Archive for the ‘Peace’ Category

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.

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).

# # #

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

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

June 11, 2022

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* * *

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcendental Meditation benefits those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties, even PTSD

September 22, 2021

Enjoy this excellent article on how Transcendental Meditation is benefitting Canadians, especially those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties and even PTSD. Click here to see photos of the people journalist Kate Wilson interviewed for an Edmonton News story published in the Edmonton and Calgary issues of the Alberta Prime Times.

TM a natural for emotional and physical wellbeing

Transcendental meditation (TM) provides benefits to those with medical issues, ongoing anxieties and even PTSD. 

By: Kate Wilson for AlbertaPrimeTimes.com (Edmonton and Calgary)

At the Edmonton TM Centre, Ami Stadnick helps clients from all walks of life to better manage a range of issues. Photo Kate Wilson.

Wade McKinley recalls the day he first stepped into a class on Transcendental Meditation (TM). As a young man in Vancouver, he’d been experiencing anxiety and depression, and a friend had recommended enrolling.

“I strolled in not knowing anything and said, Hi, I’d like to learn,” said the Calgary resident.

Now 54, McKinley has been practicing TM for 33 years. He says he values the rest it brings to his nervous system and body.

“There are times when distractions interrupt my peace of mind,” he said, but the stability that twice-daily meditation brings stays with him. “I still do TM exactly the way I was taught, but there’s growth in my experience. The quality of silence and settled-ness, it’s expanded into more aspects of my day.”

Setting the mind to rest

TM is a simple technique based on ancient yogic practices from India and renewed by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in the middle of the 20th century. It aims to bring the body and mind into a settled state of rest, without any concentrated effort.

A 1978 study in Hormones and Behaviour showed TM reduced cortisol–the ‘stress hormone’–by 30 per cent. A 1987 study published in Psychosomatic Medicine showed TM reduced hospitalizations and doctor visits among seniors, with the biggest reduction–about 70% –in people over 40.

In his 2018 book Strength in Stillness, longtime TM practitioner Bob Roth said the surge in interest in TM is partly due to an epidemic of chronic stress and related illness, and medication’s inability to prevent or cure it. He points to four decades of science showing TM’s capacity for improving brain and cognitive functioning, cardiovascular health and emotional well-being.

Help with medical issues

For Ruth Yanor, TM provides a priceless “reset button”. Seven years ago, she was weathering the debilitating effects of sleep apnea, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts. 

“I was wrung out from poor quality sleep, and pretty close to not being able to function. Nothing was helping,” said the Edmonton resident.

An incident at a cross-walk–where she was hit and dragged by a truck–sent her to the hospital with rib fractures and lung punctures. An allergy to opioids meant Yanor was only given extra strength Tylenol to deal with her pain, so her physician suggested enrolling in a TM program.

“Meditating would clear things. I could keep the pain out of my mind, until someone would ask ‘how’s your pain’,” she said.

Now 63, Yanor concedes that while TM hasn’t corrected her sleep apnea it has been invaluable in allowing her to function over the day. 

“I calm my mind down with TM. It’s so wonderful to have this practice.”

Yanor’s instructor, Ami Stadnick, says the simplicity of TM relies on the mind’s natural capacity to settle, despite its tendency to be distracted.

“It may be a favourite piece of music or a conversation. Our attention, at least momentarily, is (wired) to jump to that,” said Stadnick, a registered psychologist. “We know that if given the opportunity, the mind would rather be in a restful state. TM sets the conditions so the mind will move to finer levels of activity. It is nature at work.”

At the Edmonton TM centre (there are centres across Canada, including in Edmonton and Calgary), Stadnick handles requests ranging from people who need to focus in a stressful workplace, to medical referrals to military veterans wanting a medication-free way to deal with anxiety. As a licensed TM practitioner, Stadnick has continuing access to seminars and follow-up training as needed.

For more information about Calgary and Edmonton TM centres, go to https://ca.tm.org/en/transcendental-meditation-calgary or https://ca.tm.org/en/transcendental-meditation-edmonton.

