Posts Tagged ‘TM’

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing veterans’ PTSD, sleep difficulties, depression and anxiety symptoms by 50% in 3 months: new study

March 22, 2021

News Release 18-Mar-2021 | EurekAlert! Summary & Press Release

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

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IMAGE: Fifty percent of veterans who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for three months no longer met criteria for PTSD compared to only 10 percent of controls. Meditating veterans also showed significant reductions in symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties. This figure shows the unadjusted mean change in PTSD symptoms, based on the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale (CAPS), for the Transcendental Meditation group compared to the treatment-as-usual control group (all P values <.05) over the three-month intervention period. Credit: Maharishi International University Research Institute

Transcendental Meditation effective in reducing PTSD, sleep problems, depression symptoms

Veterans with PTSD who practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique showed significant reductions in PTSD symptom severity, according to a new study published today in Journal of Traumatic Stress. Fifty percent of the meditating veterans no longer met criteria for PTSD after three months compared to only 10 percent of controls. The randomized controlled study also showed significant reductions in veterans’ symptoms of depression and anxiety, and sleep difficulties.

“Transcendental Meditation is a non-trauma-focused, easy-to-learn technique that was found in this study to improve PTSD symptoms, likely through the experience of physical rest,” said Mayer Bellehsen, Ph.D., director of the Unified Behavioral Health Center for Military Veterans and their Families, Northwell Health, and study principal investigator. “In contrast to commonly administered therapies for PTSD that are trauma-focused and based on a patient’s recall of past traumatic experiences, this intervention does not require extensive review of traumatic history, which some individuals find difficult to engage in. This intervention may therefore be more tolerable for some individuals struggling with PTSD.”

The randomized controlled trial, conducted at Northwell Health in Bay Shore, New York, assigned 40 veterans with documented PTSD to either the Transcendental Meditation (TM) group or treatment as usual control group. The TM treatment provided 16 sessions over 12 weeks, with twice-a-day daily home practice. PTSD symptom severity was assessed with the Clinician-Administered PTSD Scale for DSM-5 (CAPS-5), and patient self-report with the PTSD Checklist for DSM -5 (PCL-5).

The results showed large effect sizes, indicating a strong TM treatment impact in reducing trauma symptoms for both PTSD measures. Other factors associated with trauma, such as depression and anxiety symptoms and sleep problems, also showed a strong impact of TM treatment.

“This trial corroborates the findings of a large clinical trial published in The Lancet Psychiatry,” said Sanford Nidich, Ed.D., Director of the Center for Social-Emotional Health at Maharishi International University Research Institute, and study co-investigator. “The current study further supports the effectiveness of Transcendental Meditation as a first-line treatment for PTSD in veterans. The availability of an additional evidence-based therapy will benefit veterans, both by offering them a greater range of options and by serving as an alternative treatment strategy for those who don’t want to engage in trauma-focused treatment or who aren’t responding to a previous PTSD intervention.”

The authors point out in their research paper that TM may positively affect trauma symptom severity through the reduction of hyperarousal symptoms. Previous research has shown that TM practice decreases physiological responses to stressful stimuli. In addition, recent research indicates that TM may improve resilience and positive coping strategies, providing further benefit to both veterans and active military personnel.

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This study was supported by David Lynch Foundation. The article is titled, “A Pilot Randomized Controlled Trial of Transcendental Meditation as Treatment for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder in Veterans.” Northwell Health, New York University, and Maharishi International University Research Institute collaborated on the trial. Preliminary results had been previously presented at the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies conference, November 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Source: EurekAlert!

Northwell Health posted their release on March 22, 2021: New study shows transcendental meditation effective for reducing veterans’ stress. The study, led by Mayer Bellehsen, PhD, showed that the technique resulted in significant reductions in symptom severity.

Many science and international news outlets posted the news, including this excellent report in Medical News Today (PDF). And Jim Dwyer MD produced and tweeted this 60-seconds MediBlurb: Transcendental Meditation for PTSD in Veterans, which airs on regional radio in Arizona.

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

February 11, 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“But everywhere is in front of him!”

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

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

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

(more…)

Entrepreneur @SigurdVedal and #TM teacher Lakos Antal discuss how to build a better life

November 15, 2020

Doug Rexford sent me a link to an interview on The Sigurd Vedal Show. Sigurd Verdal is an American-Norwegian tech entrepreneur, successful multi-business owner, investor, and CEO of Vedal Media Group. Sigurd invited his TM teacher, Lakos Antal, on his show for a lively discussion on how to build a better life with Transcendental Meditation. The names of the host and his guest were unfamiliar to me, but as soon as I saw and heard the TM teacher speak, I recognized him as Tony.

Sigurd Vedal interviews Tony Antal: How to build a better life with Transcendental Meditation.

I had met Tony, as we knew him, and his friend Peter, around 20 years ago on an international TM course for men in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina. They were friendly young TM teachers from Hungary who had worked on international projects. Coincidentally, years later, Peter had become a student here at MIU, married a fellow student, had a son, and is now completing his doctoral thesis on a TM research study.

Tony had learned TM in high school when he was 15. Within 3 weeks he noticed it gave him added energy and clarity of mind. He was a straight ‘A’ student and was expected to follow his family’s tradition of becoming a medical doctor. During his first year of medical school Tony would come to realize that the medical profession only dealt with treating diseases, not preventing them.

