Posts Tagged ‘spirituality’

“Sanctifying Morning” is a poem by Ken Chawkin on one way to be “spiritual but not religious”

February 17, 2013

Sanctifying Morning is a poem I wrote four years and one month ago today. It may remind you of the phrase, “spiritual but not religious,” how millions of Americans now identify themselves, a trend I was not aware of until I learned about it from Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda. TM* is my way of being spiritual but not religious.

Sanctifying Morning

Charcoal in a church,
Incense-filled smoke,
Knees on the ground,
Wafer on a tongue —
Prayers ascend the sky.

It’s Sunday morning,
And I have my own rituals.
The smell of burnt toast sanctifies the morning air.
Orange rinds round out the debris of breakfast.
Fumes float upwards from a hot coffee cup.

Having pacified the body’s urges,
With no work to be done today,
Though the senses focus outward,
It’s time to bring them within,
And prepare for this peaceful morning.

I retire to my meditation room,
Sit comfortably, and close the eyes.
Thinking my mantra, effortlessly,
I descend to the depths of my mind,
And transcend.

My body follows —
Breath slows, and suspends,
Heart beats quieter,
Brain cells speak softly, in unison —
I’m at peace with myself.

This is the true communion of the spirit
Within the church of the Self.
No pews are required here
As one prepares to meet the maker
Of one’s life.

© Ken Chawkin
January 17, 2009
Fairfield, Iowa, USA

*TM stands for Transcendental Meditation. It’s not a religion. To me, it’s a spiritual practice that is compatible with any or no religion. Today millions of Americans admit to practicing some form of meditation. Members of different faiths practice Transcendental Meditation, including monks, nuns, priests and rabbis. Even atheists and agnostics meditate. You may too, some day, if you haven’t, already.

Publication and Update

Carrying the Branch-Poets in Search of Peace

Thanks to Iowa poet and editor Rustin Larson for selecting “Sanctifying Morning,” which was later included in Carrying the Branch: Poets in Search of Peace. The book was published by Glass Lyre Press October 1, 2017 and edited by Ami Kaye. My poem is found on page 132. These other poets also submitted their poems and participated as editors soliciting poems and curating their sections for this anthology: Diane Frank, Lois P. Jones, Gloria Mindock, and Melissa Studdard. All profits after printing go to the Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders.

It is also an honor to be included among so many distinguished authors and poet laureates, like Robert Pinsky, W. E. Butts, Joy Harjo, Rita Dove, and Jane Hirshfield, to name a few collected here.

Blogger Chris Rice Cooper was the first to review our anthology, (January 17, 2018): Receiving & Giving Peace in the anthology CARRYING THE BRANCH POETS IN SEARCH OF PEACE . . . She put a lot of work into it with photos, excerpts, and links to an alphabetical listing of the poets and their websites. Next to my photo she provided the link to an article: PR to poetry – how things sometimes happen to Ken Chawkin.

After describing the different problem areas the poems deal with, Cooper says, “In this specific piece I’d like to focus on the poems that offer suggestions of acts and thoughts that we as individual human beings can do or think to bring peace into our own lives, the lives of our communities, and the lives of the entire world.”

Surprisingly, she includes my poem in her review: “In Ken Chawkin’s poem “Sanctifying Morning” the speaker of the poem experiences his own peace by having “church” in his own body, in his own home where he retreats to his meditation room and meditates mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.”

She concludes by saying, “There are numerous lessons to be learned from this anthology but the top two are:  we must love the enemy within and without ourselves; and we must transcribe our experiences down, rather on paper or canvas – only then will the next generation receive their rightful inheritance – their own branch of peace.”

Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

December 19, 2012

Can Meditation Change the World?
The amazing story of the ‘meditating president.’
Published on December 10, 2012 by Steve Taylor in Out of the Darkness

Ken WilburLast week a group of my students were giving a presentation on the spiritual philosopher Ken Wilber. It included a video interview in which Wilber remarked, ‘The best way to stop famine in the world is to meditate.’ Some students were outraged, and my initial thought was that the comment was glib and offensive. Surely the best way to stop famine is to provide food, to donate money, or at least to end conflict or reduce corruption? However, there is a case study which illustrates Wilber’s meaning very clearly. It’s the story of the ‘meditating president’, Joachim Chissano of Mozambique.

In 1992, Mozambique’s civil war came to an end, after 15 years of devastation, and around a million casualties. The country was completely broken, and showing all signs of being trapped in the cycle of conflict and corruption which has afflicted many African countries. But Joachim Chissano – whose forces had won the war – surprised the world by acting sensibly and empathically. Rather than trying to shore up his own power base and enacting revenge, Chissano treated the rebel forces who had been trying to overthrow his government with respect. He made compromises, promised there would be no prosecutions or punishments and offered the rebels half of the places in the Mozambiquan army. He gave them the chance of gaining power through political means. Rather than trying to crush the rebels, he began to work with them.

Two years later, Mozambique’s first ever multi-party elections were held, and Chissano and the former rebel leader came face to face in the polls. Chissano won the election, and set about the task of establishing lasting peace by reducing poverty. Between 1997 and 2003, almost three million people were rescued from extreme poverty, out of a total population of almost 20 million. This lead to a 35% decrease in the number of children dying under the age of five, and an increase of 65% in the number of children going to primary school. Through Chissano’s ability to set aside differences and connect with his former enemies, Mozambique was brought back from the brink of self-destruction and has instead become one of Africa’s most stable and peaceful countries.

What was it that made Chissano so rational and compassionate as a leader?

Joachim Chissano

In 1992, he learned Transcendental Meditation. Quickly becoming aware of the benefits of the practice himself, he taught it to his family, then his cabinet ministers and his wider government. In 1994, it became a requirement for all military and police recruits to meditate twice a day, for 20 minutes.

Chissano himself is in no doubt that this collective meditation was responsible for the peace and increasing prosperity of the country. As he said, ‘The result has been political peace and balance in nature in my country…The culture of war has to be replaced by the culture of peace. For that purpose, something deeper has to be changed in our mind and in our consciousness to prevent the recurrence of war.’

