Posts Tagged ‘concentration’

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

Meditation Basics by Doug Rexford is the best short video intro to #TranscendentalMeditation

June 3, 2020

Meditation has gone mainstream. Many celebrities, business executives, and health experts practice and recommend it. In his short (5-minute) comprehensive video, Meditation Basics, Douglas Rexford explains the essentials and benefits of meditation practice. He covers the main types of meditation, their differences, and impact on the brain.

This well-paced presentation includes a wide range of visuals with highlights from some of the hundreds of scientific research findings on Transcendental Meditation (TM), and its use in health, education, business, and rehabilitation settings, including veterans with PTSD. Rexford emphasizes the effortlessness and effectiveness of TM practice, which can be learned by people of all ages. Enjoy the video and share it.

David Lynch on meditation in the NewStatesman: Heaven is a place on earth

November 1, 2013

This week Russell Brand was guest editor of the UK’s NewStatesman, which came out October 24, 2013. He invited David Lynch to contribute an article on meditation. The diagram looks like it may be the same one David drew during an interview with a French journalist in Paris as he was explaining Transcendental Meditation to her. A large part of the article reads like a transcription of that brilliant explanation, which was woven throughout a documentary film made of David’s 16-country tour, Meditation Creativity Peace.

David Lynch on meditation: Heaven is a place on earth

Transcending is the only experience in life that gives total brain coherence. Any other thing we do utilises different small parts of the brain, this small part for painting, another small part for mathematics, that small part for playing the piano.

By David Lynch Published 31 October 2013 14:45

Mind and matter: Lynch’s diagram of Transcendental Meditation. Image: copyright David Lynch

Mind and matter: Lynch’s diagram of Transcendental Meditation.
Image: copyright David Lynch

What is Transcendental Meditation? What is transcending? Where do you go when you transcend? And what good is it to transcend? To help answer these questions, I’ve done a little drawing and you can refer to it from time to time. You will notice a line at the top of the drawing representing the surface of life. We live on the surface and see surfaces everywhere. This right side represents matter and the left side will represent mind. Mind and matter.

About 300 years ago, scientists started wondering: what was matter, what was wood, what was air, what was water, what was flesh, etc? And they started looking into matter and they began to find things – things that we now learn about in school. They found cells and molecules. They went deeper and found atoms; they went deeper and deeper, all the way down to the tiniest particles – the elementary particles.

They found four forces that act upon the particles. And on a deeper level, they found that the four forces became three. Some unification started. And, on a deeper level, the three forces became two. About 35 years ago, modern science, quantum physics, discovered the Unified Field at the base of all matter. This field is the unity of all the particles and all the forces of creation. This is a field of nothing, but the scientists say that out of this nothing emerges everything that is a thing. This Unified Field is unmanifest yet all manifestation comes from this field.

Ancient Vedic science, the science of consciousness, has always known of this field. Believers say that it is an eternal unbounded ocean of consciousness. And this consciousness has qualities. So this Unified Field, this ocean of consciousness, is a field of unbounded intelligence, unbounded creativity, unbounded happiness, unbounded love, energy and peace.

Transcendental Meditation is a mental technique, an ancient form of meditation brought back for this time by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. It is a technique that allows any human being to dive within, through subtler levels of mind and intellect, and then transcend – that is experience, that ocean of pure consciousness at the base of all mind and matter – to experience this Unified Field within with those all-positive qualities.

In Transcendental Meditation you’re given a mantra. A mantra is a very specific sound vibration – thought. The mantra that Maharishi gives is like a law of nature designed for a specific purpose and that purpose is to turn the awareness 180 degrees from out, out, out to within, within, within. Once pointed within, one will dive easily and effortlessly. It is easy and effortless because the nature of the human mind is always to want to go to fields of greater happiness.

Each deeper level of mind and each deeper level of intellect has more and more happiness – charm, as they say. So the happiness growing is like a magnet that gently pulls us within. And at the border of intellect, one then transcends and experiences the transcendent, the Unified Field, the ocean of pure consciousness, the kingdom of heaven that lies within – the Tao, the home of total knowledge, being or divine being; Atma, meaning the Self, the Self with a capital “S”.

