Posts Tagged ‘Transcendental Meditation Program’

New study shows TM significantly improved school graduation rates, world press reports

June 14, 2013

New Transcendental Meditation Study Published in Education

This week the world press have been reporting on a collaborative study conducted by researchers Robert Colbert of the University of Connecticut and Sanford Nidich of Maharishi University of Management on meditation and graduation rates. The study, Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School, was funded by the David Lynch Foundation, and published in the journal Education, Vol. 133, No. 4, Summer 2013.

The new study is the first to look at the effect of Transcendental Meditation practice on graduation, college acceptance and dropout rates, and follows previously published research by Nidich et al on increased academic achievement and reduced psychological stress in urban school students. The press release, Transcendental Meditation positively impacts student graduation rates, new research shows, included two graphs, and was sent out worldwide to over 5000 science writers by EurekAlert!/AAAS. Here is the Summary and citation for this latest study:

High school graduation rates remain low with racial and ethnic gaps adding to the decline. Graduating versus dropping out translates into higher earning potential, less crime and incarceration, and less dependence on government assistance. A new study published in the journal Education shows practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique resulted in a 15 percent higher graduation rate compared to controls. In low academically performing students a 25 percent difference in graduation rates was observed.

Colbert, R.D. and Nidich, S. (2013). Effect of the Transcendental Meditation Program on Graduation, College Acceptance and Dropout Rates for Students Attending an Urban Public High School. Education, 133 (4), 495-501.

World Press Reports

Many science and medical news websites have reported the news, including PhysOrg; ScienceBlog; Science Codex; RedOrbit; Medical Daily with the headline Transcendental Meditation Boosts High School Graduation Rates, As Policymakers Look To AlternativesMedical News Today; PsychCentral, with their succinct headline, Transcendental Meditation Linked to Higher Graduation Rates; The British Psychological Society, Meditation improves behaviour in school; Counsel & Heal; and examiner.com, How transcendental meditation impacts public high school graduation rates.

The mainstream press then reported the news, led by UK’s Richard Gray, respected science correspondent for The Telegraph, and his wonderfully topical and comprehensive piece, Transcendental Meditation may boost student grades. Underneath the top headline was one of the iconic photos of the Beatles with Maharishi in India and this subheading: It may have seemed simply a phase in pop history, but it seems the Beatles may have been on to something after all during their fabled journey to India.

This prompted Anna Hodgekiss of The Daily Mail to follow up with: The best way to boost brain power and improve exam grades? Chant ‘Om’ like the Beatles did, using an earlier picture of the Beatles with Maharishi taken at the London Hilton when they first met. BTW, there is no chanting in TM, and “Om” is never used.

These articles must have influenced The Times journalist William Chester to write, Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind, which was posted on the NW London TM Blog: Exams go better with a Sixties mantra in mind – The Times June 12th 2013.

Other international press also reported on the study. ANI sent out their version of the release and it was picked up by The Times of India, Transcendental meditation boosts grades, Newstrack India, OnePakistan, newKerala.com, and Medindia. India.NYDailyNews.com reproduced the Telegraph article but used a different photo of the Beatles, Donovan, Mia and Prudence Farrow with Maharishi in Rishikesh.

In Chile, the science journalist from El Mecurio, Sebastián Urbina, emailed questions about the study, which were answered by Sandy Nidich. I also suggested he interview Rafael de la Puenta, the TM national leader, and he did. The article appeared as the top story in their Life, Science and Technology section, A15, with a photo of a member of the Trinity College Women’s Squash Team meditating on the court. See a PDF of the article: www.meditacion.cl/prensa/MT_MERCURIO-Santiago-06-11-2013.pdf.

Other countries reporting on the study that we know of include France’s HuffPost C’est La Vie; Italy’s AGI; Spain’s Tendencias21 and La Razon; Holland’s Volkskrant; and Brazil’s Veja.

Some of the previous articles were reproduced on many blogs and websites. Will add any other newer articles as they are found. A few are slated to come out from reporters who asked for the paper, but this report should give you an idea of the kind of news coverage that came out on this promising study. For example, The TM Blog later reported New Study Finds Transcendental Meditation Boosts Student Grades, Graduation Rates.

