amazing story of what happened when members of his government and military learned to meditate. (See: Psychology Today, “Can Meditation Change the World?“)

Over fifty studies have scientifically documented the profound and measurable benefits of this approach to peace. In one such study, conducted during the first Lebanon war, the predicted effects and publicly available measures to be used were specified in advance for scientific review boards in North America and Israel. The outcomes of this and other such experiments have been published in respected peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1988, 32: 776–812; Social Indicators Research, 1999, 47: 153-201; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003, 36 (1-4): 283-302; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 339-373; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 285-338; and Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2009, 23(2): 139-166.

It could be argued that the positive social effects of these deployments are already beginning to be documented. In a 2011 poll, Gallup measured positive emotions in 148 countries and found that Latin Americans are the most positive people in the world. Their region is home to eight of the top 10 countries for positive emotions worldwide.

Certainly Evo Morales Ayma, the President of Bolivia, believes that “the end of the world” is only the end of the world as we know it. At the 67th General Assembly of the United Nations, he said:

“And I would like to say that according to the Mayan calendar on the 21 of December is the end of the non-time and the beginning of time. It is the end of the Macha and the beginning of the Pacha, the end of selfishness and the beginning of brotherhood, it is the end of individualism and the beginning of collectivism – 21 of December this year. The scientists know very well that this marks the end of an anthropocentric life and the beginning of a bio-centric life.

It is the end of hatred and the beginning of love, the end of lies and beginning of truth. It is the end of sadness and the beginning of happiness, it is the end of division and the beginning of unity, and this is a theme to be developed. That is why we invite all of you, those of you who bet on mankind, we invite those who want to share their experiences for the benefit of mankind.”

Dr. David Leffler received his Ph.D. in Consciousness-Based Military Defense (Invincible Defense Technology – IDT) from The Union Institute & University in Cincinnati. He served as an Associate of the Proteus Management Group at the Center for Strategic Leadership, US Army War College. He has published articles in over 400 locations worldwide about IDT and now serves as the Executive Director at the Center for Advanced Military Science (CAMS). Dr. Leffler teaches IDT and is available at http://www.StrongMilitary.org

More photos of the meditating students are available at the end of David Leffler’s article posted here. These are the countries where the article has been featured so far: INDIA – Mangalorean; LIBERIA – The Liberian Dialogue; NIGERIA – Nigeria Sun; AUSTRALIA – The International News Magazine U.S. Edition; UK – The News Tribe, a bilingual news website covering Pakistan, South Asia, Middle East and UK; Global Edition – One News Page. Global Good News reported the news as well as an earlier backgrounder of how the parents and students prepared for this special event: Mexico: Thousands of indigenous students to meditate together at traditional celebration.

For a scientific explanation behind the power of large groups collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program including Yogic Flying, read The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin. Also see Op-Ed peace piece spreading around the world: Reducing Tension in the Middle East and Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

December 19, 2012

Can Meditation Change the World?
The amazing story of the ‘meditating president.’
Published on December 10, 2012 by Steve Taylor in Out of the Darkness

Ken WilburLast week a group of my students were giving a presentation on the spiritual philosopher Ken Wilber. It included a video interview in which Wilber remarked, ‘The best way to stop famine in the world is to meditate.’ Some students were outraged, and my initial thought was that the comment was glib and offensive. Surely the best way to stop famine is to provide food, to donate money, or at least to end conflict or reduce corruption? However, there is a case study which illustrates Wilber’s meaning very clearly. It’s the story of the ‘meditating president’, Joachim Chissano of Mozambique.

In 1992, Mozambique’s civil war came to an end, after 15 years of devastation, and around a million casualties. The country was completely broken, and showing all signs of being trapped in the cycle of conflict and corruption which has afflicted many African countries. But Joachim Chissano – whose forces had won the war – surprised the world by acting sensibly and empathically. Rather than trying to shore up his own power base and enacting revenge, Chissano treated the rebel forces who had been trying to overthrow his government with respect. He made compromises, promised there would be no prosecutions or punishments and offered the rebels half of the places in the Mozambiquan army. He gave them the chance of gaining power through political means. Rather than trying to crush the rebels, he began to work with them.