Veterans benefitting from TM

TM is now being offered to Canadian veterans and their families thanks to the Canadian Women’s Wellness Institute and a grant from Veterans Affairs Canada. As part of an overall initiative to bring benefits to people in at-risk situations or who are suffering from PTSD, a TM pilot program has been offering veterans and their family members TM instruction and a twice-daily home practice, along with follow-up meetings.

“We know veterans are not prone to sharing their experiences,” said Stadnick, a TM instructor in the pilot program. “Their peer group is always looking for a way to treat PTSD in a more natural way.”

A 2021 report on the program showed participating veterans, who averaged 51 years of age, went from higher levels of stress, depression, anxiety and anger to significantly lower ones after only 3 months of TM practice. Family members also experienced significant decreases in stress and anxiety levels.

Out of the 36 participants, half reported improvements in general health, depression and fatigue. About 60% indicated a better relationship with their spouse and family members, while 86% reported a considerable reduction in stress.

The program is now extended into 2023 in Vancouver, Victoria, Edmonton, Montreal and Fredericton. If you know any veterans who might like to enrol in the TM program, contact Ami Stadnick at astadnick@tm.org.

. . . . .

Update from Canadian Women’s Wellness Initiative on their extended grant from Veterans Affairs Canada

Veterans Affairs Canada announced their renewed grant for another two years to the Canadian Women’s Wellness Institute on their website: Recipients of the 2021 Veteran Family Well-Being Fund and published a Veteran story: Bruno Guevremont: Changing mind, changing self. In the article, Bruno describes the benefits he receives from his TM practice.

In 2019, he also trained in Transcendental Meditation, a simple mental technique that teaches practitioners how to settle their minds and their bodies, and reinforce the mind-body connection. “I did lots of research into different ways to care for your mental health, and I read that meditation can be good for you,” he recalls. “After meditation, I feel so chill, so incredibly peaceful. It helps you achieve a position of wellness, so that you can make the right decisions in life for yourself,” says Bruno.

See What if you could give yourself a mental health break every day? @WTHRcom 13News Anchor @JuliaMoffitt13 reports on the benefits of #TranscendentalMeditation.

For more information on Transcendental Meditation in your country, visit www.tm.org/choose-your-country.

Alan J. Steinberg’s debut novel reminds me of the age-old quest ‘To Be Enlightened’ I first read about in Somerset Maugham’s ‘The Razor’s Edge’

July 30, 2021

“The sharp edge of a razor is difficult to pass over; thus the wise say the path to Salvation is hard.” — Katha-Upanishad.

If you are a seeker, To Be Enlightened by Alan J. Steinberg, MD may inform and inspire you. The theme is reminiscent of Somerset Maugham’s novel, The Razor’s Edge*, which was made into a movie, twice.

In that story, Larry Darrel, traumatized from the war, postpones his marriage to travel, study, and find himself. He goes to Europe, and eventually India, where he meets a guru who prepares him for a profound experience of transcendence. Transformed, he returns to the world he left behind. The post-war economic recession had impacted his friend who is psychologically distraught. His former fiancee is now married to him. Larry later gets involved with an old friend who has suffered much and tries to save her. His ex is not content to have let him go and stirs up trouble. Complications lead to tragedy. In the end, Larry is free to live his life on his own terms; in the world, but not of it.

In this story, the main character, Abe Levy, a philosophy professor, already meditates. Unlike a greater part of the previous century, meditation and yoga have become ubiquitous in the west. But Professor Levy is not content with his twice-daily meditations. He is in a rush ‘To Be Enlightened’ and may risk his marriage and job to try and achieve it. The story has some surprising twists and turns along the way, enough to have kept this reader turning pages.

From the book description:

To Be Enlightened is a cosmic love story that follows Professor of Philosophy Abe Levy as he grapples with what it means to love both his wife, Sarah, and the ocean of silence within. It is also an intellectual exploration of the most intimate of subjects: our consciousness.

