Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

Something sweet to close out the old year with

December 31, 2022

I love this sweet and rare interaction between this girl and a bird. It’s as if Snow White and The Sound of Music collaborated to create “a golden hour miracle.” The description below explained what had happened. A bird had crashed into their window and was dazed. We see their delighted daughter holding the bird and singing Edelweiss to it while compassionately caressing it. You can hear the bird chirp feebly. This must have helped to get it back on its feet, or in this case, off, since “she flew away fit as a fiddle.” What a magical moment!

Gable Swanlund’s mother posted this video of her and the bird on her Instagram account. The video has hundreds of thousands of likes and over ten thousand comments! It’s bound to put a smile on your face.

Sander from the Netherlands posted a close-up of the video on Twitter.

HAPPY NEW YEAR

‘Along the Potomac’ by watercolorist Margaret Pearson beautifully portrays a stark winter scene

December 31, 2022

I saw this beautiful watercolor painting online and was so impressed with its zen-like quality I had to post it. Along the Potomac by Margaret Pearson seems appropriate for this time of year. The different textures in the sky and on the river along with the various shades of black and white contribute to the gloomy atmosphere in this stark winter scene. But the sun must be shining through the clouds since we see the picnic table casting its shadow onto the brightly colored sandy beach at the bottom.

“Along the Potomac” by Margaret Pearson, member of the Potomac Valley Watercolorists, a juried society of watercolor painters based in the Maryland/Virginia/D.C. area.

John Ford and the horizon line

I am reminded of what John Ford, played by David Lynch, said to a young Steven Spielberg at the end of The Fabelmans, the semi-autobiographical film about his life. Ford asks Spielberg what he knows about art and tells him to look at different paintings in his office and describe them. Spielberg’s descriptions miss the main point. It’s all about where the horizon line is placed in a picture. Ford tells him if it’s at the top or at the bottom, it’s interesting, but if it’s in the middle, it’s boring. The horizon line in Margaret Pearson’s painting is in the lower half—another reason for it being interesting.

I added that clip in this recent blog post on Steven Spielberg, where he tells Martin Scorsese how he was able to get David Lynch to play John Ford. He also reveals that he and his wife had learned TM 3 years ago from Bob Roth at DLF, and had mentioned it to David Lynch in the hopes of softening him up to take the role. Visit that post to get the full story.

A 17-year landmark study @maharishiuni found group meditation decreased US national stress

December 25, 2022

World Journal of Social Science publishes study showing that group practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi techniques by √1% of a population decreased multiple stress indicators in the U.S.. Scientists call for a group to create world peace.

During a five-year demonstration period, a group of 1725 meditators practiced the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi techniques twice daily to create coherence in US collective consciousness. Murders, rapes, aggravated assaults, robberies, infant mortality, drug-related deaths, vehicle fatalities, and child deaths by injuries all decreased, by 6% to 21% compared to the seven previous years. When the size of the group decreased over the next five years, stress began to increase again on all indicators. (Summary for EurekAlert! Press Release.)

Every year during 2000 to 2006 there were tens of thousands of stress-related tragedies in the U.S.. Official statistics from the FBI and Centers for Disease Control indicate that there were 15,440 murders, 93,438 rapes, and 86,348 child and adolescent deaths from accidents each year to give a few examples. This current study, published in the World Journal of Social Science, is the longest and most comprehensive of 50 studies to demonstrate what has been named the Maharishi Effect, in honor of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and Maharishi International University (MIU) founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The results can be seen in the chart below. The blue line indicates that during the Baseline period of 2000 to 2006 the size of the TM and TM-Sidhi group located at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa increased to reach the √1% of the U.S. population (1725 people) and stayed there for five years during the Demonstration period from 2007 to 2011. All stress indicators immediately started decreasing. In the Post period when the size of the group size began to decline the rate of decrease in stress slowed and then it reversed and began to increase.

Indicators of Stress in the United States

The size of the MIU TM and TM-Sidhi Group is indicated by the blue line, the eight indices of stress in the United States are represented by the lines in different colors, and the US stress index—the mean of all eight variables—is indicated by the red line. The figure shows a phase transition to a global reduction of negativity in the U.S. when the critical threshold of the √1% of the U.S. population was practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program together in a group. When the Group size dropped significantly, the trend was reversed.

Lead author Dr. David Orme-Johnson said: “What is unique about this study is that the results are so visually striking and on such a large scale. We see reduced stress on multiple indicators at the predicted time for the entire United States over a five-year period. And when the size of the group declined, national stress began increasing again. Clearly, the group was causing the effect.”

“What is unique about this study is that the results are so visually striking and on such a large scale. We see reduced stress on multiple indicators at the predicted time for the entire United States over a five-year period. And when the size of the group declined, national stress began increasing again. Clearly, the group was causing the effect.”

Lead author Dr. David Orme-Johnson

Co-author Dr. Kenneth Cavanaugh commented: “This study used state-of-the-art methods of time series regression analysis for eliminating potential alternative explanations due to intrinsic pre-existing trends and fluctuations in the data. We carefully studied potential alternative explanations in terms of changes in economic conditions, political leadership, population demographics, and policing strategies. None of these factors could account for the results.”

The fact that all variables started decreasing only after the square root of one percent of the U.S. was reached indicates a phase transition. Like when water does not turn to ice until 32◦ F is reached, national stress did not start decreasing until the U.S. √1% transition threshold was achieved.