Becoming a TM teacher instead of a doctor

After a year of medical college Tony felt it really wasn’t what he wanted to do with his life and followed his heart’s desire instead to become a TM teacher. Turns out it was the right decision for him. One of the things he did was give Introductory talks to medical students. Many of them started as they needed something to help them deal with the stressful challenges of their chosen profession.

Interestingly, Stritch School of Medicine, affiliated with Loyola University Chicago, was the first to make TM available as an elective course. It’s been part of the medical curriculum for four years now. See The first Transcendental Meditation elective course offered at a major US medical school. Two years ago the Catholic Health Association of the United States published an excellent report on the program in Catholic Health World: Medical students learn meditation to counter stress, promote physician wellness.

Tony told Sigrud that when he was a student in Budapest, meditation was a foreign concept. Today, millions of people of all ages and backgrounds around the world have learned to meditate, including famous celebrities who praise the benefits of TM. With hundreds of scientific studies verifying its efficacy, TM is part of wellness programs and recommended by doctors to patients with high blood pressure and other stress-related diseases. TM has been shown to help veterans suffering from PTSD.

I emailed some questions to Tony and he said he taught TM to Sigurd in August. Since Sigrud has business ties to Hungary, the interview took place in his Budapest apartment. They had both tested negative for COVID before they got together. Sigurd shared how TM has helped him to maintain a more even perspective in stressful situations, and that he is now able to fall asleep without the aid of sleeping pills.

Sigrud asked Tony some practical questions prompting him to go into more detail, which he did by sketching his ideas out on paper. They also edited in graphs and animated sequences illustrating Tony’s points, as well as video footage of people meditating in different situations.

Meeting with the president of Hungary

One story Sigrud really wanted Tony to share was his interaction with TM founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi at the end of his TM Teacher Training Course. Based on Tony’s answer to a particular question, Maharishi suggested that he contact the president of his homeland, Hungary, with a solution to his governmental problems. Maharishi even gave Tony a message to relay to the president on his behalf! How such an improbable meeting could occur, and how the president would respond to the presentation and Maharishi’s personal message were beyond Tony.

Listen to how it all unfolded, halfway through their conversation. It reveals a fascinating insight into the workings of leadership and collective consciousness—the highlight of this discussion for me. Tony told me that the story about the president made him realize that the government is really just an innocent mirror of the collective consciousness of the nation, as Maharishi had taught us. He explained the mechanics of this concept to Sigurd in the podcast video.

Jerry’s Last Mission was not just in WW2; he later helped bring peace to today’s troubled veterans

November 11, 2020

This week, Nov 9-13, 2020, is ‘Jerry Fest’, a 5-Day free, Sneak-Peak Screening and Virtual Celebration of Veteran’s Day, honoring the life of Jerry Yellin with the release of a new documentary film, ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’.

Here is a press release that was sent out announcing this week’s activities: Ed Cunningham Announces David Lynch Foundation and Regnery History to Host ‘Jerry Fest’. 5-Day Virtual Festival Celebration of Veteran’s Day and WW2 Fighter Pilot will include free screenings of the Feature Documentary ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’ and Q&A sessions with the filmmakers.

The two virtual Q&A sessions take place on Veteran’s Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11 at 8 pm ET hosted by Regnery Publishing, and on Thursday, Nov. 12 at 8 pm ET hosted by the David Lynch Foundation. Both will include Yellin’s family, producers Ed Cunningham and Melissa Hibbard, and director Louisa Merino. Check the film’s website for zoom links. 

The film’s website is www.jerryslastmission.com and the social media addresses are facebook.com/jerryslastmission, @jerrys_last_mission_film on Instagram and @jerrylastmiss1 on Twitter. The film’s distribution rights are represented by Scott Kaplan of Domino Content (www.dominocontent.com).

The NJArts wrote a great article about the film in time for Veteran’s Day: War and inner peace: Moving documentary ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’ available for free viewing. [PDF] Here’s the film’s trailer.

When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, a young Jerry Yellin signed up to become a fighter pilot. He flew P-51 missions over Iwo Jima, including the last official bombing raid of the war over Japan. He was the only one left in his squadron to survive. He returned home a hero, but suffered for decades from what is now known as PTSD. Thanks to his wife, Helene, Jerry learned the Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique, which transformed his life.

Decades later, when Jerry heard about the high rate of suicides among today’s veterans, he inspired the David Lynch Foundation to start Operation Warrior Wellness, which provided scholarships for veterans and their families to learn Transcendental Meditation.

So Jerry’s last mission was not only at the end of WW2, but also decades later during the latter part of his life, when he made it possible for American veterans of foreign wars to heal their PTSD by learning TM.

Last year The Fairfield Ledger published this 2-page cover story: Jerry Yellin laid to rest with full military honors. See more stories on this blog.

Just found another great report on the film, this one by News 12 The Bronx: Hate turns to love: ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’ tells the story of WWII veteran coping with horrors of war. The story of a World War II fighter pilot from New Jersey who flew the last combat mission over Japan is now the subject of a new documentary film – “Jerry’s Last Mission.”

I cropped a photo of Merino and Yellin from this excellent TV news story.