Abe Levy’s long tenure as a philosophy professor has motivated thousands of students to ponder age-old questions in light of New Age ideas. Though Abe is passionate about his teaching, he is obsessed with a powerful childhood dream of heaven. To return to that heaven, he must reach enlightenment in his lifetime. Day after day, Abe settles into deep meditation, reaching the very cusp of his goal but unable to cross the threshold. Desperately, he commits to doing whatever it takes, even if it means abandoning his wife for a more ascetic life—a decision that sets off a cascade of consequences for Abe, Sarah, and those he loves the most.

I found it interesting that the theme of each chapter was prefaced with a relevant profound quote from the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu, reputed author of the Tao Te Ching and founder of Taoism.

This is Dr. Alan Steinberg’s debut novel, and it is a worthy one. I recommend it for anyone who doesn’t know much about meditation, as well as those with a meditative practice.

The classroom discussions reveal interesting perspectives between western philosophy and the Vedic knowledge brought out by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique. And Abe’s and his wife Sarah’s experiences in and out of their TM practice are very relevant to the story’s unfolding.

The book is an enlightening read. I enjoyed how other readers responded to it and appreciated Susan Miller‘s insights in her San Francisco Book Review. Here is a link to an excellent interview with the author.

You can download the first chapter at his website Alan J. Steinberg, and follow him on Twitter and Instagram. Dr. Steinberg publishes articles on meditation in Psychology Today. Visit his linktr.ee for links to articles, book reviews, and more.

UPDATE: Alan’s book won a 2022 Nautilus Book Awards, a Silver Winner (Cat. 1-10; 07 B – Fiction; Large Publisher, or Large Hybrid Publisher). Inviting imaginative storytelling that includes evolving human capacities, and can involve visionary positive futures and the resilience of the human spirit.

May 17, 2022: Los Angeles Author Alan J. Steinberg, MD Wins National Book Award. Cosmic Love Story Draws From Writer’s Own Experience with Spiritual Growth.

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*Scroll down in this blog post about my favorite romantic movies to the subheading LEAVING ROMANCE BEHIND TO FIND ONESELF to read more about Maugham’s novel and the two films based upon it.

Another novel about a meditating philosophy professor worth reading is, “The Best Of All Possible Worlds” by B. Steven Verney.

This little poem, “Morning Prayer,” by Deborah J. Brasket, just might leave you feeling sanctified

March 21, 2021

Enjoy this profound blog post by Deborah J. Brasket: Like Flowers Falling Everywhere: A Poem. Click on the title to see an accompanying painting by Odilon Redon. This beautiful little poem, aptly titled “Morning Prayer,” is soft and mysterious, filled with an intimate silence that just might leave you feeling sanctified.

“Morning Prayer”
Deborah J. Brasket

Everywhere I look I see you,
I see us. This fragile hand,
this blue pen, this yellow pad.

These fingers gently folded,
Embracing the eagerness of
your movements across the page.

This tender paper accepting
All we write. These words that
rise up and lay down, so simple.

You are what I feel. This beating heart,
this circling breath, this wide sphere of
silence that enfolds us. Your soft sigh.

The day waits. It pours out of us whole
and clear, unending. How kind you are.
Kindness like flowers falling everywhere.

* * * * *

I asked a writer-artist friend who she thought is speaking in the poem, and to whom. She nailed it with this reply: “It sounds like the poet is speaking to herself about her writing life, and the love she feels for it.”

This reminds me of what B. Nina Holzer wrote in her lovely book, “A Walk Between Heaven and Earth,” A Personal Journal on Writing and the Creative Process. This edited journal entry is on the back cover:

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

You can see the complete journal entry here: Burghild Nina Holzer inspires us to write and discover who we are and what we have to say.

Speaking of kindness and writing about morning rituals, here are two related poems: “Kindness” by Naomi Shihab Nye, and one I wrote, “Sanctifying Morning.” It was published in Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace.

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

February 27, 2021

Wendell Erdman Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. He has published more than 50 books. Berry is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He lives in Port Royal, Kentucky. Click here to listen to him read this poem, and 5 others posted at the On Being website.

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

(The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry, Counterpoint, March 1, 2009)

Two other poems of his posted on this blog: Wendell Berry’s stepping over stones in a stream shows us how he writes a poem and takes a stand | Wendell Berry’s “No going back” is about the generosity of the evolving self through time.