In 2004, Chissano’s second term in office came to end. Rather than pursuing a third term – as he would have been legally able to do under Mozambique law – he stepped aside. Since then he has been an elder statesman, campaigning for peace and working as an envoy and negotiator for the United Nations. In 2007, on his 68th birthday, he was awarded Africa’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, the $5 million prize for Achievement in African Leadership.

This is Wilber’s point, of course. In the short term, meditation reduces anger and aggression. In the long term, it increases our capacity for empathy, compassion and rationality. It leads to less self-centred behaviour, and reduces cravings for power and wealth. It generates a sense of well-being which makes us less liable to be affected by slights or prejudices.

Research has confirmed these effects. In 2003, scientists at the University of Wisconsin scanned the brain of people with a long experience of Buddhist meditation. They found that their left pre-frontal lobes – the areas of the brain linked with positive moods and emotions – were unusually active. In other words, they seemed to be happier than normal. In a 2011 study at the University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness 16 people meditated for an average of 27 minutes each day. MRI scans after 8 weeks showed increased ‘grey matter’ in parts of the brain associated with compassion, introspection and learning.

So Wilber’s seemingly glib comments may well be right. Human social behaviour is a manifestation of our inner state. Discord in the world stems from discord in our minds, and there will only be harmony and peace in the world once there is harmony and peace inside us.

Steve Taylor is a lecturer in psychology at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK. He is the author of Back to Sanity: Healing the Madness of the Human Mind. Eckhart Tolle has called his work ‘an important contribution to the shift in consciousness happening on our planet at this time.’ stevenmtaylor.co.uk | Follow Steve on Facebook and Twitter

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What Steve Taylor says in this Psychology Today article is true. In addition, there have also been hundreds of scientific studies on Transcendental Meditation showing improvements in mental and emotional development as well as health and social behavior. See Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs and Excellent article by Tom Jacobs on Meditation: Strong Preventative Medicine for Heart Patients.

But one of the most striking effects is the impact large numbers of people practicing Transcendental Meditation together in large groups in one or more places can have on their environment. This is what happened in Mozambique. The longtime drought also came to an end as balance was restored in nature; the rain came!

Over fifty studies have scientifically documented the profound and measurable benefits of this approach to peace. Many have been published in respected peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Conflict Resolution, 1988, 32: 776–812; Social Indicators Research, 1999, 47: 153-201; Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 2003, 36 (1-4): 283-302; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 339-373; Journal of Social Behavior and Personality, 2005, 17(1): 285-338; and Journal of Scientific Exploration, 2009, 23(2): 139-166.

For a scientific explanation behind the power of large groups collectively practicing the Transcendental Meditation and TM-Sidhi program including Yogic Flying, read The Power of The Collective, by John Hagelin. Also see this Op-Ed peace piece spreading around the world: Reducing Tension in the Middle East

And here is a newly published study on this topic: Can group meditation prevent violent crime? Surprisingly, the data suggests yes: New study (SAGE Open Apr 2016, 6 (2).

One last point, and that is comparing different meditation practices and generalizing their results can be a bit misleading. With the aid of fMRI, EEG, and other methods, we can now see that different parts of the brain are effected by different meditation techniques, which utilize their own approaches, like concentration, open monitoring, or transcending. To better understand these differences and outcomes scientists have created categories of meditation, matching approaches with their scientific measurements. See Are all meditation techniques the same?. And this more recently published paper using fMRI:  New study highlights unique state of “restful alertness” during Transcendental Meditation.

For a current perspective on how TM has been successfully applied in various settings, see this recent video presentation: John Hagelin speaks on meditation as a powerful tool for health, education & post-traumatic stress at TEDxWomen 2012.

Read two reviews of Can meditation change the world? in the January 28, 2013, UK TM News blog, and below in a print copy from the February 2013 issue (Vol. 19, No. 5.) of UK Transcendental Meditation News. Click twice on the image to read it.

Update: Athens Democracy Award Goes to Mozambique’s Joaquim Chissano. This article, published Sept 18, 2018, references President Chissano’s use of TM. “Besides bringing peace, reconciliation, stable democracy and economic progress to Mozambique, and supporting LGBT rights in Africa, Chissano is said to have introduced Transcendental Meditation techniques to government officials, police and military.”

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Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviews Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West

November 8, 2012

Writers’ Voices host Cheryl Fusco Johnson interviewed author Philip Goldberg on American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, at KRUU FM studios, October 12, 2012. The show is now available online: http://www.kruufm.com/node/14325.

Philip Goldberg, American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West by Cheryl Fusco Johnson

Philip Goldberg with Cheryl Fusco Johnson in KRUU FM studio  Photo: Ken Chawkin

Los Angeles-based author Philip Goldberg is a screenwriter, Huffington Post religious-issues blogger, novelist, and nonfiction writer. His book American Veda: From Emerson and the Beatles to Yoga and Meditation, How Indian Spirituality Changed the West was named one of the top ten books on religion in 2010 by the Huffington Post.

The American Library Association’s Booklist Online awarded it the same honor in 2011. Philip has authored or co-authored nineteen books and has much to say about spirituality, publishing, and how both have changed during his lifetime.

From Cheryl’s Blog: Philip Goldberg: How He Became a HuffPost Blogger

Many people ask Philip Goldberg, author of American Veda: How Indian Spirituality Changed the West, how he became a religious-issues blogger for The Huffington Post. During our Writers Voices radio interview today, Philip explained what happened. Waiting at a bookstore to begin giving a book talk, he was thinking about how few people were there to hear him speak. A woman came into the store looking for something she thought she’d left behind. She noticed Philip standing by a sign advertising the topic of his talk and said, “You should be a blogger for The Huffington Post. My daughter’s an editor there.” Was this a lucky break? Or was it a just reward for the many years Philip spent researching spirituality and honing his writing and speaking skills through repeated practice?

Listen to an earlier show on KRUU FM where Dennis Raimondi interviews Philip Goldberg on Speaking Freely about his latest book American Veda, Nov 22, 2010.

Here is an article about Philip Goldberg and his book American Veda: ‘Vedanta and yoga perfect match for certain American values’.