Director Louisa Merino and Jerry Yellin

Additional news coverage

In addition to the NJArts and Bronx News 12 reports, these new articles came out: Baristanet: Limited Pre-Screening of ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’ Will Honor New Jersey WWII Veteran, and this comprehensive article by Claire Barrett, who interviewed Louisa Merino and Michael and Steven Yellin for The Army Times, Observation Post: ‘Jerry’s Last Mission’: How WWII’s last combat pilot became a lifelong testament of the human spirit. Steven Yellin was also interviewed by KTVO-TV3’s Beth Waldon: New film helps Fairfield man understand father’s fighter pilot experiences in WWII. Click the title to see a video of the full report with the news anchor’s introduction and conclusion to Beth’s report embedded here.

This article, with photos from Michael Yellin, came out November 24, 2020: Montclairian’s father, Jerry Yellin, a WWII hero.

Don Henley and Lissie use the same approach to writing songs—don’t force it and wash the dishes!

October 4, 2020

I enjoy listening to songwriters talk about their creative process—how they approach the task of writing a song, the kind of strategies they use.

How Don Henley writes his songs

I recently watched a 92nd Street Y interview posted on YouTube in 2015. American Rock royalty Billy Joel and Eagles drummer and singer-songwriter Don Henley covered a lot of ground in 85 minutes. One of the things Joel asked Henley about was what does he do to get himself into the space where he can write songs.

Don tells Billy how he may hole up in a cabin, or somewhere where he won’t be disturbed, and shuts out all electronic distractions. He also says he doesn’t just sit there and write; he can’t force the words to come. He says he follows the zen-like advice to do a simple task first.

He tells the audience, “I’m dead serious. I’ve written some of my best stuff loading and unloading the dishwasher! Because you’re distracted and yet you’re not. I don’t know how to explain the thing. But I’ve read about the zen masters saying the same thing—if you can just do a menial task instead of sitting there with a pen and paper, in front of you going, (he clenches his fists and grunts).” The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the discussion starts at 57:14.

How Lissie writes her songs

That reminds me of the exact same thing Lissie said in The A-Sides Interview. She discusses how she is learning to balance art with commerce, and spontaneity with structure. Describing her creative process she usually comes up with a melody, sometimes working with other musicians, then later writes the lyrics alone.

When writing lyrics, she’s “careful to not force it” and is always surprised when rhyming phrases pop into her head “when washing the dishes, not focusing hard on the lyrics.” That’s when she’s presented with newer better word choices she hadn’t thought of.

She emphasizes finding a balance: “being spontaneous, yet structured.” The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the interview starts at 4:58.

How Colin Hay writes his songs

Another singer-songwriter I had discovered and recently wrote about is Colin Hay. When it comes to writing songs he says he likes to have as empty a mind as possible and puts himself in a space where he won’t be interrupted. He emphasizes that time is important, to give himself enough time to fail. He describes a scene where he’s all alone for 3 or 4 hours without any distractions, just sitting with his acoustic guitar doing nothing, just idling, coming up with musical ideas.

At other times, a friend may drop by and mention something in passing that will act as a catalyst to what he’s been thinking about. It triggers the melody, and then the words spontaneously come out in one take. In those cases he’ll quickly finish a song in under an hour. That’s how he wrote Waiting for my Real Life to Begin.

He explains all this in a 2011 CNN interview with Brooke Baldwin when she asks him where he was when he wrote that song, then quotes some of the lyrics to him. The embedded video may play from the beginning, but that part of the interview starts at 3:52.

TM, creativity, and the default mode network

Our minds are usually working on a particular problem, consciously and unconsciously. I’ve had the same thing happen to me when I’m writing a poem or a blog post and reach an impasse. I give up, let it go, and, surprisingly, the right solution later presents itself when I least expect it.

Science calls that place in our brains the default mode network (DMN), a.k.a. the imagination network or genius lounge. It’s activated when the mind is daydreaming, not engaged or concentrating on anything, just “idling” as Colin Hay put it. The key is to be easy. Focusing or “forcing it” turns it off.

Interestingly, the DMN is also activated during the effortless practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique as practitioners experience a state of “restful alertness.” Sometimes great ideas may show up during, but more likely after TM, what David Lynch calls, “Catching the Big Fish.” He often tells students, “TM is a boon for the filmmaker.” It facilitates access to one’s inner resources to create and think out of the box.

Jon Bon Jovi says washing dishes brings on hit songs

Addendum: Jon Bon Jovi, who loves doing TM, shared the same experience as Don Henley and Lissie on Monday night’s A Late Show with Stephen Colbert when they discussed the events that influenced his new album, Bon Jovi 2020. He told Colbert how the song Do What You Can came about when he was washing dishes in one of their JBJ Soul Kitchens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bon Jovi concluded, “Washing dishes brings on hit songs, Stephen.

Related: Lissie @lissiemusic and her connections to Twin Peaks, Fairfield and #TranscendentalMeditation and Colin Hay’s song—I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You—is so relevant during these tough times

Who was Bungalow Bill from the Beatles White Album and what happened to him? He tells us!

June 29, 2020

Do you remember The Continuing Story Of Bungalow Bill that John Lennon wrote and sang on the Beatles White Album? It was based on a real person who was on the same Transcendental Meditation Course the Beatles had attended in Rishikesh, India with Maharishi.

Richard Cooke III was there with his mother, Nancy Cooke de Herrera, who was a publicist for Maharishi at the time. Maharishi had assigned Nancy to look after the Beatles during the course.

