Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

#TranscendentalMeditation as good as or better than ‘gold standard’ when treating veterans with #PTSD

November 19, 2018

Associated Press reported on a DoD-funded TM study published November 15, 2018 in The Lancet Psychiatry. The AP report, Meditation helps vets with post-traumatic stress disorder, broke the news. It was picked up in hundreds of news outlets across the country and around the world. It’s the kind of promising good news the press like to report. The Washington Post published this story about the ground-breaking study. So did The New York Times. The Sun published a picture of Maharishi with The Beatles: Meditation techniques used by Beatles in 1960s could benefit veterans with PTSD. The Military Times, Army Times, Marine Times all published the AP story.

Other news services also published encouraging reports. AFP: Meditation helps conflict veterans with PTSD: study, which includes a personal testimonial from one of the subjects. The Hans India and Deccan Chronicle ran the AFP report. The London Economic, TLE: Transcendental meditation ‘could combat post traumatic stress disorder in war veterans’. Helio: Transcendental Meditation as effective as prolonged exposure therapy for PTSD. MedicalResearch.com interviewed Dr. Nidich: Transcendental Meditation May Help Veterans with Resistant PTSD. Will continue to update with other major news reports.

The Lancet Psychiatry included an accompanying editorial by Vernon A Barnes: Transcendental Meditation and treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.

Medscape Medical News reported on the study and quoted from the Barnes editorial: Meditation May Best Gold Standard Therapy for PTSD.

This Graph by Alliance for PTSD Recovery shows the results of the study.Image-Graphs of The Lancet Psychiatry TM-PTSD Study

They also interviewed study co-author Dr. Maxwell Rainforth on how it was put together and the outcomes.

Check out this infographic comparing different meditation techniques.

David Orme-Johnson summarized the study on his Facebook page.

Dear Friends,

Today the best study to date on the effects of the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM) on PTSD was published in The Lancet Psychiatry, a leading journal in the field. The study compared TM with prolonged exposure therapy (PE), which is the current treatment of choice for treating PTSD. PE involves having the veterans re-experiencing their trauma through remembering and engaging with situations that remind them of it, in the hope that repeated experiencing of the stimuli associated with the trauma will eventually diminish the patients stress responses to them. PE is very painful for the Vets to go through.

The study was a “non-inferiority clinical trial”, meaning that the objective was to see if TM was at least as good as PE. TM was at least as good. Both TM and PE were significantly better than a Health Education (HE) for PTSD patients, with TM more significantly so (TM, p=.0009; PE, p=.041). 61% of those receiving TM showed clinically significant improvements compared to 42% of those receiving PE and 32% of those receiving HE.

Below is a link to an abstract on the journal website.

All the best,
David Orme-Johnson

Nidich, S., Mills, P. J., Rainforth, M., Heppner, P., Schneider, R. H., Rosenthal, N. E., Salerno, J., Gaylord-King, C., Rutledge, T. (2018). Non-trauma-focused meditation versus exposure therapy in veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomised controlled trial. The Lancet Psychiatry, Online First

 

@TVJillianParker reports on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation for @SPECNewsROC

October 16, 2018

Jillian Parker interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Jillian Parker (rt) interviews TM Teacher Peggy Birx for Spectrum News

Here is another positive TV News report on Transcendental Meditation. This one aired yesterday on Spectrum News in Rochester, NY. Reporter Jillian Parker cited the scientific research and interviewed meditator Jessica Cowie to learn how TM significantly improved her health. Jillian also interviewed TM teacher Peggy Brix who told her why people come to learn. They used clips from the DLF Change Begins Within video. This was so well done it felt like a free TM infomercial! Click on the title below to watch this news piece on their website.

How This Effortless Meditation Technique Improves Overall Health

By Jillian Parker  |  October 15, 2018 @2:22 PM

There’s a 20 minute meditation technique improving sleep patterns, reducing stress and improving overall health.

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a technique that was introduced to the United States in the 1950’s. It’s being called one of the most effective techniques to help people sleep, settle the mind, relieve stress, anxiety, and depression.

Jessica Cowie once suffered from anxiety, depression and addiction. She says this technique has been life changing.

Jessica Cowie describes her health benefits from TM

“I’m much calmer, I don’t have as much of an anxious disposition and wasn’t suffering as many anxiety attacks anymore,” Cowie said. “I also was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and suffered with severe chronic migraines. My pain has significantly lowered. I’m off of all my medications for those illnesses. I literally take nothing.”

Young people spend more than six hours a day stressed out according to a mental health study released this year. Practicing TM is known to reduce the stress hormone by 30 percent and it’s the main reason Peggy Birx says people walk into a session for the first time.

“We’re just living in this crazy, high pressured time where people are on call 24/7. They’re connected all the time and expected to be performing constantly. I think so many people have become disconnected with their quiet inner self,” said Birx, Rochester Transcendental Meditation teacher.