See the Great article on TM helping students boost grades shows the Beatles were way ahead of their time. That article was later highlighted on the University of Connecticut Neag School of Education on their Spotlight page reporting the latest news: Transcendental Meditation May Boost Student Grades.

Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs

October 17, 2012

Hard evidence grows for including meditation in government-sponsored health programs was released on EurekAlert! October 17, 2012.

More people still die from cardiovascular disease than any other illness. Dubbed the number one killer and the silent killer, modern medicine has been researching and incorporating complementary and alternative approaches to help treat and in some cases reverse and hopefully prevent this health problem at an earlier stage of the disease. One of those modalities is meditation.

A new research review paper on the effects of the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation (TM) technique on the prevention and treatment of heart disease among youth and adults provides the hard evidence needed to include such evidence-based alternative approaches into private- and government-sponsored wellness programs aimed at preventing and treating cardiovascular disease.

The paper, “Prevention and Treatment of Cardiovascular Disease in Adolescents and Adults through the Transcendental Meditation® Program: A Research Review Update” is published in Current Hypertension Reviews, 2012, Vol. 8, No. 3.

• In teens, the TM technique has been found to reduce blood pressure, improve heart structure and improve school behavior. According to the paper, the technique has been shown to be a safe alternative. The NIH-sponsored clinical trials conducted with TM mentioned in this review did not observe any adverse effects from TM practice.

• In adults the technique reduced stress hormones and other physiological measures of stress and produced more rapid recovery from stress, decreased blood pressure and use of blood pressure medication, decreased heart pain in angina patients, cleared the arteries, reducing the risk of stroke, improved distance walked in patients with congestive heart failure, and decreased alcohol and tobacco use, anxiety, depression, and medical care usage and expenditures. The technique also decreased risk of death from heart disease, cancer, and all causes.

“These findings have important implications for inclusion of the Transcendental Meditation program in medical efforts to prevent and treat cardiovascular disease,” says Dr. Vernon Barnes, lead author and research scientist at Georgia Health Sciences University, in Augusta, Georgia.

“This review is potentially more important than individual research papers because it shows that TM has an integrated, holistic effect on all levels of cardiovascular disease,” says co-author, Dr. David Orme-Johnson.

Orme-Johnson says that no other meditation technique has been shown to produce this constellation of changes, especially when it comes to hard measures of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Barnes said it was important to start preventing heart disease with adolescents before the disease sets. “Adding Transcendental Meditation at a young age could prevent future cardiovascular disease and save many lives, not to mention reduce the national medical bill by billions of dollars.”

This model shows how regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation Program may reduce chronic stress, which in turn reduces CVD risk factors and improves stress reactivity, thereby decreasing cardiovascular disease, and consequential morbidity and mortality.

Uniqueness of the Transcendental Meditation technique

The uniqueness of the outcomes of the TM technique may have something to do with the mechanics of the practice of the technique itself says Dr. Barnes. “Meditation practices are different from each other and therefore produce different results. And this is a very important consideration when evaluating the application of meditation as an alternative and complementary medical approach.”

A paper in Consciousness and Cognition discusses three categories to organize and better understand meditation. See Are all meditation techniques the same?

The two common categories are focused attention, concentrating on an object or an emotion, like compassion; and open monitoring, being mindful of one’s breath or thoughts, either contemplating the meaning of them, or just observing them.

Transcendental Meditation uses a different approach and comes under the third category of automatic self-transcending, meditations that transcend their own activity.

The TM technique does not employ any active form of concentration or contemplation, but allows the mind to effortlessly experience the thought process at more refined levels until thinking comes to a quiet settled state without any mental activity. The mind is awake inside and the body is resting deeply, a level of rest much deeper than deep sleep. It is this state of restful alertness that allows the body to make the necessary repairs to rebalance its normal functioning. This cumulative process resets the physiology and shows up as reduced symptoms of cardiovascular disease and improved health.