Two years later, Mozambique’s first ever multi-party elections were held, and Chissano and the former rebel leader came face to face in the polls. Chissano won the election, and set about the task of establishing lasting peace by reducing poverty. Between 1997 and 2003, almost three million people were rescued from extreme poverty, out of a total population of almost 20 million. This lead to a 35% decrease in the number of children dying under the age of five, and an increase of 65% in the number of children going to primary school. Through Chissano’s ability to set aside differences and connect with his former enemies, Mozambique was brought back from the brink of self-destruction and has instead become one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful countries.

What was it that made Chissano so rational and compassionate as a leader?

Joachim Chissano

In 1992, he learned Transcendental Meditation. Quickly becoming aware of the benefits of the practice himself, he taught it to his family, then his cabinet ministers and his wider government. In 1994, it became a requirement for all military and police recruits to meditate twice a day, for 20 minutes.

Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country. As he said, ‘The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country…The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war.’

In 2004, Chissano’s second term in office came to end. Rather than pursuing a third term – as he would have been legally able to do under Mozambique law – he stepped aside. Since then he has been an elder statesman, campaigning for peace and working as an envoy and negotiator for the United Nations. In 2007, on his 68th birthday, he was awarded Africa’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the $5 million prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

This is Wilber’s point, of course. In the short term, meditation reduces anger and aggression. In the long term, it increases our capacity for empathy, compassion and rationality. It leads to less self-centred behaviour, and reduces cravings for power and wealth. It generates a sense of well-being which makes us less liable to be affected by slights or prejudices.

Research has confirmed these effects. In 2003, scientists at the University of Wisconsin scanned the brain of people with a long experience of Buddhist meditation. They found that their left pre-frontal lobes – the areas of the brain linked with positive moods and emotions – were unusually active. In other words, they seemed to be happier than normal. In a 2011 study at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness 16 people meditated for an average of 27 minutes each day. MRI scans after 8 weeks showed increased ‘grey matter’ in parts of the brain associated with compassion, introspection and learning.

So Wilber’s seemingly glib comments may well be right. Human social behaviour is a manifestation of our inner state. Discord in the world stems from discord in our minds, and there will only be harmony and peace in the world once there is harmony and peace inside us.

Steve Taylor is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of the Human Mind. Eckhart Tolle has called his work ‘an important contribution to the shift in consciousness happening on our planet at this time.’ stevenmtaylor.co.uk | Follow Steve on Facebook and Twitter

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What Steve Taylor says in this Psychology Today article is true. In addition, there have also been hundreds of scientific studies on Transcendental Meditation showing improvements in mental and emotional development as well as health and social behavior. See Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs and Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients.

But one of the most striking effects is the impact large numbers of people practicing Transcendental Meditation together in large groups in one or more places can have on their environment. This is what happened in Mozambique. The longtime drought also came to an end as balance was restored in nature; the rain came!

Over fifty studies have scientifically documented the profound and measurable benefits of this approach to peace. Many have been published in respected peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1988, 32: 776–812; Social Indicators Research, 1999, 47: 153-201; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003, 36 (1-4): 283-302; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 339-373; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 285-338; and Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2009, 23(2): 139-166.

For a scientific explanation behind the power of large groups collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program including Yogic Flying, read The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin. Also see this Op-Ed peace piece spreading around the world: Reducing Tension in the Middle East

And here is a newly published study on this topic: Can group meditation prevent violent crime? Surprisingly, the data suggests yes: New study (SAGE Open Apr 2016, 6 (2).

One last point, and that is comparing different meditation practices and generalizing their results can be a bit misleading. With the aid of fMRI, EEG, and other methods, we can now see that different parts of the brain are effected by different meditation techniques, which utilize their own approaches, like concentration, open monitoring, or transcending. To better understand these differences and outcomes scientists have created categories of meditation, matching approaches with their scientific measurements. See Are all meditation techniques the same?.

For a current perspective on how TM has been successfully applied in various settings, see this recent video presentation: John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012.