In 20 minutes of meditation, someone can gain as much rest that’s required from six to eight hours of deep sleep.

“I used to need to take something to sleep. I don’t need anything to sleep anymore. My dreams are more vivid, I wake up refreshed. My mind is more alert and I don’t have brain fog as much,” said Cowie.

TM is a practice that the American Heart Association has endorsed as the only technique proven to help heart disease reducing the chances of heart attack, stroke and death by 48 percent.

Teachers are based all over the country, including Rochester.

For more on costs and locations visit this website.

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Other cables TV news stations that reported on the health benefits of TM this year are: WTNH New Haven 8 and WXYZ Detroit 7.

Catholic Health World reports on medical students learning Transcendental Meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 16, 2018

In the spirit of “Physician, heal thyself,” Catholic Health World reported on Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine offering Transcendental Meditation (TM) as an elective course to students during the past 4 years to help them avoid burnout and develop wellness, preparing them to become more effective physicians. The Uncarved Blog originally helped break the news of the early success of this program. Here is a PDF of the Catholic Health World article.

Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness

October 15, 2018 (Volume 34, Number 18)
By Patricia Corrigan

Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine is believed to be the first major medical school in the country to offer Transcendental Meditation, or TM, as an elective course. Since 2014, the class has been offered to help medical students manage stress.

“A lot of studies show that as many as 50 percent of medical students and residents exhibit symptoms from stress that can develop into burnout, so we’re trying to help students focus on wellness for themselves by teaching skills that they can take with them, skills they will need to be effective physicians,” said Dr. Gregory Gruener, vice dean for education and a neurology professor at Stritch.

w181015_medicalstudents-gruener-2-a

Gruener

In addition to learning the meditation technique, the class reviews the neurophysiology of TM and includes a live demonstration of the brain wave patterns that occur during the practice. Students may attend five lectures over two semesters or view the lectures online. Stritch has even set aside meditation rooms for students.

Gruener counts the TM training as a success. “We don’t push it — it’s one technique — but a significant chunk of the students, about a third of each class, sign up for it, and almost 300 have enrolled since it started.” This year, 66 of the 165 first-year students have signed up so far, and Gruener expects another 10 to 20 to enroll.

Most students who have taken the class have reported the training has “a significant and fundamental impact” on their lives, Gruener said. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery, is one of them.

“Going to medical school — well, that’s not a path to stress relief,” said Terrell. She first took the TM class three years ago and still meditates. “Right after the first meditation class, I instantly felt so much better. The initial benefits are still present, and TM is a great tool to have in my pocket for those days when I am overwhelmed.”

TM uses meditation skills similar to those found in the Catholic, Jesuit traditions of contemplative care. Deans in the admissions offices, the counseling faculty and the clinical physician supervisors at Stritch would agree. They also have learned the meditation technique, which was first taught in India in 1955 and introduced in the U.S. in 1959. An article about the TM class, published in Chicago Medicine magazine in January 2016, is now made available to all students who apply to Stritch.

w181015_medicalstudents-brown-3-a

Brown

“Two students told us they chose Loyola because of the TM elective,” said Carla L. Brown, who teaches the course at Stritch. She co-directs the Center for Leadership Performance in Chicago with her husband, Duncan Brown, who also teaches TM at Stritch on an adjunct basis.

“TM changes the brain — that has been documented scientifically,” Carla Brown said. “It taps into our innate capacity to experience restful alertness, and that refines the functioning of our physiology.” The website for the meditation method notes that some 380 published, peer-reviewed research studies have found that TM “markedly reduces stress, anxiety, and fatigue, improves learning ability and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.”

The medical school is keeping track of whether former students still practice TM. “We haven’t received all the information yet, but even those that are meditating once a day now say they do still notice a benefit,” Gruener said. “Our real concern is how they do away from the support system that was in place for them here, and we will continue to keep in touch.”

Also, as part of a student’s PhD thesis, some faculty members have had MRI scans before and after meditating to determine whether there are changes in the brain that have to do with “anxiety or stress or emotionality.” The study is complete, but Gruener said the data from the thesis is not yet available.

w181015_medicalstudents-1-a

Dr. Danielle Terrell, a resident in pediatric neurosurgery at Louisiana State University — Shreveport, practices stress-busting meditation techniques she learned as a medical student at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

The TM class includes outside speakers, among them retired Col. Brian Rees, a physician who talks about the use of meditation in his work with individuals in the military related to building resiliency and the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder. “Students in medical school want to know about the science supporting TM, and they want to meet physicians who research and also practice it,” Gruener said.

The decision to add the meditation technique to the curriculum was serendipitous. “As we were trying to build a broader menu into our wellness program, we heard from a former medical student who had dropped out of school because of anxiety,” Gruener said. “He saw a billboard advertising TM, took the class and found it had a dramatic impact on his life — and he provided the money to begin a pilot program here.”

