Archive for January, 2020

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

January 30, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 27, 2020

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

Fluent

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

— John O’Donohue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 24, 2020

Transcendental Meditation – Helping to ease the busy mind

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

By Steve Holloway, Monday, 20th January 2020.

Published in Brighton & Hove Independent and Bagnor Regis Observer.

Nick Cave (Photo by Fred Duval/Getty Images)

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

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

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

Mark Heath, a certified teacher of Transcendental Meditation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi

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

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

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

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

The Brighton and Hove Transcendental Meditation Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 18, 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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