The fact that all variables started decreasing only after the square root of one percent of the U.S. was reached indicates a phase transition. Like when water does not turn to ice until 32◦ F is reached, national stress did not start decreasing until the U.S. √1% transition threshold was achieved.

The chart shows that in 2013 when the size of the TM and TM-Sidhi group quickly dropped all stress indicators abruptly increased. Apparently, the rapid drop in national coherence shook the nation.

The scientists used regression analysis to estimate how many deaths and events were reduced by the meditator group. For example, image 2 shows the red dotted line representing the Baseline trend projected into the Demonstration and Post periods. During the Demonstration period drug-related deaths (the black line) fell to 14% below their Baseline trend and were another 15 % lower during the Post period, for a total of 79,941 fewer drug deaths. The chart also shows that in the absence of the coherence creating group drug deaths eventually returned to their Baseline level.

Drug-Induced Deaths in the U.S.

IMAGE 2: The red dotted line is the number of Drug Deaths forecasted from the Baseline trend. The black line is the actual number of Drug Deaths. Similar analyses were conducted for all variables and the results are displayed in the Table.

TABLE: RESULTS OF REGRESSION ANALYSESThe first column shows the number of events per year during the Baseline period (Intercept). The second column shows the change per year during the Baseline (Slope). The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth columns show the thousands of events averted during the Demonstration, during the Post periods, the total events averted, and percent change, respectively. The last column shows the estimated total events averted by each individual participant in the MIU TM and TM-Sidhi group.

The unified field level of natural law

The finding that the effect was holistic, causing all variables to move up and down together, supports the theory expressed by both Maharishi from the Vedic perspective and by quantum physicist and MIU president Dr. John Hagelin from quantum field theory that the TM and TM-Sidhi groups are creating coherence in collective consciousness from the unified field level of natural law. This is big. It is evidence of the existence of the unified field from a completely different approach than using particle accelerators and detecting gravity waves.

This discovery of the unified field is more than just an intellectual knowledge. It is arguably the most immediately highly practical technological discovery in the history of science. The invention of the wheel mobilized humanity. The printing press, radio, the telephone, the internet, and satellites increased our ability to communicate with each other across vast distances and time. The discovery of DNA opened our minds to the subtle mechanics of natural law underlying the evolution and growth of all life forms. These are among the greatest scientific discoveries of all time. But what discovery can reduce human suffering as comprehensively as group meditation?

Relationship between individual and collective consciousness

The paper reviews the many concepts of collective consciousness as they have occurred throughout history in the sciences and humanities. None have practical applications as Maharishi’s does and none have been so empirically verified.

The paper discusses Maharishi’s theory, which holds that every individual automatically contributes to collective consciousness and reciprocally, collective consciousness influences every individual. This is universally true whatever the form of government—democracy, republic, monarchy, communism, or dictatorship.

It is essential for every individual to use evidence-based technologies to reduce their own stress and at the same time, the responsibility of every government to provide these technologies to everyone.

The paper summarizes the hundreds of studies showing that practice of TM increases coherence in the individual, as indicated by such measures as increased brain coherence, decreased anxiety, depression, and anger, increased creativity, increased IQ and emotional and social intelligence, and decreased PTSD symptoms, prison recidivism, drug and alcohol addictions, and sickness rates in all categories of disease. More coherent individuals form a more coherent society.

The Howard and Alice Settle Foundation

A grant for 75 million dollars from the Howard and Alice Settle Foundation provided stipends for participants to be in the group and provided funding to bring several hundred visiting TM-Sidhi experts from India to further augment the MIU group. Dr. Orme-Johnson commented: “This is a lot of money, but the savings from the 10% reduction in crimes would save over 200 billion dollars, not to mention all the other savings from reducing other sources of stress in the country.”

Scientists call for a group to create world peace

The paper concludes with a call to create a permanent √1% group for the whole world, 8,000 participants practicing the TM and TM-Sidhi program together in one place. And as an engineering safety factor, a √1% group on every continent is needed. The world is so interconnected, no one is safe until everyone is safe, all living in harmony. This is easily within reach of any government or the world’s wealthiest citizens. The person who does it will be remembered as the greatest leader in history.

IMAGE 3: GROUP MEDITATION AT MAHARISHI INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY. Since 1979 twice daily group meditations have been held at MIU in Fairfield, Iowa for the purpose of creating coherence in the U.S. and world collective consciousness.

. . . . .

JOURNAL: World Journal of Social Science. ARTICLE TITLE: Field-Effects of Consciousness: A Seventeen-Year Study of the Effects of Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi Programs on Reducing National Stress in the United States. PUBLISHED: Dec 14, 2022. DOI:10.5430/wjss.v9n2p1 METHOD OF RESEARCH: Data/statistical analysis. SUBJECT OF RESEARCH: People. ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: The published article contains 5 Tables and 10 Figures (Graphs).

News coverage

Besides the regular science news coverage so far, one mainstream article stands out—an excellent report by Brooke Kato in the New York Post: Group meditation curbs stress, whether you do it or not: study.

Thrive Global invited Dr. Orme-Johnson to submit an article on his study. They published it Wed Jan 25, 2023: A Seventeen-Year Landmark Study Finds that Group Meditation Decreases U.S. National Stress.