That program commenced in the fall of 2013. Later, it was modified and the decision was made to offer the course as an elective, with a more flexible schedule. Gruener noted that one reason some students do not enroll is because of the time required to take the five classes and the need to find 20 minutes twice a day to meditate.

“Some students view that as time taken away from studying, even though we try to let them know that if you take care of yourself now, there is a big payback later,” Gruener said. Laughing, he added, “Also, physicians tend to be hardheaded if something isn’t in pill form or can’t be injected. Carla and I have joked that if we had a pill to relieve stress that cost $1,000, all the students would want to take it.”

Gruener said he practices TM, and he openly credits it with reducing his own stress. “You have to embrace wellness and you have to find the time to take control of your own life,” he said. “Once you begin TM, that gets easier.”

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Permission granted by Catholic Health World, October 15, 2018.
Copyright © 2018 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States.
I added all hyperlinks except the SSOM-LUC in the opening sentence.
Article URL: https://www.chausa.org/publications/catholic-health-world/archives/issues/october-15-2018/medical-students-learn-meditation-to-counter-stress-promote-physician-wellness

Mental health tips from London’s leading art figures includes #TranscendentalMeditation

October 10, 2018

Wednesday, October 10, 2018: The Evening Standard GO London wrote a piece for , on how London arts figures look after their minds. They featured 9 individuals. Here is the introduction, and the 7th, Bea Colley, who benefits from her regular practice of Transcendental Meditation, and finds comfort in poetry.

Tips for a healthy mind from London’s leading art figures

Only in the last few years have mental health and physical health begun to be regarded on an equal par. Open conversations about mental health help to break the stigma, but they also remind us that it’s an issue that affects us all.

Self-care is too often relegated to the last priority in the midst of life in a high pressure city, long days at work and digital devices that don’t allow us to ever truly switch off. Opening up about how you’re really feeling is hard enough, and finding and taking practical steps to look after your body and mind isn’t straightforward either.

To mark this year’s World Mental Health Day, we asked leading London arts figures for their tips on self-care and keeping a healthy mind.

Bea Colley

A few years ago, during a particularly difficult time, I learnt Transcendental Meditation. It’s a practice that my parents swear got them through their teaching years and that celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey and David Lynch live their lives by. I know that if I can keep up the 20 minutes each morning and evening, the day will be brighter and calmer. Also, being a lover of poetry, I have a theory that a poem will always find you in times of need. Sometimes I head to Southbank Centre’s National Poetry Library, pick up an anthology and wait for a poem to bring me comfort.

Bea Colley is Literature Programmer at Southbank Centre‘s London Literature Festival which runs October 18-28.

@LynchFoundation CEO @meditationbob offers #TranscendentalMeditation to those in need

September 16, 2018

Last year, Alexandra Wolfe wrote a great profile on teacher and David Lynch Foundation CEO Bob Roth for the Wall Street Journal‘s Weekend Confidential. Transcendental Meditation for Everyone was published June 30, 2017. It’s posted below with added links. See the 5-column printed article with photo by Chris Sorensen: Bob Roth: The nonprofit executive is working to bring Transcendental Meditation to all.

Bob Roth, chief executive of the David Lynch Foundation, teaches Transcendental Meditation to a range of students, from elementary-school children to CEOs.

Bob Roth knows his field sounds a little like “woowoo” spirituality, as he says. But as a teacher of Transcendental Meditation, he now works with a wide-ranging clientele that includes celebrities such as Katy Perry and Jerry Seinfeld, hedge-fund managers, inner-city students, prisoners and veterans. He has the same goal for everyone: to teach them the virtues of T.M., as it’s called—a practice that involves silently reciting a mantra over and over for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day.

Proponents say that the practice reduces stress and raises self-awareness. Bridgewater founder and co-chairman Ray Dalio, a student of Mr. Roth’s for more than a decade and a donor to the foundation, is a believer. The practice has been “integral to whatever success I’ve had in life,” he says. “It makes one feel like…a ninja in a movie, like you’re doing everything calmly and in slow motion.”

Mr. Roth, 66, is chief executive of the David Lynch Foundation, a nonprofit he co-founded with the film director in 2005 that is dedicated to teaching Transcendental Meditation, particularly to at-risk populations, “to improve their health, cognitive capabilities and performance in life,” as the foundation’s website says. Some of its funds come from teaching courses to companies and individuals; a four-day training course costs up to $960 a person. The foundation has 60 employees in the U.S. as well as partners in 35 countries.

