Posts Tagged ‘Dr. Norman Rosenthal’

Investment director and author Alexander Green tells you how to take a vacation inside your head

December 14, 2012

Here’s an interesting article I received from a friend. One of her friends subscribes to a financial service newsletter called Spiritual Wealth and he sent it to her. Alexander Green, investment director and author, posted this personal account December 14th, 2012. While on a club tour in Europe, he struck up a conversation with a fellow traveler. What came out of it led to him learning how to take a daily vacation in his own mind. You can read more about Alex at the end of his article. Bon voyage!

How to Take a Vacation Inside Your Head

On a recent Oxford Club tour of Italy, I got to know Dr. Satinder Swaroop, a cardiologist based in Fountain Valley, CA. Among the many topics we discussed during our ten days together was Transcendental Meditation (TM).

Dr. Swaroop is a lifelong meditator. And he has found that his patients who practice it enjoy better heart health. They are less anxious and sleep better. Their chest pains are less frequent. They are more able to stay on a diet and lower their cholesterol levels. They are calmer, too.

He suggested I give it a try.

I don’t have any heart issues. I’m not an anxious person. If anything, I lean toward the overly mellow. Dr. Swaroop just smiled. “You should try it and see what happens.”

I told him I’d look into it.

A few weeks after I returned home, Dr. Swaroop sent me an email. Had I visited TM.org as he suggested?

Uh, no.

“You should,” he said again. “Just check out a couple of the videos.”

And so I did. That’s when I stumbled across a five-minute short by filmmaker David Lynch and became intrigued. I began reading up on TM and listening to people who practiced it. A week later, I signed up with an instructor.

I would have scoffed at this idea a few years ago. To the extent that I thought about meditation at all, I considered it a somewhat hippie, vaguely self-indulgent practice tied to Eastern religions or mystical “woo-woo” of one kind or another. Meditation seemed too… well… flaky.

But that view changed as I became more familiar with the scientific literature. There is an astonishing amount of research on meditation’s physical and psychological benefits, including hundreds of peer-reviewed articles. Researchers have found that TM spreads a wave of calmness across the brain, organizing the prefrontal region in a way that improves focus and decision-making. Studies also suggest it enhances physical health and increases longevity. How? By helping people deal effectively with stress.

In today’s hectic and competitive world, stress wears us down and burns us out. It fuels countless disorders, including anxiety, insomnia and depression. It also promotes cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes and digestive disorders. Exercising and eating better can help counteract this. But meditation helps practitioners develop mental resilience, as well. The benefits are well documented.

In Transcendence, psychologist and educator Dr. Norman Rosenthal writes: “A great deal of clinical research has been done on TM. For example, we now know that when people practice TM, their blood pressure drops. They show higher blood levels of a soothing hormone called prolactin, as well as more coherent brain wave patterns, which are associated with good mental functioning. New evidence suggests that TM may improve longevity and lower medical costs by reducing hospital stays and doctors’ visits. Even people who are not in physical or psychological distress can be helped. TM has been shown to help ‘normal’ people reach their full potential and live in greater harmony with one another.”

Transcendental Meditation is not a religion. No one who practices it is asked to accept any belief system. The technique goes back thousands of years and was brought to the United States by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, an Indian teacher who extracted the meditative technique from its Vedic origins and distilled it to its essence. Today it is practiced by people of all religions and no religion.

How does it work?

TM is not learned from a book or video. It is taught by a certified instructor and experienced meditator.  The process has seven steps: two lectures, a personal interview with the teacher, then four teaching sessions on four consecutive days.

Essentially, the student is taught to sit with hands folded in an upright chair in a quiet place. After a brief ceremony of gratitude, the instructor gives him his own mantra (a two-syllable wordless sound) to think about as he sits in quiet relaxation for 20 minutes twice a day.  Ideally, this would be first thing in the morning and again in the late afternoon or early evening. (The mantra is simply a mental “vehicle” to let the mind settle down.)

In the beginning, I wondered how I would possibly find time to fit two 20-minute sessions into days already crammed with research, writing, traveling, speaking, exercising, socializing and raising a family. But since no new skill can be learned without practice, I made time.