Read two reviews of Can meditation change the world? in the January 28, 2013 UK TM News blog, and below in a print copy from the February 2013 issue of UK Transcendental Meditation News. Click twice on the image to read it. (more…)

Good News Planet Red Carpet Interviews at An Historic Night of Jazz for David Lynch Foundation

December 16, 2012

Good News Planet publicized the David Lynch Foundation‘s Historic Night of Jazz and broadcaster Paul Sladkus showed up on the Red Carpet to ask about Transcendental Meditation and report the good news. Paul interviewed: Dr. Lois Lee, founder of Children of the Night, Ray and Barbara Dalio, David Lynch, Dr. Mehmet and Lisa Oz, Jerry and Jessica Seinfeld, Herbie Hancock, and the lovely Liv Tyler. They share their personal benefits of meditation and its application in helping at-risk students, veterans with PTSD, and girls and women victimized by abuse. The jazz concert was a fundraiser to support these DLF sponsored programs. Visit http://www.changebeginswithin.org to see the jazz artists who performed. See the DLF Gala Benefit Report.


Published on Dec 14, 2012 by GoodNewsBroadcast.
For more information on Good News Broadcast (GNB) visit http://goodnewsplanet.com.

Mail Online gave a report from the Red Carpet with photos of celebrity guests and musicians: All jazzed up: Liv Tyler steals looks on the red carpet at star-studded music gala for the David Lynch Foundation. Photos on m&c: 4th Annual David Lynch Foundation Gala Pictures. Your Tango: Exclusive! Dr. Oz & Liv Tyler On Relationships & Meditation. Read this excellent report in BULLETT by Stella Girkins: Celebrating Transcendental Meditation at the 2012 David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala, which also includes a video from the David Lynch Foundation: Changing Lives With Meditation.

See the video Highlights from Jazz at Lincoln Center Benefit for David Lynch Foundation. And here are two videos involving some of the recipients on the stage who benefited greatly from the TM program funded by DLF—the lady who was a survivor of Domestic Violence, and the couple in First Responders and Police Officers: Coping with PTSD.

David Lynch on His Lifetime Achievement Award at Plus Camerimage’s International Film Festival

December 15, 2012

Plus Camerimage: David Lynch on His Lifetime Achievement Award

Source: Silas Lesnick | November 28, 2012

davidlynchcamerimage1An attendee of the Plus Camerimage’s International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography since 2000, legendary filmmaker David Lynch is, this year, the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award for now-classic works like Eraserhead, The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, The Straight Story, Mullholland Dr. and many more.

On location in the town of Bydgoszcz, Poland all this week, ComingSoon.net caught Lynch shortly after his awards ceremony and had a chance to speak with the artist on a wide range of topics, including factories, nude women, Transcendental Meditation and sparrows. Check out the interview below and, if you missed yesterday’s report, click here to check out a conversation with Keanu Reeves and the fellow filmmakers behind the recent documentary Side By Side.

I’ve extracted the TM-related excerpts from this interview with David Lynch at the Polish International Film Festival on his receiving a lifetime achievement award. It’s a very interesting article on film, the digital revolution, and that sparrow story. The ending is particularly sweet. URL: http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=97425.

CS: What are you working on now?
Lynch:
I’m working on painting and music, lithography, drawing and… [long, long pause] …maybe some other things.

CS: In terms of balancing all of that, what’s a normal day for you?
Lynch:
Get up. Have a coffee. Have a smoke. Then I do my Transcendental Meditation. Then I go to work. It depends on the ideas. I always say, “It depends on the ideas.” But normally in the mornings I work on painting and then, in the afternoon, I work on music. If I’m getting other ideas, I work on those also in the morning and also the afternoon. But I usually end up in the music studio near the end of the day.