There’s a line we’ve all heard: “Know thyself.” This is the Self they’re talking about. This field is also known as Brahm, meaning totality. First seek the kingdom of heaven that lies within and all else will be added unto you. All else is totality.

Every time a human being transcends, they infuse some of this all-positive consciousness and they truly begin to expand whatever consciousness they had to begin with. There is a side effect to expanding consciousness, and that side effect is that negativity begins to recede. Things like stress, traumatic stress, anxieties, tension, sadness, depression, hate, anger, rage and fear start to lift away very naturally.

The analogy is: negativity is just like darkness. When this light of consciousness begins to truly expand, it is like being in a dark room with a light on a dimmer. As the light gets brighter, the darkness starts to go. And when the light is full on, there is no darkness. Likewise with the light of unity – consciousness – growing, negativity very naturally starts to recede, automatically and without you having to worry about it. This heavy weight of negativity lifting gives such a joyful feeling of freedom to a human being. So you could say the person practising Transcendental Meditation each day is infusing gold and getting rid of garbage.

Transcending is the key word!!! Transcending is truly experiencing that deepest eternal level of life. It is this experience that does everything good for a human being. Every human being has consciousness but not every human being has the same amount. The good news is, every human being has the potential for infinite consciousness. Every time you experience this ocean of consciousness within, you expand more and more consciousness and you are unfolding your full potential as a human being. The full potential of the human being is called enlightenment – infinite consciousness, infinite happiness, total fulfilment. Totality.

Transcending is a holistic experience, meaning that all avenues of life will start improving. The things that used to stress you will still be out there in the world but they will not be able to hit you so hard. You’ll still be able to feel sadness but the sadness won’t last so long. It will lift away more quickly. The same with anger; the anger will leave more quickly. It won’t stay with you and poison you and the environment. Fears begin to lift – you work in more and more freedom. This is a field of infinite creativity. You will see creativity and problem-solving start to expand. Through research, scientists know that IQ can go up because of transcending each day.

Happiness comes more and more and you feel good in your body and enjoy the doing of things more and more. The field within is a field of universal love. This universal love feeds personal love and relationships improve. This field within is a field of infinite energy. People today are so fatigued and here within each of us is an infinite amount of energy to fuel our work and play. There is infinite peace within and that is deep, deep contentment, harmony, coming up inside the human being. It is so beautiful.

Transcendental Meditation is, as I said, easy and effortless. Many people might think that because it is easy it is not as good as other meditation techniques. This is wrong thinking. Concentration forms of meditation, contemplation forms of meditation, will keep a human being hovering on the surface. There will be no transcending. And it is hard work and it is boring and the reward is not there.

Transcendental Meditation as taught by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi is a technique that has been here many times before and it is a blessing. It is the real thing. It works. Brain research scientists have found a wondrous thing. When a human being truly transcends, hooked up to an EEG machine, then the full brain gets engaged in concert. They call this “total brain coherence”.

Transcending is the only experience in life that gives this total brain coherence. Any other thing we do utilises different small parts of the brain, this small part for painting, another small part for mathematics, that small part for playing the piano, and so on. Scientists have always told us before that we use only 5 per cent or 10 per cent of our brain but transcending is an experience that utilises the full brain.

This shows us something of the relationship of the human being to this glorious Unified Field within. The more we transcend, the more this coherence stays with us and this eventually gives rise to higher states of consciousness, culminating with supreme enlightenment. On the EEG machine, Transcendental Meditation meditators are seen to transcend many times in each 20-minute meditation. Those meditators who practise concentration or contemplation forms of meditation do not transcend. They do not get the experience of that ocean of bliss consciousness, the Unified Field.

A ten-year-old child can practise this technique of Transcendental Meditation; a 110-year-old can do it, easily and effortlessly, and they will each get the experience they are yearning for. It is a sublime experience to transcend and feel that rejuvenation and that happiness and all those other all-positive qualities growing.

Transcendental Meditation is not a religion. People from all religions practise this technique and they see there is no conflict with their religion. On the contrary, they say they understand and appreciate their religion more because understanding and appreciation for all things grow by transcending each day. It is a technique for human beings, no matter what walk of life, what religion or where you are from. People who have experienced great suffering have gotten this technique and happily said, “Now I have my life back again.” The real story is: THE NATURE OF LIFE IS BLISS and THE INDIVIDUAL IS COSMIC.