And here are two related articles by Philip Goldberg: George Harrison: The not-so-quiet Beatle, article by Philip Goldberg in LA YOGA Magazine and Huffington Post: Transcendental Meditation: Topping The Bestseller List Since 1975

Red Dirt Report reviews both “American Veda” by Philip Goldberg and “Transcendence” by Norman Rosenthal.

Dana Sawyer, professor of religion and philosophy at the Maine College of Art, reviewed American Veda for tricyle: How Hinduism Seeped into American Soil.

My Empowered World also posted the tricyle book review adding photos: From Emerson to the Beatles. Watch a video of MEW’s Luzzette McDonald’s Interview with Author – Philip Goldberg about his books American Veda and The Intuitive Edge. Answering Luzzette’s final question about the one empowering tool he would recommend Phil mentions meditation. He says all the other practices are improved by having a good deep meditation practice. Phil mentions his TM practice, which he has been doing since 1968, and concludes saying he thinks of it as the empowering tool for all the other empowering tools.

See this related article by Phil on THEWORLDPOST: Beatles in India: The Retreat That Reverberates Across the Universe.

 

You Are God: Who? … Me? By William T. Hathaway

October 6, 2012

You Are God
Who? … Me?

By William T. Hathaway

The statement “You are God” seems an absurd and presumptuous blasphemy, so it needs to be clarified. According to pantheism, it’s not just you who are God; all of us are God. And it’s not just all of us who are God; everything is God. God is the universe in synergy, the whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

This contradicts mainstream Western theology, which is based on a split between creator and creature. According to this view, God made the universe with us in it and is now observing our behavior, rewarding us or punishing us based on our obedience to His rules.

The religions of the East and the mystic tradition of the West have a different view. They feel that God became the universe, manifested it, is it. Rather than observing the universe, God lives it. The universe is God’s active side, engaged in time, space, and matter. God is more than the universe, but there is nothing in it that isn’t God.

But if it’s true that we are God, why are we in such an ungodly mess? Because our unity with God is a living reality only in a higher state of consciousness. Reality, as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi said, is different in different states of consciousness. Ordinarily we experience three state of consciousness: deep sleep, dreaming, or waking. Each has its own reality with distinctive physiological parameters of brain waves, blood chemistry, and metabolic rate.

Waking state is the realm of duality. We are bound in the relativity of time, space, and matter, so we perceive separations between ourselves and others. In waking state the idea that we are God is nonsensical. It contradicts our perceptions.

But it’s possible to experience a fourth state of consciousness that has its own reality and physiology. It’s called transcendental consciousness because it’s beyond the other three, existing at a more fundamental level. Here the duality and materiality of waking state are only surface conditions. The deeper underlying reality is unity, where the separations fade and everything, including matter, is experienced as one unified field of consciousness. Here your individual thinking mind merges with the mind of God. You’re no longer just a part of God. You transcend the boundaries of your small self and expand into the one great Self, the divine spirit animating the universe. All separations between you and God disappear, and you become One.

In transcendental consciousness you really are God and you really are experiencing a sacred life. The most effective method I’ve found for achieving this state on a regular basis is Transcendental Meditation. But even with TM, it’s usually a fleeting experience. In transcendental consciousness the mind is without thoughts. It reaches the source of thought, where it becomes pure Being — alert and aware but without an object of awareness, consciousness experiencing itself. This state is so blissful, so all-encompassing, so divine, that we think, How wonderful! And as soon as we have that thought, we’re no longer there.

But as we come out, we bring some of the energy, intelligence, and joy of this unified field back into our waking state of consciousness, where it enriches our life. And ironically, one of the ways it enriches it is by giving us a deeper appreciation of our separateness from God. The sense of separation we experience in waking state is a great aid to devotion. It’s easier to love something external to us, even if this externality is only partially true.

Each experience of transcendental consciousness also heals our nervous system of stresses we’ve accumulated in the past. It is these stresses, or karma, that make our mind unable to stay in that state while we’re thinking and acting. Once those stresses are gone, which usually takes many years, our mind and body function in that state permanently.

This is enlightenment, the height of human development in which our unity with God is a living reality, not just a concept. In this state we live the sacred life 24/7.

*

William T. Hathaway is a peace activist, award-winning author, and adjunct professor of American studies at the University of Oldenburg in Germany. His latest novel, Summer Snow, tells of an American warrior in Central Asia who falls in love with a Sufi Muslim and learns from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence. Chapters are available on a page of the publisher’s website: www.peacewriter.org.

Published with permission from the author.

Also see Radical Peace: People Refusing War, by William T. Hathaway, later republished on other websites listed at the bottom of the article as Conscious Peace: World Peace Depends upon Our Collective Consciousness.

Here’s a related article God? ~ Dr. Evan Finkelstein.

Celeb Spiritual Report: Jane Mag, May, 2004: David Lynch: One significant day in my life

July 24, 2012

One significant day in my life

By David Lynch

Jane – May, 2004

A significant event occurred in my life the day I learned that our human physiology, our body, is made of consciousness.

Consciousness???

“What???” I asked out loud in wonder.

I learned that our human physiology is so magnificent and complex, and so exquisite in its design and makeup, as to be wondrous beyond imagination. We are spun out of unbounded, infinite, eternal consciousness.

I learned that underlying all matter is a vast, unbounded, infinite and eternal field of consciousness called the Unified Field. I found out that modern science started taking this field seriously about 25 years ago and that all matter is unified at this level in a state of perfect symmetry, or balance. The entire universe emerges from this field in a process called “spontaneous sequential symmetry breaking.”

Are you still with me?

I also learned that there is another science called Vedic Science. This Vedic Science is ancient, and it has always talked of the Unified Field.

Interesting!

Veda, I learned, means “total knowledge.” The home of total knowledge is the Unified Field. It is also the home of all the laws of nature. The branches of Veda, 40 in total, make up the language of the Unified Field, the impulses of this eternal field.

I realized this Unified Field is quite an interesting place. It is not manifest and is full, meaning it is no thing, yet all things in potential. It manifests and permeates all things: the whole universe, everything, while still remaining full and not manifest.