Steven Spielberg tells Martin Scorsese that he learned TM 3 years ago, and how he got David Lynch to be in his new film, The Fabelmans

December 15, 2022

Martin Scorsese recently interviewed Steven Spielberg following an NYC screening of The Fabelmans at the Directors Guild of America Theater.

Photo by Waldemar Dalenogare

Deadline posted this article about it: Steven Spielberg Tells Martin Scorsese Why A Very Private Director Made ‘The Fabelmans’ & How Laura Dern Convinced David Lynch To Play John Ford.

In it, Spielberg mentions how he and his wife had learned TM, Transcendental Meditation, 3 years ago through the David Lynch Foundation. He also revealed how the idea came up to ask David Lynch to play the role of John Ford in the film, how he pulled it off, and how David Lynch prepared for his cameo role. Apparently, David was unrecognizable as he took on the persona of the late, great filmmaker.

Entertainment writer Tomris Laffly was at the Q&A and posted several video clips of that conversation on Twitter, for which we are grateful.

And here is a part of that movie clip they talked about, especially the cigar-lighting scene, which Amanda Dugan just tweeted of David Lynch as John Ford in The Fabelmans. She later sent me the full YouTube clip of David Lynch as John Ford, which I’ve embedded here.

David Lynch playing John Ford being directed by Steven Spielberg in a semi-autobiographical film about his life.

Later added: On Jan 5, 2023, Jimmy Kimmel asked Laura Dern to share the story of how Steven Spielberg asked her to get David Lynch to play the role of John Ford in his film. She was the catalyst in bringing both of these master film directors together to “pay homage” to the master filmmaker they both admired. It’s from 4:36-6:40 and is cued up below.

These articles are worth reading: ScreenRant: David Lynch’s Cameo In Spielberg’s The Fabelmans Explained, Vulture: The Fabelmans’ Brilliant David Lynch Cameo Is All About Perspective, and The Film Stage: Watch Steven Spielberg Talk to Martin Scorsese About How David Lynch Became John Ford.

At the bottom of The Film Stage article, they embed a video from 11 years ago — Spielberg/Grazer/Howard – “John Ford” — of Spielberg recounting in detail the real-life story, when he was 15, of meeting John Ford, which, decades later, would became the ending for The Fabelmans.

Interestingly, Bob Roth @meditationbob had taught TM to both the Scorseses and the Spielbergs. CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob is one of the most sought-after TM teachers around. He has taught thousands of people from all walks of life, including many of today’s top celebrities, like Lady Gaga and Oprah, Ellen, Katy Perry, Sheryl Crowe, Hugh Jackman, Liv Tyler, among others.

Rock’s Songbird—Christine McVie—has flown free

December 8, 2022

The Rock world has been reeling from the news of the unexpected death of Christine McVie, the longtime co-lead vocalist, keyboardist, and songwriter for Fleetwood Mac. She died Wednesday, November 30, 2022, after a short illness. She was 79. Christine was surrounded by family members at a London hospital when she passed.

Many condolences and remembrances have been pouring in this past week, especially from members of the band attesting to how much she was loved and appreciated as a person and, of course, as one of their foundational musicians. This E News! video contains several quotes from both band and family members alike. Good Morning America aired Celebrating the life and legacy of Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie

You can read more in some of the many articles published about her life. Here are a few: Rolling Stone: Christine McVie, Keyboardist and Singer for Fleetwood Mac, Dead at 79; The Guardian: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie dies at age 79; and NME’s Mark Beaumont’s excellent piece: Christine McVie, 1943-2022: an eternal songbird.

The Guardian also posted photos and quotes: Fleetwood Mac’s Christine McVie – a life in pictures, and Christine McVie: a look back at the Fleetwood Mac star’s greatest hits – video obituary.

Christine McVie on writing ‘Songbird’

One of the things that came up in my Instagram feed was this post from Far Out Magazine: Christine McVie on Writing Songbird. They included the audio portion from a Dec 17, 2017 BBC Desert Island Discs interview with Christine McVie that dealt with how she came to write her famous song. They also transcribed that part of the conversation in the Instagram post. Raised on Radio also posted the interview on YouTube. The Songbird section starts at 3:18. You can click CC to see their words.

In a recent post, I quoted Brendan Graham, who said, “the truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.” Christine McVie described exactly that kind of magical experience.

She couldn’t sleep, and an unknown song was in her head. “I had to play this song. It was as if I’d been channeled or something!” It came to her at 3 in the morning. “The whole song, complete, chords, words, everything within half an hour,” she explained. Fortunately, she had a piano in her room, but no tape recorder. So she kept playing it without sleeping for fear of forgetting it, until she went into the studio at 9 o’clock the next day to record it on a two-track tape. “I just felt as if it was a universal kind of prayer or something. I just don’t know where it came from. This never happened to me since or before.”

‘Songbird’ would arguably become McVie’s signature song. Originally released as the B-side to ‘Dreams’ in 1977, it ended up on Fleetwood Mac’s world-conquering Rumours album. It wasn’t her biggest hit for the group, but the ballad was a frequent closer at Fleetwood Mac concerts, especially after McVie rejoined in 2014.

McVie later recorded an orchestral version of the song, composed and arranged by multi-Grammy winner Vince Mendoza. It was part of her first-ever compilation highlighting songs from her solo career: ‘Songbird ~ A Solo Collection,’ which came out this year.