In early June, Mr. Roth opened the nonprofit’s first office in Washington, D.C., where he says he is currently teaching a dozen members of Congress. His organization has also been participating in studies in prisons recently. In a study published last year in the Permanente Journal, 181 male inmates at the Oregon State Correctional Institute and the Oregon State Penitentiary in Salem either took a Transcendental Meditation program through the foundation or did nothing outside their usual routine. The researchers found greater reductions in anxiety, depression and trauma symptoms in the group that had taken meditation.

Mr. Roth finds an analogy in the sea. “The ocean can be active and turbulent on the surface, sometimes with tsunami-like 30-foot waves, but is, by its nature, silent at its depth,” he says. “The surface of the mind is the active, noisy, thinking mind—often racing, noisy, hyperactive, turbulent. But like the ocean, the mind of everyone is quiet, calm, silent at its depth.”

T.M. was developed in India by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, a physicist turned meditation teacher, in the 1950s; it gained popularity in the 1960s when he worked with the Beatles and other celebrities.

The son of a doctor and a teacher, Mr. Roth dreamed of being a senator when he was young. He started meditating in college at the University of California, Berkeley, after a friend suggested it as a way to relax amid the student riots on campus.

He was skeptical at first but soon became hooked. After he graduated in 1972, he started teaching meditation to children in inner-city schools in San Francisco. A few years later, he traveled to Europe to study under Maharishi Mahesh Yogi before returning to California to continue teaching over the next decade. In 1982, he moved to Washington, D.C., where he eventually met Mr. Lynch, the director of “Blue Velvet” and “Twin Peaks,” who had taken up the practice in the 1970s. “If you are a human being, [Transcendental Meditation] works,” says Mr. Lynch.

Contrary to what you might expect for a meditation teacher, Mr. Roth often wears a suit with a crisp white shirt. (More predictably, he has a serene demeanor.) He lives alone in New York, and in his downtime enjoys trying new Asian fusion and Italian restaurants and watching sports, especially baseball. “I grew up with Willie Mays, who was my first hero,” he says.

He spends half his time teaching and the other half running the organization. For all of his new students, instruction is the same. He conducts a short ceremony in which he acknowledges past teachers and gives each student a mantra—a sound or word that has no meaning and is to be repeated silently during the meditation. (The student keeps that mantra forever.) After that, the student closes his or her eyes for 20 minutes and silently recites the mantra while sitting in a comfortable position.

In follow-up sessions, Mr. Roth discusses the benefits of the practice, refreshes students’ techniques and answers any questions they have, often meditating alongside them. Critics have said that the practice isn’t any better than therapy, exercise or medication at reducing stress, but Mr. Roth points to studies that have shown it to be effective, including in reducing high blood pressure. “It’s not a matter of ‘either or,’ ” he says. “It’s a wiser matter of ‘and also.’ ”

The foundation is now participating in a study with the University of Chicago’s Crime Lab to research whether T.M. can reduce violence and improve scores in a trial with 2,000 children in five Chicago public schools. Next year, the research will expand to 800 students in two public schools in New York.

Mr. Seinfeld has been working with Mr. Roth for the past eight years and has performed at some of the foundation’s benefits. “It completely changed my ability to do work and be active and do the things I want to do,” he says. “Wives like to go out to dinner and husbands just want to lie there, but now I find I can do anything, with the T.M. to restore me,” he adds with a laugh.

Excellent interview with @DAVID_LYNCH about #TranscendentalMeditation & @LynchFoundation

September 16, 2018

Huffington Post writer/interviewer Marianne Schnall produced this wonderful, comprehensive Interview With David Lynch: His Mission to Change the World Through Meditation. It was posted December 9, 2014 and updated February 8, 2015.