I don’t know if Richard stayed for the whole TM training course, but he took time off to go on an elephant-riding tiger-hunting trip while he was in India. He killed a tiger and was proud of his accomplishment, as was his mother, who related the story to Maharishi. John happened to be in that meeting. Richard and his mother are referenced in the song’s lyrics.

A friend sent me this new article, which brings us up to date. Here is the continuing story of Richard “Rikki” Cooke III in his own words: My Last Hunt, published in Chasing the Light.

It’s interesting how Maharishi’s response and John’s song profoundly altered the trajectory of Richard’s life. He decided to trade in his gun for a camera and did a different kind of shooting from then on. Learn more about Richard A. Cooke III at rikkicooke.com and National Geographic.

This photo shows Nancy with the Beatles and other celebrities attending the course at the ashram in Rishikesh. She’s the tall blond woman behind John Lennon and next to Paul McCartney. Others in this photo are: Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, George Harrison, Mia Farrow, John Farrow, (Mia and Prudence Farrow‘s brother) and Donovan Leitch. A larger photo shows Pattie Boyd in front of Nancy, and Jane Asher and Cynthia Lennon next to Donovan.

Meeting the Beatles in India film by Paul Saltzman

Update: Sept 9, 2020: Speaking of that time, a new film, Meeting The Beatles In India, about Paul Saltzman’s brief stay there, premieres tonight, 7pm, online at Gathr.com. Here’s an announcement about the film from the national TM Office of Communications with a message from the director. Here are a few film reviews: Cryptic Rock, NYS Music, and Variety. Paul’s website: https://thebeatlesinindia.com, and trailer.

I saw the film tonight. It was well done, personable, and revealing, as was the post‑screening discussion and Q&A with Emmy Award-winning director Paul Saltzman, and surprise guest Rikki Cooke III, aka “Bungalow Bill.” In the Q&A that followed, Rikki explained why he thought the remaining Beatles left the ashram abruptly. It made a lot more sense than the usual rumor mentioned in the article. I posted a comment (below) on the Variety article of what he said including related material.

There are several interviews posted on YouTube. Beatle Brunch host Joe Johnson spoke with Paul Saltzman on a zoom call about the film. This is another good interview published in the Cleveland.com. And this one from the BBC: When a ‘heartbroken’ backpacker met The Beatles in India.

International music journalist Jeff Slate wrote an article for The Daily Beast about the film: My Transformative Time With the Beatles in India. He contributed the usual rock history and interviewed Paul Saltzman, Jenny Boyd, Pattie’s sister, and Deepak Chopra, a close friend of George Harrison. In the Q&A that followed the premiere, Jeff heard Rikki Cooke’s explanation of why he thought the Beatles had left the ashram. Jeff appreciated this different perspective saying it was “one for the record.”

The documentary film, plus exclusively filmed Q&As moderated by Jeff Slate with Paul Saltzman, Jenny Boyd Levitt, Rikki Cooke, and Stephen Maycock from events in India, Germany and London are available on Gathr starting Friday, Sept 11, 2020. Total run time is 2hrs 20mins: movie, 1hr 20mins; Q&A Highlights, 1 hour.

I later found this excellent movie review by Beatles fan and Michigan State Theatre Programming and Media Coordinator Nick Alderink: This Week: Turn Off Your Mind, Relax and Meet the Beatles in India.

CTV News anchor Angie Seth interviewed Paul Saltzman at his home in Oakville, Ontario about his film and what it was like Meeting the Beatles in India. You can see it here.

Dec 21, 2020, Bob Roth announced on Instagram that a free rental of the film will be available between December 24th 2020 and January 1st 2021 thanks to @LynchFoundation and @TM_Program.

June 8, 2021, The Irish Times: Saltzman has been left with more than some priceless holiday photos. What memory does he still hold on to from that week? He replies, instantly: “Doing my first 30-minute meditation. It was fun meeting The Beatles, but that was secondary to the transformation of my inner life.” – Guardian

My comment to the Variety article:

Ken Chawkin                                                              September 9, 2020 at 10:39 pm

I saw the film tonight and enjoyed it. I stayed online for the Q&A that followed with director Paul Saltzman and surprise guest Richard “Rikki” Cooke III, aka, Bungalow Bill. One of the questions asked was why the Beatles had left the ashram, and did it have something to do with Maharishi supposedly making a pass at one of the female course participants. That story was a fabrication created by a jealous Magic Alex to draw John Lennon out of there. But Cooke had another explanation, and it had nothing to do with Alex, although he said he stirred up a lot of trouble while he was there. I had also read about this explanation in a book years ago. The Beatles had told Maharishi of their desire to make a documentary film about him and his message of TM to help create world peace. Maharishi was amenable and they were excited to do it. Unfortunately, Charlie Lutes, the leader of the TM movement at that time, had already signed a deal with Four Star Productions, and they had dispatched a film crew to Rishikesh, India. Cooke said when the Beatles found out, they were disappointed, upset, and decided to leave. Rikki said he saw them walk out the north gate at the same time the film crew were coming in through the south gate. He said it was an unfortunate misunderstanding. I had also heard that when John and George had gone to speak with Maharishi beforehand, most thought it was to ask about his making a pass at a girl. But the real reason may have been to verify the rumor of a Four Star film crew coming to make a documentary. If so, they would not want to be involved with it in any way, and would be leaving. With both John and George gone we may never know for sure, although it seems more plausible. Of course, John would write Sexy Sadie in retaliation. He had originally used Maharishi’s name, but George convinced him to change it to Sexy Sadie. Years later, George would visit Maharishi, with the help of Deepak Chopra, to apologize for John’s behavior at that time. Maharishi said he was not upset with John, regardless of what he had said, that he loved them. Deepak had told Maharishi that when The Beatles had played on the Ed Sullivan Show, there were no crimes committed in America. When Maharishi heard that, he called them angels, and said he could never be mad at them. Chopra said that George broke down, and was emotionally relieved with that karmic burden now off his heart. In separate interviews, both Paul and George said there was no truth to those accusations about Maharishi, which they felt were unfortunate.