Enjoy this beautiful photo collage by CK WOOD Music Productions to Songbird (Fleetwood Mac and Christine McVie).

At 2:03 there’s a photo of Christine wearing a top with the words, Nobody’s Perfekt. This is doubly funny, not only because of the misspelling of the word, perfect, but also because it’s her family name! She was born Christine Anne Perfect. She told Peter Robinson of The Guardian: “I used to joke that I was perfect until I married John.”

Two decades after it first aired, the world discovered Eva Cassidy’s amazing voice singing ‘Songbird’. It was published 2 years after her untimely death at 33. Mick Fleetwood knew Eva and said this about her: “She was brilliant. She had the magic. And I call it, It. She had It!” To find out more about her, see The hauntingly beautiful voice of Eva Cassidy.

Christine’s Family, Early Background, and Later Recognition

Christine Anne Perfect was born on July 12, 1943 to Cyril Percy Absell Perfect and Beatrice Edith Maud Perfect. They also have a son named John. Christine’s family contributed considerably to her development. Her grandfather was the organist at Westminster Abbey. Her father was a concert violinist and music lecturer at St. Peters College of Education at Saltley in Birmingham. Her mother was a medium, psychic, and faith healer. After her brother brought home a Fats Domino songbook, she switched from playing classical piano to blues-based rock and roll.

She studied sculpture at school with the intention of becoming an art teacher and met blues musicians who invited her to join a band. She later left a window-dressing job in London to become a full-time musician. She would soon be invited to join an early version of Fleetwood Mac who would go on, through various iterations, to become one of the top-selling bands of all time.

An introvert by nature, McVie’s creative and spiritual influences informed her musical career and kind personality. She impacted her bandmates in positive ways, at times, the quieter center holding them together as they spun out of control due to the excessive drug-fueled lifestyles and rocky romantic relationships of that era. But they turned their melodramas into musical hits. McVie would be honored with many awards, and in 1998, was inducted with Fleetwood Mac into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

MOJO’s Tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie

Christine McVie: Her 20 Greatest Songs. In tribute to Fleetwood Mac singer-songwriter Christine McVie, who passed away this week, MOJO selects the best tracks from across her career. They also included Christine McVie Remembered. In memory of Christine McVie, who has sadly passed away aged 79, MOJO revisits our 2017 interview with Fleetwood Mac’s singer-songwriter.

Leland Roberts published in Medium: In Memoriam: Christine McVie is Britain’s Greatest Female Popular Music Artist.

Nadja Dornik performs her beautiful transcription of Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu Op.66 for a harp

November 14, 2022

I discovered this amazing musician—Serbian harpist and pianist Nadja Dornik. She transcribed and performed a stunningly beautiful version of Frédéric Chopin’s Fantaisie-Impromptu (C♯minor, Op. posth. 66, WN 46) on the harp. Check out her impressive bio, and see more videos on her YouTube channel and those featured at onepoint.fm.

For another beautiful classic piece of music, listen to Kristan Toczko, one of Canada’s premier harpists, perform Claude Debussy’s Clair de Lune.

Norman McLaren’s 1968 NFB film ‘Pas de deux’ creates a spellbinding aesthetic experience

Being written—how some poems come through us

October 20, 2022

In the previous post, I was impressed by what Brendan Graham said about being chosen for a song to go out into the world. “I had learned to keep out of the way, let the song write itself. … The truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.”

The video clip concludes with him saying: “I am grateful to be merely the conduit, an accident of time and place through which something I don’t fully understand is given voice and is heard.”

This reminded me of some of my own experiences in the past writing certain poems. As he said, it was more like they wrote me. I just put them down on paper as they were being given to me. I was the conduit—the intrinsic reward. Here are 4 poems and how they came to be written.

ODE TO THE ARTIST Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park

The first magical interaction I remember was with an artist friend. While driving around the Fairfield, Iowa countryside we noticed signs to Round Prairie Park. It turned out to be the first park the Jefferson County Conservation Board had developed. We drove on and found the entrance. A small historic schoolhouse on the left and a pond on the right were the first things we noticed. We continued on around the bend past the campsites and picnic tables to the end of the road and parked the car.

After a short walk, we discovered a bigger pond. It was filled with large lotus pads and pods. A drought that summer of 1988 had lowered water levels everywhere, including the pond. As a result, some of the lotus pads stood even taller. My friend pulled out her notepad and began sketching them. I asked her for a page and a pen. I made a few attempts at writing a poem about them, then gave up.

We spoke about The Secret Life of Plants and how they can sense what you’re thinking. She went back to sketching. I decided to switch perspectives—what I later learned is ‘reverse seeing’—and tried again. This time I felt a heightened awareness and quickly wrote down the words as they came to me. When it was over, I looked down and saw a poem on the page, but it was written in a voice other than my own. At that moment, a bird in the tree above me dropped a turd. It landed on my writing hand! A blessing from nature?

ODE TO THE ARTIST
Sketching Lotus Pads at Round Prairie Park
Black lines briefly sketched on paper
capture our appearance but not our essence.

Your attention interests us,
although others have never before.
Your watchful eyes tell us
we are apart of you.

Can you feel our thoughts?
Can you think our feelings?
We do yours
and we thank you for committing us to memory.

