Archive for June, 2022

Bob Roth @meditationbob explains why and how #TranscendentalMeditation @TMmeditation is different from other types of meditation

June 11, 2022

Over the past two years I’ve been joining the daily morning and evening group meditations on Zoom facilitated by Bob Roth, a longtime Transcendental Meditation (TM) teacher, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation (DLF), and author. Before each group meditation, Bob likes to share interesting scientific information about how the body works, or something in nature, and ends the call with an inspirational poem, quotation, or word.

Bob also answers questions that have been sent in. One that comes up often is how is TM different from other types of meditation, in particular mindfulness. Bob’s answer was so clear, I wanted to share it with you. It was transcribed and approved for posting. I found two relevant images in an article on TM Basics in Enjoy TM News that will help highlight Bob’s explanation. He also addresses the notion of the active “monkey mind” and how it can be calmed without effort, a key point.

Bob Roth: I want to address a pretty basic question that many of you know the answer to, but many of you don’t. And since this is a community experience (these group meditations), I want to be sure that everybody feels comfortable and is up to speed. And one of the questions that frequently comes up, even among people who practice TM, is, “How is this different from other types of meditation, or mindfulness meditation?” Because we hear that term: mindfulness meditation.

And I like to use a very simple analogy; that you have a cross section of an ocean. (You ever hear me use that analogy in the past?) And you have choppy waves on the surface. And that can be analogous to the thinking mind. And people who are familiar with different types of meditation often talk about the nature of the mind being like a monkey mind. It bounces all over the place and, just in search of, just bouncing, bouncing, bouncing. It’s an active mind.

And if you want to control the mind, if you want to have a calm mind, then you have to stop the monkey mind from bouncing all over the place. And so, many types of either mindfulness meditation or other types of meditation involve some type of control of the mind.

So, in that cross-section of the ocean, it would be attempting to stop the waves on the surface of the ocean. That if you want to have a calm ocean, what disrupts a calm ocean? Waves. So, if you could stop the waves, then you’d have a calm ocean.

By analogy, if you want to have a calm mind, what disrupts a calm mind? Thoughts. So, if you want to have a calm mind, stop thoughts. You’ll have a calm mind.

That approach to meditation is called a cognitive approach. Cognitive means attending to your thoughts, your moods, your feelings, your actions. So, in that type of meditation, there’s some degree of control of the mind.

In Transcendental Meditation, we know there’s no control of the mind.

In Transcendental Meditation, we know there’s no control of the mind. We appreciate that the surface of the ocean may be turbulent, but we also recognize that there’s a vertical dimension to the ocean, and that there’s a depth to the ocean. And the depth to the deeper levels of the ocean? More silence.

In the same way, we appreciate that the mind is an active mind. All of the thoughts that we have during the day—we’re busy people. And we’re upset about things, and we’re happy about things, and we’re depressed about things, and we’re anxious about things, and we’re in love, and then we’re hurt.

All this stuff that’s going on are like waves on the surface, thoughts on the surface of the mind. And we call that the “gotta-gotta-gotta” mind.

Transcendental Meditation recognizes that there’s a vertical dimension to the mind. Just as there’s a vertical dimension to the ocean, there’s a vertical dimension to the mind. And the deeper levels of the mind are increasingly quiet, more settled.

Just as there’s a vertical dimension to the ocean, there’s a vertical dimension to the mind. And the deeper levels of the mind are increasingly quiet, more settled.

We know that when we want to talk to a dear friend about something important to us, we don’t say, Let’s go to a noisy sports bar. We say, Let’s go someplace quiet. Because when it’s quiet, we can think more clearly. We feel more settled within ourselves.

So, deeper levels of the mind—quieter. In Transcendental Meditation, we don’t try to stop thoughts on their surface. We effortlessly access what’s called (go in the direction of what’s called) the source of thought, from where thoughts arise deep within the mind of everyone—from where thoughts arise.

And that level of the mind is naturally quiet, like the ocean depth is naturally quiet. It’s there. That’s the hypothesis. You don’t have to believe in that. That’s the hypothesis. Deep within every human being is a level where the mind is already quiet. All we do in Transcendental Meditation is set up the conditions for our mind to effortlessly access that.