New book suggests how governments can use meditation to help defeat the virus of violence

June 20, 2020

Summary: While it is now accepted that Transcendental Meditation (TM) can create peace for the individual, can it do the same for society, and if so, what is the mechanism? In An Antidote to Violence: Evaluating the Evidence Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders examine peer-reviewed research suggesting that Transcendental Meditation can influence the collective consciousness of society, leading to decreases in violent crime and war fatalities, and increases in quality of life and cooperation between nations. (Source: EurekAlert!)

An Antidote to Violence

The COVID-19 pandemic has put societies everywhere under extreme stress, and collective stress is often a precursor to outbreaks of violence. Striking features of this global health crisis have been the collective anxiety of the population, the wide variations in the way governments have responded, and the varying degree of their success.

While there is significant scientific research showing that meditation has a positive influence on the health and well being of individuals, is there any evidence that large-scale meditation can can also reduce stress and levels of violence in society?

“Yes” is the surprising inference from the authors of a new book. Published June 26, An Antidote to Violence provides evidence that the level of collective anxiety and tension in society, or incoherence in collective consciousness, is the key element, which determines the success or failure of a government in tackling crime, violence, social unrest and ill-health.

Written for the social scientist and the lay reader alike, An Antidote to Violence offers answers to key questions, including: does group meditation actually influence society? If so, how does it work? What is the evidence? What do skeptics say?

Weaving together psychology, sociology, philosophy, statistics, politics, physics and meditation, the book provides evidence that we have the knowledge to reduce all kinds of violence in society by creating coherence in collective consciousness and thereby neutralizing collective stress.

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders describe how a rise in collective tensions spills over into increased social unrest, crime, violence, accidental deaths and hospital emergencies. They examine 20 peer-reviewed studies from over four decades, indicating that it is possible to neutralize or reduce stress in collective consciousness through the practice of Transcendental Meditation (TM) and its advanced programs by a sufficient number of individuals, which is amplified in groups.

Evaluating the Evidence

During the experimental period, U.S. rates of homicides, motor vehicle fatalities, drug-related deaths, violent crime (homicides, aggravated assault, robbery and rape), fatalities due to other accidents and infant mortality, all decreased compared to the baseline period.

These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest. — Barry Spivack

“These findings are more relevant now than ever before at a time of pandemic, protest, and social unrest,” says Spivack, and offers three examples from the studies cited in the book. Each of these experiments consisted of sufficient numbers either meditating on their own or together for a period of weeks or months, and in some cases, years, in societies wracked by violence: on 93 experimental days in Lebanon between 1983 and 1985, Cambodia between 1990 and 2008, and USA between 2007 and 2010 compared with the previous four years. In each case measured statistically, significant drops in violence occurred during the periods when the numbers meditating were above the predicted threshold.

Foreword by Bob Roth | Introduction by John Hagelin

In the Foreword to the book, Bob Roth, CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, and author of the NY Times bestseller, Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation, writes: “Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders have opened our eyes to an entirely new vision of possibilities about human potential that is both sweepingly grand but also immediate and practical.”

In the book’s Introduction, Dr. John Hagelin, quantum physicist and International Director of the Global Union of Scientists for Peace, suggests “the existing research, while compelling and rigorous, presents a direct challenge to established mainstream sociological paradigms and may be difficult for some to accept. Even more rigorous and repeated testing of the theories presented here is therefore essential to ensure widespread acceptance of this demonstrated sociological phenomenon.”

Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence. — Tim Ward, publisher Changemakers Books

Changemakers Books publisher Tim Ward was struck by the book’s thought-provoking premise and explained his reasons for publishing it. “While the evidence gathered in this book is striking, more research needs to be done to prove it true. And that’s why I chose to publish An Antidote to Violence. Too much is at stake to let this possibility slip through our fingers. Just as we must explore every scientific means for beating COVID-19, so we must follow every lead for defeating the virus of violence.” 

Barry Spivack was invited to speak about his new book to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Indian Traditional Sciences in the UK, Sunday, June 21, the International Day of Yoga 2020. Speakers will include High Commissioners and Members from both Houses of Parliament. Conference proceedings will be streamed via Zoom, 12 noon to 5 pm, London time (6 am to 11 am CST). Dr. Tony Nader will speak at 12:55 pm (6:55 am CST) and Barry Spivack at 2:45 pm UK time (8:45 am CST). It will also live stream on Facebook under Indian Traditional Sciences.

Research provides evidence consistent with a causal interpretation

The authors emphasize this is the first book that draws on all the peer-reviewed research and looks at the implications of the research as a whole rather than just individual papers. “Compiling so many consistent experimental results may indicate more than a statistical correlation; it justifies further research into a causal hypothesis.”