Amazing!

Is this mind-boggling or what?

Now comes the hippest part. I have learned that any human being can “experience” the Unified Field.

Really?

Or: So what?

Why in the world would we care to experience the Unified Field?

First, another question.

Have you ever heard that most of us human beings use only 5 percent of our brain, our mind? Have you ever wondered what in the heck the other 95 percent is all about?

This is the beautiful part coming up.

The “experience” of the Unified Field actually unfolds “enlightenment”—higher states of consciousness culminating in Unity Consciousness, the highest state of consciousness. These higher states use that 95 percent of the brain. That is what the 95 percent is there for—to give us permanent, all-time enlightenment.

Now, what is enlightenment? If you were a light bulb, let’s say, your “glow” might light up your whole house and surrounding yard. In enlightenment, your “glow” would be unbounded, infinite and eternal. That would be some glow!

Enlightenment is fulfillment. Supreme fulfillment. Unbounded, infinite, eternal bliss, consciousness, intelligence, creativity, harmony, dynamic peace.

Enlightenment, I have learned, is our “full potential.” It is the birthright of every human being to enjoy enlightenment.

Is this good news? I think it is such good news.

In Vedic Science, the Unified Field is called “Atma.” Translated, that is “Self”—the Self of us all.

The Unified Field is not something foreign, or even something far away. It is right within each of us at the base of our mind, the source of thought. A great sage from the Himalayas, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, brought a beautiful gift to our world in the form of Transcendental Meditation. Transcendental Meditation is an easy and effortless, yet supremely profound, technique that allows any human to dive within and experience that unbounded ocean of pure bliss, pure consciousness, the Unified Field, our Self.

It may be interesting for you to know that millions of people are practicing Transcendental Meditation all around the world. People from all religions, and all walks of life. Over 600 studies have been done in universities and research institutes validating the profound benefits of Maharishi’s Transcendental Meditation Program.

Having this kind of knowledge and technologies of consciousness available to us in this age is, in my mind, a significant event. Yet the “experience” of that Unified Field is the most significant event, because it unfolds what we truly are—totality.

David’s movies include Eraserhead, Dune, Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. He is looking forward to Creating World Peace Day, to be held mid-September at the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa (www.mum.edu).

Copyright 2004 Fairchild Publications, Inc.

Back to the David Lynch articles page.

Jane – May, 2004 – David Lynch’s Celeb Spiritual Report

THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION — written by Norman Zierold for Healthy Referral

June 8, 2012

Posted 27 January 2012 in Healthy Referral Newspaper

THE REMARKABLE DAVID LYNCH FOUNDATION

It’s no secret that problems abound in our society, but two areas that quickly come to mind are major sources of national stress—at-risk school children and veterans returning from wars abroad with post-traumatic stress.

Enter iconic American filmmaker David Lynch, director of TV’s groundbreaking Twin Peaks, and feature films that include Eraserhead, Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, The Straight Story, and most recently, Inland Empire. The United Kingdom’s highly reputed Guardian has dubbed Lynch “the most important film-maker of the current era,” but an illustrious career has not impeded his concern for the needy.

Mind you, many individuals and organizations have stepped forward in the troubled areas of our society. Much has been done, yet even more remains to be done. What is his modality of choice to help? Meditation, he declares, and specifically Transcendental Meditation, or TM, which is neither a religion nor a philosophy, and therefore requires no change of lifestyle.

Transcendental Meditation is a simple, easily learned technique, practiced for 20 minutes twice daily while sitting comfortably in a chair with eyes closed. This quiet time provides the mind and body with a unique state of “restful alertness” which allows stress and fatigue to be released in a natural way, resulting in better health, greater energy, more clarity of mind, and overall enhancement of the joy of life. It utilizes the natural tendency of the mind to go to a field of greater happiness, hence is basically effortless, differing thereby from all other meditation techniques, which invariably involve either concentration or contemplation, modalities that tend to keep the mind on the surface level of thought and so impede the transcending process.

John Hagelin, Ph.D., world-renowned quantum physicist (“What The Bleep Do We Know!?” and “The Secret”) and recipient of the coveted Kilby Award in physics, describes Transcendental Meditation as “a systematic means to turn the attention powerfully within, to experience and explore deeper levels of mind, quieter levels of human awareness, a state of rest for the body deeper than sleep, where deep-seated stress is dissolved, providing an effective prevention and treatment for stress-related illness.”

Over 600 scientific studies have been conducted on Transcendental Meditation at 250 medical schools and universities in over 30 countries to verify its wide range of benefits for the individual and society. Most notably, the U.S. National Institutes of Health, or NIH, funded in recent decades $26 million in grants to study the effects of TM practice on high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, obesity, and heart disease. Subjects for research have been readily available because the TM technique has now been taught to six million people in over 120 countries.

The timeless knowledge of TM derives from the Vedic heritage of India, the world’s oldest system of knowledge. Veda means truth, or knowledge, and this tradition provides knowledge about many areas of life. For example, Yoga comes from the Vedic tradition, as does Ayurveda, the world’s most ancient system of health care, and Sthapatya Veda, knowledge about building in accord with Natural Law. The knowledge of Transcendental Meditation was revived in our era by the revered sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, launched, in 1957, a worldwide movement to make it available on every continent. Maharishi first came to the United States in 1959, and on various occasions thereafter, to oversee the progress of the local TM movement.

Why did David Lynch take up the TM practice? Well, he just couldn’t think of anything better to do. Just kidding. Lynch not only writes, produces, and directs his own films, but also composes popular music, and paints stunning pictures that are exhibited in major art galleries. And oh, yes, crowning a plethora of other avocations, he recently opened his own nightclub in Paris.

As for Transcendental Meditation, his sister first brought it to his attention. “My sister called, and she had started TM,” he reminisces. “There was something in her voice—less stress and more happiness, a certain upbeat lilt. ‘I gotta have that,’ I said to myself. When I actually started, it was like boom, as if a cable had been cut and the elevator plunged right down into pure consciousness.