Another great American nature poet is Mary Oliver. I created a memorial post after I discovered she had passed. It contains links to some of her beautiful poems that I liked and posted over the years, as well as articles, interviews, and readings: RIP: Mary Oliver. Thank you for sharing your poetic gifts with us. They are a national treasure!

An unforgettable incident 50 years ago during intermission at a Montreal Place Des Arts concert

February 11, 2021

I remember this incident as if it was yesterday, even though it happened around 50 years ago. I had purchased a ticket to see a well-known rock group perform that evening at Place Des Arts, Montreal’s newest and most beautiful arts center at the time.

I had learned Transcendental Meditation a few years earlier and was conscientious about getting both 20-minute meditations in every day. The morning one was easy, but fitting in the evening session could sometimes be a bit of a challenge depending on where I was.

There was a long intermission between performances, when people could go to restrooms or get refreshments on the mezzanine. As audience members around me got up to leave, I decided to stay and do my evening meditation. I closed my eyes and meditated undisturbed. I could hear the buzz of people socializing on the other side of the closed doors to the concert hall, but it didn’t bother me.

After I finished, I went out to see what was happening. People were milling about and talking. There were several oval-shaped bars located on the floor with a few servers behind them. Some people had formed separate lines on all sides leading up to them to purchase drinks or snacks. I joined one of the lines closest to me. I felt calm, relaxed and refreshed, and was in no hurry.

We were moving slowly. Some people spoke casually among themselves. The lady in front of me was antsy. She kept looking at the barman at the front of our line serving customers, wanting him to hurry up and get to her. Frustrated, she blurted out, “He’s everywhere but in front of him.”

“He’s everywhere but in front of him.”

I looked and noticed the barman taking an order from the person in front of him. He then ran to serve a drink to someone further down the bar. Next, he gave change to a customer who had just paid for their drink from another side. He was all over the place.

After seeing how busy he was, I rearranged her words from a different perspective and said, “But everywhere is in front of him!”

“But everywhere is in front of him!”

She anxiously looked again, and this time noticed that he was quickly trying his best to serve as many people as possible. My observational joke had broken the tension. She laughed and said, “That’s a good one.”

I was just as surprised as her at what had spontaneously come out of my mouth. I smiled and said, “You like it? It’s yours.”

Visibly relaxed, she smiled and thanked me. Good thing I had done my TM! Just goes to show you the effect we can have on each other for good.

(more…)

Good Medicine Haiku: Take quality time for yourself as this crazy year comes to a close

December 28, 2020

December 29, 2020, my son Nathanael emailed to say he was planning to go offline and take some downtime to close out this crazy year. I sent him this haiku, and he replied: GOOD MEDICINE. I used it as the title.

Good Medicine Haiku

Trust inner feelings
Let go; settle in silence
Honor your essence

© Ken Chawkin

So if you’re wanting to forget 2020 ever happened and are looking to refresh for 2021, think of this Good Medicine Haiku as a prescription to take a much-needed, guilt-free time-out. Try a digital diet, meditate, go within—take quality time for yourself. We owe it to ourselves. Peace out.

Wishing you a Happy Holidays, regardless of dietary restrictions! Enjoy the gift of laughter.

December 25, 2020

Laughter is the best gift we can give each other during these stressful times. A friend sent out several humorous videos with holiday wishes. One, to me, was the funniest. It reminded me of earlier times around the family dinner table. Maybe not as extreme, but that’s where the humor lies, by making us laugh at ourselves through exaggeration.

Here’s the hilarious short video CBC Comedy posted from 22 Minutes: How to deal with dietary restrictions at Christmas dinner. Catering Christmas dinner to everyone’s diet can be a difficult task these days. Luckily, there are some easy solutions.

Enjoy your holidays, with or without family. Hopefully, next year will be a better one for us all. For more laughs, see: Good cartoons teach us a lot if we’re willing to learn and laugh at our little foibles and neuroses.

Another hilarious holiday video was posted by Saturday Night Live 5 years earlier called A Thanksgiving Miracle – SNL.


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