I haven’t been at it long enough to report anything world-changing. But I will pass along a few observations. First off, there’s something inherently pleasurable about taking a break from your daily routine to sit in quiet contemplation. Meditation helps you sort through all the mental flotsam and jetsam your mind throws up. The typical meditative session results in greater relaxation, inner peacefulness and, occasionally, an enjoyable shift in consciousness.

Insights like these are hardly new, of course. Meditation has been practiced in both the East and West for thousands of years. In the second century AD, the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius wrote in his Meditations:

“Men seek retreats for themselves in country places, on beaches and mountains, and you yourself are wont to long for such retreats, but that is altogether unenlightened when it is possible at any hour you please to find a retreat within yourself. For nowhere can a man withdraw to a more untroubled quietude than in his own soul.”

Psychologists report that in a typical day we process up to 70,000 thoughts and this continues even as we sleep. (Basically the brain never shuts up.) Meditation is a pleasant and peaceful retreat, a tool for stilling the mind.

Thoughts or worries will arise during TM too, of course. But meditators are counseled not to argue with or analyze them, but rather just to acknowledge them and let them go. Experienced meditators often report a blissful state of acceptance, serenity and a feeling of being at one with the world.

TM is easy to learn and practice. It is less expensive than analysis, safer than prescriptions, and available for a lifetime without special equipment or facilities. Researchers have discovered that sitting with your eyes closed and repeating a mantra twice a day can cut your risk of serious disease by half. And it has no adverse side effects. If TM were a drug, it would be a multi-billion-dollar blockbuster.

As Rosenthal writes, “I have found most long-time meditators to be physically relaxed in their posture, alert in their expressions, and open-minded in their attitudes. It is not surprising that this demeanor and approach to life, played out day after day over years, would make a huge difference to health, longevity, and just plain enjoyment of life.”

The good news is you don’t have to follow a guru, visit an ashram, recite Sanskrit or get into the lotus position on a hardwood floor. All you need is a comfortable chair, a quiet space and 20 minutes.

And I invite you to be skeptical. I’ve learned it works for skeptics too.

Carpe Diem,

Alex

P.S. The David Lynch Foundation sponsors the teaching of Transcendental Meditation to inner-city schoolchildren, prisoners and even refugees in war-torn parts of the world. To see his five-minute introductory video, click here.

Alex Green—Spiritual WealthAlexander Green is the Investment Director of The Oxford Club. The Oxford Club Communique, whose portfolio he directs, is ranked among the top investment letters in the nation for 10-year performance by the independent Hulbert Financial Digest. Alex is the author of The New York Times bestseller “The Gone Fishin’ Portfolio: Get Wise, Get Wealthy… and Get On With Your Life,” “The Secret of Shelter Island: Money and What Matters,” and most recently, “Beyond Wealth: The Road Map to a Rich Life.” He has been featured on Oprah & Friends, CNBC, National Public Radio (NPR), Fox News and “The O’Reilly Factor,” and has been profiled by The Wall Street Journal, BusinessWeek, Forbes, and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance, among others. He currently lives in Charlottesville, Virginia and Winter Springs, Florida with his wife Karen and their children Hannah and David.

Copyright © 2008-2012

Norwich University President Receives “Resilient Warrior Award” at National Veterans Summit in Washington, DC

May 4, 2012

Norwich University President was honored with the “Resilient Warrior Award” during a National Veterans Summit in Washington, DC for his leadership in exploring the use of Transcendental Meditation in building resilient warriors

“The disturbing prevalence of PTSD among returning troops underlines the need for more effective resilience training among our cadets.” — Norwich University President Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.)

Washington, DC (PRWEB) May 03, 2012

Dr. Richard W. Schneider, RADM USCGR (Ret.), the 23rd President of Norwich University in Northfield, Vt., received the inaugural “Resilient Warrior Award” for 2012 during a national summit on “Resilience, the Brain and Meditation,” held on Thursday, May 3, at the Army and Navy Club in Washington D.C.

The award was presented to President Schneider by veterans of four wars who direct Operation Warrior Wellness, a division of the David Lynch Foundation 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, which has provided Transcendental Meditation (TM) scholarships for more than 250,000 at-risk youth and veterans and their families who suffer from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The award cites Schneider for “leading and training a new generation of resilient warriors who will safeguard America and secure the peace with honor and integrity.”