CS: I know you’ve been very fond of Transcendental Meditation. What does it actually entail?
Lynch:
Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique. An ancient form of meditation that allows every human being to dive within and experience that deepest level of life. An eternal level. Pure consciousness. The unified field of reality. The Self with a capital “S.” Every time a human being experiences that deepest level, they infuse some of that. They begin to expand consciousness. Whatever size consciousness they had, now it starts expanding. Every human being has consciousness, but not every human being has the same amount. Qualities of consciousness in that deepest level, offer unbounded consciousness. Unbounded creativity. Unbounded happiness. Unbounded love. Unbounded energy. Unbounded peace. You start transcending, experiencing that deepest level, whoa, it’s such a beautiful feeling. You infuse that. You grow in that. The side effect is that negativity starts to lift away from the human being. Anxiety. Stress. Traumatic stress. Sorrow. Depression. Hate, anger and fear start to lift away. You start to work in more and more freedom. Gold coming up from within. Garbage going out. And you are unfolding your full potential as a human being. The full potential of every human being is called enlightenment, which total fulfillment. Total liberation. Infinite bliss. Happiness. Totality. It’s the full potential of a human being and it’s every human being’s birthright to enjoy enlightenment. Transcendental Meditation is not concentration. It’s not contemplation. It’s a unique form of meditation which is easy and effortless. You dive within through deeper levels of mind and intellect. At the border of intellect, you transcend and you experience this eternal level. It’s very, very beautiful. A ten-year-old child can do it and a 110-year old adult can do it. If you can think, it will work. Life gets better and better and better.

davidlynchcamerimage2CS: Would you compare the effects of Transcendental Meditation in any way to seeing a film or experiencing another piece of art that truly moves you?
Lynch:
No. You see a powerful film, it’s like seeing a powerful experience in your life. People have an idea that, number one, all meditations are the same and they’re not. There are surface experiences that can be beautiful. Seeing a great film is a thrill. Some films, I think, can enliven deeper levels just like some music can enliven deeper levels. When you feel, “Whoa, man. That took me someplace.” It was so beautiful. So powerful. I don’t know how it happened, but I felt deep. But Transcendental Meditation takes you to the deepest. The first time and every time. It’s so beautiful. It’s so blissful. It’s so profound. It’s a cosmic experience. In brain research they see that, when a person truly transcends. Experiences the transcendent. The big self. The unified field. Ocean of consciousness. They see a wonderful thing on the EEG machine. The full brain lights up. It’s the only experience in life that does it. Any other thing we do — if we play the piano, it’s this little part of the brain. If we do a math problem, it’s this little part of the brain. We paint a picture, it’s this little part of the brain. But here’s an experience that lights up the whole brain. They call it “total brain coherence”. So it shows you the relationship of the human being to this deepest level of life. This is that level of life what they say never had a beginning. It is and it will be forever. That’s the definition of eternal. It’s not a religion to practice Transcendental Meditation. It’s just a technique that will get you there. It’s like being handed a key to the treasury. It will open that door to the treasury within easily and effortlessly. It’s such an important thing for the human being. So that’s the deal.

CS: Coming out of it, do you know what you’re doing with the rest of the day?
Lynch:
You come out feeling refreshed, happier and more energized. That’s the normal feeling. This thing of bliss is a strange feeling. Bliss takes up where happiness leaves off. Bliss is physical happiness. Emotional happiness, mental happiness, and physical happiness all rolled into one. It’s thick happiness. It’s intense happiness. Every human being was meant to feel that. Mankind was not. made. to. suffer. Bliss is our nature. The individual is cosmic. To have a human physiology is a great, great blessing. It has a full potential. It’s just not taught in schools. More and more people are realizing this. They’re called seekers. They’re looking for something and they don’t know what it is, but they know it’s there. It’s built into the human being. It’s very, very beautiful. When they have this experience, like the Maharishi said, when they transcend, more often than not, the first thing they say is, “Thank you very much.” It’s so beautiful.

The Hollywood Reporter also interviewed David about his win and the debate over digital cinema versus analog: David Lynch: ‘Feature Films Have Become Cheap’ (Q&A).

The Hollywood Reporter: Clips from your films were shown before you received your lifetime-achievement award. What was going through your mind while you watched?

David Lynch: First of all, I think I’ve gotten some lifetime-achievement awards before. But I thought it would be something I’d be kind of separated from. I don’t know what happened, but I was overwhelmed with emotion. I couldn’t believe that I’d done it; it was pretty impressive, really.

THR asks him why he isn’t making anything for television anymore and David gives his quintessential answer. Read the short interview: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/david-lynch-feature-films-have-395849.

Investment director and author Alexander Green tells you how to take a vacation inside your head

December 14, 2012

Here’s an interesting article I received from a friend. One of her friends subscribes to a financial service newsletter called Spiritual Wealth and he sent it to her. Alexander Green, investment director and author, posted this personal account December 14th, 2012. While on a club tour in Europe, he struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler. What came out of it led to him learning how to take a daily vacation in his own mind. You can read more about Alex at the end of his article. Bon voyage!