I can remember being absolutely hooked and engrossed into the surreal world of the cutting-edge television series Twin Peaks back in the ’90s. That was when series creator and director David Lynch became a household name and the show developed a massive and passionate cult following (which the show still has — there was much excitement over the recent announcement that Twin Peaks will return as a limited series with new episodes written, directed, and produced by Lynch to air on Showtime in 2016). In addition to receiving numerous Emmy nominations for his work on Twin Peaks, Lynch has also received three Academy Award nominations for Best Director and Best Screenplay for iconic films like The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Drive. All these years later, I found myself playing my own cameo in a seemingly surreal scene: hanging out with David Lynch in a hotel cafe in NYC, sipping lattes and talking about topics such as meditation, consciousness, the Unified Field, and “positivity moving at the speed of light in all directions.” What I experienced during our inspiring and thought-provoking time together is that while he is an explosive force of nature creatively, in person he is a gentle, soft-spoken, thoughtful, and deeply caring and compassionate soul. In addition to being a consummate artist in a variety of mediums (as well as being a film and television director and writer, he is also a musician, actor, author, and visual artist), David has one passion that is especially dear to his heart: the David Lynch Foundation, a non-profit founded by the legendary filmmaker to help people overcome trauma and transform their lives through the Transcendental Meditation technique. It began when he first experienced how dramatically TM transformed his own personal life experience, which he says granted him “access to unlimited reserves of energy, creativity, and happiness deep within.” But he says, “I had no idea how powerful and profound this technique could be until I saw firsthand how it was being practiced by young children in inner-city schools, veterans who suffer the living hell of post-traumatic stress disorder, and women and girls who are victims of terrible violence.” The organization was founded in 2005 as the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace to ensure that every child anywhere in the world who wanted to learn to meditate could do so. Now, the foundation has expanded and is actively teaching TM to adults and children in countries everywhere and offers a variety of pioneering campaigns and programs, including many innovative initiatives aimed at youth and a variety of at-risk communities. The positive effects of the organization’s work is backed up by measurable results and emerging scientific data and research, as well as support from celebrities and fellow TM practitioners such as Russell Brand, Howard Stern, Jerry Seinfeld, Ringo Starr, Ellen Degeneres, Lena Dunham, and Katy Perry. In the following interview, David Lynch shares the story of his own personal transformation and his belief in the power of meditation to not only positively affect one’s own enjoyment of life, creativity, and ability to cope with stress and trauma but also transform our “collective consciousness.” As he told me, “The human being is like a light bulb. If a human being is super stressed, depressed, and filled with negativity, this is what that human being radiates out into the world. On the other hand, if a human being is filled with happiness and positivity, this is what they radiate out into the world. We each affect our environment and that collective consciousness. The more people who are diving within and transcending and are getting that happiness and positivity, the better the world will be.”

Marianne Schnall: Tell me a little about your journey that led you to found the David Lynch Foundation and just in general how you wound up at this place, your own experience with Transcendental Meditation.

David Lynch: I started Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1973 in Los Angeles, California, on July 1st on a beautiful Sunday morning, about 11:00. I loved my experience with Transcendental Meditation. I loved my experience, I just loved it. And I’ve been meditating twice a day for 41 years now, never missed a meditation in those 41 years. I went to Fairfield, Iowa, one time to visit a high school where the entire school’s teachers and students practiced Transcendental Meditation. While I was there on a cold and raining night, I was invited to a high school play and I thought maybe it would be one of the most boring nights of my life. I went to a little theater that was packed with people. Then on the stage came students, high school students, and they put on a play that blew me away.

A lot of things about the play impressed me so much, but the main thing was a glow on every face — this glow of consciousness, of intelligence, of happiness. None of them were actors. They were high school students. They weren’t going into acting, but they were so beyond good and the timing of everything was so good, the humor of everything, where it was supposed to be humorous, was so good. It was tight. And it was performed so beautifully. There was some kind of extra thing coming off them that was thrilling. After that, I thought every actor, every actress, should learn Transcendental Meditation. It’s that thing, that charisma, that magic thing that was coming off the high school students.

Around this time, I started hearing about different schools around the country. I started hearing about students bringing guns to school and then more and more through the years, about more and more violence in schools, metal detectors, no learning, fights in the school, a lot of depression, a lot of pharmaceutical drugs, a lot of illegal drugs — the whole thing that by now everybody’s heard about. And I thought, Wouldn’t it be great if students knew about Transcendental Meditation? And one thing led to another and this foundation got born in 2005.

(more…)

How #TranscendentalMeditation is helping lifestyle writer/editor @Tara_Gardner_ @glam

September 8, 2018

I was so impressed with this article I shared it via Twitter and my newsletter. It’s so good I decided to post it on my blog. Tara Gardner‘s experience and understanding of what makes TM unique among other meditations is impressive. She nails it! I like her style and highlighted two key sentences. Here it is without visuals or links, except mine. Click on Glam to see the original published August 27, 2018.

How Transcendental Meditation Gives Me Mental Clarity Like Nothing Else

It hit me, quite literally, after endless months of going to sleep wired, waking up tired, and spending my days drifting through a murky brain fog. I stepped out onto the Chicago streets one morning, absent-mindedly looking in the British direction, and got clipped by a car. Something had to give.

Living in a new city and forging a new career as a freelance editor with a bazillion deadlines, I didn’t really give my head time to acclimatize. I just jumped right in and expected my brain and body to follow behind. To alleviate the low energy, I dosed myself on coffee and copious amounts of Diet Coke, riding the caffeine highs until the crashes became too much. After the car accident, I realized that I needed to find a way to give my head a break from the cranial quicksand of daily life. So, like any editor, I hit the trends — from cleanses to self-care — hard. Then, I tried elimination diets. I felt better physically, but the mental cloud still hadn’t cleared. (And, no, it wasn’t jet-lag, as many suggested; I’d been in the U.S. for six months at that point.)