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The EurekAlert! press release was publicized by other medical and science websites like Science Codex, PhysOrg, and PsychCentral: Meditation Technique Lowers Stress, Improves Cardiovascular Health. Medical News Today reported: Evidence Suggests That Meditation Should Be Included In Government-Sponsored Health Programs and embedded the video of Dr. Oz talking about TM. Holistic Future: Evidence shows Transcendental Meditation prevents heart disease

For a clear comprehensive understanding see Transcendental Meditation Visualized [Infographic].

How The Uncarved Blog got its name

November 7, 2011

How The Uncarved Blog got its name by Ken Chawkin

Some readers have asked me about the name of my blog, what it means, and how I came up with it. When I explain it to them they say I should write it down for others to see. So I just added it to the About section, and have also decided to include is as its own post. Here it is:

Heather Hartnett at the David Lynch Foundation, encouraged me to set up my own blog and post all the TM-related articles I was sending around. So, when I thought of the word, blog, it reminded me of the word, block, the uncarved block specifically, a term from Taoism that means the uncreated pure potentiality from which all things are created, the Tao, the source of the 10,000 things. It also reminded me of the unmanifest pure Creative Intelligence Maharishi talks about in his Science of Creative Intelligence, the field of pure potentiality; also the Unified Field of all the Laws of Nature, the Veda within Atma, Sutratma, the Self. And since ‘block’ and ‘blog’ sounded so similar, I thought it was a clever poetic way of coming up with a name.

I first read about the uncarved block in a wonderful book, Creativity and Taoism, by Chang Chung-Yuan. In it he described how the Taoist artist, a sculptor in this case, used to meditate, fast, purify himself first, and then go into the forest to find the right tree that for him contained the vision of what he was called to create. He would take that block of wood back to his studio and carve it out. Think Michelangelo freeing the statue from the marble he was carving.

Same message in the Bhagavad Gita translated and commented on by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the founder of the Transcendental Meditation program and Maharishi University of Management: Transcend, Be, then act; and, established in Being perform action. Established in the Self, act in tune with Natural Law. Then you’ll be more successful in actualizing whatever inspired vision, or idea, you had that motivated you to create, whether it’s a poem, a painting, a piece of sculpture, or a blog post.

I certainly enjoy blogging, and glad I started. It’s a fun creative process using digital words, images, and sounds, to carve out something meaningful for myself and hopefully my readers. Of course, there’s so much more one can do in terms of the look and functionality of a blog. That takes up even more time, so I’ll leave that up to the good folks at WordPress.com to keep coming up with more ways to improve the experience, both for bloggers and readers. Enjoy exploring The Uncarved Blog, and thank you for visiting!

And in case you were wondering what the small colored abstract square you see next to the link in your finder at the top left, or on the right next to my comments, is all about, it’s one of Ken West’s photos, used as the blog picture, or icon, for The Uncarved Blog. Here is the complete photo © 2008 Kenneth G. West Jr.. Click on it and it will open up in a larger format. I chose it for its beauty and abstract quality; it can mean different things. For more information and links to a video and photo gallery, check out this blog post: Ken West and his unique landscape photographs are featured on IPTV show Iowa Outdoors.

DETAILS: critical eye: Meditation Nation

August 14, 2011

Meditation Nation

Power brokers no longer motivate or medicate—they meditate. How Transcendental Meditation returned as the new status symbol.

Photograph by Adam Voorhes
September 2011 Issue

A funny thing happened on the way to enlightenment. The quest got stripped of yogic posturing, Buddhist trappings, and even the last vestige of spirituality and turned into a search for the kind of clarity that might help us all in our worldly pursuits. Which is why movers and shakers are again embracing that seventies mainstay Transcendental Meditation. You’re likely to hear it spoken of reverentially in interviews: Russell Brand, whose wildman behavior was cartoonish in its intensity, credits TM with helping him to conquer his heroin, sex, and alcohol addictions. “After meditation,” he has said, “I felt this beautiful serenity and selfless connection.” And where celebrities venture (the latest wave of TM-ers includes the likes of Hugh Jackman and Naomi Watts), many of us are likely to follow. The rolls of practitioners have tripled in the past three years, according to the Transcendental Meditation Program, the practice’s national organization.