How to Take a Vacation Inside Your Head

On a recent Oxford Club tour of Italy, I got to know Dr. Satinder Swaroop, a cardiologist based in Fountain Valley, CA. Among the many topics we discussed during our ten days together was Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Dr. Swaroop is a lifelong meditator. And he has found that his patients who practice it enjoy better heart health. They are less anxious and sleep better. Their chest pains are less frequent. They are more able to stay on a diet and lower their cholesterol levels. They are calmer, too.

He suggested I give it a try.

I don’t have any heart issues. I’m not an anxious person. If anything, I lean toward the overly mellow. Dr. Swaroop just smiled. “You should try it and see what happens.”

I told him I’d look into it.

A few weeks after I returned home, Dr. Swaroop sent me an email. Had I visited TM.org as he suggested?

Uh, no.

“You should,” he said again. “Just check out a couple of the videos.”

And so I did. That’s when I stumbled across a five-minute short by filmmaker David Lynch and became intrigued. I began reading up on TM and listening to people who practiced it. A week later, I signed up with an instructor.

I would have scoffed at this idea a few years ago. To the extent that I thought about meditation at all, I considered it a somewhat hippie, vaguely self-indulgent practice tied to Eastern religions or mystical “woo-woo” of one kind or another. Meditation seemed too… well… flaky.

But that view changed as I became more familiar with the scientific literature. There is an astonishing amount of research on meditation’s physical and psychological benefits, including hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. Researchers have found that TM spreads a wave of calmness across the brain, organizing the prefrontal region in a way that improves focus and decision-making. Studies also suggest it enhances physical health and increases longevity. How? By helping people deal effectively with stress.

In today’s hectic and competitive world, stress wears us down and burns us out. It fuels countless disorders, including anxiety, insomnia and depression. It also promotes cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and digestive disorders. Exercising and eating better can help counteract this. But meditation helps practitioners develop mental resilience, as well. The benefits are well documented.

In Transcendence, psychologist and educator Dr. Norman Rosenthal writes: “A great deal of clinical research has been done on TM. For example, we now know that when people practice TM, their blood pressure drops. They show higher blood levels of a soothing hormone called prolactin, as well as more coherent brain wave patterns, which are associated with good mental functioning. New evidence suggests that TM may improve longevity and lower medical costs by reducing hospital stays and doctors’ visits. Even people who are not in physical or psychological distress can be helped. TM has been shown to help ‘normal’ people reach their full potential and live in greater harmony with one another.”

Transcendental Meditation is not a religion. No one who practices it is asked to accept any belief system. The technique goes back thousands of years and was brought to the United States by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian teacher who extracted the meditative technique from its Vedic origins and distilled it to its essence. Today it is practiced by people of all religions and no religion.

How does it work?

TM is not learned from a book or video. It is taught by a certified instructor and experienced meditator.  The process has seven steps: two lectures, a personal interview with the teacher, then four teaching sessions on four consecutive days.

Essentially, the student is taught to sit with hands folded in an upright chair in a quiet place. After a brief ceremony of gratitude, the instructor gives him his own mantra (a two-syllable wordless sound) to think about as he sits in quiet relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day.  Ideally, this would be first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon or early evening. (The mantra is simply a mental “vehicle” to let the mind settle down.)

In the beginning, I wondered how I would possibly find time to fit two 20-minute sessions into days already crammed with research, writing, traveling, speaking, exercising, socializing and raising a family. But since no new skill can be learned without practice, I made time.

I haven’t been at it long enough to report anything world-changing. But I will pass along a few observations. First off, there’s something inherently pleasurable about taking a break from your daily routine to sit in quiet contemplation. Meditation helps you sort through all the mental flotsam and jetsam your mind throws up. The typical meditative session results in greater relaxation, inner peacefulness and, occasionally, an enjoyable shift in consciousness.