“I have been ‘diving within’ through the Transcendental Meditation technique for over 30 years now,” he continues. “It has changed my life, my world, allowing me to release stress that was causing fear and anxiety, opening the door to heightened creativity and bliss.”

“Not long ago, when I heard about the crippling levels of stress and violence in the lives of children today, about the need for armed guards to patrol school corridors, and about widespread use of prescription drugs with deleterious side effects, I became concerned about what this was doing to the health of these children and their ability to learn.”

“Discussing the matter with a friend, the thought came that in today’s turbulent world all school kids should have a class period to begin and end the school day where they can dive within and experience the field of silence, the transcendental level of life, which is an enormous reservoir of energy and intelligence within all of us.”

To help at-risk students, the director established the David Lynch Foundation for Consciousness-Based Education and World Peace—and promptly made hefty donations to give it a jump-start.

Since then the DLF has helped fund “Quiet Time” programs, which are always voluntary, around the world, teaching TM to over 250,000 children in the United States and Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Africa. The US schools can be found in more than a dozen states.

Progress was made in the financial area by a benefit concert given at New York’s Radio City Music Hall and featuring such renowned meditating artists as Beatles Sir Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, legendary singer/songwriter Donovan, Mike Love of the Beach Boys, flute virtuoso Paul Horn, Sheryl Crow, Moby, Eddie Vedder, Ben Harper, Russell Simmons, co-founder of the pioneering hip-hop label Def Jam, and Jerry Seinfeld in a winning stand-up comic skit. Since a huge number of schools around the world remain on a waiting list for Quiet Time programs, plans are underway for future benefit concerts in different venues. Watch News conference Highlights from the day before the concert, and Watch Event Highlights, which include clips of David Lynch interviewing Paul, Ringo, Sheryl, Eddie, and excerpts from that amazing magical evening. Check here for other DLF featured past events.

Transcendental Meditation in Education

Dr. Sanford Nidich, professor of education and physiology at Maharishi University of Management, has been working with at-risk adolescents in U.S. schools and reports on a study conducted at the University of Connecticut involving 106 secondary school students from three public schools, primarily from lower-income, minority populations. “Meditating students,” he relates, showed significant reductions in anxiety, emotional problems, and hyperactivity, and improved overall mental health after an average of four months compared to controls.”

“Something must be done to help today’s youth deal with the enormous amount of stress in their lives,” says Dr. Robert Colbert, professor at the University of Connecticut and co-author of the study. “This study shows that something can help immediately—and it is easy to implement in any school setting.

Two more recent studies out last year, also funded by the David Lynch Foundation, showed TM improved standardized academic achievement and effectively lowered record stress levels in students.

The study, published in the journal Education, reported students who practiced the Transcendental Meditation program showed significant increases in math and English scale scores and performance level scores over a one-year period. Forty-one percent of the meditating students showed a gain of at least one performance level in math compared to 15.0% of the non-meditating controls.

The latest study published in the Journal of Instructional Psychology found the Transcendental Meditation technique significantly decreased psychological distress in at-risk racial and ethnic minority public school students by 36 percent over 4 months compared to controls. The study also found significant decreases in trait anxiety and depressive symptoms.

In the area of students with learning disabilities, one study, published in the 2009 issue of the peer-reviewed Current Issues in Education, followed a group of 10 middle-school students with ADHD who were practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique twice a day at school. After three months, researchers found over 50% reduction in stress and anxiety, and improvements in ADHD behavior regulation.

“The effect was much greater than we expected,” says Dr. Sarina Grosswald, Ed.D., a George Washington University-trained cognitive learning specialist and lead researcher on the study. “The children also showed improvements in attention, working memory, and organization.” The study was funded by grants from the Abramson Family Foundation and the David Lynch Foundation.

A follow-up study, also funded by the David Lynch Foundation, came out last year. This random-assignment controlled study conducted over a period of 6 months in an independent school for children with language-based learning disabilities in Washington, DC, found improved brain functioning, decreased symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, (ADHD), and improved language-based skills among ADHD students practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. The paper, ADHD, Brain Functioning, and Transcendental Meditation Practice, was published in Mind & Brain, The Journal of Psychiatry.

At the Ideal Academy Public Charter School in Washington, D.C., students from the 5th through 12th grades now practice the TM/Quiet Time program. “It changed the whole climate of the school, says principal Dr. George Rutherford, a highly regarded D.C. educator. “It was just beautiful. The academic achievement has gone up, and behavioral problems have gone down. I could never work in a school that doesn’t have the TM/Quiet Time program.”

One student at the Ideal Academy reports, “I notice I haven’t been mad for a while, since I learned TM. I used to get in fights and talk to people behind their back. And it helps me to not get distracted.”

A student at the Tucson, Arizona, Museum of Art School was struggling in math, but now says, “I’m doing really good in there, and my behavior’s been a lot better.” One of the students at the Kingsbury School in Washington, D.C., states that just two weeks after practicing TM twice a day the nightmares he was having stopped, allowing him to sleep much better and so avoid the fatigue that usually followed during the day.

“I have had the pleasure of meeting many students who are “diving within” and experiencing Consciousness-Based Education,” sums up DLF founder David Lynch. “These students are all unique individuals, very much themselves. They are amazing, self-sufficient, wide-awake, energetic, blissful, creative, powerfully intelligent and peaceful human beings. Meeting these students, for me, was the proof that Consciousness-Based Education is a profoundly good thing for our schools and for our world.”

Principal James Dierke agrees. The 2008 National Association of Secondary School Principals—National Middle School Principal of the Year, says, “Stress is the number one enemy of public education, especially in inner-city schools. It creates tension, violence, and compromises the cognitive and psychological capacity of students to learn and grow. The TM/Quiet Time program is the most powerful, effective program I have come across in my 39 years as a public school educator for addressing this problem. It is nourishing children and providing them an immensely valuable tool for life. It is saving lives.”

TM for Veterans: Operation Warrior Wellness

While the DLF’s work with at-risk children got into full gear, founder David Lynch was given the staggering statistics from the Veterans Administration showing that more soldiers are dying from the trauma of combat incurred in Iraq and Afghanistan than at the hands of enemy combatants. Over 500,000 veterans have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress, or PTS, since 2001, with 18 veterans committing suicide each day.