“The game-changer, I think, is David Lynch and his foundation,” says Dr. Norman E. Rosenthal, the Georgetown University psychiatry professor who wrote the recent best seller Transcendence: Healing and Transformation Through Transcendental Meditation. Lynch, the surrealist director of Twin Peaks, Blue Velvet, and Mulholland Dr., had been quietly practicing TM since, yes, the seventies, but about six years ago he came out of the closet, launching a foundation to promote the practice and later publishing a manifesto, Catching the Big Fish: Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity.

It’s a process perfectly matched to our self-interested times—”no pain, but a lot of gain,” according to Rosenthal. Bob Roth, an executive director of the David Lynch Foundation, who taught TM to Brand and Moby, explains that when the mind has been calmed with the help of a mantra, a Sanskrit word given to each TM grad, it will effortlessly sink below the level of thought to “pure consciousness.” Practically speaking, sit in a chair, close your eyes, and silently repeat the mantra for 20 minutes. Once you get the hang of it, Lynch says, you cut the elevator cables of your normal-thinking mind to descend to a place that feels different. You may experience a connection with the universe or a mental light show, what Rosenthal calls “four-star graphic effects.” At the very least, you should be blissfully relaxed, which is the foundation of the health benefits that have been measured in the medical research amassed, much of it funded by the government. The deep tranquillity TM promotes quiets the body’s “fight or flight” stress response, lowering blood pressure and anxiety and combating depression.

Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the so-called giggling guru, who hosted the Beatles and Mia Farrow, among others, was the innovator who stripped Hindu meditation practice of its religious baggage and repackaged it as a systematic, stress-reducing, creativity-building technique. Lynch, a disciple, is responsible for adding a fresh civic-mindedness to the game. His foundation aims to bring TM free of charge to those most in need of its calming effects—at-risk kids, prison inmates, veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress. That, of course, means fund-raising benefits, which means reeling in rich folk and entertainers (many introduced to TM by Lynch and Roth), all of which attracts media coverage and an increased brand awareness among those in the general public who might be willing to shell out $1,500 for the basic course.

“It was straight out of The Great Gatsby,” Rosenthal says of the poolside benefit party thrown this past June at the Malibu home of Juicy Couture cofounder Pam Levy and her TV-director husband, Jefery Levy. One imagines the vibes spreading to their neighbor Ryan Kavanaugh, CEO of Relativity Media, the freshly minted Converse-wearing, 36-year-old movie mogul who practices TM twice a day. Kavanaugh, who started out as a stockbroker, has leveraged his connections by allying with the New York hedge fund Elliot Associates, among other investors, giving his company the billions required to dominate Hollywood film production. But his secret weapon is his risk-assessment algorithm, a high-tech quantitative analysis of the big picture that he says allows him to make money even on box-office dogs.

As the New York hard-chargers who flock to the TM courses Roth teaches at the Center for Leadership Performance soon learn, this kind of success is not coincidental. According to published research, TM enhances neural activity in the part of the brain that houses the decision-making “executive center.” “The businesspeople say they’re more focused during the day,” Roth says. As do the other Gotham heavy hitters who’ve evangelized for TM and the Lynch Foundation, from Jerry Seinfeld and Heather Graham to Ben Foster and Howard Stern. Leave it to Mr. Katy Perry himself, speaking at a gala fund-raiser at the Metropolitan Museum of Art this past winter, to get at the essence of TM’s guilt-free marriage of creativity and commerce: “I literally had an idea drop into my brain the other day while I was meditating which I think is worth millions of dollars.”

Also on Details.com
Celebrity Om-Meter: The Top 10 Moments in Meditation History
Retreat, Relax, Recharge: Inside the World’s Best Spas
How to Avoid the Office Strain
Guy-Friendly Alternatives to Yoga

Prop Styling by Robin Finlay

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