Establishing causality in the social sciences is difficult. “Nevertheless,” says Spivack, “there are at least 6 reasons why the research provides evidence for the hypothesis that Transcendental Meditation reduces conflict and divisions in society, and improves economic performance, which is consistent with a causal interpretation.”

1) Repetition: There are 20 peer-reviewed studies, which show statistically significant results.

2) There is a dosage effect—the bigger the group the larger the impact.

3) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation—often varies at random in these experiments so you get a repeat effect within the same experiment whenever the relevant threshold of numbers is passed within the same study.

4) Studies have controlled for other possible causes in social changes, such as population density, median years of education, per capita income, the ratio of police per population, weather, holidays, seasons, political events, percentages of people in the age range 15-29, of the unemployed, of those below the poverty line, and of people over 65.

5) Normally unconnected variables, such as crime, accidental deaths, infant mortality, deaths from opioids, all move in the same direction at the same time when the relevant threshold of people practicing Transcendental Meditation is surpassed.

6) The independent variable—the numbers practicing Transcendental Meditation and its advanced programs—changes before the dependent variables change, such as crime or war fatalities or the misery index.

What people are saying about An Antidote to Violence

I was initially skeptical that such a simple solution could be effective. However, after examining the evidence, I changed my mind. An Antidote to Violence is a serious and well-researched book that offers an unconventional but effective peaceful solution to violence and terrorism. Lieutenant General Clarence E. McKnight, Jr, Former Director of Command, Control and Communications Systems for the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Washington DC

This book is especially good at discussing the evidence and the alternative explanations that have been advanced for the results. I can recommend the book to all readers with an open mind. Huw Dixon, Professor of Economics, Cardiff University

Barry Spivack and Patricia Saunders address the problems of preventing violence and war with a high level of professionalism, and, by examining a means to achieve sustainable peace supported by long-term research, have created a book that is hugely relevant. Most importantly, they highlight the interdependence of power, violence, security, and individual and collective consciousness. This book will be extremely useful for people of all nationalities, regardless of their status, different religious beliefs, personal preferences and life strategies. The theoretical and methodological principles outlined here deserve to be studied carefully and disseminated in the world. Lieutenant General Vasyl Krutov, former First Deputy Head of the Security Service of Ukraine and First Deputy Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine

My most sincere congratulations to the authors for their research and presentation of this book. I hope it will be read and applied by leaders of government and by all in general for the good of society and each person in particular. Lieutenant General José Martí Villamil de la Cadena, former Chief of Staff of the Army and Commander of Ground Theatre Operations, Chief of Staff of the Joint Command, Vice-Minister of Defence, and General Secretary of the National Security Council in Ecuador

Based on hard evidence corroborated by rigorous scientific studies, …the book compiles an array of incredible success stories from all over the world in an easily readable style for all those interested in addressing the monumental challenge of eradicating violence and conflict. Ved P. Nanda, Professor of Law, University of Denver

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RELEASE DATE: June 26 in the UK and July 1 in the US 2020ISBN: 978-1-78904-258-0 | $24.95 | £15.99 EISBN: 978-1-78904-259-7 | $12.99 | £5.79

Changemakers Books is an imprint of John Hunt Publishing www.johnhuntpublishing.com.

EurekAlert: New book shows meditation can aid governmental efforts to bring peace and heal divisions

Updates: In his presentation on the International Day of Yoga, Barry Spivack gave the example of how Mozambique President Jaochim Chissano adopted the widespread use of Transcendental Meditation and what it did for his country. See Ken Wilber said meditation can change the world. Jaochim Chissano showed it could – Steve Taylor.

Yesterday, June 20, co-author and Fairfield resident Patricia Saunders received her doctorate in Maharishi Vedic Science from Maharishi International University. In addition she was honored as the Outstanding Doctoral Student in Maharishi Vedic Science.

On July 8, 2020, David W. Orme-Johnson posted a comprehensive review of the book on Amazon: A thoughtful and well documented account of the greatest scientific discovery of our time.

This section powerfully nutshells an underlying issue, which involves a paradigm shift in the understanding of reality.

The Maharishi Effect is not everyone’s cup of tea, and this is how it should be. Science advances through a dialectic between conservative forces that try to hold on to the prevailing worldview, and evolutionary forces that try to expand knowledge to a more comprehensive framework that encompasses more of reality into a consistent picture, in this case integrating our understanding of the physical universe with consciousness.

The August issue of Enjoy TM News published an article by Harbour Fraser Hodder reviewing the evidence for reducing collective stress in society in An Antidote to Violence: How the TM Program Helps to Bring Peace and Heal Divisions.

The September issue of Transcendental Meditation News in the UK features the book on its front cover with an article on pages 8-10: Transcendental News, Vol 24. No 2, September 2020.

Also contained in that issue on pages 6-7 is a review of Dr. Tony Nader’s keynote address at the Westminster parliamentary celebration of the International Day of Yoga. And on pages 12-13 under The Maharishi Interviews is a transcript of part 1 of the Les Crane interview with Maharishi in Los Angeles, Autumn 1967. Part 2 will continue in their next issue. You can see the whole interview on this blog: Les Crane interviews Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

The Nov/Dec 2020 issue of Kindred Spirit in the UK (kindredspirit.co.uk) published this article in their meditation section: Transcendental Meditation: An Antidote to Violence. Can a meditation practice lead to the expansion of peace and tolerance in the collective consciousness? Barry Spivack looks at the evidence.