For long after we’ve gone
and transmuted ourselves back into nature
our likeness will remind you that we were.
And your response will touch our hearts.

I had entered the poem in a Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum competition that was announced in the local Fairfield Ledger and forgot about it. Eventually, the editor acknowledged receipt of the poem, which he appreciated, said it was in the competition, and had a question about the way I spelled ‘apart of’ in the last line of the second stanza.

I explained that I wanted to express both ideas of togetherness and separateness at the same time in the same sounding word—’a part of’ and ‘apart from’. A language professor friend suggested I italicize ‘a‘ and ‘of‘ to give it that appearance and meaning in ‘apart of you’. It felt right.

The following summer, a postcard in the mail told me to go to the Post Office to pick up a registered letter. I had no idea what it was about. When I opened it, the letter announced that I had won Sparrowgrass Poetry Forum’s Distinguished Poet Award, which included a $100 check. The plaque would be mailed in a few days. What an unexpected surprise! It also happened to be Guru Purnima Day 1989, making it extra special to me! I was so grateful for this honor and recognition, especially since I had been going through a challenging phase of my life.

I told the writer at The Ledger about it and she said to come in with the plaque. She interviewed me and they took a picture of me holding the award. She thought The Ledger would need permission to publish the poem and asked me to check with the publisher. He said I owned the rights to my poem and could approve them printing it in the paper. The article had already come out, so they published the poem the next day. These unexpected events were signs encouraging me to keep writing.

Sometimes Poetry Happens

The editor wanted a follow-up poem, which made me nervous since I felt I hadn’t really written that first poem. So, I thought about the dynamic between us and the lotus pads, wondering what had really happened between the two—the observer and the observed—from both sides.

When I put pen to paper, surprisingly, it flowed effortlessly, even blissfully. The middle part of the poem reiterated what Brendan Graham had said about the truly special songs—in my case, poems—finding us and writing us, not the other way around.

But, when I tried to make a statement, nothing worked. I gave up, let go, and lay down on the couch to take a break. In a few moments the conclusion to the poem composed itself in my mind. I quickly got up, went back to the kitchen table, and wrote it down.

It was written in such a comprehensive poetic manner. I never would have imagined such a perfect answer to the posed question of what had happened between the two. I explained that in a reply to an appreciative comment on the poem.

The editor was pleased to have received the poem and published it. Besides being a memory of what had been heard, the poem became a kind of commentary on the creative process, that, if we’re lucky enough, sometimes poetry happens.

Sometimes Poetry Happens
(Sequel to ODE TO THE ARTIST)

Some poets can write
from reflected experience
referring back to what was written.

Others need to be there,
in full view of their subject,
opening up to what’s being given.

Sometimes poetry happens between the two.

It’s then you don’t really write the poem.
It writes you!
You just put it down on paper.

When you see it there,
You’ve captured it.
Or, rather, it’s captured you.

What really happened between the two?

To explore that space
between you and me
is to discover who we are.

For deep within,
at the source of the gap
lie the togetherness of the three—

the seer, the seen, and the poetry … in between.

Being in Nature—a gift from a tree

Other poems would start with a seed idea, then grow and unfold while writing them down. One short poem resulted from a surprising interaction with a tree on the UBC Endowment Lands in Vancouver. I had moved back to Canada during the 1990s.

I was standing with an artist friend closely admiring the bark of a tree in front of us. The tree reciprocated the attention with a ray of words entering my heart-mind: “the realness of natural things, the nearness of you.” I immediately wrote them down.

The next morning, I looked at the two-line stanza wondering where it would go next. The poem answered my hunches and completed itself as I wrote it down in my journal. It felt like a collaborative process.

The repetitive end rhymes and number of syllables per line created their own matching patterns, like a little gem. The title would come much later, while thinking of the word ‘being’ as both a subject and a gerund.

Being in Nature 
a gift from a tree 

The Realness of Natural Things 
The nearness of you 

The Beauty that Nature Brings 
When seeing is true 

The Silence that Inward Sings 
When hearing is clear 

The Harmony Between all Beings 
It exists right here!

Indonesian Mystery Poem

This reminds me of the start of another poem that was given to me a few days after having arrived in Jakarta, Indonesia in early June 2000. I had joined our group there on a project. They told me to just rest (meditate and sleep) in my room for a few days to get over the 17-hour jet lag.

It was very early in the third morning, while I was still asleep, when I heard these words softly spoken in my mind: “He hides within the rock of three dimensions and cannot be found in this world.” I woke myself up and wrote them down. The rest was like taking dictation. I had no idea who or what the poem was about, so I titled it Indonesian Mystery Poem.

When I shared it with an older Indonesian gentleman on our team, he recognized the mythic Queen of the Southern Seas in the poem and told me about her. So did two expats, after I taught them to meditate. In a book on Indonesia I later bought for my son, I discovered the story about Nyi Roro Kidul and the annual celebration taking place at that time.

The leaders of our group—a Canadian and a Dutchman—had been invited by our sponsors to West Java for the holiday weekend. In the Samudra Beach Hotel where they were staying was a room with a shrine dedicated to the mythic queen featuring a portrait of her painted by a well-known Indonesian artist.

When I read the poem to the Dutchman, he shared a few unusual experiences that had happened to him while they were there—before and after meditating in that hotel room, later when swimming in the ocean, and before they left. It’s all in the post of the poem, with various paintings of the queen.