Deep within every human being is a level where the mind is already quiet. All we do in Transcendental Meditation is set up the conditions for our mind to effortlessly access that.

We don’t try to stop thoughts. It’s a waste of time. It’s impossible. It doesn’t accomplish what we hope to accomplish. And what do we hope to accomplish? Just set up the conditions for the mind to settle down within. And why will the mind settle down within? Because your mind doesn’t wander aimlessly. The mind is in search of something more satisfying. When it goes out through the senses, we look for something—something more beautiful, something more delicious, something more fragrant, something more pleasurable.

When we close our eyes, wait a half a minute, and then begin to think the mantra in an effortless way, then the mind is drawn inward to these quieter levels. And as that happens, our body gains deep rest.

And then as we get deep rest, the body throws off stress, and that increases the activity in the body. And then we come up a little bit. And then we settle back down. And we come up and we settle back down. This is Transcendental Meditation.

So, it’s that vertical dimension—accessing a level of the mind that is already quiet. So, no control in this. Concentration and control, just is trying to manipulate the surface. And that is just difficult and uncomfortable and not Transcendental Meditation.

Easy, comfortable, let the attention turn within, and we settle down, we come up. And that is TM—transcendence. Going beyond ordinary human limitations.

More on that in times to come, but let’s do our meditation now.

* * *

This infographic on the TM website compares forms of meditation techniques and their impact on the brain by looking at amount of mental effort required, images of different EEG signatures, types of brainwave activity, and their descriptions identified by the Mayo Clinic.

In this related article, Parade Magazine asked Bob Roth to explain Transcendental Meditation and what makes it so special.

NEW: Nigel Barlow, host of the Change Begins Within podcast in the UK, spoke with Bob Roth on The Work of The David Lynch Foundation. It was a lively informative discussion. Available on platforms, like Spotify, I listened in their SoundCloud album with other related Talking TM tracks.

See this dynamic talk by Nigel Barlow about TM at Biohacking Congress.

See this video on the David Lynch Foundation: Change Begins Within.

You can follow Bob Roth on Twitter @meditationbob and Instagram @meditationbob. To learn Transcendental Meditation, visit tm.org.

Related posts: Meditation Basics by Doug Rexford is the best short video intro to Transcendental Meditation | New study highlights unique state of “restful alertness” during Transcendental Meditation | Research validates the defining hallmark of Transcendental Meditation—effortlessness

What happened when three Ukrainian students reached out to Maharishi School in Fairfield, Iowa

June 3, 2022

How a conversation among friends sparked an effort to answer the call

I received an email alert and was surprised to read this wonderful story about something close to home. I inquired and found out how it came about from Curt Swarm, an Iowa weekly columnist, and Carol Chestnutt, the person featured in his article. Curt explained:

Well, Carol and Paul attend our church, First Presbyterian in Mt. Pleasant. At coffee, I was talking with Carol and she was asking about my Empty Nest column and I said that I could probably write about her and Paul, that everyone has a story. She then proceeded to tell this wonderful story about bringing the three Ukrainian Students to Maharishi School. Bingo! I asked her if we could get together for an interview so I could write the story. 

We met the next day. Such a wonderful visit. Not only did I interview her, but she gave me a tour of Vedic City and we stopped at one of the homes of a friend of hers. We also stopped at Maharishi University (MIU) and toured the campus.  So, Ken, this is how the story matriculated. 

Curt also gave me permission to “share this story on your blog, newsletter and the world. It’s the kind of story that needs to go around the world. ‘We need to help each other!'” Here is that inspiring story.

The Empty Nest: Three Ukrainian students to attend Maharishi School

By Curt Swarm   May 31, 2022

Mariia, Olena and Sviatoslav (or Sviat, pronounced “Fiat”) were in a quandary. All three are excellent students and college bound, but because of the war, their lives are scattered all over, some in other countries. These are teenagers, mind you, but they realized they had to take charge. They went to niche.com and searched for schools. They knew they wanted to go to the United States where they would be safer (hopefully). They did not want the east or west coasts because they feared the coasts could be the target of Russian nuclear attacks. The Midwest should be safer. They found that Maharishi School in Fairfield is the top private school in Iowa and in the top 6% in the U.S. Fairfield is a small town in the middle of nowhere, surely it would be safe.