Dec 1, 2020, the National Office for TM in the UK sent out an announcement about the Kindred Spirit article, linking to a PDF of it.

February 2021, LinkedIN: Bas van Gils published this well-thought out Book review: an antidote to violence – evaluating the evidence.

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.

@DrTonyNader joins @Alberto_Lidji on #TheDoOneBetterPodcast to discuss #TranscendentalMeditation and its benefits

March 24, 2020
Dr Tony Nader, CEO of the global TM organization, joins Alberto Lidji on The Do One Better! Podcast
Alberto Lidji and Dr Tony Nader on The Do One Better! Podcast

Enjoy this simple, clear and effective explanation of Transcendental Meditation. Here is the program description to a delightful discussion that aired 3/22/2020. Instagram photo posted by Adrienne Schoenfeld.

CEO of Transcendental Meditation organizations, Dr Tony Nader, joins Alberto Lidji on The Do One Better! Podcast to discuss the TM movement, how to start practicing TM, and why it can benefit your mental and physical well-being.

Dr Nader sheds light on his personal journey, from PhD research on cognitive sciences at MIT to leading the Transcendental Meditation Program across the globe.  He explains how this simple technique can give you energy, strength and make you feel rejuvenated.

We hear what makes TM unique and learn some of the overarching principles that underpin it. For those who are curious, there is an explanation of what practicing TM actually looks like and why it has the potential to improve mental and physical well-being. 

Tony is clear that TM is not a religion, nor a philosophy, nor a belief system and, indeed, there are individuals from all faiths who practice TM.

Transcendental Meditation was launched in the mid-1950s by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi. And, while many people may associate TM with celebrities, Tony remarks that TM has a presence in most countries around the world and has 12 million people practicing it. He describes it as a grassroots organization – a big family that is open to everyone.

Tony’s key takeaway: we are fullness within; every one of us is wholeness. And, there is something very beautiful, very deep within ourselves. It is our consciousness that is an expanded field of being that we can reach, that we can experience; know the beauty of who we are, know ourselves and the real depth of what we are and live life in fullness and wholeness and perfection. This is the birthright of every human being. And, it is not a hope or a wish, it can be achieved systematically, scientifically and repeatedly.

Visit Lidji.org for guest bios, episode notes and useful links, and share widely if you enjoy the podcast — thank you!

Dr. Nader’s podcasts are available on iTunes, Spotify, and SoundCloud.

Visit TM.org for more information and to locate a center near you.

See this related article on Transcendental Meditation in Parade Magazine.

On Saturday, March 28 at 1:30 PM EDT/6:30 PM HOLLAND Dr. Nader will host a Facebook Live Event to discuss What’s The Best Way To Meet The Challenge Of This Pandemic.

New podcast on Transcendental Meditation and Philanthropy

A second podcast, this one on Transcendental Meditation and Philanthropy with Jeffrey Abramson, was posted August 24, 2020. A key goal of Jeffrey’s philanthropy is to expand the research into TM and give people around the world access to their potential; to unleash their drive so they can impact their own lives and their own communities.

Jeffrey discusses how he discovered and benefited from Transcendental Meditation, his time with TM Founder Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the work of the Rona and Jeffrey Abramson Foundation, and his support of Maharishi International University and the David Lynch Foundation. Jeffrey also explains how he aligns business with philanthropy and how TM is integral to his company’s success and operations.

Visit The Do One Better! Podcast with Alberto Lidji to read more and listen to this excellent and informative interview with Jeffrey Abramson!

@ParadeMagazine asks @meditationbob what makes #TranscendentalMeditation so special

February 22, 2020

This is one of the most informative articles on Transcendental Meditation I’ve read. Nicole Pajer put it together for the February 19, 2020 issue of Parade. I asked Bob Roth about it and he said, “The reporter sent me a bunch of questions and I answered them, thinking she would lift parts of the answers for an article… instead they printed the whole thing!”

What Is Transcendental Meditation, the Practice Beloved by Celebs—and What Makes It So Special?

If you’ve done any research into the meditation, you’ve likely heard of Transcendental Meditation. Just about every celebrity seems to be practicing it these days. Popularized by The Beatles (who originally learned in 1967), it’s now a favorite of Katy Perry, Hugh Jackman, Sheryl Crow and Liv Tyler. After discovering it herself, Oprah even paid for her 400 employees to become trained in the methodology!

But what exactly is TM and how does it differ from the other types of meditation out there? We caught up with Transcendental Meditation expert and CEO of the David Lynch Foundation, Bob Roth, who walked us through the ins and outs of this popular form of meditation.

What is Transcendental Meditation (TM)?

Transcendental Meditation (TM) is a mental technique that is practiced for 15 to 20 minutes twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. During the technique, the mind and body settle down to a unique state of “restful alertness” where the whole physiology is deeply relaxed while the mind is quiet inside, yet wide awake. Hundreds of published studies show the technique is effective for reducing stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression and at the same time, improving health, focus and performance. TM does not involve religion, philosophy or a change in lifestyle. It has been learned by 10 million people.

How does TM differ from other forms of meditation?