To help meet this challenging situation, the David Lynch Foundation launched Operation Warrior Wellness, a national outreach to help 10,000 war veterans suffering from PTS by teaching them Transcendental Meditation. A December 2010 press conference and follow-up fund-raiser Gala Event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York was supported by noted film directors Clint Eastwood and Martin Scorsese, fashion maven Donna Karan, pop music mogul Russell Simmons, and yet another Russell, versatile actor/comedian Russell Brand, plus “America’s Doctor,” Dr. Mehmet Oz.

A year later on December 2, 2011 the David Lynch Foundation launched Operation Warrior Wellness in Los Angeles with a global press conference at the Beverly Hills Hotel where David Lynch presented a check for one million dollars for Veterans to learn Transcendental Meditation. The 3rd Annual Change Begins Within Gala Event took place at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.Ellen DeGeneres opened the evening and then turned the proceedings over to host Russell Brand. Photos can be seen on the David Lynch Foundation photo stream.

Combatants from past and present conflicts delivered testimonials of their devastating war experiences and told of how TM gave them a new lease on life. World War II pilot Jerry Yellin spoke eloquently of the toll that extensive bombing raids against Japan had on his nervous system so that for three decades after the end of the war he felt no satisfaction from anything he did. “At 51,” he recounted, “I took up TM and only then did I finally find peace.”

Vietnam vet Dan Burks gave a moving account of the mental scars he carried after a battle in which he killed Vietnamese soldiers and lost many of his own comrades. “PTS is a wound,” he concluded. “It takes your life away, just like losing a limb. But guess what? You can get rid of that wound. My life, after the discovery of Transcendental Meditation, was like the difference between heaven and hell.”

Finally, David George, 23, a former infantry soldier, told of the trauma he experienced not only in Iraq, but also on returning home, where long ago battles still raged deep within his system. “Happily,” he said, “I found TM and that cleared the air and I could tell where I was going. I felt this warm, groovy feeling. It just keeps getting better and better.”

Veterans with PTS showed a 50 percent reduction in their symptoms after just eight weeks of practicing the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique, according to a pilot study published in June 2011 in the scientific journal Military Medicine. The study found that Transcendental Meditation produced significant reductions in stress and depression and marked improvements in relationships and overall quality of life.

The paper’s senior researcher, Norman Rosenthal, M.D., is clinical professor of psychiatry at Georgetown University Medical School and director of research at Capital Clinical Research Associates in Rockville, Maryland. “These young men were in extreme distress as a direct result of trauma suffered during combat,” he affirms, “and the simple and effortless Transcendental Meditation technique literally transformed their lives.”

The findings were similar to those from a randomly controlled study of Vietnam veterans conducted by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in 1985. In that study, published in the Journal of Counseling and Development, after three months of twice-daily TM practice, the veterans had fewer symptoms than those receiving conventional psychotherapy of the day. In fact, most of the TM-treated subjects required no further treatment.

“The soldiers are truly suffering,” affirms David Lynch. “No one knows what they’ve been through. No one knows what they’ve done, what they’ve experienced, what they’ve seen, and their lives in many cases are a true nightmare. That’s why we want to offer them Transcendental Meditation. It’s a beautiful thing for the human being. It’s a big stress-buster, and when these soldiers get this simple effortless technique, they’re going to get their lives back again. It’s not hocus-pocus. It’s going to save lives, and help not only the soldiers, but all the families who are suffering, and their friendships as well.”

For the already noted Operation Warrior Wellness benefit at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, Clint Eastwood, best known for playing violent, hardened characters on-screen, sent a video in which he stated his strong support of Transcendental Meditation. “I’ve been using it for almost 40 years now,” he declared. “It’s a great tool to combat stress, especially considering the stress our men and women in the armed forces are going through. There’s enough studies out there that show TM is something that can benefit everybody.”

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Norman Zierold is the author of a bevy of books on Hollywood, including The Child Stars, The Moguls, Garbo, and Sex Goddesses of the Silent Screen, as well as two true-crime stories—Little Charley Ross: The Story of America’s First Kidnapping for Ransom, and Three Sisters in Black, recipient of a Special Edgar Allan Poe Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He has also published articles in a plethora of magazines, ranging from New York Magazine, McCall’s, and Popular Mechanics to Good Housekeeping, Variety, and Reader’s Digest.

REFERENCES:

David Lynch Foundation http://www.davidlynchfoundation.org

Operation Warrior Wellness http://www.operationwarriorwellness.org

The Transcendental Meditation program http://tm.org

Ask the Doctors: Specialists answer your questions about TM and health http://askthedoctors.com

ADHD, the Mind and the TM technique http://www.adhd-tm.org

Maharishi University of Management http://www.mum.edu

If read in the UK, use this for The Transcendental Meditation Program: http://www.t-m.org.uk

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Related article by Norman Zierold: Embody: focus on TM: Iconic Filmmaker David Lynch has a viable solution to a pressing problem.

And enjoy this article about Norman: The Chronicle of Higher Education: Notes From Academe: The Spokesman Who Kept Calling.

Here is an excellent Huffington Post interview with David Lynch that came out two years later, Dec 9, 2014: Interview With David Lynch: His Mission to Change the World Through Meditation.

A Wake-Up Haiku

May 31, 2012

A koan is an unsolvable riddle meant to stop a Zen meditator’s analytical mind from thinking, and hopefully transition into a state of no-thought, the state of transcendence. There is a classic Zen koan meant to do just that, which asks the question: What is the sound of one hand clapping? Here is one tongue-in-cheek answer meant to enlighten or wake you up.

A Wake-Up Haiku

Solve this Zen koan:
The sound of one hand clapping?
A slap in the face!