Indonesian Mystery Poem 
Honoring Nyi Roro Kidul 
Queen of the Southern Seas 

He hides within the rock
of three dimensions
and cannot be found
in this world

When night comes
she rises like a moon
to shine her light
upon the mountain

The sea dances
rising and falling
like a lover
in her arms

What pull does she have
on his life
as she looks for a partner
to dance with

The moon bows
before the rising sun
and he is left
breathless

All these confirmations made me feel grateful, as if I had been chosen as a conduit, but for what purpose I did not know. Maybe, as Brendan Graham said, “through which something I don’t fully understand is given voice and is heard.”

The Indonesian poem was mentioned in an interview I did with TM Home. They included the first two poems and how they were written in their profile: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin.

Postscript

Talk about being a conduit in a poetic way, B. Nina Holzer’s final entry in her journal shows us how she is an innocent instrument for writing.

EVENING

One day
I walked on the mountain
and the flute song
went through me.
That’s all.
I became the reed
and the wind went through
and I wrote it down
in my journal.

I recommend her book—A Walk Between Heaven and Earth: A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process—to anyone interested in wanting to express themselves in writing. I found it very inspirational.

In a post following this one, newly appointed U.S. Poet Laureate Ada Limón describes what Ranier Maria Rilke reveals can happen if you give yourself fully over to a Thing, how it can respond if your attention is completely devoted to it. 

An earlier post discusses negative capability, reverse seeing, beauty & the desire for transcendence & unity in life & poetry.

Added Nov 2, 2022: What the Living Do—Marie Howe’s ‘letter’ to her brother—an elegy to loss and how she lives with it.

Karen Matheson sings ‘Crucán na bPáiste’ with a Gaelic band. Brendan Graham tells how the song chose him as a conduit. Truly beautiful and sad.

October 9, 2022

I can remember as a child getting emotional every time my father would play a recording of Toora-Loora-Looral (It’s an Irish Lullaby). My lower lip would pout and quiver, and sometimes I’d cry. I still feel sad when listening to certain Irish artists and created a blog post about them.

Karen Matheson sings Crucán na bPáiste

Another Gaelic artist and song I recently discovered that also moves me is Karen Matheson singing Crucán na bPáiste, ‘burial place of the children’. It was written by Brendan Graham for the heroine of his novel The Brightest Day, The Darkest Night. When I discovered what it was about, what the words of the song meant, it elicited a stronger response.

One commenter explains: “The song is set during the famine in Ireland (1840s). People were dying so fast that they had to be buried in mass graves—the children included. But there was a special mass grave just for the little ones. That is what a ‘Crucán na bPáiste’ is (burial place of the children). In this song, a young mother grieves the fact she could do nothing to keep her dear little one from dying and wishes she had died as well. Now she vows to leave Ireland forever to the States to try and escape the bitter memories.”

Another later adds: “One other aspect you do not know…this is a graveyard for unbaptized babies…died before being baptized….kept separate by the Catholic Church.” Brendan Graham mentions this in his talk about the song in the second video below.

See a translation of the lyrics from Irish Gaelic to English, and listen to the recorded song on Spotify from Karen’s downriver album or on YouTube. They both play out to the end. Truly beautiful and so very sad.

This video excerpt from a BBC Four Transatlantic Sessions 3 includes an introduction by Karen about the collaboration between British and American musicians playing Gaelic music, followed by the band’s performance of the song.

These musicians accompany Karen in her rendition, which is filled with sorrow, regret, and a pleading prayer. The uilleann pipes in the last third of the piece intensify the overall sense of grief. Embedded here is that live performance of Crucán na bPáiste with English subtitles.

Accompanying Karen Matheson are Donald Shaw on piano, Ronan Browne on whistle and uilleann pipes, Aly Bain on fiddle, Tim O’Brien on fiddle, Jerry Douglas on slide, Catriona McKay on harp, and Todd Parks on bass.

How Brendan Graham wrote Crucán na bPáiste

The YouTube algorithm later suggested a short video of how Brendan Graham wrote his beautiful song Crucán na bPáiste. It was a revelation! He happened to be walking up in those beautiful mountains, “a place above the world hung between heaven and earth,” and came upon that place of unmarked stones. That’s when it happened.

He describes how he was affected, how the history of that time and place worked on him over many months to express itself, to tell its story, word by word, line by line, until he “had been set free and it had found its epiphany.”

I had learned to keep out of the way; let the song write itself. … The truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.”

The truly special songs write us; we don’t write them. We don’t find them; they find us.

Songwriter and author Brendan Graham

“How else is it explained how a song can seep out of the wilderness, out of rocks and streams, and the deep pool of its own dark history, and, how a remote place in the Mayo Mountains, can, of its own volition, send out its story to the world.”

He concludes with all humility and gratitude. “I am grateful to be merely the conduit, an accident of time and place through which something I don’t fully understand is given voice and is heard.”

A truly haunting song! It ranks up there with Davy Spillane playing the beautiful lament Caoineadh Cu Chulainn on uillieann pipes, and May Morning Dew on low whistle, alone, and with Moving Hearts in Dublin. Siobhan Miller sings her own beautiful version with her amazing band.

l first discovered Davy Spillane playing Midnight Walker. It captured my attention. Those songs are all embedded with a few artists’ covers here: The hauntingly beautiful music of Davy Spillane played on uilleann pipes and low whistle.