Insights like these are hardly new, of course. Meditation has been practiced in both the East and West for thousands of years. In the second century AD, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations:

“Men seek retreats for themselves in country places, on beaches and mountains, and you yourself are wont to long for such retreats, but that is altogether unenlightened when it is possible at any hour you please to find a retreat within yourself. For nowhere can a man withdraw to a more untroubled quietude than in his own soul.”

Psychologists report that in a typical day we process up to 70,000 thoughts and this continues even as we sleep. (Basically the brain never shuts up.) Meditation is a pleasant and peaceful retreat, a tool for stilling the mind.

Thoughts or worries will arise during TM too, of course. But meditators are counseled not to argue with or analyze them, but rather just to acknowledge them and let them go. Experienced meditators often report a blissful state of acceptance, serenity and a feeling of being at one with the world.

TM is easy to learn and practice. It is less expensive than analysis, safer than prescriptions, and available for a lifetime without special equipment or facilities. Researchers have discovered that sitting with your eyes closed and repeating a mantra twice a day can cut your risk of serious disease by half. And it has no adverse side effects. If TM were a drug, it would be a multi-billion-dollar blockbuster.

As Rosenthal writes, “I have found most long-time meditators to be physically relaxed in their posture, alert in their expressions, and open-minded in their attitudes. It is not surprising that this demeanor and approach to life, played out day after day over years, would make a huge difference to health, longevity, and just plain enjoyment of life.”

The good news is you don’t have to follow a guru, visit an ashram, recite Sanskrit or get into the lotus position on a hardwood floor. All you need is a comfortable chair, a quiet space and 20 minutes.

And I invite you to be skeptical. I’ve learned it works for skeptics too.

Carpe Diem,

Alex

P.S. The David Lynch Foundation sponsors the teaching of Transcendental Meditation to inner-city schoolchildren, prisoners and even refugees in war-torn parts of the world. To see his five-minute introductory video, click here.

Alex Green—Spiritual WealthAlexander Green is the Investment Director of The Oxford Club. The Oxford Club Communique, whose portfolio he directs, is ranked among the top investment letters in the nation for 10-year performance by the independent Hulbert Financial Digest. Alex is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio: Get Wise, Get Wealthy… and Get On With Your Life,” “The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters,” and most recently, “Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life.” He has been featured on Oprah & Friends, CNBC, National Public Radio (NPR), Fox News and “The O’Reilly Factor,” and has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, among others. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and Winter Springs, Florida with his wife Karen and their children Hannah and David.

Copyright © 2008-2012

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD? Article for Ageless Living by Helen Foster-Grimmett

December 14, 2012

‘Tis the Season To Be Jolly … Or SAD?
By Helen Foster-Grimmett

Tonight, my husband told me that this article lacked pizzazz. I said: “Sorry, my serotonin is seasonally challenged – no sparkle.” I find myself standing in front of travel agency windows mesmerized by posters of sun-drenched Hawaii, Mexico, Barbados. Mauritius looks delicious.

By Christmas – the season to be jolly – some people have been feeling sad, down, or downright depressed since the onset of autumn. And they’ll motor on through to the first buds of spring feeling the same way. If you are one of those people, you may be experiencing Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). According to the Canadian Mental Health Association, about five million Canadians experience the “winter blues,” a mild form of Seasonal Affective Disorder. At least two to three percent have symptoms severe enough to be diagnosed as “SAD” – an apt acronym. People with SAD often feel a sense of happiness on a cloudy day when the sun peeks through the clouds, then deflated when the clouds cover the sky again. It’s as if the clouds are a manifestation of their minds. For people with SAD, those inner clouds can be dark, and they sometimes don’t lift until the spring flowers bloom and sunshine is more constant. The Canadian Mental Health Association tells us that women are more at risk for Seasonal Affective Disorder than men: eight times as many women as men report having SAD. Although the reasons for this are not defined, one suggestion is that women may spend more time indoors with their children than men and, therefore, less time in sunlight.

Sunless and SAD
Experts are not sure what causes SAD, but they generally link it to lack of sunlight. SAD is rare in those living within 30 degrees of the equator, where daylight hours are consistently long and bright. It is more common in northern countries, including Canada, where bright winter sunlight is sparse. Lack of light may upset our cycles and other rhythms. It may cause problems with a brain chemical called serotonin, which affects mood. People with mild winter blues manage to cope throughout the season. However, those diagnosed with SAD could feel more severe symptoms, including:
• Depression, apathy, negative thoughts, loss of self-esteem
• Sleep problems
• Lethargy, fatigue
• Overeating or little appetite
• Difficulty with concentration and memory
• Withdrawn – finding it hard to be around people
• Anxiety
• Inability to deal with stress
If you are affected by any of these symptoms, take heart: there are remedies that work wonders for SAD.