Under Schneider’s leadership, Norwich University recently completed the initial phase of a long-term, longitudinal, randomized controlled trial with 60 cadets, investigating the effects of TM on psychological distress and resilience. Key results of the first nine-week period included reduced perceived stress, improved constructive thinking, decreased state anxiety, increased behavioral coping, reduced depression and improved dispositional resilience.

“Norwich is proud to be in partnership with the David Lynch Foundation and the Educational Foundation of America for providing the resources for this wonderful effort,” Schneider said.

“The disturbing prevalence of PTSD among returning troops underlines the need for more effective resilience training among our cadets. Based on existing data and preliminary results of ongoing trials at Norwich, I believe the Transcendental Meditation technique represents an essential tool to promote resilience in cadets.”

Ed Schloeman, CMS (Ret.), national co-chair of Operation Warrior Wellness, praised President Schneider for “equipping his cadets with the most important of tools—one that will help them overcome stress and promote resilience throughout their life in the military—throughout their life. He is a great educator, a wise man, and a true leader.”

After receiving the news of the award, Schneider said: “I am honored to accept this award on behalf of all those who have worked so hard on this project to experiment with providing our future soldiers, sailors, and airmen the tools necessary to become more resilient, even better warriors, and better human beings.”

Other speakers at the Summit included W. Scott Gould, the US Deputy Secretary of the Veterans Administration, and Norman Rosenthal, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry, Georgetown University Medical School and author of a breakthrough research study, which found a 50% reduction in the symptoms of PTSD among veterans who practice TM.

Reported in newstimes.com. Related articles: Washington Post: Does Transcendental Meditation help veterans with PTSD? | POLITICO: Coping with PTSD | Washington Post: VA testing whether meditation can help treat PTSD |

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).

Meditation for Students: Results of the David Lynch Foundation’s Quiet Time/TM Program in San Francisco Schools

December 24, 2011

David Lynch Foundation Event in San Francisco: Meditation for Students

The David Lynch Foundation held a benefit gala in San Francisco on June 1 at the Legion of Honor, to showcase the successes of a five-year project to bring the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique to students in inner-city San Francisco schools. In this video, you will hear James Dierke, principal of Visitacion Valley Middle School talk about the unprecedented academic achievements of his meditating students; iconic filmmaker David Lynch talk about the inspiring work of his foundation among at-risk populations; and Dr. Norman Rosenthal, internationally renowned psychiatrist and NY Times bestselling author, discuss the amazing results of scientific research on the TM technique. See other featured past events posted on the David Lynch Foundation website. To hear more about the David Lynch Foundation and it’s programs, please visit: http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org.

Uploaded by on Jul 7, 2011.

See selected highlights of Inspiring results from the TM-Quiet Time Program in the San Francisco Unified School District.

David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative

October 14, 2011

David Lynch Foundation launches Veteran’s Day national meditation initiative

Veteran’s Day falls on 11.11.11. and the David Lynch Foundation is hosting a national meditation initiative for veterans.

The charitable organization is teaming up with online fundraising network Crowdrise, to raise funds for its veteran’s outreach – Operation Warrior Wellness – which has the goal of providing stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation to 10,000 veterans who suffer from post-traumatic stress and their families.

Here’s how it works: Donate $11 or more to Operation Warrior Wellness on Crowdrise and you are automatically entered to win the Warrior Wellness Gift Pack – which includes the Operation Warrior Wellness commemorative coin, OWW t-shirts and hoodies, and books by the iconic filmmaker David Lynch, the NY Times bestselling author Dr. Norman Rosenthal, and WWII fighter pilot Jerry Yellin. The value of the gift pack is approximately $200.

Recent published research has shown a 50% reduction in PTSD symptoms among meditating veterans, as well as greater resiliency, reduced cardiovascular disease, decreased substance abuse and decreased medical expenditures.

Russell Brand, Clint Eastwood, Martin Scorsese, Donna Karan, Candy Crowley, and many decorated veterans have partnered together in support for Operation Warrior Wellness. Explained Vietnam veteran Dan Burks, “The experience I had from Transcendental Meditation basically saved my life.”

To make a donation to the Operation Warrior Wellness Veteran’s Day Campaign and enter the give-away please visit: crowdrise.com/operationwarriorwellness.