© Ken Chawkin, May 30, 2012, Fairfield, Iowa

Luckily there is a simpler way—the effortless practice of Transcendental Meditation, which allows the conscious thinking mind to transcend. With the help of a mantra, a specific harmonious suitable meaningless thought-sound, together with step-by-step instructions from a qualified TM teacher, the mind naturally, effortlessly settles down to lesser and lesser states of mental activity, to the least excited state of awareness, when the thought drops off, leaving the mind without an object of attention, yet deeply restful and alert, fully awake inside. This inner unbounded wakefulness is the basis for all clarity, energy, and creativity after meditation.

TM allows the mind to experience its own essential nature beyond thought—transcendental consciousness or pure awareness, called turiya in Sanskrit, a 4th major state of consciousness at the basis of the other 3 relative states of consciousness—waking, dreaming and sleeping. With regular practice, over time, a natural integration occurs in the nervous system as it unfolds its inherent ability to live the two states simultaneously—a 5th style of functioning called Cosmic Consciousness. With continued practice, utilizing advanced techniques, including the TM-Sidhi program, the evolution of even two more states of consciousness develop—a 6th, God Consciousness, a refined experience of the 5th; and ultimately a 7th, Unity Consciousness, where the individual is truly universal.

Related posts: Words—a poem on the nature of words and mindUpon waking uP by Ken Chawkin | Are all meditation techniques the same?John Hagelin — “Only Higher Consciousness Can Transform Our World” — Beyond Awakening Blog and THP: How Meditation Techniques Compare.

The H20 Network on Blog Talk Radio interviews Janet Hoffman about Transcendental Meditation

May 2, 2012

Click on this link to go to the website and listen to this great interview! http://www.blogtalkradio.com/theh2onetwork/2012/05/02/transcendental-meditation-with-janet-hoffman

Janet Hoffman has 42 years of experience working on the international, national, regional, and local levels of the Transcendental Meditation program in leadership, organizational, creative development, and teaching positions. After 40 years of directing the New York City TM center, Janet became the nationwide Director of the TM program for women professionals She learned the TM technique in 1968, became a TM teacher in 1971, and directed five TM teacher training courses under the guidance of the program’s founder, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

To sign up for the July conference on women and consciousness go to: http://www.gmdousa.org/4Day.

For more information on the Transcendental Meditation program: http://tmwomenprofessionals.org, http://www.tm.org, 800-635-7173.

Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana, and the Self — A New Paradigm Tour Will Visit Ten Cities

April 12, 2012

NEW PARADIGM TOUR VISITS 10 NORTH AMERICAN CITIES

“Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana, and the Self”

Science and spirituality merge as leading scientists, artists and business leaders present cutting-edge knowledge to Indian Communities Throughout North America

A team of leading scientists, artists and business leaders will tour 10 North American cities this spring, delivering a series of cutting-edge presentations entitled “A New Paradigm: Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana, and the Self.” The tour includes visits to San Diego; San Francisco; Vancouver; Fairfield, Iowa; Chicago; Toronto; Montreal; Boston; New York; and Washington, DC. www.newparadigmtour.org

The event will explore the meeting point of science and spirituality by presenting pioneering research that reveals the Veda and the Ramayana as blueprints of our body and the entire universe. Extensive research on these breakthrough discoveries has also documented collective benefits for society, including the potential for creating world peace. The event will feature a video presentation of 1,000 Vedic Pandits in Maharishi Vedic City, Iowa, chanting the Veda. Listen: http://bit.ly/vedicpandits.

SPEAKERS

The speakers at this event come from diverse backgrounds. Tony Nader, M.D., Ph.D., neuroscientist and researcher, will headline the event as the keynote speaker with his presentation, “Embodying Totality”.  Dr. Nader received his Ph.D. in the area of Brain and Cognitive Science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and completed post-doctoral work at Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Nader’s desire to gain a deeper understanding of the human mind and body—of consciousness and physiology—led him to the study of Vedic Science under the guidance of the Vedic sage Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, founder of the worldwide Transcendental Meditation movement (TM) http://www.tm.org. Dr. Nader’s discoveries have inspired medical doctors and scientists throughout the world by demonstrating the effectiveness of Vedic sound to heal mind, body and society (for example: Enlivening the Healing Ability of the Body through Maharishi Vedic Sound).

John Hagelin, Ph.D., is a world-renowned Harvard-trained quantum physicist, educator, public policy expert, and leading proponent of peace. Winner of the prestigious Kilby Award, Dr. Hagelin was recognized for his achievements as a scientist in the tradition of Einstein, Jeans, Bohr and Eddington. He is Chairman of the Physics Department at Maharishi University of Management (www.MUM.edu) and will speak on “Consciousness and the Unified Field.”

Ramani Ayer was the first Indo-American CEO of a Fortune 100 company. He was Chairman of the Board and CEO of Hartford Financial Services Group for 13 years, retiring in 2009.  Mr. Ayer will speak on “Enlightened Leadership and World Peace.”

For more information on the speaker profiles see: http://www.newparadigmtour.org/speakers.html

SPECIAL HOLLYWOOD AND BOLLYWOOD GUESTS

Joining these speakers via videoconference will be special guests, Hollywood director, David Lynch, and the Sagar family, of Ramayana fame, from Mumbai. David Lynch is acclaimed as one of the most creative minds in film, art, and music today.  He is also the founder of the David Lynch Foundation www.davidlynchfoundation.org. Ramanand Sagar created the original epic Ramayana series in 1987, inspiring all of India while preserving Vedic values in the culture.  The next generation of Sagars—Prem, Anand, Shiv and Shakti of Sagar Arts—created the 2008 remake of this timeless saga.

THEMES

The speakers will explore three primary themes in the presentation. The first theme explores the cosmic nature of the individual. The sounds of the Veda have been found to be blueprints that structure the physiology on every level.  The brain, the heart and the whole physiology are seen from this perspective as a replica of Veda and the Vedic literature. The practical application of this has been documented by original research conducted by medical doctors and scientists that demonstrates the effectiveness of these Vedic sounds for creating brain coherence and for the treatment of chronic disorders.