Improvement in U.S. homicide trends linked to group practice of the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs, new study shows

October 4, 2022

This summer, co-author David W. Orme-Johnson sent out an introduction to the latest Maharishi Effect research study. The previous TM study published on this M.E. research was the fourth in a series at the time. That post also listed the previous three studies: Follow-up study suggests large advanced TM groups reduced murder rates in large US cities. This latest and fifth large-scale study looks at the total national homicide rates before, during, and after the experimental period. This is a new development, which further confirms the efficacy of this approach. What follows is Dr. Orme-Johnson’s synopsis.

The study found that during the years when the size of the coherence creating group at MIU practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM Sidhi techniques reached the predicted national threshold of the square root of 1% of the US population (1725 people) that the rate of national homicides fell dramatically and that when the size of the group decreased once again to below threshold, that homicides turned around and started increasing again.

As there were no known alternative explanations for this phenomenon, because it was predicted in advance, and because it replicates dozens of previous studies, this study provides a powerful new layer of evidence that the group practice of this technology creates coherence in an underlying field of collective consciousness in which we all live and are connected.

Co-author Kenneth Cavanaugh offered some points about the paper.

Sections 1 and 2 of the paper contain a very readable and full discussion of Maharishi’s knowledge of collective consciousness. The final section (Section 6, Discussion) of the paper is also a very readable and nontechnical discussion of possible alternative explanations for the findings and the search for an explanation of the Maharishi Effect from the point of view of modern science.

The article was published in an open access journal with an Asian focus with the hope that its publication will help to increase support in India, Thailand, Nepal and other countries in that region for creation and expansion of large peace-creating groups there, as well as globally. So anyone can download a copy (or read it online) without charge and circulate it freely to others. The URL for this paper is https://doi.org/10.5430/sass.v8n1p1.

New Study Shows Improvement in U.S. Homicide Trends Linked to Group Practice of the Transcendental Meditation® and TM-Sidhi® Programs

A newly published, peer-reviewed study of a 15-year social experiment reports a highly significant 19.3% reduction in U.S. monthly homicide trend 2007-2011 when the average size of a large U.S. group practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi programs exceeded a theoretically predicted critical threshold. This improved trend was significantly reversed during 2012-2016 after the size of the group declined substantially below the predicted size required to create a measurable reduction in national trends of violent crime: the square root of 1% of the U.S. population (1,725 participants).

When the average size of the group at Maharishi International University (MIU) in Fairfield, Iowa USA was above the predicted threshold during the 2007-2011 “experimental period,” an estimated 10,594 homicide fatalities were averted as a result of the decline in homicide trend relative to the baseline trend for 2002-2006. The probability that the reduced homicide trend could be attributed to chance variation was reported to be less than 1 in 10 billion (p < 1 x 10–10).

As predicted, this declining trend in homicide rates was then significantly reversed in the “post-experimental” period 2012–2016 when, due to reduced funding, the size of the MIU group fell below the critical threshold. During the first post-experimental subperiod 2012-2014, the steeply declining homicide trend leveled out, shifting to a flat trend. (See Figure 1 and Figure 2 below.) The probability that this predicted increase in trend (relative to the experimental-period) could be explained by chance was less than 1 part in a million (p < 1 x 10–6 ).

During the second post-experimental subperiod 2015-2016, homicide rates soared when the group size declined more steeply. The probability of observing this increase in trend relative to the experimental period trend was less than 1 in 100 billion billion (p < 1 x 10–20).

The authors conclude that the theoretically predicted decline and subsequent increase in homicide trend could not be plausibly explained by other factors such as changes in police staffing, policing strategies, incarceration rates, the proportion of U.S. youth age 18-25, seasonal factors including temperature, or economic factors such as unemployment rates and rates of inflation; nor were the results attributable to pre-existing trends or violation of statistical assumptions for the time series regression analysis.

The study was authored by MIU research professors Kenneth L. Cavanaugh, Michael C. Dillbeck, and David W. Orme-Johnson. The article entitled “Evaluation of a Field Theory of Consciousness and Social Change: Group Practice of Transcendental Meditation and Homicide Trends” was published in the July 2022 issue (Vol. 8(1), pp. 1-32) of the international journal Studies in Asian Social Science. A free PDF of the article can be viewed or downloaded at the journal website. The URL for the paper is https://doi.org/10.5430/sass.v8n1p1.

Dr. Cavanaugh remarked: “There are now 32 research articles published in independent, peer-reviewed scientific journals or in proceedings of scientific conferences that validate the effectiveness of this consciousness-based approach to reducing the stress and tensions in national consciousness that fuel the growth of violence, crime, and conflict in society. This evidence-based, cost-effective approach offers an urgently needed solution for reducing the upsurge of social violence and conflict afflicting the U.S. and many other countries globally.”

Figure 1. Monthly U.S. homicide rate per 100 million people (mean daily rate per month) 2002-2016 with seasonally adjusted, fitted trend segments from time series regression analysis.