Back in London, I had done several mindfulness meditation courses. I always felt a little superficially smug about doing them, too — like you do after you’ve just finished a three-day juice cleanse and everyone in the office is asking you how amazing you feel, but secretly all it made you want to do is eat a bucket of fried chicken. Truth was, I never actually noticed a huge shift in anything. Perhaps I wasn’t doing it properly. Perhaps my brain was immune to it. Perhaps (and most likely) I was sleeping through it. Obviously, mindfulness works for a lot of people, and I’m not saying it isn’t a method worth trying — we’re all wired differently. In fact, it’s one of the most popular forms of meditation, really hitting the mainstream in recent years thanks to a multitude of apps and YouTube videos.

But the main sticking point for me was its rigidity. Clear your mind. Clear the thoughts of clearing your mind. Self-observe but don’t think about those observations as you meditate. Focus on your breathing, but don’t think thoughts about your breathing. It all felt too, well, mindful. That said, I did enjoy the fact that it helped me be more present in my daily life, to take a moment, breathe and notice the more mundane daily activities, rather than rushing through every moment thinking about dinner, my next Instagram post, or a fight on The Real Housewives.

However, this practice didn’t travel with me to Chicago. I readily gave myself excuses, which I mindfully accepted: “I’m too busy teaching my cat to sit to take 12 minutes for meditation,” I would tell myself. It wasn’t until I started getting dragged down the rabbit hole of Twin Peaks season three (episode 8 anyone?) that I found myself looking up David Lynch interviews for clues as to what the heck was actually going on. I stumbled upon a video of him talking about Transcendental Meditation, or TM as it’s commonly called.

Anything that could open up my brain to the levels of Lynch-imagination was worth investigating. Oh, and add that Katy Perry, Lena Dunham, Kate Hudson, Ellen DeGeneres, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow (okay, not that surprising), and Oprah all reportedly practice it, my pack-mentality told me there’s got to be something to this. Also, having long been a Seinfeld fan, the fact that the uber cynical Jerry Seinfeld was also a major advocate of the practice, gave me the green light. “You know how your phone has a charger?” he said during an appearance on Good Morning America. “TM is like having a charger for your mind and body.” I was sold.

Hippy-dippy, cultish connotations aside, TM is actually one of the most scientifically studied, evidence-backed forms of meditation out there. Studies have reported that it can increase and improve actual grey matter (brain cells), along with supporting all manner of issues, including PTSD, depression, ADHD, high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s, and more. “Transcendental Meditation doesn’t focus on breathing or chanting like other forms of meditation,” the official TM website reads. “Instead, it encourages a restful state of mind beyond thinking.” And, as I started researching it more, I found myself really drawn not just to the science but also the technique.

Unlike mindfulness or other meditations, it’s not about trying to empty the mind or monitor thoughts. In fact, concentration or trying to control thoughts couldn’t be further from the practice, making it ideal for a brain full of jumping beans like mine. What TM is at its core is getting to a place of deep relaxation, deeper than any other meditation practice, to the point where it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about or if you’re having thoughts at all.

What TM is at its core is getting to a place of deep relaxation, deeper than any other meditation practice, to the point where it doesn’t matter what you’re thinking about or if you’re having thoughts at all.

With the thick soup of emotions, activities, actions, and lack of sleep that makes up modern life, many of us find ourselves in a constant state of stress — whether we realize it or not. Our fight or flight responses are jacked up, leaving us in a pickle of confused cortisols and befuddled coping mechanisms, which really just mask the inner noise. This is where TM practice can really help, putting the body into a deep, regular state of relaxation, in which to heal and restore.

Think of the brain like an ocean, the practice says. The surface of the ocean is the conscious or thinking mind, and the waves are like the thoughts. Mindfulness remains on or slightly below this surface, but no deeper. TM is about effortlessly sinking as low into consciousness as possible — to the bottom of that ocean. Now, that’s not to say you’ll start levitating or have some out of body experience; it’s more that you’ll experience the relaxing and precious feeling you get just before sleep when you’re still sort of awake. That’s the “transcendence,” or as some call it, the “bliss” state.

But what is it that brings you down to this level? No guided words of wisdom or philosophical outlooks on life. It’s actually super simple and has been practiced this way for 5,000 years, originating in India. To anchor down into this state, your TM teacher gives you a word, a Transcendental Meditation mantra that is unique to you, which you silently repeat until it just becomes an intuitive and effortless act. The word is deliberately meaningless and more of a sound.  Yes, I did try Googling it to no avail, and you can’t say it out loud or share it with anyone else out of respect for the practice.

Quite aside from stereotypical views of sitting cross-legged or lotus with a straight back and Om position, you’re encouraged to find a comfortable spot to sit and relax into the meditation. Sitting for 20 minutes while repeating the mantra, you’ll find that over time everything just slows down, breathing becomes deep but quiet, and the mantra starts to fade to the back of your mind, while thoughts that were whizzing around at the forefront kind of just drift away.