The second theme explores the applications of this discovery on the collective level of society.  The presentation will review evidence that large groups of thousands of peace-creating Vedic pandits are capable of changing the destiny of mankind by applying Vedic technologies of consciousness from the deepest level of consciousness—the common unified source of both science and religion. Demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach, the Global Peace Initiative has already established 1000 Maharishi Vedic Pandits in Maharishi Vedic City in Iowa, and 2500 at the center of India in Madhya Pradesh. www.vedicpandits.org

The third theme covers Dr. Nader’s latest book, “Ramayan in Human Physiology,” which will be released on this tour. It describes the profound correlation between the characters, details and happenings of the Ramayana with every part of the human physiology. “It will serve as a revelation to those who desire a greater understanding of the unity underlying all that makes us human,” says Gary P. Kaplan, M.D., Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor of Neurology at Hofstra University School of Medicine. http://www.newparadigmtour.org/ramayan

RAMAYAN in HUMAN PHYSIOLOGY SEMINARS

In addition to the ‘New Paradigm’ presentations, Dr. Nader will also offer an “Introductory Seminar on the Ramayan in Human Physiology” at each of the locations for those who desire a more in-depth treatment of the correlations between the eternal story of the Ramayana and the structure and function of the human physiology. http://www.newparadigmtour.org/seminars.html

OPRAH, TM, FAIRFIELD, AND VEDIC PANDITS

Oprah Winfrey and her staff all practice Transcendental Meditation. For Oprah’s Next Chapter, she visited Fairfield, Iowa, America’s Most Unusual Town. She also went to Maharishi Vedic City to see the Maharishi Vedic Pandits.  Oprah and her crew were the first ones allowed in to film the Vedic Pandits chanting.

Oprah completed her visit by meditating with the ladies in their Bagambhrini Golden Dome of Pure Knowledge. “It was a powerfully energizing yet calming experience. I didn’t want it to end.” You can see a photo of Oprah meditating in the dome with over 400 ladies and read what she had to say about her experience in the February issue of O Magazine in her column “What I Know For Sure.”

This press release was published in Pravasitoday under Events: http://www.pravasitoday.com/new-paradigm-tour-visits-10-north-american-cities | INDIAWEST: New Paradigm Tour: ‘Veda, Consciousness, The Ramayana, and the Self’| India Tribune (page 4): Meet on ‘Veda, Consciousness, Ramayana and Self’ in 10 North American cities | India Post (page 9): Science & spirituality tour in 10 cities | LoKvani: In Conversation With Ramani Ayer | Chicago Tribune: New paradigm North American tour visits Chicago with pictures from Asian Media USA | India Post: IOWA scholars give scientific exposition of Ramayana (page 13) | hi INDiA: Special Report: Ramayan; A New Vision in Vedas (cover story on pages 20+24) | NewsIndiaTimes: Hundreds Attend Program to Promote Vedic Learning

See website for more details: http://www.newparadigmtour.org, Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/VedaConsciousness, and videos of Dr Nader at: http://www.youtube.com/drtonynader. Also see A report halfway into the New Paradigm Tour: Veda, Consciousness, the Ramayana and the Self. See this New Video: Dr. Tony Nader speaks about the Ramayana in Human Physiology.

Transcendental Meditation: Good for Oprah and Start-ups, written by Peter Cohan for Forbes

March 27, 2012

Peter Cohan Peter Cohan, Contributor
I write from near Boston about startups and political economy
+ Follow on Forbes

Transcendental Meditation: Good for Oprah and Start-ups

Oprah Winfrey devoted her OWN show Sunday night to Transcendental Meditation (TM). But TM is not just for Oprah, it can help start-ups too.

At least that was the claim of Dr Sharda S. Nandram, Professor in Entrepreneurship at the University of Applied Sciences HAN, Associate Professor Entrepreneurship at Nyenrode Business University, and founder of Praan Solutions.

On March 21st, Nandram and I debated ”The Future of Entrepreneurship: Hungry start-upper vs Spiritual Entrepreneur” at EADA, a Barcelona business school. Nandram cited research in her talk that companies whose employees do TM have higher productivity.

Before getting into her remarks and my comments on them, it’s worth discussing what TM is and why it might help companies.

Twin Peaks director, David Lynch, is a fan and he claims that it turned him from an angry man into a happy one. As he told the Seattle Times, ”I was filled with an anger and sorrows and doubts and melancholy. And I took it out on my first wife. I made her life pretty much a hell. So I start transcendental meditation, and two weeks later she comes to me and says, ‘What is going on? This anger, where did it go?’”

The answer, it turned out, was TM. And for Lynch, his sister convinced him to take up the practice. According to Lynch, “One day my sister called, and she said she started TM, and I heard a change in her voice — more happiness, more self-assuredness. And I said, ‘This is what I want.’ Things lift away so naturally,” according to the Seattle Times.

For Nandram, start-ups benefit from TM specifically, and spirituality in general. Her talk on “spirituality and entrepreneurship” reflects her efforts to “see the person behind the entrepreneurs.” And she thinks “it is time to deepen the ‘inner box’, one may call intuition, reflective zone, inner sense, the area of mindfulness or authentic self.”

When my host, EADA professor Manuel Marin, asked me what I thought of the idea of spirituality and entrepreneurship my first thought was that I do not know what Nandram means by spirituality; however, I see two areas where things that might be related to spirituality factor into start-up strategy.

The first, as I posted March 25th, many entrepreneurs start companies not for money but to change the world. If entrepreneurs’ visions of what that world would look like end up improving life for other people, those start-up CEOs are using a kind of spirituality to attract and motivate top talent.

Furthermore, when entrepreneurs hire those people, they look for integrity. As I described in my book, Value Leadership, integrity means that people do what they say they will do. And in a start-up, integrity has a compelling business imperative — there is no time or money for people who can’t be trusted. That’s why it is so critical for company founders to conduct exhaustive due diligence on potential employees.

So I would argue that depending on your definition, start-ups that want to make the world a better place and hire people with integrity, do benefit from spirituality.

Moreover, if others get the benefits that David Lynch claims for TM, it’s worth investigating the notion that TM’s practice among a start-up’s employees could allow them to focus more on the task at hand, reduce their level of anger and distraction, and boost their productivity.

If such spirituality is good for business, bring it on.


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