Russell Brand’s article in this paper is about revolution. Revolutions are usually associated with violence or force. Transcendental Meditation leads to a beautiful, peaceful revolution. A change from suffering and negativity to happiness and a life more and more free of any problems. The secret has always been within. We just need a technique that works to get us there to unfold a most beautiful future.

Find out even more about Transcendental Meditation at: davidlynchfoundation.org.uk.

For American readers, visit www.tm.org and davidlynchfoundation.org.

See Russell Brand and David Lynch at LA Premiere of ‘Meditation, Creativity, Peace’ Documentary and related links to other videos and articles. Visit http://meditationcreativitypeace.com to see a preview of the film and where it may be playing.

This is an excellent interview: David Lynch speaks with Alan Colmes about his 16-country tour film Meditation Creativity Peace.

The NewStatesman article reads like a transcription from this film, which you can now see: “Meditation Creativity Peace”—A documentary of David Lynch’s 16-country tour during 2007–2009.

See an earlier article written by David Lynch published in Jane Magazine: Celeb Spiritual Report: One significant day in my life by David Lynch for Jane Magazine (May 2004).

Sharpen your mind with meditation, by David Hughes, in March 2012 issue of Choice Magazine

March 20, 2012

Thought you might like to see this article, Sharpen your mind with meditation, published in the March 2012 issue of Choice, a national magazine in the UK aimed at the over-50s, which may include most of us, these days! Here is the text taken from their Health section on pages 48-49. There is a slight typo on the bottom left of page 48 — they put Dr Rosenthal’s photo with a caption belonging to another doctor quoted in the article. But he was fine about it, and thought it was a good article. I agree; it is very well written. You can download a PDF of the article, which is nicely laid out with photos and quotes. Choice – March 2012. Since this is in print, I activated the links at the end and added some.

Sharpen your mind with meditation

Once dismissed as hippyish humbug, meditation is being increasingly recognised by medical science as a way to keep your mind sharp, reports David Hughes.

FORTY YEARS ago, most busy people in the West would probably have preferred to reveal an interest in bear-baiting than meditation.

Associated with otherworldly images of incense, chanting and flower-power, meditation was generally viewed as faintly eccentric. Taking it up aroused suspicion of imminent departure on the Kathmandu trail – if not to somewhere decidedly warmer, in the view of some religious fundamentalists. Not any more.

Maybe it’s the fast pace of life and the stresses that go with it, but nowadays everyone seems to be closing the eyes and seeking nirvana. No celebrity feature is complete without mention of the meditative flavour of the month, despite which – or maybe because of it – the whole subject has become not merely respectable, but downright fashionable.

Richard Gere, Goldie Hawn and many others champion Buddhist-related practices, while film-maker David Lynch has recruited a host of fellow Transcendental Meditators – including Sir Paul McCartney, who describes the technique as ‘a lifelong gift’ – to support his campaigns to teach TM to groups as diverse as youngsters in inner-city schools, the homeless, and veterans with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Everyone, it seems, can benefit from meditation. Yet while celebrity endorsement is one engine which has driven this trend, there’s another, less glamorous but more impressive: scientific research.

Since 1970, thousands of studies have been performed on all kinds of meditative practices – cautiously at first, as the field hardly seemed scientifically respectable, but with increasing enthusiasm as initial, promising findings led to a host of impressive long-term results. Meditation, it seems, can be a highly effective way of ‘de-stressing’ mind and body, enabling us to boost physical energy, stay mentally alert, improve memory, and live longer, happier and more successful lives.

Transcending thought
The best-researched practice, Transcendental Meditation – with more than 340 studies published in peer-reviewed scientific and medical journals – involves two 20-minute sessions per day sitting comfortably with eyes closed. Easy to learn and effortless to practice, the technique – which has no religious or philosophical links – has been discovered to offer a simple antidote to the ‘fight or flight’ response associated with stress.

During TM, the attention moves automatically to a silent state of restful alertness at the source of the thinking process, while the body responds by settling to a level of physical rest deeper than ordinary eyes-closed relaxation.