Figure 2. Monthly rates of change for the U.S. homicide rate (trend slopes) for the four trend segments of the segmented-trend regression model: baseline period, experimental period, and two post-experimental subperiods. The p-values indicate a statistically significant decrease in slope from baseline trend to experimental-period trend (supporting Hypothesis 1) and significant increase in slope from experimental period to the slope for post-experimental trends 2012-2014 and 2015-2016 (supporting Hypothesis 2). The p-value for the difference between the experimental trend slope and that for the 2015-2016 trend is p < 1 x 10–20 (not shown in Figure 2).

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For further references, see Examples of Maharishi Effect Research.

Related: New book suggests how governments can use meditation to help defeat the virus of violence

Joni Mitchell surprised everyone at the July 2022 Newport Folk Festival when she showed up to the Joni Jam organized by Brandi Carlile & Friends

July 29, 2022

Brandi Carlile & Friends were scheduled to perform a Joni Jam at the Newport Folk Festival Sunday, July 24, 2022. Brandi surprised everyone when she announced that Joni Mitchell was joining them on stage. She first appeared at that festival in 1967, and again in 1969, 53 years ago!

This would be Joni’s first public performance after a long recovery period from a brain aneurysm in 2015 that nearly took her life. She had to relearn many basic things, as well as how to sing and play her guitar again, which she picked up by watching herself on YouTube videos.

CBS Mornings correspondent Anthony Mason spent the weekend there. Brandi told him about the Joni Jam, where musician friends would gather together over the years to sing songs in Joni’s California living room. She’d sip her wine and listen, until one day, she started to sing and play. It was Brandi’s idea to bring the Joni Jam to Newport.

Anthony asked Joni if she was nervous about singing in front of an audience again. Joni replied that she’s never been nervous in front of audiences. “But I want it to be good. And I wasn’t sure I could be. But I didn’t sound too bad tonight!” They all share a laugh.

Read Anthony’s wonderful report: Joni Mitchell makes triumphant surprise return to Newport Folk Festival, and see Anthony’s report as he answers co-host Gayle King’s questions: Joni Mitchell performs in public for first time in nine years.

Update: The Extended Interview

CBS Mornings later posted the extended interview (5:32) with this description. Joni Mitchell and Brandi Carlile spoke with Anthony Mason after rehearsing for their surprise “Joni Jam” set at the Newport Folk Festival. Mitchell returned to the festival stage after 53 years, performing for the first time in public since a brain aneurysm in 2015.

Both Sides Now

I love this song! I first heard Joni sing Both Sides Now live in Montreal at a Place Des Arts concert in 1969. She stood on stage, a young innocent woman in a floor-length green dress and just her guitar, mesmerizing us all with her amazing talent.

Decades later, in An All-Star Tribute to Joni Mitchell, 2000, she performed a slower more melancholic version of her song with a full orchestra. Wearing a floor-length blue dress, she humbly sang from a different perspective, having looked at, reflected upon, her experiences of love and life from both sides, win and lose, illusions like clouds, which she sang, “I really don’t know (clouds, love) life at all.”

But this Newport Folk Festival performance was different. Joni was showing her audience, the musicians, and herself, that she can still sing, from both sides now—from before and after her aneurysm.

Her deep baritone-sounding voice is richly colored like dark mahogany. Brandi, hand over her heart, holds back from crying out loud. As the song comes to an end, we see and hear Joni’s happiness spilling over in laughter. She can still deliver. Everyone’s wildly cheering and applauding. Smiles everywhere; not a dry eye in the place. What an emotional return!

Summertime

“Summertime” is one of the most recorded songs in history. More than 2500 by now. Joni delivers the best jazz version of this Gershwin classic that I’ve ever heard! Not only does she still have it, she’s also matured like a rare vintage wine. A big thanks to Amy Karibian for posting the 14-song set.

Recent Awards, Honors, Tributes

Last year, the 44th Annual Kennedy Center Honors acknowledged 5 outstanding artists. They started the evening with a special Joni Mitchell Tribute featuring famous musicians and friends. In 2002, she was honored with a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. This year, Joni appeared in person to receive her 10th Grammy, for Best Historical Album for her collection, Archives, Vol. 1: The Early Years (1963–1967). The night before, Joni Mitchell was recognized as the 2022 MusiCares Person of the Year. The MusiCares 2022 Person Of The Year Tribute featured old friends and new faces, touching testimonials, and some of the greatest songs ever written. It did the songwriting pioneer proud.

Where will she go from here?

Where will Joni Mitchell go from here? She will probably continue to sing and play music. Maybe write new songs? Anything is possible. This ongoing recovery is turning out to be a gift for Joni, and her fans.

She told Anthony Mason what her surgeon had said about her recovery, that she has will and grit. It helped her overcome polio as a child, and now this brain aneurysm. Miracles are continuing to happen for Joni. She’s not done yet. Visit JoniMitchell.com and her socials for updates.

Elton John interviews Joni Mitchell

Nov 12, 2022: Joni Mitchell Talks ‘Blue’, “Both Sides Now”, & Newport Folk Festival with Elton John | Apple Music || Elton John’s Rocket Hour with Joni Mitchell.

In this special episode of Rocket Hour, Elton John sits down with legendary singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell for a rare and personal interview. The two reminisce on the stories behind some of Joni’s classic tracks, as well as some of the personal favorites she’s selected from other artists. Joni reflects on the music and the stories behind each song. She also touches on her experience performing at the Newport Folk Festival with Brandi Carlile, how the music industry has evolved, and her evolution as an artist, and her vocal shift from a soprano to an alto.

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