The ocean is a great analogy for understanding different approaches to meditation. Just as the ocean can be turbulent on the surface with innumerable waves and quiet at its depth, so, too, the mind is active on the surface with innumerable thoughts but it is also naturally, profoundly quiet deep within. Other forms of meditation work to bring calm to the mind by stopping or observing thoughts—or visualizing new thoughts. This is like trying to create calm in the ocean by stopping the surface waves. On the other hand, Transcendental Meditation doesn’t mind the surface thoughts, it provides access to deeper levels of the mind, which are already calm and peaceful. For this, TM does not require concentration or control of thoughts, nor does it involve visualization or any type of guided practice.

It requires one-on-one instruction to master.

Unlike other forms of meditation that can be learned from a book or tape, TM is always taught in personal, one-to-one instruction by a certified instructor. That is because the ability to “transcend,” to settle down and access a field of silence that lies deep within the mind, while completely natural, is also a special skill that everyone learns at his or her own unique pace. For this, a teacher is incredibly helpful. The TM teacher instructs you in the skill of how to turn the attention of your mind, which is usually directed outward to the world around us, inward and to experience the deepest, most settled level of the mind where you are peaceful and quiet inside, yet wide awake and alert. For this your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use the mantra properly.

Transcendental Meditation is taught over four consecutive days, about 60 to 90 minutes each day. During the first session, your teacher will give you a mantra and then teach you how to use it properly. During the following three sessions over consecutive days, you learn addition information to stabilize the correct practice of the technique as well as learn about how the body reduces stress, improves health, and enhances brain functioning as you continue to meditate twice a day over the ensuing weeks, months, and years. Visit TM.org to find a certified TM teacher who offers a course in your area.

The technique is learned from a certified instructor, not from a video or book. That said, there are several videos you can watch that will help answer your questions about the technique and help you decide if you would like to learn:

(1) Transcendental Meditation: A Complete Introduction with Bob Roth

(2) An introduction to Transcendental Meditation by Dr. John Hagelin.

There are also books that will give you more of a background on this type of meditation: Strength in Stillness: The Power of Transcendental Meditation by Bob Roth and Super Mind: How to Boost Performance and Live and Richer, Happier Life through Transcendental Meditation by Norman Rosenthal, MD.

Your practice will center around your own personal mantra.

The mantras in TM come from an ancient meditation tradition that is over 5,000 years old. A mantra is a specific word or thought that (1) has no meaning associated with it—because if there was a meaning then the mind would be stuck on the surface trying to it out and (2) the mantra is a soothing sound whose effects are known to be positive and life-supporting. When you learn TM, your teacher will give you a mantra and then equally importantly, will teach you how to use the mantra properly, which means effortlessly, without any concentration or control of the mind.

It’s best performed for 15 to 20 minutes, twice a day.

Once in the morning, before the day begins to give you the energy, resilience, and focus to enjoy the day with less stress and fatigue, and again, in the late afternoon or early evening, to wash off the stress of the day so that you can truly enjoy the evening with family and friends and sleep better at night.

How much does Transcendental Meditation cost?

The initial TM course is four sessions, and a one-time fee—based on income and ranging from $380-$960—is charged to cover the teacher’s salary. There is an option to split these payments over four months, and those who receive federal assistance such as SNAP may be eligible for a partial grant to help cover the fee. After these four sessions there is a lifetime of free follow up offered through any of the more than 200 teaching centers in the U.S. and any of the thousands of teaching centers worldwide.

What is a typical TM session like?

You sit comfortably with your eyes closed and you think the mantra in the easy, effortless way that your teacher has instructed you. There is no need for electronic apps or guided imagery. It is a natural process that is equally natural to practice. No tools, no apps, no videos. Just a comfortable place to sit and close your eyes for 20 minutes is all you need to participate.

Who can learn Transcendental Meditation?

Anyone from the age of 10 years and older can learn TM. Children ages 4-10 can learn a technique that is more appropriate for a youngster. TM is ideal for anyone: skeptic or advocate, experienced with other practices or novice. It is ideal for anyone who has had difficulty with techniques in the past that advocate stopping thoughts, clearing the mind of thoughts, or any form of concentration on the breath, sound, or areas of the body.

Is there anyone who shouldn’t do TM?

TM can be learned by anyone and can benefit everyone. That said, if a person is suffering from PTSD or another form of extreme trauma and is under the care of a physician or therapist it is important to continue those treatments along with the addition of TM practice.

What are the health benefits of Transcendental Meditation?

Research shows that TM is highly effective for giving the body deep rest and reducing stress, fatigue and trauma. At the same time, research also shows that TM can have a positive impact on the 80 to 90 percent of the diseases and disorders that are either caused by stress or exacerbated by stress, which includes reductions in high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and insomnia, along with improvements in focus, creativity, problems-solving, and overall physical and mental health.

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Related: Other Parade articles posted on this blog: ‘Dear Prudence’ Bruns in Parade discusses world peace, the ’60s, and why kids love the Beatles and What Transcendental Meditation does for Ringo. Parade also covered Lady Gaga’s appearance on Oprah Winfrey’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus tour. She shared her history of trauma and the pain she’s been dealing with, what she’s doing for it, and how TM has been helping her in a big way. They discovered they had both learned TM from Bob Roth. You can see that part of the interview here.

Bob Roth recently appeared on a Frontiers podcast (S2:E4) by The Upside. In this episode Bob shared his journey to bring Transcendental Meditation to the Frontiers of medicine, education and the workplace. You can also listen to it on Apple Podcasts.


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