Relief for SAD Symptoms
Millions of people with SAD have been helped by the work of Dr. Norman Rosenthal, a world-renowned psychiatrist. Rosenthal and his team at the National Institute of Mental Health pioneered research that first led to describing Seasonal Affective Disorder, and the use of light therapy to treat it.

According to the Seasonal Affective Disorder Association in the UK, “light therapy has been shown to be effective in up to 85 percent of diagnosed cases.” Light therapy is now routinely prescribed for SAD in northern countries, but at the time Rosenthal and his team first used it, the results were dramatic. In his New York Times best-selling book Transcendence, Dr. Rosenthal recalls a comment from one of his colleagues. He had noticed a remarkable change in a patient who had been having light therapy for SAD for just one week: “I don’t know what treatment she is receiving, but she’s blooming like a rose!” A vivid metaphor for our need for light from the life-giving sun.

Dr. Rosenthal’s other guide for readers who suffer from SAD is called Winter Blues. This book provides a self-test that readers can use to evaluate their own seasonal mood changes, presents remedies for SAD, research on the use of medication, and new recipes to counterbalance unhealthy winter food cravings. A cautionary caveat: if you or someone you know is seriously depressed, it is imperative to seek professional advice, as depression can be debilitating or even life-threatening.

The good news? The incidence of Seasonal Affective Disorder decreases with age. So for all you seniors out there, as we approach the holiday season, ‘tis truly the season for you to be jolly!

Helen Foster-Grimmett writes on issues of health, education, and stress management. These days you may find her outside travel agency windows, looking wistful. Article references available upon request.

This is Helen’s 2nd article for the Canadian magazine, Ageless Living. You can read her first article there: The Answer To Cancer.

For more information on Dr. Norman Rosenthal, his work and books: Winter Blues, and Transcendence, visit: http://normanrosenthal.com.

George Stephanopoulos interviews Jerry Seinfeld & Bob Roth on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD

December 13, 2012

Jerry Seinfeld on GMAThis morning on Good Morning America, George Stephanopoulos interviewed comedian Jerry Seinfeld and Bob Roth, executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, on the importance of Transcendental Meditation for PTSD. Jerry said he’s been practicing TM for 40 years now. Both Seinfeld and Roth gave clear explanations of what TM can do for you. Jerry added his trademark humor describing how stressed George’s work was having spent the morning with him on the set. George said he’s been practicing TM for two years and it’s made a big difference. While on the set Jerry helped chef Emeril bake Christmas cookies.

Bob Roth discussed the successful application of TM for veterans and inner-city school students with PTSD. He mentioned a recent TM study published by the American Heart Association showing an almost 50% reduction in heart attacks, stroke and death in patients who regularly practiced Transcendental Meditation over a 5-year period.

Roth also mentioned Admiral Schneider, President of Norwich University, the oldest military college in the country, using Transcendental Meditation to develop resiliency in their cadets, inoculating tomorrow’s warriors against stress. See President Schneider discuss the impact of the technique at a recent Iowa Veterans Summit on PTSD and Transcendental Meditation.

Uploaded on Dec 13, 2012 by meditationchannel. Click to read a Transcript for Jerry Seinfeld on Importance of Meditation for PTSD.

Tonight at the Lincoln Center an historic jazz concert was held as a Benefit Gala to fund such projects sponsored by the David Lynch Foundation. Visit www.changebeginswithin.org to see the line up of top jazz musicians. Mail Online gave a report from the Red Carpet with photos of celebrity guests and musicians: All jazzed up: Liv Tyler steals looks on the red carpet at star-studded music gala for the David Lynch Foundation. Recapo also gave a good synopsis GMA: Jerry Seinfeld, George Stephanopoulos Transcendental Meditation. You can see photos on the m&c website: 4th Annual David Lynch Foundation Gala Pictures. Read this excellent report in BULLETT by Stella Girkins: Celebrating Transcendental Meditation at the 2012 David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala, which also includes a video from the David Lynch Foundation: Changing Lives With Meditation. See the DLF Gala Benefit Report.