I can honestly say, it’s a feeling quite like no other. After my first round of Transcendental Meditation mantras, it felt like I woke up out of a trance. The more I started practicing — with the four-session TM course and then on my own twice a day — the deeper I was lulled by its resulting calmness. I’ll admit that I was at first daunted by the idea that I’d need to do this twice a day, for 20 minutes each, but once the practice started, it actually became like a treat I’d look forward to, totally the opposite of previous meditations. I mean who wouldn’t want to escape Twitter shouting matches, Facebook political fights, and the constant ping of work emails for a deep, serene journey into the mind cave? Also, all cat-training went out the window.

I’ll admit that I was at first daunted by the idea that I’d need to do this twice a day, for 20 minutes each, but once the practice started, it actually became like a treat I’d look forward to, totally the opposite of previous meditations.

Some people in my course claimed almost instant effects from their practice — good moods, clarity, increased productivity — but me being the cynical Brit, I had to really take a step back and think carefully before announcing I was a “new” person. The thing is that it can take days, weeks, months, even years to see or notice the effects, depending on what you’re dealing with. But, as I started to regularly do the practice, I did find the fog lifting, the clarity coming through, and my thoughts becoming more ordered. The daily juggling act began to feel smoother and more efficient.

Still, it’s not always easy. There are moments when it feels like a Grand Slam final between my thoughts and the Transcendental Meditation mantras, but as long as the mantra is there, effortless and anchoring, good stuff is happening in ways and on levels I might never even be aware of. And, even if it’s not, it’s still like taking a twice daily, luxury brain staycation, which can only be a good thing.

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To learn more about Tara Gardner visit her website.

Also see: How is Transcendental Meditation different from mindfulness?

Quora posted this question: What is the difference between Mindfulness meditation and Transcendental Meditation? Read a very clear and concise answer Jim Karpen gave explaining their differences in method, experience, and scientific research. 

@Willwrights interviews Director @DAVID_LYNCH on #TranscendentalMeditation for @LOfficielUSA

July 29, 2018

This interview between L’Officiel USA journalist William Defebaugh and Director David Lynch on Transcendental Meditation is one of the best on the subject! Visit their website to see the article with photos published July 23, 2018. (Photo: Matthias Nareyek/French Select/Getty Images)

David Lynch in L'OfficielUSA by Matthias Nareyek:French Select:Getty Images

While David Lynch may be most revered as the man behind mind-melding cinema masterpieces like Mulholland Drive, Blue Velvet, and Twin Peaks, his work with the human psyche extends far beyond the small and silver screens.

Since he discovered its potency in the 1970s, the artist and auteur has been an avid practitioner and preacher of Transcendental Meditation. In 2005, he started the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace, which actively teaches TM to adults and children — including war veterans and victims of violence and assault — in countries all over the world. Why? Because it works.

When and how did you first discover Transcendental Meditation?

I heard about Transcendental Meditation from my sister in 1973. I’d been looking into many different types of meditation; before that, I was not interested one bit. But suddenly it hit me, this phrase I heard, “True happiness is not out there. True happiness lies within.”

Then I thought, “Maybe meditation is the way to go within.” So, I started looking into different forms of meditation.

Nothing seemed right for me. My sister called. She said she started Transcendental Meditation, as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. She told me about it, and I liked what she told me. More than that, though, I heard a change in her voice. More self-assuredness. More happiness. I said I want this. So, I went and got it.

Do you recall preliminary breakthrough moments in your early days of practicing or did it have more of a gradual effect?

You know, everyone is different. Me, it hit me with my first meditation. It was as if I was in an elevator and someone cut the cables and I just went within. So blissful, so powerful. I had this anger in me that I took out on my first wife. And after I’d been meditating two weeks, she comes to me and says, “What’s going on?” And I said, “What are you talking about?” And she said, “This anger, where did it go?” And it just lifted. That negativity starts leaving and positivity starts coming in when you truly transcend. That’s the key. Transcending is the thing that we human beings want. We want to experience the deepest level of life. For some reason, we’ve all lost contact with that level.

Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique, an ancient form of meditation. Ancient: Maharishi revived it, he didn’t make it up; it truly brings the experience of transcendence. Now with brain research, they know that’s true.

Whatever size ball of consciousness they had to begin with truly starts to expand, little by little. You expand consciousness. Every human being has consciousness, but not every human being has the same amount. But the potential for every human being is unbounded consciousness. Infinite consciousness. Enlightenment. It just needs unfolding.

Do you consider meditation to be more of a mental practice or a spiritual one? Or is that an irrelevant distinction?

It’s strange. This bliss, it can be physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual all at the same time. You can vibrate in happiness. And we human beings are supposed to enjoy life. Right from the beginning, when you start transcending, huge pressure goes out. Negativity starts lifting away. They say negativity is just like darkness. And then you say, “Wait a minute. Darkness isn’t really anything. It’s the absence of something.”