For more information on the David Lynch Foundation’s veteran’s initiative, please visit operationwarriorwellness.org.

See: Finding Her Son Again – Julia George and Iraq Veteran David George:

Also see: Medication or Meditation for Veterans with PTSD?, Author Veteran Jerry Yellin To Sign Four Books Proceeds To Benefit Operation Warrior Wellness, Huffington Post: What Meditation Did for Me: A War Vet’s Story, Wall Street Journal: A Transcendental Cure for Post-Traumatic Stress by David Lynch and Norman E. Rosenthal.

Meditation Promoted For Troops With PTSD

June 9, 2011

Alternative treatment promoted for soldiers suffering from PTSD

Washington (CNN) — Celebrities and a medical researcher want to convince the Defense Department this week that meditation could help the increasing number of military personnel suffering from post-traumatic stress.

Star-studded events in New York and Washington are bringing together people experienced in transcendental meditation with soldiers suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Designer Donna Karan hosted a reception in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, and movie director David Lynch (“Blue Velvet,” “Mulholland Drive”) and CNN anchor and correspondent Candy Crowley will headline a Washington event Wednesday to kick off a campaign the sponsors hope will teach 10,000 veterans how to meditate.

A Georgetown Medical School clinical professor, Dr. Norman Rosenthal, said he has the facts, figures and testimonials to show that meditation can be a low-cost, low-risk alternative to strong narcotics often prescribed by government doctors.

The Pentagon and the Department of Veterans Affairs “are big institutions,” Rosenthal said in a telephone interview. “Our hope is someone will raise an eyebrow and say, “Well, well.”

He includes case studies in his new book, “Transcendence-healing and Transformation through Transcendental Meditation.”

In one case, he quotes a Marine gunner on a Humvee who saw heavy fighting in Iraq. The Marine wrote that PTSD symptoms disrupted his sleep and derailed his family life upon his return to the United States, but “TM (transcendental meditation) has helped with organizing, prioritizing and just being calmer overall. I just feel better.”

Rosenthal says a simple seven-step process has quick results. “What do we have to lose? It is so cheap, and it is safe,” he told CNN.

The military, meanwhile, is facing a number of challenges over the use of powerful drugs prescribed for a variety of stress-related ailments, with increased risk of sometimes deadly, accidental overdoses. The Army’s assistant surgeon general, Brig. Gen. Richard Thomas, told CNN recently that he thinks there has been over-reliance on prescription drugs.

“It reflects how we are in society. We do have a tendency to rely on prescription meds,” he said.

And the Pentagon, according to Thomas, is receptive to nondrug treatments.

“Whether it be acupuncture or biofeedback or yoga therapy, there is a host of other things we can provide to patients to take care of them right, other than narcotics,” Thomas said at the Pentagon. “Narcotics may still have a role, but it doesn’t have as big a role and there are alternatives, and that’s the key.”

Rosenthal said he and his fellow researchers, who published their findings in the journal Military Medicine, found that meditation can help an individual control emotions and thoughts and deal with common PTSD complaints of anxiety, depression, sleeplessness and anger.

He compares his latest efforts to win government support to his early uphill battle researching and publicizing his findings after he first diagnosed seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

His research on military PTSD and meditation has a pilot study of five veterans. He brushes aside any suggestions that this is too small a sample.

“When you get a powerful intervention, you see a signal,” Rosenthal said. “And how do you get interest without a pilot study?”

His book says of 1.64 million U.S. military personnel sent to the Iraq and Afghanistan war zones between 2001 and 2008, one in seven met criteria for PTSD.

“Half of these veterans had never sought any kind of help for their symptoms, probably because of the stigma of being labeled with a psychiatric disorder,” Rosenthal wrote. “Of those who sought help, half received inadequate treatment.”

Link to article: http://edition.cnn.com/2011/US/06/08/ptsd.meditation

This story was picked up in over 50 major US media outlets as: Meditation Promoted For Troops With PTSD.

See ABC NEWS/Health: Meditation Heals Military Vets With PTSD

See: Donna Karan and David Lynch collaborate to launch “Operation Warrior Wellness-NYC”

See EurekAlert press release on Dr. Norman Rosenthal’s pilot study: TM Reduces Veterans PTSD Symptoms by 50%

And other entries on Operation Warrior Wellness here.


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