Related news: Soledad O’Brien interviews Russell Simmons and Bob Roth of the David Lynch Foundation on TM for Vets with PTS on CNN’s Starting Point and Study suggests meditation may help prevent PTSD—Boston Globe article by Bryan Bender. Elevated Existence: Jerry Seinfeld Talks About His 40 Years of Transcendental Meditation.

See the video Highlights from Jazz at Lincoln Center Benefit for David Lynch Foundation.

See the latest news on TM at Norwich University, May 10, 2016.

Free Your Mind Projects host Wendy Almasy interviews meditating stars on the red carpet at David Lynch Foundation event

December 7, 2012

FYMP

Listen to the first half of this FREE YOUR MIND PROJECT show with hosts Brian Canning and Wendy Almasy. They attended last year’s Third Annual David Lynch Foundation Benefit Gala. Wendy is joined on the red carpet at the DLF event by David Lynch, Hip Hop mogul Russell Simmons, actress Dee Wallace who shares her own personal story, and actors Cheech Marin and Robert Davie – all talking about the impact that Meditation…specifically Transcendental Meditation can make on living a healthful life. It’s proven, it works and it is something worthy to explore!

Also, a special note of thanks to the David Lynch Foundation who have taken their TM practices and teaching “to the streets” with research projects and has made incredible impact both with returning vets and young people in school through their pilot projects. Find out more at  www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Click this short link to hear the show: http://bit.ly/TKl37Q.

Previous Free Your Mind shows on DLF and TM: Free Your Mind Project Show Discusses the David Lynch Foundation’s Commitment to 10,000 Vets and Bob Roth, Executive Director, David Lynch Foundation, Discusses Transcendental Meditation On Free Your Mind Projects Radio Show.

John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012

December 6, 2012

Enjoy this powerful, clear and concise talk by John Hagelin at TEDxWomen 2012 in The Paley Center for Media, Washington, DC. The theme of the 2-day conference was The Space Between. Dr. Hagelin’s PowerPoint presentation highlighted meditation as a powerful tool for health, education and post-traumatic stress. He concluded his presentation with a short video of how people’s stressed lives were transformed by the Transcendental Meditation technique. These at-risk groups were able to learn TM through scholarships from the David Lynch Foundation. Dr. Hagelin’s concluding remarks beautifully summed up the saliant point of his talk delivered in Session Two, Saturday morning, Dec 1, 2012, published Dec 4, 2012 by : “The Space Between” –TED Conference Explores the Value of Meditation.

“Medically, scientifically, the most powerful antidote to stress, and the key to optimal brain functioning, is to transcend.” — John Hagelin.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-renowned quantum physicist, science and public policy expert, educator, author, and leading proponent of peace.

Dr. Hagelin has conducted pioneering research at CERN (the European Center for Particle Physics) and SLAC (the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). He is responsible for the development of a highly successful Grand Unified Field Theory based on the superstring—a theory that was featured in a cover story of Discover magazine.

In addition, Dr. Hagelin is one of the world’s preeminent researchers on the effects of meditation on brain development, and the use of meditation to address critical problems in the field of education, rehabilitation, and post-traumatic stress.

Dr. Hagelin is a recipient of the prestigious Kilby Award, which recognizes scientists who have made “major contributions to society through their applied research in the fields of science and technology.” The award recognized Dr. Hagelin as “a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr and Eddington.”

Dr. Hagelin has appeared often on ABC’s Nightline and Politically Incorrect, NBC’s Meet the Press, CNN’s Larry King Live!, and other programs. He has been regularly featured in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other major metropolitan newspapers.

TEDxWomen was curated and produced by The Paley Center for Media. In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organized.* (*Subject to certain rules and regulations)

Also see The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin | John Hagelin — “Only Higher Consciousness Can Transform Our World” — Beyond Awakening Blog | Conscious TV: John Hagelin – The Core of Nature | John Hagelin, Ph.D., Speaks on the Nature of Consciousness and the Universe


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