“The benefits of TM are considerable,” says Dr William Weir, a consultant in infectious diseases. “It has a beneficial effect on various areas of psychological functioning; it improves one’s stress levels, it has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, it has been shown in one or two studies to have a beneficial effect on cholesterol levels; and more than 600 studies of various kinds have validated the general proposition that it is an extremely helpful and life-enhancing technique.

“It produces levels of psychological rest, as well as physical rest, which are really hitherto unobtainable by someone who doesn’t know how to practice a technique like this.”

Reduced heart attacks and stroke
Practical results in daily life could be of huge potential advantage to the NHS. A nine-year study on TM presented to the American Heart Association Conference in 2009 measured a 47 per cent reduction in heart attack, stroke and mortality rates among coronary patients who practised the technique.

“If this kind of result was observed for a new prescription drug, it would be a billion-dollar industry to make it available to everyone immediately,” says Dr Norman Rosenthal, the psychiatrist and scientist who first described Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

So impressed was Dr Rosenthal with the research on Transcendental Meditation that he has written a best-selling book on the subject – Transcendence – the UK edition of which is published this month by Hay House.

Concentration and contemplation
While transcending thought appears to provide the most wide-ranging spectrum of benefits if engaged in regularly, other forms of meditation are also widely popular, particularly methods of ‘Mindfulness’, where practitioners learn to monitor thoughts or breath, and systems which involve concentration or focused attention. Much research is being carried out on such methods, with dozens of papers appearing every month.

For example, a recent study on a group in the USA who attended a meditation retreat with a Buddhist scholar found the concentration practices used enhanced attention spans in daily life, while a Mindfulness-based stress reduction technique helped breast cancer sufferers recover from the disease, according to research from the University of Missouri published at the end of last year.

With today’s blossoming of interest in meditation, a much clearer understanding of the variety of meditation types is emerging.

Preliminary work in cataloguing the various methods has been started by Dr Fred Travis, a neuroscientist and Director of Brain Research at the Center for Leadership Performance in New York, and Jonathan Shear of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Three main types
“All experience changes the brain,” says Dr Travis. However, he points out, different experiences can be expected to give rise to different changes, and so produce different outcomes. Meditations involving concentration and directed focus will produce a different effect on the brain from those requiring contemplative monitoring, and a different impact again from transcending thought altogether.

Examining published studies on meditation, Travis and Shear were able to identify three main categories of meditation based on brain patterns:
• Focused attention practices (including loving-kindness-compassion, Diamond Way Buddhism, Qigong and Zen-3rd Venticle) were characterised by Gamma brain patterns (30-50Hz) and Beta 2 (20-30Hz)
• Open Monitoring practices – non-evaluative awareness of experience (including Vipassana meditation, ZaZen meditation, Sahaja Yoga and Concentrative Qigong) – showed brain activity in the Theta waveband (5-8Hz)
• Studies on Automatic Self-Transcending (Transcendental Meditation) displayed brain patterns in the Alpha 1 waveband (8-10Hz).

The measuring of meditation is to be welcomed, as increased scientific understanding will help speed the integration of the most useful meditation practices into the health services and other areas where they may be of great help in combating the stress-related ailments of our time. And on that note, perhaps the last word should go to The Beatles.

For people of our generation, the first exposure to meditation was probably when the Fab Four trooped off to Bangor to learn Transcendental Meditation with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in 1967. And exotic as it all seemed then, 45 years on – as in many other ways – The Beatles look ahead of their time. Says Sir Paul McCartney in Transcendence, summing up his lifetime’s TM practice: “In moments of madness, meditation has helped me find moments of serenity – and I would like to think that it would help provide young people with a quiet haven in a not-so-quiet world.

“I think meditation offers a moment in your day to be at peace with yourself and therefore the universe – which once was thought of as a slightly silly hippie idea, but now it’s much more accepted and even fits with some of the most advanced scientific thinking.”

Find out more
• Transcendental Meditation, website: (www.t-m.org.uk)
• Network of Buddhist organisations: (www.nbo.org.uk)
• Mindfulness: (www.bemindful.co.uk).


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