What separates TM from other forms of meditation?

In Transcendental Meditation, you’re given a mantra—a very specific sound, vibration, thought. And the mantra you’re given is like a law of nature, designed for a specific purpose. And that purpose is to turn the awareness from out, out, out, 180 degrees to within, within, within.

Once you’re pointed within, you will naturally start to dive through deeper levels of mind, and deeper levels of intellect. And at the border of intellect, you’ll transcend. You’ll wish you could stay there, but you’ll come out with thoughts. And you’ll go again. You just stay regular in your meditation day by day and watch things get better and better.

And how do you go about finding a mantra for someone?

It takes about four days to learn, about an hour and a half a day. You need a legitimate teacher of Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It’s so important that the technique stays pure. And the teacher knows what mantra is correct for you.

At the end of the four days, you’ve been taught how to meditate, and your questions have been answered. This is the way, I feel, that our almighty merciful father has built into this game to get real peace. You enliven that deepest level and affect collective consciousness.

With Transcendental Meditation, you’re given the technique and it’s up to you to do it. When you learn this technique, it’s like you’re placed in the middle of the river, in the fastest current and you go. It’s a very profoundly beautiful cosmic thing to get on the path to enlightenment. To get a technique that works, where you truly transcend and experience this level of life, which is eternal. Always there.

Everything in the field of relativity has a lifespan. Some super long some very short—but a lifespan. Beneath the whole field of relativity is a non-relative absolute and that’s what you want to experience. That’s the key to everything good in life.

If you could capture the entire world’s attention for two minutes, what would you tell them?

I’d say, “Do yourself a giant favor, learn Transcendental Meditation from a legitimate teacher and practice this technique regularly. Be a light unto yourself.”

WTNH New Haven 8 Weekly Wellness reports on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation

July 19, 2018

Yesterday, July 18, 2018, TV news station, WTNH in New Haven, CN, reported on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation. News 8 Medical reporter Jocelyn Maminta filed this report for their Weekly Wellness section: Meditation can do more than ease your stress.

Seeking inner peace and wellness in life can start with the simple, natural and effortless Transcendental Meditation. Longtime TM teachers Richard and Gail Dalby are seen teaching and meditating with their students in this wonderful medical news segment.

Richard Dalby explains how TM works for WTNH 8

Explaining how effortless it is to practice TM, Dalby says, “There’s no control of the mind, we’re not concentrating or reflecting on anything. In fact if someone is meditating, you wouldn’t even know they were meditating.”

Some of the meditators interviewed share how TM helped improve certain medical conditions and their overall wellness.

Maminta concludes: “There are numerous studies validating the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation – including research that it lowers the risk of high blood pressure, reduces anxiety, and optimizes brain function. It is acknowledged by the American Heart Association and is part of a clinical program to minimize hypertension.”

The other story was from WXYZ Detroit 7, July 17, of people in southeast Michigan Turning to Transcendental Meditation for Peace and Wellness.

A later TV news report came out October 15, 2018 on Spectrum News in Rochester, NY: How This Effortless Meditation Technique Improves Overall Health.

WXYZ Detroit 7 reports major stress problem, also a viable solution: Transcendental Meditation

July 17, 2018

Just saw these separate news reports today, Tue, July 17, 2018, on Twitter by WXYZ-TV Detroit, Channel 7. They compliment each other. One describes a problem — Detroit is 2018’s most stressed city in America, according to study; the other suggests a solution — Stressed out? Anxious? Looking for peace? Why some are turning to Transcendental Meditation.

Turning to Transcendental Meditation for Peace and Wellness

WXYZ’s Alicia Smith produced and presented today’s Living a Better Life segment, Turning to Transcendental Meditation for Peace and Wellness.

Intro: Dozens of celebrities have touted the benefits of Transcendental Meditation…from Katy Perry to Paul McCartney, Nicole Kidman to Hugh Jackman, and even billionaires Rupert Murdoch and Oprah Winfrey. Regular folks here in southeast Michigan are among TM’s fans, too.

James Cahaney, longtime TM teacher and Regional Director of the Transcendental Meditation Center in Metro Detroit, is interviewed along with local practitioners. The Troy TM Center looks very professional. This positive news story is impressive, one of the best I’ve seen!

WXYZ 7 Action News is Detroit’s breaking news and weather leader in SE Michigan. That study also named Fresno, California, as the least stressed city in America.

A day later, July 18, WTNH New Haven 8 Weekly Wellness reports on the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation.

A later TV news report came out October 15, 2018 on Spectrum News in Rochester, NY: How This Effortless Meditation Technique Improves Overall Health.

US News and World Report recently featured Fairfield, Iowa and Maharishi University of Management as one of their Healthiest Communities. See Transcending Together, also reported as Iowan City Transcends a Divide.


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