Another attraction for the three war-torn students is that Maharishi School practiced yoga and Transcendental Meditation. One of the students’ mothers practiced yoga and TM, and the students knew it would help them cope with the stress of their new life.

One big problem is that they had no money. Their banks had been bombed so they had no access to what funds they had. But they called Maharishi School anyway. They were fortunate in talking to a lady in the admissions office who had a big heart. She talked to the head of the school, who said, “We’ll make it work.”

But they still have to get their visas. This requires travel to Bucharest, Romania. There is very little gasoline available, and they have no money. Somehow, they will accomplish it with nothing more than what they can carry in their backpacks. There will be days of waiting and living in the airport.

Meanwhile, in Fairfield, husband and wife, Paul Winer and Carol Chesnutt, in their late fifties, were discovering the hollowness of an empty nest. Their two girls had graduated from Maharishi School, and were off to college and doing other things. Carol and Paul discussed becoming foster parents.

Carol, with a degree in engineering, had done some marketing and part-time teaching at Maharishi. Her neighbor, who was in charge of admissions at Maharishi, called and said, “Carol, I need your advice. We have three Ukrainian students who contacted us. What’s the best way you can think of for raising money for their living expenses in the dorm?”

Carol’s heart skipped a beat. She talked to her husband, Paul. Yes, they had the room in their house for three students—two girls and one boy. However, these were war-traumatized teenagers. Wouldn’t they be better off with other students at the dorm, for interaction, socialization, and professional services, like counseling?  The cost for everything would be a little over $20,000 per student per year.

Carol set up a GoFundMe account. It started slow. She made some phone calls. They now have a little over $60,000. This is going to work! One donor offered to pay the students’ airfare and miscellaneous expenses, like for a comforter and curtains in their dorm rooms.

Carol and Paul know the students can’t spend their whole lives in the dorm, especially if they arrive this summer and classes don’t start until fall. Carol and Paul plan to host the students and make accommodations.

In Carol’s words, “We have to take care of each other. We can’t save three million, but we can save three. The first stage of a big undertaking is uninformed optimism. Then follows informed pessimism, once the hurdles are recognized. The third stage is adjusted reality, when it all comes together.” If you would like to help these three Ukrainian students, visit gofundme.com “Bring Ukrainian Students to U.S.” You will see Carol Chesnutt’s introduction.

* * *

More background information from Carol. In her reply, she wrote:

The story unfolded just as Curt said—around a table eating cookies after the church service. All of the story is accurate. 

It, indeed, has taken a team to support the Ukrainian kids: Springli and Michelle for having mothers’ hearts in the Enrollment Office at the School, Richard and Kaye and Laura for their compassionate, instant yes when offering full tuition scholarships, my husband who never says no to me when it comes to children, and the 65 donors. Most importantly, these kids have grit and inspired all of us.

Please put it on your blog! One of the students will be in 10th grade this fall so the School hopes to have her return for 2 more years which means we’ll need to do more fundraising for her. The more donations now, the better for later!

Michelle, the managing enrollment director at the school, wrote: “We are also grateful for Carol’s quick action to help champion the community support for these Ukrainian students who we are eager to have at our school. They are going to be excellent additions to our community!”

I agree. Looking forward to hearing more about this positive story as it continues to unfold over time.

Curt’s weekly column, “Empty Nest,” is published in 25 Iowa newspapers. Some of them that posted this story online are: Southeast Iowa Union, Ottumwa Courier, The Hawk Eye, Newton Daily News, Fort Madison Daily Democrat, Pen City Current, and The Bloomfield Democrat where I first read it.

Curt loves writing human interest stories and does so for free to practice his art. He says, “The column is an excellent creative outlet for me, as well as wonderful discipline—it requires me to write every week. And I haven’t missed a week in 15 years.” Visit Curt’s website to find out more about him.

If you have a good story, call or text Curt Swarm in Mt. Pleasant at 319-217-0526, email him at curtswarm@yahoo.com

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